Shamanic journeys are almost impossible to put into words. Whether the journey is a physical one or one using the imagination, another, supernatural world is entered, and trying to put words to it using the language of this world is near impossible. Much of the magic and meaning takes place on a spirit/energetic/subconscious plane, so we often do not have the conscious awareness to be able to "make sense" of it with our minds and describe it to others.
But I shall do my best to share a bit about my recent pilgrimage to the sacred lands of the Huichol people of central Mexico. Historically, the Huichol have made this annual pilgrimage to the sacred sites of Wirikuta and Mount Quemado on foot. It takes a great deal of dedication and devotion to do so, as the journey has historically been long and the preparation for the journey is quite strict. The pilgrimage is embarked on as a way of praying and honoring the earth, life, Spirit, the gifts and blessings of the medicines and teachings of their sacred traditions, and the spirits of these powerful places.
While with the aid of modern modes of transportation, the pilgrimage is short for me in terms of days in central Mexico, it is long in terms of preparation for the journey and the feeling of the actual journey itself. The preparation begins 40 days prior and includes various lifestyle and dietary restrictions to help purify and prepare the body, heart and spirit for the powerful ceremonies of the pilgrimage. There can be various initiations along the way to test one's sincerity and commitment.
This year, I feel that the entire four months leading up to this journey were one big initiation for me. It was a time where many areas of my life got shaken, and my spirit was tested to its utmost capacity. While I was experiencing various life-quakes in the areas of home and relationships, the challenges called into question my ways of being in all other areas of my life and really tested my personal well-being.
It was probably one of the most challenging times I have experienced in recent years, and it was only after the pilgrimage that I realized it had all been a big cleansing of areas of my life where there were energies that were no longer serving me. It lead to a physical move to a new home, the releasing of two significant relationships, and a great deal of personal and spiritual growth and development. While it was happening, it was hard for me to make sense of, but during the pilgrimage, I realized it had been a series of initiations preparing me for the pilgrimage and the next stage of my personal, spiritual, professional journey.
Doing the pilgrimage for 5 years is a major rite of passage and initiation to a deeper connection and greater empowerment on this sacred, healing and spiritual path. For me, this was year 3, and each year that I have done this journey, I have experienced such incredible blessings, healings, and teachings. I have also experienced a dramatic shift in my energy with each journey and have come back with more vitality, strength, and commitment to my path.
It's difficult to describe, but taking part in the pilgrimage is like going up in levels of capacity and awareness, and I see this journey as well as my annual trips to Peru as very important parts of my continued development not only as a healer but also as a being of spirit on a continual journey of growth and evolution. Thus, it is an important undertaking for me both personally and professionally.
During the pilgrimage, I take part in an all-night ceremony in Wirikuta, a powerful land that represents the feminine place of void, birth, creation. During the ceremony, I receive tremendous benefits of deep healing, clearing out of old patterns that don't serve, a very powerful energetic reboot, and very beautiful spiritual insights and wisdom. My heart opens wide and connects me in a deep and indescribable way to the Spirit within all things. I become one with pure existence, and I feel a sense of being reborn/renewed.
That ceremony is followed a day later with a dawn hike up to Mount Quemado, which is the sacred masculine place of power for the Huichol. My body, heart and spirit have received the necessary cleansing to hike up the sacred spot and participate in giving thanks and asking for the fulfillment of any prayers I may hold dear. On the mountain, I take part in welcoming the dawn of a new day by welcoming in the sunrise in a ceremonial way, I make offerings to Spirit and this beautiful, powerful land, I receive the formal blessings for the completion of another year of pilgrimage, and I participate in the most powerful prayer ceremony I have ever taken part in.
The first year I was preparing for this journey, I asked a mentor to assist me in setting good intentions for the journey. I was advised to ask to have really powerful prayers on the mountain because that is the whole purpose of the pilgrimage...to really open our hearts and deepen our connection to Spirit. Each year I pray on this mountain, my heart is cracked open in the most profound way possible and I find myself full of immense gratitude to Spirit for the gift of life and all the blessings I have received.
I also find myself in a state of complete vulnerability and openness, and prayers I did not even know I was holding close to my heart come out of my mouth and surprise me. It's really the most simultaneously humbling and empowering experience. I walk away with wonder at the magic, miracle and wonder of it all. It gives me a deep, deep appreciation for the spiritual traditions of the Huichol people, how lovingly and fiercely they have preserved their ancient traditions, and an immense gratitude for having the opportunity to walk this sacred path, which accelerates my development and evolution in a way I could never have known was possible.
I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be on this sacred healing path and to have the opportunity to share it with you. Should you have any questions or comments about my pilgrimage, this healing way, or anything else, please feel most welcome to email me. Big blessings to you on your journey.
(The photo above is taken on Mount Quemado just before sunrise.)