SACHA RUNA

(Guardian Spirit of the Forest)

Peace Chamber, Sweat Lodge and Dance Arbor

at

Allkamari Retreat Center

La Paz, Bolivia

Elders: Carmen Castañeda and Miguel Kavlin

www.sacharuna.com

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(591) 720-02055

Cradled in the embrace of the powerful Andean Mountains of Bolivia, facing Illimani, the sacred majestic snow-capped glacier mountain, rests the Sacha Runa Peace Chamber.

It is mid-summer in this high altitude Earth-space called the Andes. Summer flowers, grasses, cacti, shrubs and a few trees, along with the crops and beasts of burden of the colorful Bolivian people, dot the rugged mountain slopes. The echoes of wing-ed songs are heard vigorously in the mornings and continuously throughout the day, bringing lightness and joy. The occasional braying of donkeys and llamas fill the heart with humor. Temperatures are chilly at night and warm up comfortably throughout the day. January and February is typically the ‘rainy season’. The Glaciers are melting and this Bolivian Earth-space is experiencing quite the drought. After spending several days in the Sacha Runa Kiva with Ancestors, the rains began to kiss the parched Earth Spaces. The amphibians graced us with their song, medicine and presence, and the land bedazzled the eye, green and luscious!

Sacha Runa is a part of the Allkamari Retreat Center, Spa and Resort, where one can receive various healing, rejuvenating, and shamanic, experiences. Allkamari is the name of a beautiful black and white Bolivian Hawk. A family of three was seen daily, soaring above!

The Kiva, known as Sacha Runa; Guardian Spirit of the Forest, was built in 1996, and is a traditional Adobe structure, in the shape of an ovum, made of earth and grasses mixed together. The ceiling is a grass thatch roof, with the traditional Kiva entrance; a ladder from the rooftop descending down into the chamber. Upon entering the chamber for the first time, I was thrilled to lay eyes on a stellar original painting by Beautiful Painted Arrow on the chamber’s South wall. Becoming intimate with the chamber, and all the stunning works of art within, representing the spiritual center of this Andean community, there was a sense of quiet power…silent strength…sensual beauty…

  

For over 20 years the Allkamari land has supported a Sun-Moon Dance. Four Long Dances and numerous Sweat Lodges are held each year as well. On the 7th of each month at 7p.m., The Sacha Runa, community joins the Peace Chambers around the Earth, in The Fire Ceremony. Shamanic journeying via traditional Ayahuasca ceremonies are held most Saturdays, and are guided by well experienced male and female Shamen. Also, San Pedro Wachuma Ceremonies, traditional Andean and Amazonian offerings, healings, diets, retreats and more are offered.

To learn more about the Sacha Runa Kiva, the Elders, Carmen and Miguel, the Shamen, Wyira and Wara and the ceremonies offered on Allkamari land, go to: www.sacharuna.com.

I spent the majority of my time in Bolivia at Allkamari, in silent meditation (zazen), chanting and playing the Native American Flutes, offering Ceremony and giving a Sound Journey within Sacha Runa. I enjoyed performing on the silver flute and Native American flutes for the lovely Allkamari Staff, their family members and an entire Bolivian family visiting Allkamari. The traditional female attire was colorful and attractive and I heart-connected with the matriarch of this family!

I also absorbed the incredible beauty… AND… the unattractive garbage and sickly tributaries, throughout the surrounding magnificent Andean Earth Spaces via several long hikes, albeit very slow moving, up the 14,000 ft. mountains (HA! Allkamari is already at 13,000 + feet…WHEW!!!)! I also hiked down into the canyon below Allkamari and at the foot of Illimani. Duke, the every-ready-to-hike canine, was a fabulous hiking companion.

Carmen, the elegant and heart-centered Sacred Elder of Sacha Runa and Matron of Allkamari, and I spent some quality time together in La Paz; dining, connecting, absorbing the architectural beauty of San Francisco Church, and shopping from the local merchants. We spent precious time in Sacha Runa in Sacred Ceremony with a few members of her community and in Sound Journey. I offer up deep Gratitude to Carmen for Hosting the Sacred Drift at this time in her life, and for opening her heart so beautifully and naturally to all that unfolded in our time together. Many blessings of Love, Light, Peace and Beauty to you and the Sacha Runa Community, Bonita Dama!

The weekends are full of two-legged-life and fine cuisine at Allkamari. Many locals from La Paz and world travelers come to dine, relax and take in the glorious ‘eye-candy’ of the grand Illimani Mountain and surrounding Earth vistas. I enjoyed meeting and mingling with Mary and her son’s friend from Australia and Susan, her husband and daughter. As it turns out, Mary and Susan work at the U.S. Embassy! I also held engaging conversations with Cliff, a tattoo artist, musician and world explorer from Denmark and Roberto a photographer, artist and advertisement professional from La Paz. During the two weeks that I was in residence at Allkamari, many beautiful locals from La Paz greeted and interacted with me in Spanish and broken-English. Much better English than my Spanish, I might add.

I would like to offer up Gratitude…Un Rio Grande de Muchas Gracias to the Allkamari staff; Rene, Allkamarie’s consummate host and number one ‘go to man’! (Thank you for the floor heater, your hat to spare this face from the high altitude sun, for the response to all the favors I asked of you); Josie, for patiently responding to needs through charades and pantomiming; Nestor, Allkamari’s Master Chef Extra Ordinaire, and his beautiful family, for nourishing me in body and spirit.! (Nestor’s cuisine is delicious, beautifully presented and prepared with much love. His darling daughter and son are a joy…I will always fondly remember playing the flute for you, and our Hummingbird adventure! Nestor’s wife, Jimena, is beautiful, quiet, kind and unassuming…it was so lovely to meet you!); To the Sacha Runa Community, Bernardo and Carmen for opening your Hearts to this Sacred Drifter and Be-ing a part of the ‘threading’ and Dancing the Dream Awake!