After my trip to Paris and Barcelona, I was itching to go to more places. My eyes had just been opened to the world, and I could not wait to get back out there.
Before I left for Paris, a friend of mine introduced me to a group that was getting ready to travel to Peru and work with a shaman on a spiritual quest. Naturally I was incredibly intrigued. I’ve always been interested in ancient cultures and their practices. I feel like they definitely had more of a connection with the earth than we do today.
I found out they were heading to Peru to camp in the jungle for 2 weeks near the end of the summer before the rainy season started up. I was sold. I bought my plane ticket as soon as I got back from Europe and started loading up on jungle appropriate travel gear.
The months flew by, and it was time for me to board the plane for Lima.
Traveling to the Jungle
I was ready. My friend had told me all about his experience with the group the year before, so I kinda knew what to expect.
I spent the night with my friend in Lima before meeting up with the group at the airport. From there, we flew north to Pulcallpa where we spent the next 2 nights.
Since we were traveling in to the jungle for spiritual cleansing, we had to adhere to a fairly strict diet, and it would get even more minimal once we were in the jungle. The shaman we were working with made sure we ate well those last 2 days in town.
I can still taste it. We had fresh roasted chicken and fried yucca. The vegetables were straight from their garden and it was my first experience with passion fruit and cherimoyas. I couldn’t believe how flavorful the 2 fruits were. Once we were in the jungle, our group actually talked a lot about returning to Pulcalpa and eating more passion fruit and cherimoyas.
We woke up early and loaded the cars that were going to take us to the river. After a 2 hour car ride, we boarded 2 boats and headed upstream to our campsite.
The ride was incredible! We passed acres and acres of beautiful lush rainforest. I couldn’t believe I was actually there.
Once we docked the boats, we had about an hour hike until we finally got to the camp.
There were 16 people in the group, and each one of us got our own tombo, an open air hut with a bed, a hammock, a desk, and a jug of fresh water. We would be spending a lot of our time in our tombos, so the pressure was on to get a good one. Some of the huts were closer to the water which were more desirable to me.
My tombo wasn’t right off the river, but it was close enough. We didn’t have running water, so the river was our bathtub and a small waterfall was our shower. My tombo just happened to be at the top of this waterfall. Everyday I would lay in my hammock and listen to the low rumble of the water falling over the rocks edge. It was incredibly relaxing!
Another restriction we had to follow was no commercial products of any kind. One they didn’t want to contaminate the water with chemicals, and two they wanted us to be as pure as possible while we were going through our journey. That means no soap, no deodorant, no shampoo. I was a little worried about this at first, but I got used to it after a couple of days.
A family took care of the camp all year and they knew the plants very well. They brought us a bucket of leaves every day for us to clean with. I was skeptical at first, but let me tell ya, 2 weeks of cleaning with those leaves left me feeling pretty darn good.
There was also an abundance of very fine mud at the base of the waterfall filled with minerals. Every other day I would cover myself in the mud and bake in the sun for an hour or so. Seriously, my skin had never felt so soft!
My first night in the jungle
Our first night in the jungle was spent getting acquainted with our home for the next 2 weeks. We ate one last feast which ended with fresh coconuts picked right then and there. The next morning our spiritual cleansing began.
I will never forget my first night in the jungle. I was so close to nature. Sleeping in an open air hut meant anything could come in. My friend woke up to a jaguar sniffing around his tombo the year before. I knew the likelihood of that happening to me was small, but it was on my mind. How amazing and at the same time incredibly frightening would that be!?
Each bed was covered with a mosquito net, and thank goodness for that! There were so many bugs!!! I eventually got used to it, but my nights were usually spent under the mosquito net reading by the light of my headlamp. That first night I did no reading though.
That first night I just laid in my bed listening to the noises of the jungle. Once that sun went down, the insects and frogs lit up. The monkeys that were climbing along the tops of the trees made whooping noises to each other back and forth across the canopy. I couldn’t help myself. I was so overjoyed by the fact that I was actually listening to the calls of the jungle that I began laughing. It was just one of the many AH HAH moments in my life.
Healing Our Bodies and Spirits
We were given the choice of drinking different healing teas each day. I chose the one with the most plant healers. They had gathered 10 different plants from around our campsite that all had different healing qualities. Each morning I was given a jug of tea that I had to drink within a couple hours.
The tea was a little difficult to get used to, but I’m so glad I chose it. I felt so cleansed once we left the jungle. My skin, my hair, my body, everything felt sooooo good!
We also participated in traditional ceremonies with the shaman every other night. During these ceremonies, we would go through spiritual healings. The shaman and his helpers would guide us through with beautiful songs and help us get past any blockages we have in our lives. We would look deep inside ourselves. Some people have realizations of past lives. Some find deep repressed memories. But all find their inner light and beauty. It’s an incredible experience, and I learned so much about myself. The lessons I learned have carried on with me ever since.
By the time I left the jungle, I was in sheer bliss. I had learned to just be with myself.
I fought it when I first got there. I didn’t like being in such solitude. I needed a distraction so I would’t think so much. All I wanted to do was leave the jungle and go home. To go back to my comfort zone.
But as the days went on, I learned to be with myself. I spent countless hours rocking in my hammock and reflecting. I thought about past memories and the ones I look forward to making in the future.
I would lie in the river and let the water rush past me while I watched hundreds of butterflies fly above me.
During our 4th ceremony, I found sheer bliss. It was the moment that I realized how beautiful this life is. I never wanted to leave it, but I knew I would find this feeling everywhere I go…….and I have.
Sadly we had to leave and go back to our normal lives. It was hard stepping foot in the city again. It felt so dirty and congested. I didn’t want to lose the purity that had just been given to me.
Since the jungle I have used the life lessons I learned there to become a more open and happier person. We all have a light within, and I want to be that bright shining person I saw in the jungle 5 years ago.
I hope to go back to the jungle in the future. Right now I don’t feel the timing is right, but I know it will call to me again just like it did before.
Have you gone through a spiritual cleansing? Please tell us about it in the comments below.