5 Ways Peru can heal your Mind, Body and Soul

What makes a journey to Peru so satisfying and perfect for natural healing? How does a vacation help heal and transform us? Here we look at some of the vital ingredients that make Peru such an important place for sacred travel, healing, and transformation.

1. The Sacred Medicine of the Andes

San Pedro (also known as Wachuma) is a sacred cactus native to the Andean mountains of Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. Along with Tobacco, Ayahuasca, and Coca, it is one of Peru’s most sacred plants and has been used since 1300 B.C. to heal and expand consciousness. The medicine is typically prepared as a tea; pieces of the stem are boiled for a few hours, and once the liquid is cooled it is taken orally. It is known as a gentle but powerful plant and can be used as a tool for meditation and self-awareness. It is very important to work with this medicine as part of a sacred ceremony led by an experienced Healer or Medicine Man/Woman, and with the protection of the ancestral spirits.

Read the Medicine Hunter’s account of using San Pedro

Our group at the Sanctuary of Machu Picchu

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Five Benefits of Spiritual Travel

The world and our lives can rush past us at remarkable speeds. We strive to find time to meditate, read, pray and learn but it can be hard to carve out time for these important spiritual practices as the demands from day to day life keep propelling us forward.

When was the last time you were able to sit in peace and feel connected to the universe? To relax without the interrupting pings of electronic notifications and constant pull of responsibilities? Taking time for yourself and embarking on a spiritual journey can give you back that feeling of connectedness and peace. A spiritual guide can help you discover some of the most sacred places that this beautiful earth has to offer can aide you in reconnecting with your inner self and all the peace the world has to offer. Read on to discover five benefits of spiritual travel.


Embark on a Sacred Earth Journey to discover new cultures and customs.

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History and Mystery of Peru’s Sacred Grounds

Peru has a deep pool of intricate history that was born by turmoil and the beauty of its people. Anyone fortunate enough to visit this country can witness some of the precious remains of a time and a people dedicated to their higher being and spiritual journeys. These were the Inca people. Travel to this beautiful land to discover hidden portals to the gods, underwater cities, and a secret oasis

A History of Turmoil and Preservation

The earliest Inca empire dates back to the 1400’s and may have been the largest and most sophisticated early empire in the Pre-Columbia Americas. The Incas had developed the largest military, administrative, and architectural systems in the world. They worshipped the elements and their lives were ruled by the gods of the earth.

In 1542 the Spanish invaded the Inca territory and so began the early days of the crumbling of an empire. During this invasion, the Spanish sought out as many Inca monuments, villages, and holy places to destroy them in an effort to diminish their beliefs and customs. However, to enter a land without understanding the culture meant they could not possibly diminish the Incas deep-rooted beliefs nor stomp out the undeniable magic of the land.

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Take More Vacations

When my sister Debbie was in the last days of her life, she whispered to me, “take more vacations.” I knew exactly what she meant. She had worked hard, too hard, most of her life and she had worn herself out.

Now, in these final moments, she was offering me some wisdom….

For the last several years I have followed her advice and have scheduled at least one vacation a year designed to restore and rejuvenate my body, mind, and spirit.

We recently returned from 10 days in Greece and Italy and I’ve never felt better.

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Discover Peru’s Recipe for Natural Healing

What makes a journey to Peru so satisfying and perfect for natural healing? How does a vacation help heal and transform us? Here we look at some of the vital ingredients that make Peru such an important place for sacred travel, healing, and transformation.

 

Sacred Medicine – San Pedro (Wachuma)

San Pedro (also known as Wachuma) is a sacred cactus native to the Andean mountains of Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. Along with Tobacco, Ayahuasca, and Coca, it is one of Peru’s most sacred plants, and has been used for over 4,000 years to heal and expand consciousness. The medicine is typically prepared as a tea; pieces of the stem are boiled for a few hours, and once the liquid is cooled it is taken orally. It is known as a gentle but powerful Masculine teacher plant, and can be used as a tool for meditation and self-awareness. It is very important to work with this medicine as part of a sacred ceremony led by an experienced Healer or Medicine Man/Woman, and with the protection of the ancestral spirits.

