FROM SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA
(click on images to enlarge)
An Amazing Hawaiian Ayni Despacho
A story about some incredible experiences before, during and after...
SCOTTSDALE, Dec 11, 2008 - For most casual readers of my travelogues, the "Hawaiian Thanksgiving" was just another "fun & games" vacation. And it was that, in part. But the initiated friends and family knew that there was a greater purpose to this trip.
Following a celestial tailwind that propelled me in the direction of Hawaii after three "wet dreams" last summer (see Three "Wet Dreams" That Led Me to Hawaii, Dec 11), I went to Hawaii primarily to see if I can find a new country home to move to. No, I did not want entirely a replica of my former Western Australian "dream home" (see "Just Another Day in Paradise"). That would be going backwards in life. But I did go looking for "another piece of paradise between the ocean and the high mountains that would feed my soul and warm my heart."
After checking out about 20 properties on the Big Island and Maui, I came home with a short list of three - two on Maui and one on the Big Island. Using my left brain, I sort of had them prioritized on a pragmatic 1-3 scale. The property I really liked the best (#2 -see the map - right), and even had some signs from the spirits that I should go for it, was a "short sale." So I ranked it as #2 because of inherent difficulties in negotiating deals like that. Soon, the spirits intervened again to set me straight. That's when I let go of the steering wheel and let them drive this boat. And boy oh boy, did they ever take over! What follows is a play-by-play story of what happened in the last two days after returning from Hawaii.
Hawaiian Lava Superstition & Breakup
On Monday night, Elizabeth called me and asked if I had heard of a Hawaiian superstition that taking the lava rocks from the islands would mean bad luck. I said I had not. She said several of her friends and family have advised her to get rid of the rocks she had brought. And as she was talking to her youngest daughter about it, she developed a nose bleed, she said.
"Did anything bad happened to you today?" she wanted to now.
"Nothing at all," I said. "On the contrary, I am now feeling much better than this morning."
But what Elizabeth said about the Hawaiian lava rock superstition, peeked my curiosity. I spent most of the evening researching the topic and talking to some friends about it. I concluded that it was not the taking of the rocks that causes bad luck, but the INTENT with which the stones are removed. In my case, I took them so I could add them to my mesa and thus stay in touch with the islands' mountains and oceans while away.
But to make sure that was not just wishful thinking, I performed three shamanic ceremonies and asked the spirits to give me guidance on this. Then I put the rocks I had brought from Hawaii, including the corals and shells, under my pillow.
When I woke up after about a 3.5 hour sleep, the message I received in my dreamtime was quite clear. Not only could I keep the rocks, but I should move to Hawaii. In which case the whole issue is a moot point. The rocks will be coming back with me. I was also given a hint that I should probably try for that more difficult (#2) property on Maui (you can read more about it in my diary notes if you click on Three "Wet Dreams" That Led Me to Hawaii, Dec 11). Furthermore, I felt good about the breakup with Elizabeth. No regrets. No remorse.
The rest of my day this Wed Dec 10 was nothing short of spectacular. I did a lot of things by following my intuition ("gnosis"). And everything I touched seemed to turn to gold, even the most daunting tasks, such as dealing with government bureaucrats.
I decided to switch my car plates around, for example. It did not seem right that my personalized plate APU LUV should be sitting on gas guzzler that's mostly just sitting in my garage - the "beauty and the beast" as I called her last year (the Mercedes Benz SL600).
When I told the government clerk at the Department of Motor Vehicles what I wanted her to do, she rolled her eyes, sighed, looked at me in disgust and mumbled, "do you have any idea what you're asking me to do? That will be VERY difficult."
"Not at all," I said cheerfully, pretending not to understand what she was implying. "All we need it s a screwdriver."
"You can do that, but you've just given me a major computer problem," she said.
To make the long story short, it took two government employees half an hour to get it done. But get it done they did. By the time they were finished, we were all on a first name basis, cracking jokes and laughing all the way.
