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October/November 2011 Volume 71

Welcome to this bi-monthly edition of our newsletter! You will find these columns contained in our October/November issue:

Metaphors for Life
Special Events

I hope you enjoy this issue of Kenosis Inspirations...

Carla Woody, Founder

Metaphors for Life
Many traditions understand the power of teaching through stories. Our minds find a special repository for them. We unconsciously draw from this metaphorical resource bank when we need it most — to guide and nourish us. Here you will find such tales, quotes and prose. As they have come to me, I pass them on to you just as our ancestors have done since the world was young.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life... Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

— Steve Jobs
In honor of a great visionary who had a hand in radically changing all our lives.

Life is nothing if but levels of learning, whether or not we freely enter the Perpetual School. We actually have no choice in the matter. In this column, I offer you philosophy, musings and information that you may take with you as they fit into your own lyceum.

The People of Mollamarka:
Preserving the Old Ways in the Peruvian Andes

By Carla Woody

Reprint of article orginally published in Earth Odyssey Magazine, March 2010.

Sacred mountain Ausangate visible on the road to Mollamarka.

Sacred mountain Ausangate visible on the road to Mollamarka.
Photo credit: Kelsey Collins

The main thoroughfare heading east of Cusco soon empties out onto dirt, quickly becoming a winding road, hugging the side of never-ending mountains going higher with each breath-taking turn. After about sixty miles, but four hours later, you finally come to the small town of Paucartambo known for its Festival of the Virgin of Carmen, the syncretic celebration of pre-Colombian Andean rites and the town's Catholic patron saint, which draws throngs of revelers in mid-July. An intersection on the far side of the village forces a choice, no further easterly travel by road possible. Going left will eventually have you descending through the Cloud Forest and into the jungle preserve called Manu. Taking the right turn will provide an increasingly narrow road, sheer drops that can cause novice travelers to break into a sweat, mop their brow and pray for safe passage. But over the years I've grown used to it and find the journey, and its outcome, well worth it. Within an hour or so, the byway, that until about twenty-five years ago was merely a horse trail, deadends into the Quechua Indian village of Mollamarka.

Through a long-term friendship with respected Peruvian mystic and poet Don Américo Yábar I've been able to bring small groups to Peru, those who are up for the unexpected, the things that widen a life and take us into the unknown. Don Américo throws open the doors of his centuries-old ancestral home aptly named Salk'awasi, in Quechua meaning the "House of Undomesticated Energy." The old hacienda has a rich history, some of its previous inhabitants shrouded in mystery, like the three women who lived together having fled the Basque Region during the Inquisition, rumored to be witches. Nestled below Mollamarka, staying at Salk'awasi is a means to slow down, be truly present and experience what the Andean way of life has to teach us.

Although electricity came to the village in the last few years, few families can afford it, and Don Américo chose for Salk'awasi to go without it. Many of the old ways are preserved in Mollamarka. But who knows for how long? The opportunity to participate in the old dances and healing rituals may soon become more limited.

Mollamarka children gathering for a photo.

Mollamarka children gathering for a photo.
Photo credit: Kelsey Collins

As in many Indigenous cultures, women are the keepers of the traditions and, for the most part, stay close to home. Through the Club of Mothers they watch out for the health of the children, the well-being of the community as a whole. In Mollamarka, the women are the backbone of the community, keeping it stable, while the most of the men range from the village, bringing back outside influences and argue politics.

Healers like Doña Maria and her daughter Gumercinda work with the energy of plants in limpia, or clearing, rituals. And through these engagements, it's quite possible to find yourself transformed, in ways you can't quite put your finger on, like I was years ago after a good stay at Salk'awasi. I had traveled there with a friend. It all started through a two-day clearing process. The first day involved the limpia ritual, giving it a rest overnight.


...The next day Doña Maria and Gumercinda returned about the same time. As before, we waited for them in the same place, with anticipation, for the completion of their work with us. First, it had been necessary to clear from us what debris we inadvertently carried with us to that place from the ordinary world. Being as pristine in that realm as possible, we were then prepared for the next aspect, a push to the left side. The left side is the place of connection, the realm of the Mystery, the feminine aspect of receptivity. From that side comes the experience of insight — not the mental noting of it — that can flood the right-sided life with richness previously not lived.

