Friday, October 24, 2008
The journey to Peru was just amazing. We flew into Lima, then on to Cusco. After a day to recover and adjust a bit to the altitude, we were off exploring. The first site we visited was Sacsaywaman just outside Cusco. We were very fortunate to meet Mario at the ruins, a local shaman, who served as our guide. Under his tutelage we learned a great deal about the Inca world view and the messages to be found in the stones of the structures. For the Incas, there were three worlds: the upper world symbolized by the Condor, the middle world in which we live, symbolized by the Puma, and the lower world, symbolized by the Serpent. At Sacsaywaman there are three great doors in the stone work. They are the doors to the three worlds and consist of three huge stones built into the walls. Each of these gateways is surrounded by seven stones. Mario showed us each of these. He also showed us a snake, carved into the stone next to the third doorway. When I told him one of my totems was the rattlesnake and showed him the necklace I was wearing under my shirt with the snake carving on it, he asked me if I spoke the language of the snake. I said I didn't think so, and he brought us up to the snake carving and chanted in a hiss like a snake. Then he translated the chant for us. This was quite powerful. Mario also showed us how the Incas had built the shapes of snakes, lamas, guinea pigs, pumas, and other animals into the walls. There were keys for seeing these shapes among the stones, usually a small stone present among the huge blocks that made up the walls. The small stone was often an ear, or perhaps the beak of a bird. Triangular stones were also significant, as well as stones surrounded by seven other stones. None of the rock work was random. Everything had been carefully designed. The walls were full of messages and symbolism for those with eyes to see, and Mario opened our eyes.