FROM HAIKU, MAUI, HAWAII
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Peru 2012: Another Dual Purpose Mission - A Trip Back Home to the Universe, Not Just Peru
Toward 12-21-12 Initiation & Ascension
Part 1: Revisiting old haunts from a lifetime 500 years ago - Cusco, Vilcabamba, Machu Picchu; Part 2: Lake Titicaca, Amantani Island - Initiation & Ascension; Part 3: Lima - Recuperating from and recapping it all
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Vilcabamba: 7-Hr Drive That Turned Clock Back 500 Years, Part 1
Spirit stops pouring rain to allow for moving ceremony in Vilcabamba, the real Sacred Valley of the Incas
Visit to and ceremony at Rosaspata, lost city of Vilcabamba and Inca empire's last capital - coming up in Part 2
VILCABAMBA, Peru, Dec 15 - Liz, my Peruvian friend and guide, had warned me that our drive from Urubamba to Vilcabamba would take seven hours. So we got up at 5:30 AM on Dec 15 in Urubamba to get ready for a long and probably arduous trip (see the map - right). I knew from my past trips that there aren't many paved roads to be found in the Peruvian hinterland. And that's where we were heading... "where only eagles dare" (or condors in the Andean cosmology).
We were under way by about 6:30 AM. What Liz did not realize until much later was that in those seven hours, we would be turning the clock back 500 years. This is a story of what happened when we returned to the early 16th century...
That period of time - the 16th century - was quite significant in the development of the immortal soul of ALTZAR. I entered the century as Giuliano Della Rovere, soon to be elected Pope Julius II (1443-1513). Yes, the "Warrior Pope" or the "Fearsome Pope," as Julius II became known in history. But also the first Pope to sponsor major art and music projects at the Vatican. Julius II had the old St Peter's Basilica torn down and commenced construction of the new one, the one that survives to this day. And he also commissioned Michelangelo to paint the famous ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and founded the first Choir at the Vatican.
And then just as I was winding down that lifetime, my soul incarnated in (at least) three bodies later in the same century. I was Phillip II (1527-1598), king of Spain, Portugal , the Netherlands, the New World and for a while of England, too, while married to Queen Mary I (which was my current wife's Elizabeth's former incarnation). At the time, Spain was the most powerful empire on earth, having just extended its colonies from the Caribbean, to Mexico, to Panama, and all the way south to Peru.
I was also incarnated in Venice at the time as Samuel Vitelli, a nephew of Paul the Venetian. I was an artist, like my uncle, but also spent a lot of time doing scientific research, trying to use optics in visual arts.
Last but not least, I was also incarnated in the early 16th century in South America as Hatun Watana, the high shaman-priest of the Inca Empire. The Inca emperors had just expanded the empire's boundaries to the north. So when the Spanish Conquistadors arrived in 1531 led by Francisco Pizarro, the Inca empire encompassed a vast territory that stretched from Colombia in the north, all the way down to Argentina (see the map).
Using treachery and trickery - by inviting the Inca ruler to a dinner and a fiesta - in November 1532, Pizarro lured Emperor Atahuallpa into a trap in the northern city of Cajamarka. At the time, Atahuallpa had an enormous army of 80,000 men around him. They were brimming with confidence, having just been victorious in a fratricidal war against Atahuallpa's brother Huascar. Atahuallpa and his retinue arrived unarmed and ready to celebrate, not go to war. Upon short preliminaries, the Spanish opened fire from their cannons and muskets, massacring thousands of unarmed Inca soldiers. They also captured the emperor. Atahuallpa was later put on a sham trial and executed by strangulation with an iron collar in August 1533. The Inca capital Cusco fell without a struggle to Pizarro and his Conquistadors in November 1533. It was the beginning of the end of the Inca Empire.
The Spanish also executed most of the Inca royal family. Pizarro took Atahualppa's young wife as his war booty. She bore him two sons. Seeking to legitimize their rule with the local population, the Spaniard then crowned Tupac Huallpa as a puppet ruler. Young and ambitious Manco Inca (1516-1544) (right), also known as Manco Capac II, approached Pizarro in Cajamarka to negotiate a pact for him to rule the Inca peoples in Peru, since all real nobles were dead. The Conquistadors agreed, and in 1534, Manco Inca was crowned the ruler of the Inca in Cuzco by Francisco Pizarro, and allowed to rule his people. He did not realize that he too was being used by Pizarro as a puppet ruler for the Spanish conquistadors, who planned to conquer his country and its people.
Once Manco figured that out, he raised an army of 200,000 warriors and laid a 10-month siege of Cusco. The siege eventually failed. Manco Inca battled the Conquistadors once more in Ollantaytambo, this time successfully. That's when I, as Hatun Watana - the spiritual leader, counseled the young warrior not to pursue them back to Cusco, but so try to save his people and our culture by leading them into the safety of interior valleys which were not known to the Spaniards. Manco Inca agreed. Eventually, we ended up in Vilcabamba, where we set up the last capital of the Inca Empire.