"I will never forget the APU LUV license plate," Gloria, the clerk, said at the end with a big smile. "Happy holidays!"
"The same to you, too!" I replied.
"Don't forget your sun glasses," Gloria said with a smile while I was putting papers in my bag.
Even before we returned from Hawaii, I had canceled our planned Christmas/New Year's trip to Acapulco. I'd had enough travel and travel expenses this year. Which now freed me up to make my own Christmas plans at home.
The first thing I decided was that this will be my first Christmas that will be solely a spiritual holiday which I want to celebrate by myself with the spirits' help, not another family feast. I had already dispensed with gifts 11 years ago, opting for donations to various worthy causes throughout the year, rather than waiting for Christmas to remember other people.
A few weeks ago, I found out that my children have now followed suit. So we will all celebrate Christmas this year in three different homes on two different continents. Yet we will all be with each other in spirit - literally and figuratively. Lest we forget, Christmas is not a shopping spree or a call to gluttony. It is birthday of a very special baby boy, one who grew up to be a great man endowed with miracle making holy spirit. And I resolved to celebrate it as any other birthday, with one exception...
I decided for the first time in this house to get a Christmas tree. Keeping with my need for beauty, I picked one out that I would be happy to keep in my living room year round (see above). I also decorated with Christmas lights my Italian cypress outside (right). So the inside and the outside trees are in sync, both in terms of lights and shapes.
Hawaiian Ayni Despacho
I also felt I needed to do a Hawaiian Ayni Despacho ('ayni' is a Quechua shamanic term that means being in alignment with the environment around you and the forces of the universe). And I wanted it to be a loving expression of gratitude to the Creator, Inti, the Pacha Mama, the Mama Kocha and all the wonderful spirits who have guided me to Hawaii so far, and brought me back safely. I also wanted to ask them for continued guidance during the buying process of my new Hawaiian home, whichever one it ends up being.
But there was another important reason I needed to do this despacho. I wanted to initialize three of the kullas (stones that go into a shaman's mesa) that I have found in Hawaii. Or more accurately, that I was given by the Big Island and Maui after shamanic ceremonies on the beaches of each island.
But to do that, I felt I needed to retire the same or greater number of kullas. My mesa is already pretty large. I was afraid that having too many kullas could reduce the potency of the main ones that anchor me into Mt Ausangate and the Andes mountain lineage. Using what I call a "kulla bonding" ceremony, I decided which four were due for retirement, or more accurately, a "reserve" status (like going to a farm team from which they can be called up to the majors any time).
I decided to make those four a part of my ayni despacho, and let the spirits decide which ones to take and which ones I should keep (see 1. through 4. in middle left close up of the start of my despacho ceremony). At the same time, I also wanted to return to the islands via the spirits some extra rocks that I took from the Big Island more or less as back-up, along with some black sand (see 5. through 8. blue highlights in leftmost shot).
While I blew my prayers into individual despacho components, I was burning myrrh and frankincense, playing some Inka music, and humming along. The two right shots are the finished product - a Hawaiian ayni despacho full of love and sweetness, ready to be wrapped and taken to fire. It took almost two hours to get to that stage.
I took my time setting up the fire pit in my back yard. I also brought out my mesa here so I could use its cornerstone Mt Ausangate lineage kullas for initiation of the newcomers from Hawaii.
Then I lit the fire and starting my retirement and initiation ceremony - both for the departing kullas and for the incoming ones. When I initiated my first new kulla, the heart-shaped rock that I felt Maui had given me as its heart right after my ceremony there on Dec 4, I was startled by the crackling sound in the fire in front me. Since most of the wood had burned off by then, I have found it strange. But when it also happened during the second and third initiation, I started to get those familiar goose bumps all over my back that I get when I sense the presence of spirits.
"They are hearing me," I whispered. "Wow. That's pretty awesome."
