10 Days Touring Magical Peru and Plant MedicinesOct 24, 2022
About a year ago, I started receiving the spiritual call to go to Peru. After my psychic voluntarily told me I needed to go to Peru, I put a deposit down on a tour aligned with my goals and desires for the country from Sacred Earth Journeys. While the tour was a rollercoaster of anticipated places and unexpected pivots, it was absolutely delightful and I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.
Sacred Earth Journeys worked with Puma Adventures to craft a tour of sacred and spiritual locations in the Southern Regions of Peru that catered to a healing process within. An optional add-on for the tour was partaking in an ayahuasca ceremony the day before everything started, just outside of Cusco, with the medicine man who would be our tour leader, the legendary Puma.
To read about my 5 nights in the Amazon doing Ayahuasca after the 10 day tour, CLICK HERE.
Ayahuasca with Puma
Our group gathered at the most incredible retreat center called Andean Wings. The courtyards were beautiful and full of flowering and fruiting plants and trees. The food was delightful and healthy. My new friend, Jessica, and I felt very at peace and supported within the boundaries of this property. And we were ready for Ayahuasca that night… or so I thought.
I wish I had gotten to know Puma a bit before our first ceremony together. For me, it was my third time sitting with Ayahuasca. For everyone else in my group, it would be their first time. My only knowledge of Puma was an interview/webinar I had participated in with him a few months prior. As he stood before me this night, I felt disconnected from him. He consulted “The Oracle” on how much medicine to give me and told me the Oracle said that I personally had doubts. I didn’t want to tell him that my only doubts were about him… as I wondered if his showman-attitude was a result of penetrating the American and global markets to drive tourists to his tours and ceremonies. But I didn’t want to say that and was even more disappointed in myself for thinking it. As he poured me a small serving, I told him that I facilitate psilocybin ceremonies at home… and he immediately chuckled and filled my cup to the wide-eyes of his support team.
I received this cup with both hands and quickly drank it all, never enjoying the taste of the medicine. The last time I sat in an ayahuasca ceremony was several years ago, long before I began exploring the depths of consciousness or holding space for others. I had done both of my previous ceremonies in Los Angeles, with my second ceremony feeling very fulfilling with a somewhat gentle ceremony encouraged by a clear consciousness that came and guided me through it all. I was anticipating this time to be similar. I desired to shed the negative energy I had traveled to Peru with and get any stuck emotions out before continuing on my pilgrimage in this country. What I ended up receiving was very very different.
For a minute, I glimpsed the astral dimensions that I was journeying to Peru to learn to better navigate. The sacred geometry that comprised them was awe-inspiring, though darker than I usually saw them. But I quickly blasted off far far past this space… into the depths of what I call “DMT Land.” It was a familiar space to the times I smoked DMT and had tried to breakthrough… and never seemed able, only met by these weird-looking clowns, often with sharp teeth, who seemed to always be guarding the space and preventing me from truly exploring it.
And there I sat. Trapped in the depths of scary-looking clowns (though I don’t have a fear of clowns… or even a distaste for them. I don’t LIKE them either) with kaleidoscope-like imagery of sharp and dark colors. How had this happened? And how was I previously unaware that ayahuasca was such a DMT driven medicine? I tried to call upon everything I was equipped with to transform the experience. I surrendered deeper. I transformed my energy field into love and gratitude (which had worked in the past on trips turned clowns). I called upon my guides for help. I leaned into the icaros, which are songs sung by the facilitators to protect us and aid us in the medicine.
At times I would receive 5 minutes or so of relief with the aid of the energies I called upon. It was easily the most challenging plant medicine experience of my life. At least as an advanced practitioner and user of psychedelics, I could sit in this space knowing it would all end at some point. I wished I could purge it all out of me to the end journey. The most commonly known form of purging on ayahuasca is vomiting… but any purge is simply the moving of stagnant energy or releasing that which doesn’t serve you… and you can transform this energy with the breath as well. So unfortunately for me, I moved everything with the breath and couldn’t seem to get this wildly intense medicine out of me.
