An Inka Medicine Wheel year
I just completed the year-long Inka Medicine Wheel training--Alberto Villoldo’s synthesis of 25 years of study with Peruvian shamans into a modern-day program for Westerners. With 19 other students, I met for four intense three-day sessions at The Ojai Foundation, 40 acres of slightly tamed wilderness at the foot of the Topa-Topa Mountains. Together we journeyed through the Four Directions--South, West, North and East--and the archetypes of serpent, jaguar, hummingbird, and eagle. (Beautiful painting by Lynn Berryhill)
Although I went with high hopes, the Inka Medicine Wheel surpassed even my exalted expectations. When I look back at how much I've changed in the last 12 months, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Cry because I’m grateful; laugh because I’m happy! Here's a short list of the gifts I've received:
I have rewritten my relationships with my ancestors and can now greet their images smiling at me from my altar with love and gratitude. (Thank you for bringing me to this place! Thank you for your gifts and your ongoing support!)
I have freed myself from a good deal of biologic and karmic programming and can now choose my own destiny, including my own death.
I have dramatically shifted some of my limiting beliefs—and have acquired the tools to revise any issue or challenge that arises—from household relationships to global warming. I can take responsibility for my part of the collective nightmare and dream a new reality into being.
I have acquired rudimentary tracking skills and am learning to trust the knowledge that comes to me by non-rational means. I have a much more real and integrated knowing that everything is energy—is connected by bands of energy and communicates energetically. I can direct my own energy and deflect unwanted energy from others. I can tune into the energies of my environment and nurture them to bring my world into right relationship, or ayni. I can call on spirit allies and see evidence that they come. I can fly on the back of an eagle, breaking the bonds of body and Earth. I can travel to the Underworld and greet its gatekeeper; willingly allow myself to be dismembered and, as spirit, soar to the Upper Realms. I can meet my Peruvian shaman teachers there. I can meet anyone I need to meet with there. I am not limited by time or space or physical means of travel.
I have learned how to open and close sacred space, conduct a fire ceremony, how and why to offer a despacho, or to place a huaca. I know how to work with my mesa and to replace its stones, should I need to. I am a self-referencing shaman, with a lot more to learn, and with a growing appreciation of this source of power and wisdom, which is everywhere present, all around us; right here.
And the adventure is sure to continue.
And so it is.
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