India has long been one of the world’s focal points for all experiences spiritual and enlightening and all things yoga. There is now an increasing shift to other locations around the globe such as Peru that boasts of a rich culture and history which is ripe with spiritual practices and beliefs.
There are many reasons why Peru should be your next destination especially if you are weary of your busy and hectic schedule and need to unwind. Peru has scores of historical sites and indigenous practices which will purify your mind and soul and grant an entrancing new outlook on life.
Machu Picchu- The Ultimate Spiritual Destination
Machu Picchu is a hidden city in the mountains, the exact purpose of which is still under speculation by historians. Some historians claim it was an elitist retreat and some attribute its excluded structure to being reserved for special occasions or specific rituals.
Most tourists that have visited the site cannot deny the existence of a mystic power which resonates even from the dry stone walls. Another reason why Machu Picchu has such spiritual importance is because it means something different for each visitor.
For modern-day visitors nearly a hundred years after it was first discovered as a ruin, it imparts peace of mind and a residual quietness.
A theory that historians have put forward is that Machu Picchu was a place for the Inca emperor to rest and rejuvenate. The aura the site exudes today is not vastly different from its supposed original purpose.
Exclusively For Spiritual Practices
Machu Picchu did not seem to have purposes beyond rituals and spiritual activities. The Incas had Cuzco city and Pachacamac for furthering their civilization and fortresses such as Sacsayhuaman for defense and military objectives.
The fact that Machu Picchu was built closer to the extinction of the Incas and they abandoned it swiftly before the Spanish invaded leads one to believe it was important spiritually.
Spiritual Healing In Peru
If you have undertaken a Peru holiday you must partake of the many indigenous spiritual practices which are available for visitors.
San Pedro (Wachuma)
Wachuma is a cactus-like plant which is sacred in Peru and is widely used for different spiritual activities. It has a history of human use spanning 4000 years and indigenous tribes still make use of it and hold it in high regard.
It is prepared in a similar way to herbal teas with the plant being boiled and its infusion poured into cups. It is known for expanding one’s thought process, promoting a relaxed state of mind and healing deep within.
The locals use it for deep meditation and it plays a pivotal role in several sacred ceremonies which are usually headed by a revered healer from the tribe. These ceremonies are believed to be in communion with the spirits of the ancestors and hence immensely powerful.
There are many professional tours in Peru which connect tourists with shamans so they can experience such ceremonies.
This is a phytomedicine which is believed to have originated in the Amazon jungle and is a much-loved substance amongst the tribes in this region of Peru. It is called by several names including Yage and Caapi.
It is still used for spiritual healing and for connecting with the spirits. Indigenous shamans use it for purposes of divination and for curing various illnesses and its use dates back to nearly 2500 years ago.
The shamans and mystics of this region believe that a disconnection between the being and the spirit can cause dysfunction in a person’s life. Ayahuasca is very much a ‘spirit medicine’ as it is believed to evoke our personal energies and align them with the positive energy of the universe.
Ayahuasca is made by combining the ayahuasca vine and chacruna plant to create a powerful mixture rich in the psychoactive compound dimethyltryptamine (DMT).
Sites For Spiritual Connection
Apart from Machu Picchu, there are many spiritual sacred sites Peru has to offer which are brilliant for meditation and self-reflection.
Temple Of Wiracocha
This temple was made by the Incas in honor of the creator God Wiracocha. If you are undertaking your spiritual journey, this place can be miraculous for self-reflection and heightened awareness.
A learned local guide or shaman can help provide you with a path to follow if you want to connect with a higher source of enlightenment.
The name Cutimbo means reconnecting to the essence of a medicine man or woman but it is essentially an ancient, elaborate Inca burial site.
It is considered by the locals to be important in tracing Lemurian lineages and connecting one’s energy to theirs.
Shamans believe the land here to be rich with the promise of healing and this is where many local tribes practice ancient medicine to this day.
Back in the Inca times, the most renowned of the spiritual healers would be taken to Cutimbo to become part of the ‘lineage of light’ as it was called. They were believed to serve as guardians ever after, always bestowing their wisdom on those that sought it.
Healers In Peru
If you are on a Peru holiday, one of the best uses of your time would be to spend some time with a spiritual guide or healer.
There are still medicine men and women (as they are called in the region) that conduct different ceremonies for channeling various energy sources. A Despacho ceremony, for example, is a shamanic ceremony which connects one’s own energy to the center origin point of all energies.
An ideal relationship with the universe called Ayni (one of giving thanks and being grateful rather than selfish) is cultivated in this ceremony.
Believers of Ayni connect the current state of the Earth with the human need to steal, produce and gain. The teachings of the Ayni are the direct opposite of this and they propagate fulfillment, spiritual awareness and thankfulness for the Earth’s bounties.
Many travelers are keen to attach themselves to a good healer or guide so they can partake in these types of ceremonies and gain self-awareness and a sense of clarity.
If you are unsure of who you are and what you want to achieve in life, a silent meditation retreat can also provide you with some needed clarity.
Integrating Into The Local Peru Culture
One way to truly experience spiritual tourism in Peru is to allow yourself time to communicate and integrate with the indigenous tribes.
Peru is one of the few places on Earth where the culture of the locals is remarkably well preserved even in simple day to day tasks.
The village of Chinchero (famous for a special kind of weaving) for example overlooks the Sacred Valley. The village still houses local tribesmen that still continue the trade of their forefathers.
The Uros Islands is home to the Uros people who have myths about having existed before the advent of the sun. They claim to have been in existence when the Earth was not fully created and light had not yet entered it.
Peru is incredibly rich in beautiful, scenic landscapes along with its many sacred sites. You can practice yoga and meditation on a visit to Lake Titicaca or book a yoga retreat on any of the surrounding islands. This will give you the chance to tune into your inner self.