From the time I was a child and until this day I have been exposed to many
religions and ways of communing with the divine. And I tried many of this
ways to speak to Spirit and other ways until I found my own authentic prayer.
Here is a short story that sets the tone for what I want to further share with you.
Once upon a time, there was a shepherd who spoke directly to Allah while
grazing his sheep. “When I get home I will bathe your feet and rub in them
nice oils, my lord. Then I will cook you rice, and serve you my finest wine.”
All day long he would praise Allah as he felt the love for him in his heart.
One day a mullah was passing by and heard the shepherd’s prayers.
Immediately, he rushed over to reprimand the shepherd: “How can you
speak like that to Allah! That is blasphemy! The true way of prayer is in the
Koran”, and then gave the shepherd the book to learn.
The mullah kept on his way and soon after stopped to eat and then rest
under the shade of a tree. When he entered his most relaxed state, he heard
the deep voice of Allah.
“My son, you acted so harshly towards my beloved servant”.
Alarmed, the mullah sat up quickly and replied “I am sorry, my lord. It was
because he was saying blasphemy!”
“Yes!” Answered Allah, “but it was sweet blasphemy!”
Sorrowful, the mullah went back to apologize to the shepherd. “Please
forgive me, the way you pray it is just the way Allah likes it. Please go back
to your most authentic way”.
“My most authentic way, it is not in the Koran, nor is how I use to pray
before you broke my spell. I have to find it again!” Answered the shepherd…
I resonate deeply with how the most powerful words to say to the divine are
the ones closest to our hearts and not the words taught to us through rigid
religious doctrines. Speaking in our day-to-day language it can be our most
powerful way to pray. Also if there is a mantra or if there are any foreign
words that echo inside of us then we can use them in our divine dialogue.
What really matters is that we infuse our words with love and intent since
which is the fuel that carries our prayers where they need to be heard.
Of course, we can also pray without words by offering a dance or our silence
to the divine.
About my religious and spiritual background
After years of feeling reproached by the rest of the family and by a strong
catholic society in Chile, my mother grabbed my two brothers, my youngest
sister, and I, and took us to a priest. I was 13, and my siblings were 14, 12,
and 8, years old.
“Please baptize my children”, she said to him.
Twice a week for three months we had to go and hear about the Holy Spirit
and the word of God in the bible. And to everyone’s satisfaction we were
baptize at last!
Everyone, except my youngest aunt, Isabel, the one I had chosen as my god
mother to keep me in the right path of the church.
At age 15 she took me to a Tibetan Buddhist monk and without my
understanding of what was going to happen, the monk performed a
ceremony in his native language, cut a lock of my hair, and declared that
I was now under the refugee of the Buddha. Further more he gave me the
name Valley of White Tara.
From ages ten through twelve my best friend was a very active member
of the Mormon Church. And since I spent many weekends at her home,
of course, I spent many Sundays at the Mormon temple. This happened
until the Mormon priest wanted me to become a member, and my lay back
mother said: “enough is enough”.
Maybe this contributed to my mother’s impulsive decision to just make us
catholic. By the way, when we were young she had rarely taken us to church,
but after we got baptize, never again. She had gone as far as she could go on that.
Though when I was eleven years old she was having a very rough year
emotionally, and financially. Then the only people that extended a generous
hand to us were our far away relatives, who in that moment and for a whole
year became our closest relatives. I am talking about my grandmother’s
youngest sister, my mother’s outcast aunt, and her husband. Together were
the head of the Witness of Jehovah Church in Chile.
I have very fond memories of our time at their home. Every Wednesday we
were invited to a plentiful lunch followed by a cuddly afternoon in their
living room. For a couple of hours our great-aunt would narrate to us the
wondrous adventures of Jesus and his ancestors all the way to Adam and Eve.