I did end up being able to deeply sob to my core essence. Releasing pent up energy of sadness, fear, and discontentedness. It was the most beautiful thing I experienced the entire ceremony. Within only a few hours, we were sent back to our rooms to finish our process. I was still deeply in the medicine and had to have help walking back to my room… where I lay awake in bed for another 6 hours. I hadn’t felt very held or supported in this ceremony. And in hindsight, I wonder if it would have been different had I gotten to know the ceremony team beforehand. Because by the end of the 10 day tour that would ensue, Puma and co were all like a loving family.
My experience was of course very different from everyone else in my group. Many felt very supported in the ceremony and had incredible experiences of seeing the in-between and healing themselves. I would highly recommend ayahuasca to anyone who has been receiving its call.
The Sacred Valley
The next day, we were shuttled off to the Sacred Valley. We were all a bit on edge about being transported with so little sleep and all felt a bit raw and emotional on the surface. Puma and his team handled us with the most gentle of gloves and the next resort which we checked into blew our socks off. The Taypikala Deluxe Valle Sagrado Lodge was nestled in a bend of the Urubamba River, surrounded by a high mountain range with beautiful gardens and thoughtfully peaceful architecture. After duping our belongings in our room, Jess and I explored the grounds which made us feel like we were in Narnia. It was the most perfect place to rest and re-group after the previous night’s Ayahuasca ceremony. I took a dip in the beautiful infinity pool and all was seemingly right with the world again. Our main mission for day one was to acclimate to the altitude and rest.
The food at our resort hotel did not disappoint! I’m pretty sure I had fresh trout ceviche and their flavorful take on creme brûlée every single day of our 3 night stay there. I hadn’t expected so many foodie marvels in Peru. They really do food incredibly well!
Day 2 was incredibly gentle on us. Puma honored our journeys to his sacred country of Peru and we gathered for several healing ceremonies and initiations into the land. This was the first time we were offered the plant medicine of San Pedro, or Wachuma, on our tour. We were joined by Don Sebastian and Mama Irene, one of the first women allowed to participate in medicine ceremonies and allowed to facilitate them herself. She fought for women’s rights to be respected as healers in the field and it was an honor to receive her sword-based healing session.
San Pedro is a very gentle medicine. I didn’t feel much in the beginning except for an opened-heart and uplifted mood. I could tell the “in-between” was trying to surface, but after 4 cups of the gentle medicine, still didn’t experience much change. I few people in our 25 person group were having profound experiences, channeling their energy, but this didn’t seem to be the norm. I would later discover that San Pedro somewhat turns you into an emotional egg… without any inspiring moments or thoughts that crack you, you can stay whole and filled with the uplifted mood. But the second a thought or comment cracks you, your yolk begins to spill out everywhere, somewhat uncontrollably. For me, this happened after lunch when we went into a cave for a re-birthing ceremony.
Inside the cave, Puma explained to us the importance of caves. In Peruvian culture, they are symbolic of the womb and in previous times, the women of ancient cultures would go into caves when they were ready to give brith. In this way, every new life emerged from a cave, the womb of Pachamama (Mother Earth). Here, Puma requested that the divine feminine forgive the divine masculine for the ways in which they had ever wronged or harmed us. And this was what cracked my egg.
One of my intentions in Peru was to work on my relationship with relationships… as recent experiences at home have forced me to take a hard look this aspect of my life and I realized that there was perhaps old programming around relationships that no longer serves me. But in order to release this pre-programmed way of being, it was brought to my attention in this ceremony that I had not yet fully forgiven all of the men who had used and abused me in the past, whether intentionally or unintentionally. And I had not fully forgiven myself for this extreme pain I’d allowed the masculine energy of the world to create inside me. As I emerged from the cave, re-born, my yolk was beginning to spill all down my face as I cried. It would be here, in the Sacred Valley, that I would sit and journal atop a wall overlooking the Urubamba River, listening to its rushing waters, and speak out loud into the universe that,
“I forgive you. And I forgive myself.”
What a powerful experience, and it was only day 2.
Day 3, we traveled to Puma’s home in Chinchero. There, his own family showed us how their delightful colors and yarns of sheep wool and alpaca were created.