And now, on Dec 15, 2012, I was coming back home - to pay my respects to my Inca ancestry and to the land that sustained me 500 years ago. That was a part of the Spirit guidance I had received prior to this Peru 2012 pilgrimage. As we were driving from Urubamba toward Santa Maria across the spectacular 14,200 ft Puerto Malaga Pass and down toward Santa Maria, I was explaining all that to Liz.
"Hatun Watana, huh?" she said pensively. "That means Great Post (or Anchor) in Quechua."
"Yes, I know," I replied. "Like Inti Watana" (the famous Hitching Post of the Sun in Machu Picchu).
Liz got very interested in my story and wanted to know more about how soul development works. She was intrigued by what I had said about how often we taken on diametrically opposite roles in order to work off the respective karma.
"One aspect of he soul, typically a ruler-warrior character in my case, accumulates karma," I explained. "Another parallel incarnation, typically a priest-shaman-artist launders it into dharma. Just like when I was Roman Emperor Constantine and a Greek Delphi monk Theodosius at the same time. Or King Phillip II and Samuel Vitelli and Hatun Watana all at once."
"Why does that happen?" Liz asked.
"Probably because an advanced soul needs all sorts of experiences, both dark and enlightening, before it can ascend and become a teacher to others. It needs to know what ambition, greed, hate, passion do to you, as well as humility, generosity, compassion, love and forgiveness. Only when you have experienced it all and made the right choices in the process can you become a teacher to others."
Then I gave her a case in point.
"At the same time I was trying to save the Inca people and culture as Hatun Watana, you could say I was responsible for the destruction of the Inca Empire as King Phillip of Spain," I said. In human terms, that would seem a contradiction. But in the Spirit realm it makes perfect sense. It is all part of soul development.
"It's kind of like taking a new role in a new celestial film every time we incarnate," I summed it up.
Then I thought back to what I had said about King Phillip's culpability.
"Well, maybe he was not responsible initially," I added upon reflection. "It was my then father Charles V, the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, who first sanctioned Francisco Pizarro's expedition to Peru."
I was not even born then as yet as Phillip II. But I was the ruler of the Spanish empire at the time the Conquistadors drove the final nail into the Inca Empire's coffin. That happened in 1572 in Vilcabamba. That's when the Roasaspata, the royal palace in Vilcabamba, was burned to the ground and left to wilderness and oblivion by Conquistadors. It would take over three centuries for the place to be rediscovered. Even now it is now known as The Lost City of the Inca (also see Lost City of the Inca: Vilcabamba - YouTube video).
And now, for the first time in nearly 500 years, I will be returning to it... I had goose bumps at the thought of it. After a brief stop in Santa Maria to change cars and drivers, I could feel my heart starting to fill with excitement the closer to Vilcabamba we came.
Freezing, Fitful Night
I had not slept in my boots since the time I was a war correspondent in Bosnia. Only this time, the reason was not being ready to jump and move upon moment's notice. It was the cold... the bitter, damp cold that penetrates your body right to the bones. I had four layers of blankets on top of me in my hostel room in Huancacalle. And yet my feet were freezing. So at some point after midnight, I put on my boots, wrapped a plastic bag around them so I would not dirty the bed sheets, and then crawled back into bed.
It helped a little. But I still never got any real, deep sleep. Partly that was because of my second nemesis - my bladder. When I get as cold as this, especially my feet, I have to pee all the time. In the case of our little hostel in Huancacalle, that meant going out in the freezing rain, stumbling in the dark through mud and over the rocks on the way to the outhouse, hoping to feel your way there to an electrical switch, and then doing your business on an icy cold toilet that had no cover. At least it was a toilet rather than a hole in the ground.
A freezing, practically sleepless, fitful night did have at least two redeeming virtues. Sometimes I would forgo stumbling in the dark to the outhouse and just pee into the darkness standing on the concrete porch in front of my room (above right). During one of those outings, I realized the electricity must have gone out in the entire village. Everything was pitch black. Except that I could see a while cloud slowly making its way across the valley in front of me. It was a beautiful sight. I also noticed the rain had stopped. That was another wonderful discovery.
On another such nightly outing, I also noticed some fireflies flickering on and off in the darkness. In the morning, I asked the locals if they had fireflies around here. They were evidently not familiar with the term. So I consider their answers inconclusive. But I am pretty sure they were fireflies. I have not seen them in years but I do remember them vividly from some Mediterranean trips. That was another wonderful memory from that cold night - flickering little lights, like flying stars all around me.
