I was invited by a dear girlfriend in late October, 2011 to an event in Ojai California where Don Alverto Taxo was doing a public talk.
It was synchronistic that he would be in CA, and close to Los Angeles!
I am still living here until I move to Ecuador and make it my home base this summer. So I went, and as it were, he agreed to be one of our guest teachers. He lives in Ecuador, about 2 hours away from us (near Cotopaxi). He visits the US, Ojai in particular, quite often!
Don Alverto Taxo is a master Yachak (Shaman in Quechwa) of the Atis (Quechwa) people. He was given the highest honor of Master Yachak by the Shamanic Council of South America in 1989 at a large gathering of Andean Elders. Don Alverto has been sharing ancestral wisdom for over seventeen years in the United States and Europe.
His main teachings for the past decade have been on the coming together of cultures, marking the fulfillment of the Eagle and the Condor prophecy. BINGO! :)
How befitting that we connect! The whole synchronicity was very "alchemistic" as another good friend often says, referring to the book written by Paulo Coelho. It was quite fortuitous and I am eternally grateful for being in this flow of synchronicities that are bringing great teachers forward to participate in these projects of harmony.
The prophecy itself refers to harmony lying within each person through the balance of heart and mind — as well as in the world at large. And how it is unfolding, now.
I met up again in Ojai, with Don Alverto for a beautiful winter solstice ceremony (see images below).
The winter solstice marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. It is a powerful awakening each year, this night of dreams, is to be approached in sacred manner. In Shamanism, the "gift" of a vision is not realized until acted upon, manifested or "danced" into this reality. This is the "Great Truth" of our walking between the worlds, at any time of the year, but especially during this time.
Before the industrial revolution, people’s lives were intimately tied to the seasons, and we developed traditions to express and mark these transitional times in unique ways. Each season had its own meanings and customs, and these were represented in the symbols developed for the celebrations; for example, Spring was about the rebirth of life on earth, Summer about cultivation and fruitfulness, Autumn about harvest and spiritual attunement, and winter is about the return of light in the midst of darkness.
It is widely known that the darkest hour of the night is just before dawn, and here too the darkest night of the year holds the promise of the gradual return of light, bringing a new cycle of life. He asked us to reflect on what was required to sacrifice in order to bring about a new way of being. Don Alverto had us each give an offering to the central fire we were circling. What we were letting go of, we wrote on parchment paper and symbolically burned. Don Alverto felt deeply giving the offering of his long locks, never having cut them before. He said that in these times, great offerings and sacrifices are required to bring back the light (more goodness into our world), our dreams/visions for the coming year. We also offered these into the fire and let the wind carry them out...
Drawing from the symbolic and the mythic traditions described above, we were asked to think of how each of us can embody the sun – becoming a shining center of creativity, generosity and a source of new life. How do we best use our time to benefit the larger whole starting from ourselves and extending it to all life on earth?
So, Don Alverto asked us to immerse ourselves in this wonderful and mysterious universal drama, taking clues from its rich language of symbols and customs that have been enacted by humans for thousands of years, making it personal and meaningful in our lives. It was quite special, more so than any New Years or any other celebration I can remember.
I am looking forward to working with him in Ecuador. These ritualistic ceremonies (missing from today's society) are what I believe add a rich meaning to our goals and dreams for each of us and our communities.
I think no one, past or present, has explained human myth & ritual better than Joseph Campbell:
"A ritual is the enactment of a myth. And, by participating in the ritual, you are participating in the myth. And since myth is a projection of the depth wisdom of the psyche, by participating in a ritual, participating in the myth, you are being, as it were, put in accord with that wisdom, which is the wisdom that is inherent within you anyhow. Your consciousness is being re-minded of the wisdom of your own life."
"I think ritual is terribly important."
From "The Wisdom of Joseph Campbell," New Dimensions Radio Interview with Michael Toms, Tape I, Side 2
Don Alverto's website: http://www.ushai.com/
Thank you for reading,