Today I had one of the best experiences of my life. I’m not going to share all the details of what I saw as they are very personal but I will try to describe the experience.
Katy, a guide, came and picked me up from the hotel around 10am and we took a bus from Cusco to Ollantaytambo which is an old Inca site in the Sacred Valley.
Once there we relaxed in the garden of the lodge we were staying in, which is very beautiful and peaceful, and played with the dogs whilst the Elder made the preparations for the ceremony.
San Pedro Ceremony
The ceremony started with myself, Katy and the Elder sitting around a fire which had a mixture of plants, condor feathers and other things in it. We inhaled the aroma as the Elder spoke to us and used his drum. He then called to the four corners of the earth to grant permission to do the San Pedro and to centre it.
He then poured me a cup of one juice which I drank, followed by a cup of another one. They were both pretty bitter tasting. Katy just had half a cup of each and the Elder had some too. San Pedro is a plant that goes straight to the heart and bypasses the mind’s defences and ego resistance. It gives you the power to make the changes you need to make.
We then relaxed for a bit allowing the plant to come into our bodies and opening up our heart to it, letting it know our intentions. We chewed some coca leaves for a bit and stuck them in our cheeks. The Elder played some beautiful music and sung – he has a great voice.
It was then time to walk to the Inca ruins which were only around 15 minutes away. As we were walking I felt all sorts of emotions. At the Inca site we sat around and the Elder mixed up some tobacco in a pipe which we smoked. He also called on the water gods.
After this I went and found a spot to myself, laying on the wall of the ruins, looking up at the sky and all the amazing surrounding mountains. At first I felt a deep sadness and I cried, I think I was letting go of the sadness within me which I had to do before I could move on. I lay watching the sky and the clouds told my story. This bit was very personal so I’m not going to say what they said but it made me realise a few things and it let me know what I have to do to move forwards in my life.
I don’t know how long I lay there for – it seemed like a very long time. During this time the Elder continued to play music and sung- one song about his grandfather was particularly moving. With San Pedro you don’t have an out of body experience – you are still you but your senses are heightened.
At some point I moved back down to the place where we had started and Katy was lying there so we chatted for a while. The colours of the sky and the shapes of the rocks on the mountains were intensified, as were the sounds of the animals.
I found another spot near Katy to lie down and we both watched the sky. She was facing one way looking at the stormy side and I faced the other way looking at the blue sky and white clouds. I felt calm and peaceful.
After a while we got up and walked around the Inca ruins and looked at the alter noticing the duality of the big arches and the three layers – snake, puma, condor. Everything felt really good and we were both smiling and chatting to each other.
It started to get a bit colder so I put on my jacket and laid down on the stones near the ceremony spot. After a while the Elder said it was time to go and he led us back to the lodge. On the way he stopped to pick some fresh eucalyptus for the temazcal. As we were walking the colours of the plants and grass were so sharp and you could see the plants breathing.
Back at the lodge I just sat on the grass and played with one of the cute little dogs.
After a while I went to my room and got changed into my bikini and a pair of shorts – this took a while as my movements were quite slow. Katy then took me to the Temazcal tent where the Elder told me to go inside and to the left. The floor of the tent round the outside was covered in the Eucalyptus branches he had bought earlier and there were also some hanging from the ceiling. Hot stones that had been burning in the fire were then placed in the pit in the middle of the tent and water was thrown over them – like a sauna. Once the flap was shut the tent was pitch black. The Elder sang and added water to the stones to keep the temperature rising. At first I was a bit cold as I decided to lay down on the ground but not for long. In the Temazcal tent I had some more emotional experiences but they ended with a strong resolve of what to do next.
At some point the Elder went out and got more hot stones to add to the pit. I sweated a lot and the feelings were pretty indescribable. Being in the dark, being so hot and listening to the Elder sing just all came together into an amazing feeling.
After a long while I felt it was time I left. Leaving the tent is like a rebirth.
I got changed into some warmer clothes and Katy bought me a delicious hot soup and chamomile tea. The soup was just what I needed as I hadn’t eaten all day – the San Pedro can make you feel a bit nauseous.
After I’d eaten we went outside and I found the little cat that lives at the lodge so I cuddled it as we stood by the fire watching the stars. We sat by the fire for a bit before heading to bed.
I was really glad Katy took the San Pedro too as I had someone to share the experience with. We hugged goodnight and I went to bed. I felt tired but very relaxed and calm.