Published: January 9th 2008December 21st 2007
Well, when you arrive in Ayapata or Kana, which is the name of the village where Wayra´s home is, you need to climatise and that means doing as little as possible! Saying that, I´m never allowed to do anything when I am there, Wayra´s mama and sister do everything and if they see me lift a brush or attempt to help in any way they reprimand me!
So we had arrived at 3am Friday morning, so most of Friday was spent lying about, taking in the views, which are spectacular and chatting. In the evening about 7pm the Shaman arrived. He had been invited earlier that day by Wayra´s brother-in-law to officiate the ceremony of offering presents to Pacha Mama, mother nature. These ceremonies are very sacred and are to be taken seriously. Wayra has told me loads about them before but seeing it for myself helped me understand what happens and what it all means.
The Qechua people believe in the power of Pacha Mama (Mother Nature), Apus (the Mountains) and God as being equal and guiding in your life, if you do not respect these, then you dont have much luck in your life. I have heard many stories here about how people having various kinds of problems, including health, and when they had ceremonies for Pacha Mama their or problems of family members were resolved. So I believe in this to a certain extent, but I knew that seeing the ceremony would give me a deeper understanding of it all.
So we had already bought a ´table´ to be offered which means we had a selection of items to be offered, this also included various alcoholic drinks and cigarettes, not to be consumed but offered (a concept I couldn´t understand when Wayra told me about it!). These were small items that looked like wee ornaments, but each represented a wish or something that you wanted for your life. So for example health, love, happiness, that kind of thing. Each item was blessed and a prayer was said by the Shaman before he placed the item on a special cloth. Me and Wayra made a list of all the wishes we had for ourselves and they were individually read to the Shaman while he chose the correct items to be associated with our wish which was laid o the table. When all of these items were finished we sat around and chatted, chewing coca leaves. We left the house at 11.30pm in time for midnight at a special place in the land where the offering would be made. First I was told I couldn´t go, but considering I had been waiting to see this ceremony for a long time and that i´d say up all nighjt waiting for it, I made a plea through Wayra to go. He said OK and off we went.
When we arrived at the special place which was at a rock which sat out from the ground and provided a kind of shelter, and the Shaman built a fire, on top of this fire was placed the ´table´ which was set alight. Before and during this, the Shaman said prayers. The alcohol was opened and each of us had a bottle to be offered to Pacha Mama, which literally meant being sprayed around the fire area to be received by Pacha Mama.
After this, we say until the fire went out, but for me this ended prematurely. I was sitting on the ground thinking and taking it all in. I needed to stand up and when I did I was overcome by waves of nausea and before I could tell Wayra what was happening, I fainted! There were a few explanations as to why this happened but Wayra told me that maybe I had some bad energy inside and that it was released. This is the most probable for me because I had a bad pain in my shoulder for weeks bbut after this immediately, it was gone and hasn´t returned! Draw your own conclusions, but this is mine and I was very grateful to have taken part in this.