Chatting with my local DVD store owner a few years ago I discovered that he was a writer and tour organiser. At that time his tours, spiritual in nature, were to Bolivia and Peru with a focus on Inca history.
I decided to join his next tour on the supposition that there would be an opportunity for me to capture some interesting images. My interest in the spiritual aspects were, in truth, close to zero.
During the course of the trip (visiting Lake Umayo, Lake Titicaca and Machu Michu, we were joined by guides who were shamans: Shaman Eduardo at Lakes Umayo, and Shaman Mario El Puma (in the photo above) for the Cusco / Machu Pichu elements.
Included in the trip were a couple of rituals or so. One of these was a fire (or perhaps more accurately, smoke) rite that had the tour group surrounding the flames, holding hands and thinking deep thoughts on a hillside overlooking Lake Umayo.
On another occasions we spent an hour or so in the ruins at Ollantaytambo in the freezing hours after midnight. It was cold despite the extra clothes I had put on! I shan’t go into detail here but the experience was a memorable one.
During the course of the trip I was able to chat to Mario who explained that he, and other shamans like him after the Spanish conquest of the region, had adopted elements of both christianity (God the Father) and their own Inca beliefs (Mother Earth) with related figures of significance e.g. snakes, pumas, eagles etc. Fascinating stuff. He also indicated, the big learning point for me, that historically (and even pre-historically) there were energy points around the land(s) where people would congregate.
Hence, if one were to encounter a large boulder in the shape of a wolf, for example, it should be possible to find evidence of human habitation.
It was an interesting tour, one that I repeated a few years later, and one that provided me with sufficient photographic images to enable me to mount exhibitions in Curitiba (capital of the southern Brazilian state of Parana) and in Brasilia.
These tours are still organised by my friend who has now expanded his destinations to include Easter Island and Nazca.
Should you have an interest in participating in one of these spiritual tours please contact me.