Read San Pedro: Mother Earth’s Most Powerful Medicine.

 

Power Places in Peru for Natural Healing – Machu Picchu & More

When you visit sacred sites that have been specifically chosen for their healing energy and importance to the spiritual teachings of the journey you are on, the connection to them is extremely powerful. Machu Picchu, the 15th century Inca site, majestically perched above the Sacred Valley, is one of those energetically powerful sites, and an important part of any visit to Peru. Because it sits within three corresponding high peaks of power, which create an energy triangle, it is a perfect spot to sit and meditate, focus your intent, and expand your awareness.

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7 Well-Kept Secrets About Peru

Peru is one of the most fascinating countries in the world.

 

It’s unique landscapes span from the Pacific, through the Andes and well into the Amazon rainforest, providing fertile ground for the emergence of hundreds of fascinating cultures that come together to create Modern Peru. This diversity has given the world things as beautiful as Machu Picchu, the prose of Mario Vargas Llosa and the tastes of fresh ceviche.

 

While this rich culture and immense beauty make Peru a must-see destination for any traveller, pilgrims looking for life-changing experiences off the beaten path have plenty to discover in this magical South American nation.

 

Here are our favourite seven Well-Kept Secrets About Peru That Will Spark Your Desire For Sacred Travel:

 

1. The energy of Machu Picchu

 

Machu Picchu is a highlight of any trip to Peru and with very good reason. This 15th century Inca site, majestically perched above the Sacred Valley, affords any traveller mesmerizing views and a powerful connection with the past.

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Exploring the Power of Deep Breathing

In recent years, scientists have proven what ancient wisdom has known: deep breathing can be one of nature’s most potent medicines.

A number of studies now show that deep breathing techniques can release stress and improve a person’s mood, making them feel calmer and trading in feelings of anxiety or fear for a more focused, relaxed state of mind.

Meanwhile, other studies have also explored the effect that breathing has on pain perception, concluding that deep breathing “decisively influences” the way pain is processed and perceived.


According to Daniel Stone, who has explored the art of breathing in depth, conscious breathing can help connect the three main aspects of our being: the body, the mind, and the soul.

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6 Tips for More Sustainable Travel

Do you worry about the impact of your travel?

According to National Geographic, sustainable tourism is based on three main pillars:

  • Employing environmentally friendly practices, such as reduce, reuse, recycle;
  • Protecting cultural and natural heritage, such as reducing our impact on historic buildings and endangered species
  • Providing tangible social and economic benefits for local communities, such as buying local and upholding the rights of Indigenous Peoples


If you want to reduce your footprint (both carbon and cultural) on the places you travel to here are seven tips you can adopt:

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10 Books that Will Spark Your Desire for Sacred Travel

Pilgrimage has long been a topic explored by writers from around the world, from historians to novelists and from poets to travel writers. These writers all explored the figure of the pilgrim, providing insight into the art of pilgrimage and what it means to travel.


We’ve put together a list of 10 books are a great example of this. Despite being from radically different genres, they all discuss pilgrimage in one way or another and will spark your desire to embark on your own sacred journey.



10. On the Road

Jack Kerouac’s classic coming-of-age novel is truly an ode to the young pilgrim. The novel, which was first published in 1957, follows the adventures of Dean Moriarty and Sal Paradise, two young men who crash with artists and poets as they make their way through America on a shoe-string budget.

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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Bolivia (And Will Make You Want To Visit!)

Although this landlocked South American nation remains largely undiscovered by western tourists,  Bolivia’s vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, and mesmerizing sacred sites make it a must-see destination for travellers looking for life-changing experiences off the beaten path.

Don’t believe us? Here are 5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Bolivia (that will spike your desire to visit).

1. Bolivia Is Home To Mesmerizing Pre-Columbian Ruins

While most people think of Peru’s Machu Picchu, when they think of ancient South American ruins, Bolivia is actually home to some of the most important pre-Columbian sites in the Americas.

Among these sites is the incredible ancient city of Tiwanaku. Set under the majestic Cordillera Real mountain range, Tiwanaku was once the political and spiritual capital of the Tiwanaku Empire, which is believed to have dominated the area straddling the border between Bolivia and Peru between 300 BC and 300 AD.

