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Christopher Birck

Suzanne Jacobs
Sacred Traditions
April 27, 2015
Sacred Journey: The Lagoons of the Huaringas, Peru
A Pilgrimage of Healing
People who seek the healing of illness, woes, or any other
affliction can make the pilgrimage along the 14 ponds and lakes of the
Huaringas (meaning sacred lakes) of Peru to take part in rituals and
ceremonies lead by a teacher (shaman or medicine man). The
pilgrim is cleansed by means of sacred
objects and rituals before bathing in the
lagoons of Huaringas. It is believed that
this pilgrimage is capable of healing
anything from depression to the common
cold. It does not seem to be limited to people living in the region, and
that anybody can take part in this pilgrimage.

The Huaringas (Sacred Space)

The Huaringas are believed to have
healing power and give positive vibes. Each
individual lake or pond is believed to have
its own characteristics and unique qualities
of healing, and that there are specific locations in each that are
especially potent in its properties. They are all believed to be feminine

in spirit, and are the spouses of the highest nearby hill (which are
masculine in spirit). It is believed that Shaman, or teachers,
discovered the healing property of the Huaringas centuries ago.
However, the teachers believe that the spirit of the largest of the
lakes has been mistreated and has lost most of its power.
The Journey (Sacred Rituals, Objects, Time)
The journey begins at nighttime with a purification ceremony,
often involving prayer, anointing with oils, being blessed with sacred
objects (shells, stones, swords, other
tools) and the teacher inhaling the
fumes of boiled San Pedro cactus, a
hallucinogenic medium used to
communicate with the spirit world and
diagnose the pilgrims. The pilgrim is to offer an object his/her own to
be blessed by the teacher.
Following the formal ceremony the
night is spent talking with the
teacher about ones pains and
struggles in this world.
At dawn, the teacher leads the pilgrims to one of the
Huaringas, where they take part in bathing rituals in specific parts of
the lake. There is often chanting, more use of oils and herbs, and
blessings with sacred objects in this stage of the pilgrimage. The

purification ceremony is meant to cleanse the pilgrim of negativity and

hatred because both the pilgrims and the teachers must have
genuinely ood intentions when partaking in the bathing rituals. Should
the powers of the Huaringas be
used for negative purposes, they
will cease to exist.
This process of purification
and healing can be repeated for
each of the 14 Lagoons of the
Huaringas, since each lake has its own unique power. Upon bathing in
the last lake, the pilgrims are blessed
by the teacher and are left
refreshed, renewed, and healed under
the rising sun surrounded by the
beautiful scenery of the Peruvian
mountains and valleys.
This pilgrimage is most often taken during the summer months,
when daylight hours are highest. The teachers believe that there is a
certain power to the daytime. For this reason, many rituals and
blessings are given during the break of dawn and before sunset.
Although different from most pilgrimages in that a person of any
religion can partake in this journey of healing, it can still prove to be a
powerful experience. The Lagoons of the Huaringas have been a

destination for pilgrims seeking healing for many years and attract just
as many people today. The rituals and ceremonies performed by the
teachers and Shaman all over the world have been practiced for
centuries and should be held with respect and an open mind, despite
any skepticism one may have.