Dance of the Ancients

Dance of the Ancients
Photo credit: Carla Woody

Again, Gumercinda cleared the house with her smoking pan. Meanwhile, her mother deposited on the floor a ball of yarn and a few stalks of the same herb used the previous day. When her daughter had exited the room and returned, Doña Maria arranged the plants in a star shape on the floor. When she was satisfied with the arrangement, she stood. Inviting my friend to remove her shoes and socks, she motioned for her to come stand on top of the plants. Then, taking the yarn in her hand, Doña Maria put one end under the big toe of my friend's foot. She began winding it around her body, until she encased her to the top of her head in a string shrouding that passed around her joints and major energy centers of the body. No sooner did Doña Maria complete the wrapping than she immediately begin to undo it, snapping the yarn and breaking it quickly with her hands at each juncture of the body that she deemed necessary. All the while, she spoke softly and rapidly in Quechua, compelling the string to do its work as she stored the broken pieces in her other hand. After all string had been removed, Doña Maria used the yarn bundle to wipe my friend down from head to foot, much as she had the day before with the leaves. When done, she handed the yarn laden with heavy energy to Gumercinda, who was crouched on the floor to one side. Gumercinda hid the bundle in her skirts to contain it. My friend stepped back to her seat, her body relaxed.

Doña Maria turned to me expectantly. I arose and moved to the ritual space. I felt the leaves cool underneath my bare feet, sticking to them as I shifted to find my balance. Closing my eyes, I perceived the narrow pressure of the yarn being wound around my big toe and continuing in intervals up my body, joining my legs together, pinning my arms to my sides, slightly cutting into the base of my throat and sealing my eyes shut. I was aware of a sense of feeling tied and cut off, something that was not unfamiliar to me in the past if I allowed myself to become unconsciously encased in the right-sided world. Immediately following that fleeting awareness, I began to experience both a literal and a metaphorical loosening and lessening. Hearing the snapping, the breaking of my ties and Doña Maria's voice compelling something to let go, to shift, generated what I can only describe as an effervescent quality in the interior of my body that surrounded me as well. It was as though something was opened inside that was flowing outward in gentle waves. I knew from past experience this sensation to be an expansion of my subtle energy field. But it was different somehow.

The brushing of the wool over my head and face signaled to me that Doña Maria was collecting any remnants of heaviness that may have remained in my field. When I felt the yarn softly scratching my feet, I knew she was done. I opened my eyes and sensed rather than saw her deliver the soiled package to Gumercinda, who immediately departed from the room, the hucha, or heavy energy, safely restrained in her closely held skirts. Doña Maria gathered her simple instruments, dipped her head to us, and soon left as well.

Seated once again, I began to detach myself from my surroundings. But before I completely moved into a meditative state, I heard Don Américo remark that a man was waiting to run swiftly all the way down to the river to deposit the hucha, or heavy energy. The river would cleanse the heaviness, eventually carrying anything remaining to the sea where it would be dispersed.

A few hours later when we made our daily journey up the mountain to witness the transition of the day, I remarked to my friend that I felt like I had just emerged squeaky clean from a long, hot shower...*


As healing as it to undertake these rituals, engaging with the children of Mollamarka is just as nourishing. Their open, smiling faces and abject curiosity remind us that we can rediscover that in ourselves. One time a woman from the even higher mountain arrived hurriedly with her newborn. Having heard that our group of waikis was staying at Salk'awasi, she wanted us to name her child and conduct the baptism. Such was the trust and honor we were afforded.**

Another time when our group was walking on a nearby mountain trail we came across several giggling young boys carrying huge burlap sacks full of some bounty they kept from us. The next day during festivities, they performed the Dance of the Ancients, the contents of their bags, gathered from the land, turned into the costumes they wore.

Such are just a few memorable times in an out-of-the-way village in the Peruvian Andes, the generous people who make it home with traditions that, I hope, still have a long life ahead.


* Excerpted from Standing Stark: The Willingness to Engage by Carla Woody now available as an e-book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
** Waiki is a Quechua term of endearment, used freely, for a cherished friend, brother or sister.

For more information on Spiritual Travel to Peru: The Heart of the Andes and the work of Carla Woody, visit Kenosis or Kenosis Spirit Keepers.


Carla Woody is the author of Calling Our Spirits Home and Standing Stark. She founded Kenosis and Kenosis Spirit Keepers to support human potential and help preserve Indigenous wisdom traditions. She leads retreats internationally and regularly sponsors spiritual travel programs to Peru, Mexico and France. Carla is available to work with individuals and groups in the areas of transition, relationship, spiritual emergence and whole health. For more information, contact Kenosis at 928-778-1058 or

© 2011 Carla Woody. All rights reserved.

Special Events
For more information call Kenosis at (928) 778-1058 or e-mail to request a flyer. If you are interested in sponsoring a book signing or a workshop with Carla Woody, please contact us.

November 12-13   Spirit Keepers Series event featuring Eli PaintedCrow and Gregoria Molina, Wisdom Keepers of the Yaqui Nation and co-founders of Turtle Women Rising. Sponsored by Kenosis Spirit Keepers, the nonprofit arm of Kenosis, for Saturday evening talk and Sunday circle. Held Prescott, Arizona. For complete information on the event and how to purchase advanced discounted tickets, go to the Spirit Keepers Series page.