The third benefit of this long night, was that I also had a lot of time to think. Such as about all these historical events that happened long ago, yet seemed so real to me now. Also, I realized I had not been this cold since my first shamanic pilgrimage and ordination on Mount Ausangate, some years back. Our base camp was at 15,500 ft elevation. By the morning, the tents and everything around them were covered with ice. And even though my upper body was reasonable warm in my sleeping bag, I had not brought any foot warmers to put in my socks. After the second night, a nice lady from Canada let me have some extra ones she had. What a blessing there were. I could finally sleep.
"Wish I had some right now," I was thinking the night between Dec 15 and 16 in Vilcabamba. Alas, even if I had packed them, which I did not (I did not think I would need them on this trip), I would still not have them. They'd be in my lost bag.
THE JOURNEY, MIRACULOUS VILCABAMBA CEREMONY
My thoughts then drifted back to our today's journey from Urubamba to Vilcabamba, and to that miraculous ceremony in Vilcabamba this this afternoon. After pouring rain had soaked us all the way to Vilcabamba, the moment we climbed to a green plateau next to the Vilcabamba church, it stopped. It was as if the Spirit had turned off the spigot.
"That's a sign," I told Liz and Neil, my co-travelers. "This is where I am to do the ceremony."
I then proceeded to do what turned out to be the most emotional ceremony on this trip thus far. Liz was filming it and Neil was snapping still shots with my camera. Alas, Liz's camera is a Sony camcorder. Which is not compatible with anything else I later found out. So I do not have that film to show you. But I did incorporate the still shots of the ceremony in this short film about our Dec 15 journey...
When we got back to our hostel in Huancacalle - Sixpac Manco - (I am not kidding, that was its real name! :-) - see the right picture), it was late afternoon. Liz and our driver Neal, who were sharing the room next to mine, got into the bed right away. [By the way, they had no idea why I thought the name of the hostel was so funny... it is even written up on the web, I found out later].
They only got up after dark to go down to the kitchen where our gracious hosts prepared for us bowls of hot soup. That soup was the warmest thing I would feel until sunrise. By then, even the solitary light bulb in my room had burned out. Talk about going back 500 years... literally, not just figuratively. :-)
Here's now the video about that first day of our Vilcabamba trip...
And with that, here's now a Photo Album from the first day of the Urubamba to Vilcabamba journey.
Vilcabamba Photo Album, Part 1 (Dec 15)
Off to Rosaspata next in Part 2 of "Seven Hours That Turned Clock Back 500 Years"...
At first, Manco Inca cooperated with the Spanish, befriending them and offering them gold treasures and women as gifts. However, when Pizarro and de Almagro left Cuzco to explore the northern and southern parts of Peru, he left his younger brothers Gonzalo Pizarro, Juan Pizarro and Hernando Pizarro as garrisons in the city of Cuzco.
The Pizarro brothers so mistreated Manco Inca that he ultimately tried to escape in December 1535. He failed, was captured and imprisoned but released two months later on the behalf of the Spaniards to please their Inca subjects, heavily dismayed by the fact their factual leader was imprisoned. Under the pretense of performing religious ceremonies in the nearby Yucay valley and recovering golden artifacts for the Spanish occupants, Manco was able to escape from Cuzco on April 18, this time with success.
In order to retake the Empire from the Spanish, Manco gathered an army of 200,000 Inca warriors. Attempting to take advantage of a disagreement between Diego de Almagro and Francisco Pizarro, he marched on the city of Cuzco in 1536 in an attempt to throw the Spaniards out. Although it lasted ten months, the siege was ultimately unsuccessful even though Manco's forces were able to reclaim the city for a few days. Many of Manco Inca's warriors succumbed to smallpox and died (see the siege of Cuzco).
From 1536–1537, Manco split his forces, adopting a strategy to drive the Spanish invaders out of Peru with an army of 30,000 Inca warriors and attacked the fort of Lima, where Francisco Pizarro was residing. There they met 300 Spanish soldiers and over 20,000 renegade warriors from the Empire, and once again were defeated. The surviving armies retreated to the nearby fortress of Ollantaytambo, from which they had launched several successful attacks against the Spaniards and the Inca renegades, defeating them at the battle of Ollantaytambo. But Manco's position at Ollantaytambo was vulnerable due to lack of food because the Inca warriors were actually the same that used to cultivate the fields. The Spanish knew his location, and the region was one day's ride from Cuzco.
Abandoning Ollantaytambo (and effectively giving up the highlands of the empire), Manco Inca retreated to Vitcos and finally to the remote jungles of Vilcabamba, which became the capital of the empire until the death of Tupaq Amaru in 1572. The Spanish crowned his younger half brother Paullu Inca as puppet Sapa Inca after his retreat. The Spanish succeeded in capturing Manco's sister-wife, Cura Ocllo, and had her brutally murdered in 1539. After many guerrilla battles in the mountainous regions of Vilcabamba, Manco was murdered in 1544 by supporters of Diego de Almagro who wanted Manco dead, despite his having granted refuge to them. He was succeeded by his son Sayri Tupaq.