The party of tourists at the "Utah Rock" in Sacsayhuaman an Inca
religious site and fortress above Cusco. Utah does have good rocks
that we miss.
Our time is drawing into the last months of our mission in Peru. We continue to travel given the opportunity. In a week we will travel north to Bandurria. It holds the most recent claim as the oldest urban center in the Americas and is part of the Norte Chico/Caral Supe civilization. It features more pre-ceramic, and monumental architecture, as well as sunken circular plazas that seems to be a part of all of the sacred sites in Peru we have visited.
Alice and Kyle. He was a missionary in Peru a dozen
years ago, as was his father before him. Grandson
Jack indicates he would like to be a missionary here one
|Em, Alice and Kyle on a reed boat, Lake Titicaca Peru|
|A view of a neighboring boat being rowed by several of the Uros|
We stopped at Raqchi on our bus trip to Lake Titicaca.
It is a 15th century Inca temple of Viracocha.
Earlier in the month we visited a site known as Pachacamac, about 40 km south of Lima along the PanAmerican Highway. Construction probably began on the site more than a thousand years before the Inca. In Pre-Inca myth Pachacamac was the creator god. Because he was an invisible god he had to be represented as a totem. One side was depicted as a male and the opposite a female figure. This duality is universal in Peru's history. Eventually a complex of some 17 temples or pyramids would be constructed on the site. When the Inca arrived early in the 1400's they allowed the locals to continue to practice their religion, but added their own Temple of the Sun or Inti as he was called. It was the New World equivalent of the Oracle of Delphi. There Pachacamac would intercede in the lives of the petitioners as well as give direction and instructions to the solicitous. Pachacamac was also the god of earthquakes and therefore required propitiation or sacrifice.
|The two of us at Pachacamac on one of the 17 temple mounds or pyramids|
With our English speaking guide Miriam. She has a degree from the
prestigious University of San Marcos in Lima.
The terracing of the island provides cultivatable garden space for several
varieties of potatoes, corn, beans, including fava beans or habas verdes,
onions, peppers and more.
The Island of the Sun or the Isla del Sol in the distance. Maybe on another
trip we can visit this island and the accompanying ruins at Tiwanaku.
|Early Inca ruins on the Isla del Sol|
One of our dear friends and fellow temple workers in the
Lima Temple Sister Rosa.
Our day jobs in Peru and our experience of working in a temple for a number of years elsewhere have us agreeing with the good professor about sacred places, places that were open to ritual, meditation and contemplation. From those who inhabited this land centuries ago their whole world was a sacred place. Our lives have become so economic and practical in their orientation that as we get older, the claims of the moment upon you are so great, you hardly know where the h+** you are, he says, and what it is you intended. We are always so busy doing something that is required of us. He asks, "Where is your bliss station? You have to try and find it...put on music that you really love, or get the book you like to read. In your sacred place you get the sense of the "thou," the sense of the awe of things Goethe wrote about. Continuing he urges us to "...follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are--if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time."
The Chartres Cathedral built in the 12th Century has
survived with its original stain glass windows. Going
through a ritual day after day can keep us in touch with
our spiritual life and "keeps you on the line," according
Joseph Campbell's favorite place of ritual, meditation, and contemplation was the Cathedral of Chartres in France. In the medieval towns of Europe they dominated the skyline and the surrounding countryside, much in the same manner of the pyramids and temples of the ancients here in Peru. He regrets the decline in the use and loss of such sites today, concluding with his observation, "Since about the year 1914 there has been evident in our progressive world an increasing disregard and even disdain for those ritual forms that once brought forth, and up to now have sustained, this infinitely rich and fruitfully developing civilization." We continue to enjoy what we do here in Lima and the people we work with each day. The meaning of what we experience is deepened as we have visited these impressive sites from ages past. It is ironic to me that in this land of 10,000 temples, huacas or sacred places, and pyramids, we work and are most appreciative to be doing so in the Lima Peru Temple. As President Hinckley observed, "The Temple is concerned with the things of immortality, a bridge between this life and the next. It is a symbol of and faith in the immortality of the human soul."