While not much is known about the ancient culture it emanates from, Tiwanaku’s majestic structures are still imbued by an ancient spirituality that is palpable to travellers visiting the site to see its beautifully crafted sculptures, gigantic stone building blocks and the mysterious, megalithic stone arch known as La Puerta del Sol, or The Gate of the Sun.

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3 Ancient Greek Myths That Remain Relevant in Today’s World​​​​​​​

Whenever people think of Greek myths, they often conjure up images of an imaginary past in which gods and goddesses interacted with humans and heroes went on epic journeys around the ancient world.

Some of Ancient Greece’s most famous myths were not only rooted in reality, but are also alive and well today.

Travelers can revel in the enduring legacy of these myths by standing on the soil where Amazon warriors displayed their incredible strength, where Hercules first lit the Olympic torch, and where the Oracle of Delphi guided people to discover themselves in order to understand the world around them.

These myths are part of ancient Greece’s enduring legacy, and continue to shape the country — and most of the world — to this very day.

1. The Amazons

According to Greek mythology, the Amazons were a tribe of female warriors that lived in Themiscyra, an area located in present-day Turkey.

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Why Greece Is The Perfect Destination For A Spiritual Journey

Every year, millions of tourists from around the world travel to Greece to experience its vibrant culture and stunning landscapes. But many miss Greece for what it really is: one of the world’s most sacred destinations.

To experience this hidden side of Greece, travellers must dig deep into their own spirituality and explore the country through a pilgrim’s eyes. This means looking beyond the surface of its magnificent ruins and spectacular vistas to connect with the land’s sacred essence.

When this happens, the true nature of Greece (and of the traveller!) are exposed. What makes Greece such a perfect destination for a spiritual journey?

1. Its ancient sites are imbued with sacredness


Greece is home to hundreds of sacred sites, including temples and shrines that have housed sacred rituals and attracted pilgrims from around the world for millennia.

A few of these ancient sites, like the Acropolis of Athens and the Parthenon, have become common tourist destinations, while others are away from the large crowds.

Places like Agora, Delphi, the Temple of Apollo, the 13th century monastic site of Mystra and the ancient citadel of Mycenae are just a few of the many sites where sacredness is palpable for those willing to feel it.

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Kogi Support Offered Through The “Land For The Kogi” Initiative

The participants in the December 2016 Colombian Journey, led by Daniel Koupermann and John Perkins, collectively raised $9515 USD to support the Kogi indigenous people. The primary goal for these funds was to purchase land for the community of Tayku.


I (Farrah) was the only representative from our group able to return to Colombia to oversee the distribution of our funds and participate in the pilgrimage with the Kogi. Daniel arranged the logistics for the pilgrimage, caring for all the details of transportation, accommodations and meals. Our friend and local guide Jaruen also played an important role, coordinating directly with the Kogi to prepare the paperwork and make arrangements for gathering the Kogis for the pilgrimage.


PURCHASING LAND FOR TAYKU VILLAGE


On December 13, 2017 the four joint owners of the land and a representative of the Kogi community, Juan, met at the notary office in Santa Marta, Colombia to transfer the deed of ownership to the Kogis. Daniel, Jaruen and I were also there.


Two plots of land were purchased using the money raised by the 2016 group. One plot will be used primarily for agriculture. The second plot of land sits at the base of a hill that is sacred to the Kogi community. The Kogis will use this land to gather materials to build a ceremonial structure on the hill, and also as a buffer so that no other construction can compromise this sacred area.


Our funds enabled the Kogi to acquire 19.77 acres of land in total (8 hectares).

 


KOGI PILGRIMAGE TO SACRED SITES


According to tradition, it is important for every Kogi Mamo—trained spiritual leader—to do ceremonies at particular sacred sites a certain number of times in their lives. Unfortunately, in these modern times, it has become very difficult for the Mamos to fulfill this obligation.

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The Pyramids’ Message

I prepare to return to the sacred sites of the Maya and join their shamans in life-changing ceremonies and personal readings and healings, and I think about the lessons their history has taught us. Our world today is threatened by crises similar to those experienced by them many centuries past. Although I wrote about them more than 20 years ago, the lessons are relevant today like never before.

The great Stone pyramid rose out of the jungle like a volcano into the morning sky. A monument to endurance, it had defied gods who sent hurricanes across the Gulf of Mexico to destroy it and grave robbers who hacked away at it for countless centuries, picking it clean of all its jade and gold, leaving only the rocks, the plants that took root along its precipitous walls, and the carved figure at its summit.

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The Importance of Pilgrimage in Today’s Fast-Paced World

Our Tour Leader Phil Cousineau recently sent us a copy of an interview he did with another of our Tour Leaders, Virginia Schenck, back in 2006. The interview is compelling reading, delving into the importance of pilgrimage in today’s fast-paced world and how critical it can be in the lives of the younger generation in particular. We’ve edited the original interview a little to make it easy to read in this blog format. Our thanks to both Phil and Virginia for sharing this insightful piece with us.


Virginia: What is it about a pilgrimage that calls out to us?


Phil: Traditionally, the call to pilgrimage came during either a spiritual crisis or an opportunity to fulfill a spiritual obligation. The long walk down what used to be called “the glory road” was meant to give a pilgrim ample time to contemplate deep issues that couldn’t be answered at home. Today, the call may even be more intense because life has become so frenetic that most of us claim not to have enough to think about spiritual issues on the traditional level, but also other deep concerns, such as failing marriages, job crises, or the general malaise. The cry for pilgrimage is an antidote to our over-amped lives.

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Top 10 Things To Do & See in Paris: Discover its Literary, Cultural & Epicurean Soul

Temple of the Moon at Huayna Picchu – One of Peru’s best-kept secrets?

Machu Picchu is arguably one of the greatest archaeological finds of the twentieth century and a must-visit site on most Peru itineraries. Fewer visitors, however, make the steep ascent up Huayna Picchu, and fewer still venture to the hidden Temple of the Moon.


The impressive, and well photographed, Huayna Picchu

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Hitting the Road … or the Sky? My travel MUST HAVES!!!!!!

This fall, I have five back-to-back trips over two and a half months. Lots of travel … Which I LOVE!

I’ll be in Sedona – for my sold-out retreat, Puerto Penasco, Mexico – for my son’s wedding, Sedona again – Celebrate Your LifeThe Florida Keys – Writer’s Retreat (still a couple spots open) and Punta Cana – to officiate an amazing couple’s wedding (yes, I travel to cool locations to officiate weddings – it’s a tough job, but some lucky gal has to do it!)


These trips are going to be fabulous. All work (fun) trips, except the Mexico trip for my son’s wedding … Which I am sooooo excited about! WOOHOO!!! I am blessed to be able to travel to such fun places for my JOB. It truly is fabulous. Next year I already have a trip or two booked every month. It’s going to be a busy 2018 ? YAY!!!

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7 Must-Visit Sacred Sites in South India

If you’re looking for a vacation where you can visit spiritual sites, holy temples, power places as well as experience incredible local food and culture, South India is hard to beat! Here’s our round-up of 7 of our favourite sacred sites in South India – some well-known while others lie off the usual tourist trails!

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The Poulnabrone Dolmen and the Mystery of Portal Tombs

Poulnabrone dolmen is an example of a portal dolmen or portal tomb, not to be confused with passage tombs such as Newgrange! Dolmens are found in Ireland and throughout the world and are generally characterized as a single-chamber megalithic tomb, often consisting of three or more upright stones (megaliths) supporting a large flat horizontal capstone (table). (1)

Poulnabrone dolmen on the Burren plateau in Ireland is a classic example of a portal tomb. Photo: Sacred Earth Journeys participant David ChasisWhat is a dolmen?

Dolmens are thought to have been ancient tombs or burial markers and also served as places for ritual and worship although their exact purpose and significance is still debated by scholars and researchers. There are dolmen sites throughout Europe and Asia, including the dolmen Er Roc’h Feutet (Roch-Feutet) in Carnac, France, the Monte Bubbonia in Sicily, several in Gochang, South Korea and in Kerala, India.

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