Choquequirao 's spirits

Meeting Choquequirao’s spirits

A story full of adventure and mystical experiences

To read about our trip to Peru and see our photo & video gallery click here

On the final straight to Choquequirao

It was only a couple of hours hiking between us and Choquequirao, which symbolized the manifestation of our intention of freedom in the physical level. As we slowly entered a state of prayer while hiking, some could intensely feel the emotional spirit of sorrow so to be recognized and to be overcome. A few others saw snakes, the symbol of wisdom, sexual energy and flexibility where normally no one would except to see one.

My higher intention for this pilgrimage was to attain full freedom from all fears and to find liberation. The moment I set my foot on the final part of the path to Choqueuquirao tremendous fear arose and lasted till I came close to the ruins. By every step my fear was growing stronger and stronger but I knew I had to endure it, to stay as much as possible unattached to it and aware. Easier to say than to do but my intention was higher.

What happened to the Shaman?

As the night started falling slowly in the mountains it was time for us to return to our camp on the base of Choquequirao city. The Andes is a beautiful place but you do not want to be wandering around in the mountains at night. Almost everybody had settled in the camp and the cooking preparations had already begun. Everybody but one…….Our small group was under the guidance of the Shaman Northern Deer who was last seen on the way to Choquequirao ruins. But where was he? We were sure he was right behind us….

Immediately alarm went on to our small group and our guide and two other Peruvian friends set of in the night to find him and bring him back. But apart from the main road that everybody took for the last bit of the road to the ruins there were two more narrow paths leading as well to the ruins. The three friends were split and each one took a different path. From our camp we could see thunders falling behind the mountains. Was a storm coming? Were we taking part in a movie or a prank? It all seemed so “dreamy”.

While we were waiting unable to do anything else, with the adrenaline heating sky high, the following parallel stories were taking place.

The Shaman and the spirit of the horse

Northern Deer arrived at the ruins from one of the narrow paths but it was already dark, the night had fallen. It was impossible to visit all the ruins, he could not see properly in the darkness. But it was impossible to leave without performing a shamanic ceremony with his drum, thanking the spirits of the place for welcoming us all. So he did.

After the ceremony was finished it was time to come back at the camp, but as it was very dark he decided to take the normal main road that everybody else had followed before. This road on one side had walls from the ruins and on the other side cliffs and was also very narrow.  As he started moving on this path, a crazy horse passed galloping with high speed, making him attach himself last minute on the walls as they could not both of them fit in this narrow passage. He was lucky enough that the horse did not push him over the path to the cliffs.

A peaceful companion

The horse was throbbing and striking his foot on the ground, blocking the path in front him. Although the reactions of the horse were strange he did not feel fear but he decided it was better not to take his chances so he went back to take the path that originally led him to Choquequirao. The path was very steep and at the edge was the abyss, so he should also here be really careful.

After walking the path for ten minutes or more in complete darkness, suddenly he sensed something following him. He turned around and he saw the horse two meters from him, she had been following him quietly all this time. He was surprised seeing the horse suddenly and the horse got even more surprised by this reaction and turned around and vanished galloping in the night.  What was this sign he wondered but it was already late the other must have been looking for him.

The two silent figures

On the same time our guide Julio had taken the main path leading to the ruins in search of the Shaman. On his way he met two people coming down the path. “Thank God” he thought they might have seen the Shaman. So he stopped to ask them. At first glance they did not seem to look foreigners or tourists because of their clothes. For sure they were locals; they seemed like locals but not quite. Something was confusing about them. Their clothes were different plus they were wearing some big black round hats. Living all his life in Peru he had never seen before this kind of hats. He decided to speak to them in their local Quechua language.

He asked them if they have seen a foreigner going up or down this path but the two figures remained silent. They both turned on the direction of the Choquequirao and pointed the ruins with their finger. “They might not speak Quechua” he thought. So he decided to ask them once again the same thing in Spanish. Again the reaction was the same. Staying completely silent they turned and pointed for the second time both of them towards the ruins. They gave him a bit the chills and thought that these people where really strange; asking them a question and don‘t replying back… Plus their clothes and hats are really weird….. But he was on a mission finding the Shaman so he thanked them and quickly moved on.

Mor and Mara

At the same time at the camp the preparations for dinner were continuing, life must go on my friends. But the rest of us were feeling restless. The paths were steep and narrow and it was pitch black. The thunders were continuing falling behind the mountains but they seemed far enough. Hopefully the storm was not coming towards Choquequirao. We decided that we had to calm down; there was nothing else that we could do. Everything now was in the hands of the spirits of the place. But I could not relax so I went into my tent hoping to empty my mind.

In the tent I found a tarot deck illustrating images from Siberian shamanism. I never knew how to read this tarot deck but I decided to give it a go looking for a positive sign. I took a deep breath, mixed the cards and picked up one. It was a strange card. I did not know how to interpret this. It was illustrating two figures of old people, a man and a woman wearing black cloaks and underneath it was written “Mor and Mara”. What on earth could that mean?

The figures seemed a bit scary…Anyway I decided to try one more time from the beginning. Again I took a deep breath, mixed the cards really well and chose a card. To my great surprise it was the same card again! No way! This must be a coincidence. I decided to try one last time. No need to say by now what was the card I picked right? Of course,  “Mor and Mara.”. The whole thing made me shudder and left my tent immediately to go and tell the others…

Reunited around dinner table

From far away towards the direction of the ruins we could see a small light moving through the trees. Was it the Shaman or the friend going after him? We started screaming so he could hear us but the wind was blowing really hard and the sound of our voices was traveling to the opposite direction. After a little while we could spot another light moving towards the first one.

Northern Deer was finally found by one of the other two Peruvian friends on his way down and was safely  returned to the camp. Our guide meeting these strange figures and not having found the Shaman returned to the camp where finally he found Northern Deer waiting for him there. The adrenaline returned to normal levels and it was time to share our stories around the table.

The spirits of the Pilgrimage

Some days after our guide informed us that he was so curious about these people that he met in the middle of the night in the mountains that he asked his aunt about it.  His aunt, who had knowledge of the local ancient spiritual traditions explained to him that the huts that these two figures were wearing, people used to wear them very long time ago in different special occasions and also funerals. Her explanation was that these figures where the spirits of Choquequirao and of the mountains welcoming us and there was nothing to be afraid of. We were finally accepted. I couldn’t help but wondering where this two figures connected somehow with “Mor and Mara”, the card that I picked up that night from the Siberian tarot deck?

Our guide has been leading groups to Choquequirao for several years and he was so amazed as it was the first time he ever encountered in his life and treks something like this. This group of people were really very different.

The gift of Choquequirao

We left behind our lives in our countries in quest of an adventure both spiritually and physically and we got it! More than that we let our personal stories become outlived in the mountain. Since this trip our lives had greatly changed and evolved. Nobody can deny at the end that something big and powerful has happened. The days passed, our trip came to the end. In the airport we said goodbye and each one took his way back to his life. But we knew that something had touched us deeply and changed us permanently. It was something good and now it would be connecting us for the rest of our lives.

Love & Blessings,

Diana Arte
















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