Altogether, the ceremony took almost another hour. It was a cold desert night so I was shivering from time to time. It reminded me of our fire ceremonies in Peru, except it wasn't quite that cold here. I wished there were some of my shaman-friends here to share the despacho moments with me. Anyway, the whole process was very sweet and loving.
When I was done, I waited a while in contemplation and mediation before taking my mesa back into the house along with other shamanic accoutrements. Then as I looked proudly at my newly updated and initiated mesa, I realized I had forgotten something.
"The shell!" I exclaimed. I forgot to initiate the new small black shell that I brought back from the Big Island (marked in my mesa photo taken BEFORE the despacho - right). I had intended it as a symbol of both Pacha Mama and Mama Kocha.
So I went outside again, with just the two main kullas and the shell. The fire was still going. What was left of the despacho was completely black. Still there was enough fire for another 5 mins or so that it took me to try to initiate the shell. I waited till the fire was completely dead and then brought everything inside.
As I was putting the two key kullas back onto the mestana cloth, I realized I was missing something. "Where's my shell?" I asked out loud. I had it in my hands outside just a few minutes ago. I went to look for it outside. No trace of it anywhere. I searched the house, retracing my steps from the door to where I had put down my mesa. I had only moved it about 35 feet on a straight and clear path. Nothing.
"Oh my God, the spirits must have taken it," a reticent thought crossed my mind. I was both very excited and skeptical at the same time. So I kept searching for it. I looked inside the fire pit with a flash light. Nothing. I looked all around the patio. Nothing. The shell was definitely gone. Vaporized.
Then slowly, hesitatingly, I began to believe... really believe.
"The spirits did not want me to have that shell in my mesa," I figured. "So they just took it." Incredible, but true!
I have known from other Inka shaman that such things have happened to them in the Andes. But I have never heard of it on this continent or anywhere else in the western world.
It's pretty hard to describe to a non-shaman the feelings that course through your body when you know you are in the presence of divinity. Any of my shaman friends who were with me during our "Conversations with Spirits #1 in Peru last July would have known know exactly what I mean. For, that's how they also felt back then. And that's how I felt when I realized the spirits took that shell away.
But there was still smidge of a doubt left in my mind. So while I shared the story with a Peruvian friend last night, I decided to wait till the morning to look for the shell again in broad daylight (left). Again nothing. The shell was definitely gone. Only then, did I feel comfortable enough to write about it. And now I have.
Meanwhile, back to the events last night, the disappeared shell was not the only thing that both stunned and delighted me. The spirits weren't done surprising me.
As I said, when I brought my stuff in, the flames were completely extinguished. As I was tidying up, I picked up the candle you see in the leftmost shot, intending to blow it out. But it was full of runny wax. So I went to the fire pit to pour out the wax into the ashes.
Wow! Suddenly, wild flames sprung back to life, almost singing my eyebrows as I was leaning over the fire pit. Startled, I pulled back. "Holy fire!" The mere presence of the candle in my hand, even if it was 3-4 feet above the fire pit, had reignited the flames (middle left). I looked carefully inside the fire, and realized that the flames were shooting up NOT from the outside, where I had poured the wax, but from the INSIDE the remains of the despacho (right).
I was excited again, even more so than when the shell disappeared a few minutes before. I recalled a story I heard many years ago from an Orthodox priest who was in Jerusalem at Easter one year, and witnessed the holy fire started in an old church there without matches or human intervention.
"Okay, so I did have a candle my hand," I reasoned, "but the fire was completely out. And the candle was 3-4 feet away."
I waited another 10-15 mins until the fire burned itself out and then decided to try the same thing again. As soon as the candle entered the imaginary cylinder above the fire pit, a powerful new fire ignited itself (right above). And again, it was burning from INSIDE the remains of the despacho.
By that stage, I felt I had had enough miracles for one night. So I waited till this fire went out, and then called a friend to talk about it all before turning in for the night.
