What’s so special about all these 11s?
Since we first came to Peru we had been told that 11.11.11 would be a very important date for the planet and for each one of us, not only because it is one in a thousand years, but especially because 11 is a special number in the spiritual world. A new portal of energy was to open on this day and it would affect people differently: bringing answers to some, making others more confused, and putting yet others in a frame of mind they have never been before, prompting them to make the changes they’ve always felt they wanted to but never did. We were told it was good to spend this day in nature and in a calm, relaxed state, focused on ourselves and on the inside,in silence and in peace. We were in the Sacred Valley of Peru when we were told this, and ever since then we had wondered where our path will be leading us for thisl day. When we found ourselves back in the Sacred Valley, we were not at all surprised – it only made sense, right?
We knew Nico and Paloma were planning to have some ceremonies in their tipi on this day, so we decided to join. The most powerful moment would be at 11.11am, but we were told to go there about 9.30am to harmonize our energies and prepare for the meditation we would be doing. We were pleased to see there were quite a few people there, around 30, and everyone brought their best vibes and energies. Paloma started the day by getting everyone in the circle to introduce themselves, she then spoke a bit to the significance of that special day, and we were told what the “program” of the day would be: a group meditation, a Reiki healing circle, a series of dances and songs, and then another meditation in the chakana temple which was also inaugurated on this day.
We started with a quintu, one of the most common customs in the Inka tradition, which consists of choosing 3 to 5 coca leaves, putting your intention in them and then offering them to the fire, burying them in the ground or chewing them. This is done at any important moment in one’s life, at the initiation of a project or journey, at a difficult moment, at a happy moment. And any time one feels the need for connection.
We were all excited and participative, and the day went smoothly and beautifully, all those involved being very open to each other and present to the moment. We had beautiful meditations and experiences, and by the end of the day we were feeling peaceful and connected, while at the same time simply exhausted. Boca and I got back to Olleanta before 6, had a sandwich and collapsed into deep sleep just after 7pm. We had had troubled sleep for the week leading to 11.11.11, with lots of vivid and significant dreams, some quite disturbing, and even though we knew that was a good sign that we were sorting things out in our subconscious and letting go of things from our past, we were already looking forward to a night of peaceful sleep. We were also looking forward to the next day, when Paloma was organising a Circulo de Mujeres (Women Circle), a monthly event for women only, organised on the day of the full moon. This one was going to start with Shamanic Painting in the first part of the day, and continue with a fire ceremony and a Temascal (sweat lodge) in the second. We had not done any of the above before, so we were really excited about these new experiences.
When Paloma first told us about the ceremonies we were immediately interested because we had always wanted to do a Temazcal, and also because Shamanic Painting just sounded so cool. We later figured out the painting would be done on stones that we would then take back home with us. We were told the day would start at 12. Of course Latin American time, we started almost an hour later, with a group of more than 20 women. The tipi was packed and the feminine energy was completely filling the space. For me it was the first time I was attending a ceremony or event that was for women only (well, except for pajama parties actually), and it felt very special to be connecting with these ladies in a beautiful sharing of stories, fears and victories.
Paloma opened the ceremony by asking us all to introduce ourselves and why we felt the calling to be there that day. Listening to everyone’s sharing was very moving, and to a certain extent we each found ourselves in each other’s words, struggles and aspirations. Paloma then moved on to speaking about why this day was so special to women and why our connection with the moon is so strong – the moon cycle and the women cycle is the same, it happens every 28 days, and interestingly enough, many women who become aware of this connection observe that their period synchronizes with the full moon. It is a time of great power for women, and they need only to become aware of this… and remember.
Paloma then moved on to sharing about Shamanic Painting, how it is used for healing in different ways and also for remembering about our ancestors, our “Nation”, as she called it, and the tradition that we carry forward from it. That was the kind we were going to do today – during a shamanic ceremony we would be connecting with our Nation and receive a symbol we would then depict on the stone.
Paloma talked us through a series of the most common symbols and their significance, and as soon as that was done we started the “journey” to receive the symbol. We were in the semi lotus posture, in a circle, and Paloma guided us to close or eyes and connect, while she and Carmen, another shaman friend, were beating the drums and using their beautiful voices to take us on the journey.
It was an interesting experience, filled with many symbols that came to my mind throughout. At the end Paloma told us “This is the moment you receive your symbol” and so that was the one I ended up depicting: a bright beautiful light, and below it two hand holding each other. My painting did not come out nearly as beautiful as my vision had been, in fact it was impossible to tell what it was by looking at it, but I guess that’s not the most important in the end:).
After finishing the paintings we had a light lunch of fruits we had brought to share, and then started preparing for the Temazcal. Our first and incredible Temazcal experience – in the next post :).
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