Afterwards, we ventured to the Incan site of Moray. It is a site of ancient Incan ruins that were large circular terraces crafted 600m above the town of Urubamba. Originally created for agriculture, these terraces simulated microclimates that allowed the ancient civilization to grow crops well outside of their zones. This location was also considered the Womb of Mother Earth and was a powerful place for initiating healers. I was incredibly excited to see this site, but due to erosion over the years, tourists are no longer allowed to walk down and through to the powerful center. Connecting with it from afar was still possible, though disappointing to me.
Day 4 we went to the quaint town of Ollantaytambo, known as The Sanctuary of the Wind. It is an ancient observatory and ceremonial center set amongst hillside terraces where we connected with the elements and drew upon the energy of the condor at the Temple of the Condor. Afterwards, we began our trek to Machu Picchu via train along the Urubamba River. Quite a delightful sight and experience. Arriving in Aguas Calientes, or Machu Picchu Pueblo, was an exciting shift of energy as we had been very much in the high desert-like Andes and were now surrounded by lush trees and flowing water everywhere.
The day had finally arrived to see one of the greatest sites in the universe, Machu Picchu. I had packed 2 grams of psilocybin mushrooms for the cause, knowing I would never forgive myself if I wasn’t in the medicine at this sacred site. And boy am I glad I did! The energy was intense on its own, but the mushrooms lit up my environment with my eyes closed. It was as if I were now a part of the energy there. And a soft voice reminded me that I could forever draw upon the energy here because I have touched it. It is within. And it is everywhere. All at the same time.
I wish we could have spent more time here. I barely had enough time to find a spot all to ourselves with my Machu Picchu love, Matty. We snuck off to the side and sat and meditated for a while. I got my feet on the bare earth and received downloads from the spirits there. I would always cleanse after an intense moment with the water that ran through the ruins. Running my hands into it and cupping some onto the top of my head and down my hair.
My guide, Puma, told us of the temple across the way where the Amazonian Warrior Women would come to be initiated… and I knew I had to experience it. Matty and I were given 15 minutes to run off and find the temple. Once there, I connected with my spirit guide who had me breathe in all that was life up until this moment. And exhale a new existence, transformed in that moment into the warrior of the Amazon… though it was always my destiny to carry that energy with me. What a beautiful moment before I would then head into the Amazon later.
Our time at Machu Picchu wasn’t nearly long enough. While I didn’t partake on the Waina Picchu hike, half of our group did… and I think I would next time. In hindsight, I’d love to spend 2 days at Machu Picchu. It was sad and heart wrenching to leave… but I reflect on the fact I’ll forever carry that energy and be connected to it. And I will return one day.
That afternoon, we departed Aguas Calientes on the train and headed towards Cusco.
I was unsure of this delightful town when I first arrived. But I spent more time in Cusco than anywhere else and I would happily go back.
BEWARE THE ALTITUDE. Seriously. It sits at 11,152 ft or 3,399 meters! While I didn’t struggle, many many people do , regardless of physical health conditions. If you venture here, plan on day of virtually nothing. Or check out ReEnergize Cusco, where I went, and hop on the 3 service package for a massage, hyperbaric chamber, and float tank session for the low cost of $120 USD. You won’t regret it. As a massage therapist myself, I’m wildly picky, and I’d return here in a heartbeat.
My favorite restaurant in Cusco was Kushka, right off the Plaza de Armas. With something for everyone on their menu, nothing here will disappoint. In fact, Peruvian food almost never disappointed.
Before my tour, I stayed in my own private room in a hostel called Selina and was wildly impressed with the vibe and crowd there. If you’re looking for a spot on a budget, I’d highly recommend. They even have a lovely co-working space where I was able to get a bunch of work done before my room was ready. The internet speeds are fast!
Day 6 I opted in for the hike to the Condor Viewpoint of Chonta which was an all day excursion. It was a bit hard spending 3 hrs in the car driving in the back of the bus as I’m a bit prone to carsickness. But I’d suppose it was all preparation for the 90 minute hike up and down pathways in 12,000 feet of elevation. And that was just one way. It’s very easy to underestimate how altitude will affect you. Altitude was probably the reason I would call this the hardest hike of my life.