January 13-25   Entering the Maya Mysteries with Carla Woody, Alonso Mendez, Carol Karasik and Chip Morris. Spiritual travel to Chiapas, Mexico visiting ancient sacred Maya sites and participating in nearly extinct traditions. Through clearing rituals and ceremonial circles we engage with authentic Spirit Keepers living among their people: Dońa Panchita, curandera of Palenque; Don Antonio Martinez, the last elder of the Lacandón Maya maintaining his traditions; Tzotzil Maya religious leader and healer Don Xun Calixto; and Dońa Andrea Ruiz Lunes, practitioner of Tzotzil Maya women's medicine ways. This is an immersion experience in Maya cosmology, ceremony, medicine and arts. Group size limited.

A Spirit Keepers Journey co-sponsored by Kenosis and Kenosis Spirit Keepers. Bringing Hopi emissaries to reconnect with their Maya relations. Limited number partial young adult sponsorships available. Early registration until October 22: $2595. After October 22: $2695. Registration costs include automatic donation (tax-deductible for U.S. taxpayers) of $295 toward Kenosis Spirit Keepers programs. For more information, contact Kenosis at 928-778-1058 or

Note: Private groups may be arranged. If you have a group of 8-10, contact us for more information.

This is an adventure of the spirit!

LATE-BREAKING UPDATE: An already powerful program has just taken on more depth. Grandmother Mona Polacca, Member of the Intl. Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers, will be traveling with us and lending her presence to our journey. We're quite honored she has accepted our invitation.

February 25-26   Spirit Keepers Series event featuring Flordemayo, Maya visionary healer and member of the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers. Sponsored by Kenosis Spirit Keepers, the nonprofit arm of Kenosis, for Saturday evening talk and Sunday circle. Held Prescott, Arizona. For complete information on the event and how to purchase advanced discounted tickets, go to the Spirit Keepers Series page.

May 5-18   The Heart of the Andes. Spiritual travel to Peru working with internationally renowned mystic Don Américo Yábar, Gayle Yábar, Carla Woody, as well as Q'ero shamans and other healers. A Spirit Keepers Journey co-sponsored by Kenosis and Kenosis Spirit Keepers. bringing Hopi emissaries to reconnect with their with their Quechua relations. Early registration discount by March 5: $3095. After March 5: $3195. Registration costs include automatic donation (tax-deductible for U.S. taxpayers) of $495 toward Kenosis Spirit Keepers programs. For more information, contact Kenosis at 928-778-1058 or

Note: Private groups may be arranged. If you have a group of 8-10, contact us for more information.

This is an adventure of the spirit!

Ongoing   Spiritual Travel to France: La Source of Provence is available with Carla Woody. By special arrangement for small groups of five to six persons. May be booked up to one year in advance subject to availability. Integrates sacred sites of Mary Magdalen, art and old Provençal culture. Contact Kenosis at 928-778-1058 or

Ongoing   Private Consultation is available with Carla Woody in-person and via telephone or Skype. Addressing life direction, relationship, spiritual emergence and whole health. Integrating NLP, subtle energy work and sacred world traditions to make a lasting positive difference.

Contact Kenosis at 928-778-1058 or

More often than not, the publications or music you will find reviewed here will not be new or "bestsellers." Websites or organizations may not be well known. But all are spotlighted by virtue of their impact and value.

Peru: A League of Their Own
A film by Rodrigo Vazquez

This inspiring documentary short is a true look at Quechua gender roles and the devastating effect of recent natural disasters in Peru. It tells the story of a young woman named Juana in the village of Churubamba, located in the Cusco region, who took an unprecedented step outside roles traditional for a Quechua woman. She organized a women's soccer team, which served as a model that spread across a number of the communities. The teams weren't only about soccer but also served as a forum for the women to talk about their problems and band together to work for the benefit of all their families.

In the village of Kalla Rayan, a young woman named Felicitas gained entry into meetings reserved for men where she was voted as representative, along with the community president, for a special mission. The two were to find their way to Lima and, with no introduction, seek an audience with the next president to seek aid for the devastation wrought on their village by the floods.

It shows what can happen when any of us take a step off the beaten path. In this film, the starting point was one woman who wanted to play soccer, something taken up by some of the women in other communities and became huge; introduced more equality and potentially has saved one village. It reminds us to follow our dreams and trust the path where it leads - even if we can't see beyond the next footfall.

On another note, the landscape and villages in the film looked so familiar to me that I did a double-take as I watched. I must have traveled through some of the very same areas on my way to Mollamarka every year during our Heart of the Andes program.

Film length is 25 minutes. View it on Karma Tube.

— Carla Woody

© 2011 Kenosis LLC. All rights reserved.
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