During that year and years after, when my siblings and I would go
visit our maternal grandmother, I would excitedly share with her the
stories her younger sister told us. “Oh no, my love”, she would answer
to my storytelling. “It was not God who handed the tablets with the Ten
Commandments to Moses, it were the extraterrestrials that came down in
their ship. That is why they asked Moses not to look up to the light”. And just
like that, she would correct the facts of every biblical story and give me her
UFO version. In her library she had every book Von Daniker ever wrote.
Through out my childhood and teen years, my siblings and I would also visit
our paternal grandmother. Often she invited us for lunch on Sundays and
in the afternoon she would take us outside to her bare dusty garden and
make a bonfire for us to burn things and play. She also told us stories, but
her stories were not about God and goodness, they were about the Devil and
evil. When I was 15 she pulled me aside and privately confessed her sins to
me, and the many pacts she had done with the devil.
At age 18 I had my first experience with psychedelics in the mountains in
pristine nature with a few dear friends. It was so magical and beautiful; we
had so much energy to play with the river, the trees, the sun, and with each
other; and we did not get hungry or thirsty. “Can we just stay here?” I asked
my friend that gave us the medicine. “I mean right here?” I pleaded, referring
to the perceptual state rather than the physical place.
At that same age I had fallen in love with surfing, and soon after with
snowboarding, and later with paragliding. What did all these sports have in
By age 21 I was on an epic outdoor adventure journey that lasted many
years and took me to almost every country in the Americas from Alaska
to Patagonia. Waves, snow, and air, became my Church, the place where I
communed with the Divine.
At age 24 I became pregnant with my first son, and my survival instinct
kicked in like never before. The waves became too big, the water too cold,
the mountains too steep, and the air too high. I just wanted a safe nest to
rest, but too much rest made me restless so I started “doing” yoga. And I
“did” yoga until I learnt to stretch more than the calves, but to stretch my
mind and consciously “be” in the moment.
By the time I was 27 and my second son was born I would wake up at 5 am
to enjoy peace and quiet to practice pranayama, chant mantras, study sacred
texts, and salute the rising sun before everybody else in the house woke up.
Of course I got sleep deprived, but my longing to learn was bigger than that!
I did get married with the father of my sons, and also I did get divorce after a
decade of love and play, torments and major pain.
Soon after new love came into my life, and with him a whole new way to
pray. “To the winds of the South” he would call facing that direction, and
then add: “great serpent; come wrap your coils of light around us and help
us shed our past the way you shed your skin, all at once. Teach us the beauty
way. Aho!” Then he would turn to the West and call Jaguar; to the North and
call Hummingbird; to the East and call Eagle/Condor. Then he would touch
the Earth and give thanks and finally reach up to the skies and send a prayer
to the stars. In a nutshell!
He is a shaman, a healer, and a sage who has trained thousand of students
around the world including myself.
Shortly after we met, I headed to the sacred valley and the sacred mountains
of the Incas in Peru. There I received initiations to become part of a lineage
of healers, and wisdom keepers to say the least. And I learned to pray by
making offerings to Pachamama, our Earth Mother, and to Inti Taita, our
Sun Father, and to the stars, the moon, the ocean, and all life. It was the
beginning of my formal training that lasted several years to become the
shaman I am today.
On that trip to Peru I also went to the jungle to work with the master
herbalists that know the ways beyond death. With them I learnt to step
outside of time and to see into the invisible realms as clear as daylight. I was
able to commune with the spirit of the jaguar, the spirit of the forest, the
fairies, among many others that became my allies. Until this day I keep going
back to the Amazon a few times a year to clear my past and dream a greater destiny.
Currently, I am responding to a very personal calling to be and learn with
the machi -medicine women of the Mapuche people- in Chile. Their ways of
prayer are very complex and I am impressed how they play their drums and
use them as an extension of their voice and power.
Soon I’ll write another blog just about my work with the machi. For now
I invite you to come to Chile in November 2014 to pray with me and the
machi and a circle of women from around the globe.
Blessings to all who read these words! Keep praying from your heart!