I’m getting ready to take a group to Peru for a two-week spiritual, energetic and possibly life changing experience. It’s my first time. For many years, friends and students have been asking, “When will you take us to Peru???” My answer was always the same, “Never.”
I felt Peru belonged to my original teacher of all things Andean, Juan Nunez del Prado. How could I possibly bring a group there without his guidance and leadership? After all, he’s the Master.

This past October I journeyed to Peru for the first time without Juan. Almost immediately after getting off the plane, I felt something stir deep within my soul. I felt fabulous and amazing; my energy was so refined, and within two days, I knew I could bring a group. I felt Peru inside of me and realized we have our own relationship, one that awakened eighteen years ago with Juan and is now solid enough to stand alone. Although in Peru one is never alone, for the energies and spirits of Pachamama, the Apus, sacred sites and Peruvian people are ever-present.

I recently saw Juan and his son, Ivan, for a week of Andean Path teachings. I’d never done that before, sat in a workshop with Juan for eight hours a day for six days. Listening, taking notes, participating in experiential exercises. Over the years, I learned “in the field” – in vans, restaurants and trains. At the ruins of sacred sites. In ceremonies. Creating despachos. Walking up a steep mountain. Sitting at the base of a glacier with Q’ero elders. In a cave.

On Valentines Day weekend 1997, Juan came to my house and helped ground and give context to my then recent shamanic initiation. A few of us spent the weekend with him amongst the trees at Muir Woods and Redwood Park. I had a vision one day, and Juan anointed me. I’m moved to tears with the gratitude I’ll always feel for his presence that weekend; he really helped me integrate and move forward.

I had a visitation from Putu Cusi, the only female mountain at Machu Picchu, soon after I returned from my first trip in 1996. She asked me to do a specific task for Her, and I agreed. The following summer, a few of us spent a month with Juan in Bolivia and Peru. He was very supportive of my relationship with Putu Cusi and arranged for us to stay in Aguas Calientes an extra day so we could do the ceremony. After a surprisingly powerful experience for everyone, as Juan and I walked back into town together he chastised me for my indecision about something. Juan said, “a master always knows.” I’ve never forgotten that teaching. I especially took it to heart a few years later when I was with a small group of friends in western Tibet at the north face of Mount Kailash doing a ceremony for the planet.

How can I possibly bring a group to Peru without Juan’s guidance and leadership? Because my Inka seed, first fertilized by him in 1996, has grown and flourished. And it’s been bountifully nourished ever since, with his help and my own. Now Peru, and all She is, lives and grows inside of me. As I take this next step along my path and bring a group to visit Her for the first of what I hope will be many more trips, I must say:

I’M GRATEFUL, FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART, TO MY TEACHER, JUAN NUNEZ DEL PRADO. THANK YOU FOR PAVING THE PATH.

This is a picture of Juan and I in 1997 after the ceremony for Putu Cusi:
Annie with Juan Nunez del Prado