Scarsdale Residents Learn Peruvian Traditions at the Greenburgh Nature Center

The Greenburgh Nature Center partnered with the Sierra Club Lower Hudson Chapter to host a night of sacred dancing and rituals.

The Greenburgh Nature Center partnered with the Sierra Club Lower Hudson Chapter to host a night of sacred dancing and rituals on Wednesday, June 8. Scarsdale residents and Sierra Club members showed up to learn earth-honoring rituals based in ancient Peruvian traditions.

The night began with a presentation from Dorothy “D’oro” Cunha on The Pachakuti Mesa Tradition: Cross-Cultural Shamanic Arts for Personal and Planetary Renewal. The group of us stood circling around a mesa, and D’oro explained we needed to open the circle before we could begin the Pachamama Renewal.

The quadrangular mesa was placed in the center on the floor. The five items were positioned in a way to resemble the directions of a compass. At the North was “Wiracocha” (Creator), positioned at the East was “Inti” (Sun), the South represented “Pachamama” (Earth Mother), West was “Mama Killa” (Moon) and at the center was “K′uychi” (Sacred Rainbow).

Facing the mesa with our palms out in front, we chanted each of the five primordial powers three times, making sure to inhale deeply before each set of chants. According to D’oro, we were transferring our energy through our bodies into the circle, “creating a community of energy.”

Interestingly, the pronunciation of the five primordial powers was unique in articulation, stress and pitch. We had to listen carefully to D’oro before repeating to make sure we correctly chanted the words in unison.

Following the chant, we returned to our seats. Still in a circle formation, D’oro approached one participant handing him a long feather from her right hand. She instructed us to first take the feather with our left hand, second to speak our name in the direction of the mesa while holding the feather close to our mouths, and lastly, to pass on the feather to the next person with our right hand.

One participant, who also happened to be Peruvian, commented that she felt “tingling” during the chants. D’oro explained that the feeling was common, and that some may also feel heat.

D’oro then showed us a slideshow on the history of the Pachakuti Mesa tradition of cross-cultural shamanism and the beliefs of her teacher don Oscar Miro-Quesada Solevo.

don Oscar fused the two ancestral shamanic traditions with “emergent understanding of consciousness, cross-cultural wisdom traditions and heart-sourced spiritual paths.” One tradition’s ethos was spiritual truth and an impeccable life, while the other placed its values on being a responsible and productive member of the community.

Photos of Peru’s landscape, the Peruvian people and the Incan ruins like the Coricancha or the Temple of the Sun saturated D’oro’s slideshow. Seeing the photos added to the learning experience of this sacred Peruvian tradition and allowed us to immerse ourselves in their culture.

“These traditions don’t speak to your mind, but your heart,” D'oro said. "We are here to teach love by the way we live.”

D'oro elaborated more on the essential teachings of the Pachakuti Mesa, describing them as “supporting the creation of a sustainable and restorative earth-honoring culture befitting the seven generations (future generations).”

“The Pachamama Renewal renews your connection with nature and all of the natural elements earth, water, wind, air and fire,”  D'oro said, recommending that the practice was best done outdoors at noon and barefoot. GNC’s Environmental Projects Coordinator Anne Jaffe Holmes suggested the summer solstice on June 21.

D’oro ended her segment by showing us a sacred Pachamama Renewal dance and sprinkling the citrus-smelling Florida Water into our cupped hands. We were to clap our hands together a few times, inhale the scent and then wave our hands over our head and body.

After the presentation, many of the participants stayed behind to perform even more sacred dances led by Sierra Club member Jean Ando.

For more information on the Pachakuti Mesa tradition, visit the Center's website for don Oscar's teachings. 


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