Tuesday, September 18, 2012

An Andean Wedding

What a wonderful Sunday. I had the pleasure of witnessing the wedding of Allysan and Lovier yesterday with Marco. Allysan is my violin teacher, concert violist, and shaman who has her own organization Sacred Dimension. She met Lovier in the jungle. He is from the Shipibo people and has grown up with very powerful ayahausqueros and healers. He is a very nice man and it's exciting to see Allysan with someone who will really help her flourish and be an even more amazing person than she already is. I felt kind of like the maid of honor since I was given the task of picking up the rings the day before and making sure they got to the ceremony. :)

The day started at 5:45am for Marco and myself. We got up extra early so we could get to Coya by 7:30am. It ended up being around 8am when we finally made it to the house. Marco's poor 13 year old Volkswagon Polo couldn't do the last 100 meters due to a nasty rock pile and stream in our way. We parked it down lower and walked up. The morning was dedicated to a temascal sweat lodge called Chulluchaka. It was only for couples and couples that had good auras and communication between them. I am happy to say that Marco and my relationship is very healthy and communicatively strong. Anyway, we headed into a very intense sweat lodge. Neither Marco nor I had done one before even though we frequent saunas.

The ceremony started with us receiving headbands that represented the female and male energies with X as male and O as female. (We got to keep the headbands!) We learned how we were supposed to receive and pass things while in the lodge. Receive with the left and pass with the right. We chose three coca leaves and pasted them together before making a wish/giving thanks and throwing them into the fire outside the hut. We were then purified with smoke and repeated quechua words that asked if we could enter the womb of mother earth. When entering one must always move in a clockwise fashion. The entire sweat was probably about and hour and a half long and boy did we sweat! Each element was given time and before we opened the door to each one hot stones were thrown into a hole in the middle. As that was done we all yelled and called "APU CHAY!" which means great spirits or god. It was fun. We also said  "ari" after every blessing like amen. We passed water around and each person poured water onto the stones (in a clockwise spiral motion) as the Allysan and Loiver were blessed by each element. At one point Christian, our guide, showed us how to cool off by putting our head down in a prayer with our fingers in a triangle shape for our head. It was wonderful. We also had water poured on us after the third element. Each element was more intense than the one before and after the third element, Linda, a lovely woman from Australia had to ask permission to leave. It was a bit much. I don't blame her. I was amazed I lasted the entire sweat. The 4th element, water, wasn't as bad as the third. All of us laid down were it was a bit cooler. The hut itself was lined with leaves from a native tree that I don't know the name of. I was covered in a earth when we finished. Haha it was great! Finally, when we exited the hut we were given a bucket of cold water to the head. Talk about involuntary reaction by my body. I shook uncontrollably and it was glorious! I felt totally energized afterward but as soon as Marco and I showered and sat down on Allysan's super comfy couch I quickly passed out. It was an awkward nap but it was necessary since we had a mountain to climb.

What? A mountain? That's right. We climbed over 1,000 meters for sure. It took us about an hour and a few rests but we made it to the site of the wedding. We were originally going to take people up in Marco's car but there was no way the polo was making it up the mountain. Fortunately, my chiropractor Howard Levine let us know that everyone had moved to a different spot where the marriage would take place or else we probably would've missed it!

Loiver was dressed in all white with what looked like a silk shirt with a beautiful mandala on the back. Allysan had on a sheer lace full length dress and was surrounded by her Coya family. Lovier played quite a few flute pieces while we waited for everyone to make it up the mountain. The man who lead the ceremony was from the mountains and explained that the corn on the blankets in front of us was for us to pick up and give our prayers too before putting them in a bag. The bag was then given to Allysan and Lovier who were instructed to bury it somewhere where no one would find it. People gave speeches and the couple exchanged vows and rings. It was really quite beautiful and made me really excited for my own wedding!! Love is in the air and it's wonderful!!

We made our way back down to the house. Marco and I were the first on foot to make it there. Marco wasn't feeling too well. We would've left right away but I didn't know he wasn't feeling good until after I had gotten a plate of food. He was feeling sirochi or altitude sickness since he had only gotten back to Cusco two days before after a three week trip in Lima. Fortunately, we both slept soooo well last night. We went to bed at 9pm. Que rico.

I don't think Marco was expecting the even to be an entire day long but overall it was a great experience and we had a great time together. Weddings are such happy occasions!

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