We boarded the catamaran from Copacabana, Bolivia heading towards Sun Island. Excited? You bet. This place is called many things: the navel of the earth, the home of the earth’s sacral chakra, the birthplace of the Inca civilization, birthplace of the sun, and also the spot where the Rainbow and Plumed serpents cross paths – one of the most powerful places on earth! Here is the conjunction of other opposites as well: man and woman; sun and moon (the Sun Island and Moon Island); positive and negative; light and dark.
Although Sun Island is the largest island on Lake Titicaca, it feels small, intimate, quiet, and mysterious. There are no bars, restaurants, or even roads! I noticed flowers, wind, stones, the air, and sky here. How could I not? Nature makes its presence known most keenly. It’s easy to get lost in your own thought or just in the delight of being alive.
Upon arrival, it’s no surprise that like everywhere else, we start to walk up. Up, up, up, 214 steps to the lovely garden that awaits us. It’s terraced in the ancient way showing how agriculture was cultivated then and now. The scent of herbs perfume our walk around the grounds. I snap off a piece of muna to help with the ever threatening altitude and walk on.
We stop at a museum and view the regalia that the natives wore in parades and ceremonies to connect with the spiritual world. The jaguar mask intrigues me most. I can almost see the dancer losing himself in the drums.
The elongated skulls we saw are said to have been created due to binding practiced by the royalty. Suspicious minds say no. Those are aliens! Lake Titicaca has a reputations for strange lights it the sky for a reason!
We also see mummies crouched in the fetal position and then wrapped in reeds. It seems impossible that these tiny beings lived in this area only 500 or so years ago. What happened to them all?
By far the most intriguing part of the journey was the blessing that we got in the Kallawaya ceremony. We popped out of the garden and there was a medicine man waiting for us. He sat across from us behind a table with a fire off to his right. We situated ourselves across from him and he beckoned to the gods and goddesses. I could feel them coming through the earth and up into my legs – tingly!
The medicine man put the offerings into a bowl and swished them around as they melted, praying all the while. He gave the offering to the fire. The fire leapt and hissed, seeming to lap it up hungrily. I took it at a good sign.
The medicine man never lost his look of concentration or sincerity. He kept entreating the gods and goddesses for good things to come our way. He gently doused us all with water and flower petals, then sat down to announce that we were done.
It seemed wrong to break the stillness with words. It was beyond peaceful. Yet, we did have to move on. As we crossed an invisible threshold that seemed to mark the end of the sacred space, I could feel something inside me shift. A sweet sadness moved through me and then stayed behind. It left with no memories or and pictures to say from where it came. I didn’t need to know and was glad to let it all go.
I wasn’t the only one who seemed to be caught in a spell. The whole group walked in silence, each having his own experience. I can’t say what happened back there, but it left me with the desire to know more, to have more. I will definitely be back to Sun Island!