I’ve always had a good awareness of who I was as a person and who I’ve always wanted to be, but I never realized before this moment that I struggled to find identity. What did I identify with? Who did I relate to? Why did I feel like I never “fit in”? When would I find something to believe in? How could I be alone?
Well come to find out, I’m not alone. The people and culture I found that I identify with were almost touching the sky and thriving in a different time period then I was. Unfortunately, these people and their way of living is long gone, but their culture still lives on. Thanks to the people of Peru, who are more than happy to tell you about the Incas, these people live on today through stories.
Machu Picchu is one of the many citadels the Incas built around the 15th century. Located about 2,430 meters (7,972 feet) in the Eastern part of the Andes mountain range and completely built from stone, that is fit together so tightly not even a credit card can be slide into the cracks. Thanks to a Yale professor named Hiram Bingham, who founded the “lost city” in 1911, tourists and locals from everywhere can enjoy the beauty and spirituality of Machu Picchu.
However, I find the people who lived in Machu Picchu slightly more interesting. Within the matter of about 140 years, the Incas were able to extend their empire from Quito, in the north, to Santiago, in the south. Wherever they went they left a trail of massive buildings, which are so well constructed they still stand on there own today, and proof that they were able to adapt to the harsh landscape of the Andes.
It is believed by the locals that Machu Picchu was a citadel only for the most gifted and talented people from different districts in the empire, and these people had to be invited by the king who lived there. For example, artisans, priests, and astronomers were invited. There is also a strong belief in duality for the Incas: the physical and spiritual. This duality shows in the Aldean Cross, or the Chakana in the language Quechua. The Chakana is considered to be the most complete, holy, geometric design the Incas made.
When Machu Picchu was being excavated they found approximately 174 mummies in fetal position and also facing the sunrise on the winter solstice on June 21st. On this day the sun will rise over the mountains and the first light will shine right through the door of the room these mummies were found. They say that the Incas believed that if a person was placed in fetal position they would be able to be reincarnated.
The ride back to Cusco was a sad one for me because I was leaving a place that I connected to on a spiritual level, especially during the sunrise. Being in Machu Picchu for the sunrise hit me emotionally and spiritually, the feeling of unity was incredible. It’s still even hard to believe that after almost 19 years I found something I identified with, I found someone to relate to, I found something to believe in, I found a piece of my yellow brick road.
I’m extremely lucky to have been able to experience this at such a young age and I honestly can’t thank anybody else but my family for this amazing opportunity and to have the chance to find myself as a person, to find my identity. I found that it took me to travel to a different country, to speak a completely different language, to live in a different culture, to find where my spirit has been the whole time, and I just so happen to be lucky enough to cross off one of the seven wonders off my bucket list.This entry was posted in 2016, Cusco