I had purchased some large condor feathers in Chinchero after Puma had used them in a healing ceremony on us. So I wanted to go on this hike to bond with the spirit of the Andean Condor before utilize it at home and channeling them. Their wingspan is incredible! The way they’d soar and dive through the valleys we hiked to were just absolutely inspiring. The hike was thrilling. Being in nature was wonderful. And even a little snake had come to me as a good omen at the start of our walk. By the end though, I was tired. And decided to take the next day off from the tour.
Day 7, I spent wandering around Cusco and trying to tie up the lat of my loose ends on things I deeply desired to bring home for my healing practice. I had yet to find a drum I like and maracas. I went on a quest to the Shaman Market in the center of the San Pedro market. And with seemingly loose directions, I found it and everything you could ever want to purchase!
I did also make my way to the Shaman Shop, which had the drum I was seeking and plenty more. A bit more of a pricier point than I desired for a lot of items in the shop, its definitely a must see and I’m hoping to find more things in there if I ever return.
Tinajani Canyon and Pukara
Day 8, we left Cusco and started our trek to Lake Titicaca. We stopped off in the reddish sedimentary sandstone and volcanic dacite which created the ancient tombs of this place. With a wide valley out front and local woman heading her sheep, this place was serene and we partook in a small dose of San Pedro here. You could feel the space opening up to us. Infiltrating us. Inspiring us.
We then ventures to the Museo Pukara which held ancient ruins from the land. It was incredible and mind expanding to see altars crafted from thousands of years ago depicting the soul’s journey in this earthly realm. The journey of one soul dividing into two, embodying a life that was predetermined and learning to harbor love for itself as one part of the half. Then finding the other to ultimately come back together again as pure love. How wise these ancient cultures were. It’s a divine reminder that love is everything. You can’t close yourself off to it for long. Or survive long without it. It opens up the field of play. The field of sexuality. Divinity. Infinite possibilities. It deserves to be honored. Our healing path is never done, constantly be worked and re-worked as we drive towards being ready to receive the most divine love possible.
We finally arrived at our final destination, Lake Titicaca. Our hotel was again magnificent and beautiful, the Hotel GHL Lake Titicaca . I was grateful for be sharing a room with Jess the entire trip. A divine pairing from the Universe.
Day 9 we departed early on a boat and headed into the Uros Islands community of Lake Titicaca. A grouping of 120 islands floating on reed patches skillfully crafted and connected to keep each tribe afloat. It was cool to learn about how they create everything and their challenges in living there. And then we unexpectedly left and went to a proper island called Amantani where we would stay the night in a homestay with a family.
My closest tribe and I threw on our suits and took an ice bath swim in Lake Titicaca. The water was about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Chilly enough for this California girl! But we successfully did it. Also on San Pedro all day here, we called it quite the accomplishment. Connecting with the energy of the lake was powerful and another very high altitude spot. The lake is known as the highest navigable lake in the world. It is also here I acknowledge that I’m done with high altitudes and dry climates. Luckily my journey to the Amazon was right around the corner and keeping my spirits high for warmth and tropics.
Day 10, our last day, I took hape down to the waters edge. I intended to meditate and tap into this tobacco-based plant medicine. And instead, it rocked my world. Clearly still not my favorite. I struggled intensely with it. Dissolving into the universe around me, filling with the love, and being overwhelmed by the energy of the lake. I finally purged via vomit. And struggled to compose myself for at least another hour or two. It was a rough day for me after the medicine, but a much needed final cleanse in this space. I was thinking it all at the time, though unsure, but it was all preparing me to be able to receive what what would happen in the Amazon next.
Of all the things I did in Peru, I’d say you can skip Lake Titicaca. Unless you just love deserts and high altitude. But if warmer, lush forests are your thing, stay towards the Sacred Valley, The Amazon, and Machu Picchu.
All in all, I’m incredibly grateful to Sacred Earth Journeys for organizing such an incredible tour through the incredible Puma Adventures tour and Medicine Man Puma Fredy Quispe Singona. Who if I hadn’t mentioned it, is absolutely one of the most incredible humans of all time. Check out the podcast interview I did with him afterwards here: