"Oh shit... Another steep climb?"
It was my third full day in Cusco and the Sacred Valley. And I was still feeling the altitude sickness.
We had descended two days earlier from Cusco, stopping in Chinchero - another Sacred Valley site - to hike a little and do a ceremony outside. And the barely steep climb there had me gasping for air.
But now, we were at Ollantaytumbo...
Another sacred site with many "terrace" levels to climb up.
The shamans handed out coca leaves to each of us. They definitely helped. I found my energy and made the slow hike up in some sprinkling rain.
We were there to connect to the four elements: fire, earth, air, and water.
This was the perfect site to reflect on nature and it's four elements, and it was a perfect segue into the astrology work we had begin diving into the few days before... Uncovering what each sign meant, and how they related to the elements.
While the sprinkle of rain may have been starting us off with the "water" element, the hike up the mountain quickly brought me "fire" in my lungs.
But it was worth it. Beautiful view!
And looking down the terraces and into the village below...
It certainly made for a good reason to exhaust myself and make the climb.
Beyond getting to the top for the view, our local guide - a fellow named Pepe, wanted to teach us about the architecture of the site. He educated us on the history of the space... As well as how these structures were possibly made...
Here he was showing us a gateway entrance. The color of the stones - a pink - represented "fire." And he also pointed out the shaping of the rocks, forcing us to ponder exactly how a civilization with simple technology could have made things so precise on this mountain.
He also pointed out all of the interlocking rocks, and how things fit perfectly like a puzzle...
And with nothing holding them together! These are just a wall of rocks simply pushed together. No adhesive of any kind!
We kept saying, "WOW!" to Pepe. He laughed and said he loved that.
A little further along the path, we came to a gateway. Mal, the Australian shaman, asked us each to take some coca leaves, say a prayer/message into them thanking the site for allowing us to visit.
We were then to put each hand on either side of the gateway, and slowly allow ourselves to be pulled in through it by gravity... Pressing our hips in first... And allowing the pull to happen naturally.
At first, I mentally rebelled against the force I felt pulling me in... My abs started to shake from holding back! But eventually I laughed and allowed it to pull me through.
On the other side of the gateway were more amazing structures. I was still baffled at how these massive stones - which Pepe pointed out had come from a quarry on an opposite mountain in the valley - were brought all the way up and pieced together with no kind of technology to make it easy.
They must have really wanted to build this.
And who could blame them, when this was your view?
We connected a little more to the Earth element, and felt the Air element surround us. Eventually the Sun came out and we got a little more from Fire.
We hiked back down and meditated for a while.
Some of us laid down by the stream (Water!) and rested...
So many beautiful pictures were taken...
It was a wonderful energy. A wonderful connection.