Chavin de Huantar is the lodestone, the morning star, the birthplace of the great spiritual and indigenous consciousness of the Andes, and South America as a whole. A ceremonial complex at 10,425 feet above sea level, located at the confluence of the Mosna and Wacheksa rivers and at the geological and cultural crossroads between the mountains, jungle, and sea, Chavin flourished as a sacred site for 500 years (800-300 BCE), as a place of pilgrimage, healing, and oracular activity.
Chavin is no ruin, however. Beneath the superficial ravages of time, its ceremonial heart remains intact. Facilitated by the sacred plants that were integral to its cultural awakening, it is possible to conduct a sort of “shamanic archaeology,” encountering the realm of visions and healing within its great portals, labyrinths, plazas, and before the Huaca, nicknamed the Lanzon, that still abides in the center of the site.
Here is how some participants in the most recent pilgrimage describe their journey:
I had the honor to meet Robert at a pilgrimage he organized in the jungles of Perú in the summer of 2015, and the profound healing I achieved – thanks to Robert for taking care of all the logistics and also for supporting my healing process every single day – prompted me to attend the Chavín de Huántar pilgrimage he organized six months later, at a key crossroads in my life.
Robert’s immersion into Chavín’s ancient history, rich cultural exchanges and plant healing power was coupled with the magnificent work of our curanderos and accompanying musician. This imbued our pilgrimage with a spiritual and contextual energy that helped us focus on the importance of this sacred site, of our own healing work, of communing with our ancestors and descendants. All of this while surrounded by the majestic Andean landscapes that reminded us of our place in this life, the starriest nights that helped us get a deeper look at their communion with Chavín’s sacred symbology, sunrises that reminded us that we all have a new opportunity to work on our healing every day, and even vibrant rainbows that witnessed us getting down on our knees in utmost reverence and gratitude.
This pilgrimage is not an experience or an adventure. It’s a story that we begin to write (or rewrite) thanks to the supportive net woven by Robert along with our curanderos, our fellow pilgrims, the staff we meet at the places where we stay, the beautiful people we encounter on the streets every day, and through the blessings of the Medicine and the spiritual refuge of the sacred Temple of Chavín.
Words cannot thank you enough, Robert, for all the beautiful work, effort and love you pour into each pilgrimage you facilitate. I am honored to have sat with you in the past, and I look forward to doing it again at this year’s Chavín retreat.
I wasn’t sure what to expect on my first pilgrimage to Chavin, but upon entering the temple grounds, I began to understand why the ancient people of the Andes chose this location. The natural beauty was awe-inspiring and only amplified by the love and generosity of the locals, healers, musicians and fellow pilgrims. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to spend the nights with under the stars.
Robert’s attention to detail in setting up the travel plans, accommodations, meals, day hikes, and excursions to other temples was really perfect. There was something profound to experience each day that just wouldn’t be possible for the average traveler.
For me this was a life-changing journey and definitely a trip that I would make again.
The pilgrimage to Chavin was for me a great gift. I’d been there before, for a shorter visit, after multiple journeys to the Sacred valley area, and after visiting several of the sites along the North coast. I was primed, I had a sense there were gifts awaiting me, yet I could not know their depth or their effect.
Every huaca has a spirit, an archetypal presence that has been sensed and then elaborated, given attention and a home, by those who’ve come over the centuries to make communion. At Chavin de Huantar that began around 1300 BC, and has never ceased. Starting with the monolith many call Lanzon, and throughout the centuries as a great spiritual center with a highly organized cult, and the many further centuries of less-organized practices, that huaca has gained power – accumulating the offerings, the soul-stuff of those who’ve made their pilgrimages.
I felt unworthy, and thus graced, as I came onto this sacred ground. By grace the gods received me, and by grace they gave me gifts. After years of work with the sacred vine of the jungle, some small part of me was evidently cleaned out, and into that part the gods poured gifts that I could barely hold, that immediately began to stretch me, pushed me to step into a new way of being, one of holding the opposites of light and dark, of joy and tragedy, of all that I love and also all that I react to or resent.
Of course the gifts will be different for each one. But I suspect that feeling called is already being chosen. It’s a challenge, like being challenged to some cosmic duel: can you risk what is, for the chance at what otherwise may not arrive in you?
Chavin. Wow. Opportunity of a life time. I felt incredibly honored and humbled to be able to visit such a holy site and participate in the authentic way it was intended to be approached, profound experience to say the least. Robert did an amazing job at setting the structure and details of the trip, allowing it to flow smooth for us. Yet I think the most important part of Robert’s input was how he set the tone of it being a pilgrimage and the focus on prayer. I felt that bringing in that orientation allowed the group to connect with important levels of experience we may have not otherwise. This is a journey and pilgrimage that I highly recommend to anyone who is interested and anyone looking to deepen their relationship with themselves and the greater forces that look after us.
Unlike Machu Picchu, Chavin is a little-visited marvel of the world. You are invited to join me there for ceremonial work any time from May 30th to June 13th 2017 (most pilgrims stay the entire time), with the sacred plant medicine wachuma (San Pedro). It is also a launching off site for treks into the beautiful Andes mountains.
I will handle your lodging in Chavin, assist in translation, and be a facilitator in the ceremonial work. Costs will vary depending on your length of stay, but this isn’t an expensive journey compared to most medicine work in the rainforest. Please connect with me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to join our pilgrimage.