In the morning, I could find no trace in the fire pit of two of the four kullas I had placed into the despacho last night. The spirits took two of them (New York and McDowell - see the right photo). They returned the two white ones to me, a little charred, but otherwise in fine shape (left). The one from Peru had some small crystals in it, which is why I picked it up on our way to Cuzco after the Mt Ausengate adventure. The one from Camelback, I found during my first ever shamanic ceremony on that mountain on Apr 2 (see Lord of the Mountain: Return to Camelback, Apr 2). Guess the spirits wanted me to keep them. And so I did.
And now, you also know "the rest of the story," as Paul Harvey would say, about my amazing Hawaiian ayni despacho.
Feel free to share with me any comments you may have by CLICKING HERE. I'd love to hear from you. Happy holidays!
SCOTTSDALE, Dec 12 - Well, amazing things continue to happen around here. As went to the spa tonight around 1AM, I saw an enormous ring around the nearly full moon. Huge! When I outstretched my arms, I counted its diameter as being seven widths of a hand. And it was directly overhead, like the sun at high noon during a summer solstice.
Which reminded me of a similar, albeit slightly smaller, moon last night. When I was watching in amazement those new flames shooting up from a dead fire, I looked up at one point. The moon was in a similar position, almost directly overhead. It was as if an invisible cylinder connected by fire pit to the moon. I did not know what, if anything, that had to do with those miraculous fires, but I made a note of the fact. And then I promptly forgot all about it. Until tonight.
But this tonight's moon, that was something incredible. I took pictures of it with various camera settings when I got back from the spa. None of them do it justice, of course, but they'll give you an idea of what I am talking about.
At one point, suddenly, like a flash, a shooting star appeared and shot right across the lower half of the moon's ring. I barely had a chance to register what had happened, and it was gone. Then I a coyote howled. A dog barked. Then it was quiet again. Very quiet.
I was watching it carefully from the spa for a long time. There was an orange glow on the inside ring, gradually changing into pure white on the outside. It looked like a rainbow. A lunar rainbow. I have never seen anything like it before. And here it is now, nearly 2AM, and most of the Phoenix residents are missing a spectacular celestial show.
The scientist in me couldn't help but look for answers about what this "moon halo" effect is all about. This is what I found out at an astronomy web site:
Above is also a top quality photo from that web site, obviously taken with a high res camera and a tripod. Quite beautiful, isn't it? Good night!
Epilogue 2: New York Kulla "Rises" from Ashes
SCOTTSDALE, Dec 13 - When I cleaned out my fire pit this morning, I found the New York kulla inside the charred remains of the despacho ashes. Brushing off the ashes and discovering a practically intact kulla inside felt like unwrapping a Christmas present and finding a wonderful surprise.
So I have now returned the New York kulla to is place in the "water/female" quadrant of my mesa (left). I also took some close-ups this morning of the two extraordinary kullas I was gifted by the Big Island (middle) and Maui (right) after performing shamanic ceremonies on the beaches of Waikoloa (Big Island) and Wailea (Maui).
The Waikoloa kulla has been polished by Mama Kocha into an "oceanic burger." But this "burger" is made of Basalt (black) with Peridot (green) grain inserts. What's especially interesting for me is that the only other place where I have seen Peridot in Basalt was at the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona, some 115 miles east of Phoenix (as offered on eBay). It would appear, therefore, that this Big Island kulla was another sign of my Arizona-Hawaii connection (or ceke lines).
As for the "Maui Heart" which this beautiful island gifted to me after my ceremony on Wailea beach, also in Basalt, well... "picture's worth a thousand words," as they say. It has the two volcanoes and a fertile valley in between, just like Maui.
My Peruvian (another sign!) real estate agent on Maui told me that when she moved to the island in the 1990s, she was told that, "Maui will other embrace you or will spit you out."
I cannot think of a more beautiful invitation to come and live on Maui than receiving the island's heart, with all the island's features shown on it, which also fits so perfectly in the palm of my hand. It makes me feel warm all over just thinking about it.