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Our stay on the Bolivian shore of Lake Titicaca was in the town of Huatajata.  Our hotel featured a small museum and exhibits that explained local lore and culture.  It seemed to honor the indigenous people in a good way.  Native arts and crafts were featured in the Andean eco village, as well as something quite unexpected; the Limachi brothers, builders of the reed boats for Thor Heyerdhal's epic expeditions, lived in the cultural complex.  A full size reproduction of RA II was at the site.  Considering the short life of reed boats, it must have required full-time upkeep. 

An array of native flora and fauna lived on the grounds of our hotel, and included an extended family of guinea pigs that darted about their large enclosure at lightening speed, as well as some severely dreadlocked llamas.  Any of these creatures might have had one of their close relatives on the menu in the hotel's restaurant.  I declined tasting the local delicacy of guinea pig, as a couple of them had been wonderful family pets.  I did make a hearty attempt to chew through the toughest piece of meat I have ever encountered; a lean alpaca steak.  After a few bites I gave my tired jaws a break.  The local dogs were quite pleased at my choice.  We always saved our leftovers for the local critters.

What attracted our attention most in the cultural complex was a cave like building that contained exhibits, information and demonstrations regarding the local healers known as Kallawayas.  They practice ancient healing arts and have great understanding of medicinal plants and herbs of the area.  Diagnosis of a patient involves prayers of intent, then sometimes placing a guinea pig or rabbit on the patient's body.  The animal is then cut open and examined, and its internal condition is believed to reflect the condition of the patient. In depth personal interviews, coca leaf readings, and examination of a patient's excrement all give the healer more information so that a proper treatment can be formulated.  Animal parts as well as herbs are used as medicines, and dietary changes are often recommended

The Kallawayas treat the spirit, the body, and the mind. Kallawaya legend says that their healing powers come from the essence of one of the snowcapped peaks of the Andes. The Kallawayas were among the first to use antibiotics and quinine, and they know hundreds of natural medicines and remedies.  They practice a holistic approach, and recognize that for healing to occur naturally a patient's non-physical systems and energy fields must be considered.  The soul must be approached for the body to heal.  Mysticism and magic are combined with ancient studies and practical knowledge to create a trusted system of complete and natural healing.  Natural medicine doctors in Bolivia are legally accepted and practice with the same status as medical doctors.

 Tata Lorenzo, an indigenous natural medicine doctor, demonstrates coca tea leaf readings for all of his visitors from our hotel. We felt honored to observe these rituals which are integral healing tools of all Kallawayas.  He was available to give us personal readings, and we again felt quite honored to witness this ancient tradition.  In the smoky cave-like environment he burned plants and sang ancient songs and said prayers as he connected with our energies.  He then asked us through our guide and interpreter Marcos if we had a specific question for the reading.  We most certainly had great interest in information regarding the remaining months of our sacred sites journey.

Coca leaves that land face up when thrown during the reading are fortuitous omens.  When Tata Lorenzo threw leaves for me as he asked the Spirits questions about the future of my trip, it became clear that I was very well protected.  Two leaves fell directly upon the leaf that represented me, both of them upright.  This was a very positive sign, and guaranteed a safe and happy experience for me as I traveled.  I resonated with this gratefully and fully.

Dan's reading revealed that some vulnerable moments awaited him as we traveled. I was told that my energy was strong enough to help Dan through his difficult times.  Many weeks later, there was a moment when we were in Varanasi, India when I realized and accepted that I had totally shielded him from some intense and discordant energies. My body suffered a bit and literally passed acid for days, but somehow I wasn't slowed down much at all.  I was always able to clear what my body needed to clear at convenient times.  I was immensely grateful for this, considering the lack of sanitary facilities in India.  

Dan was totally unscathed and unaffected in Varanasi, and may not have fared well if the energies had been allowed to impact him fully.  The information in Tata’s reading agreed with a reading that we had in Sedona before we departed the United States.  That reading from a friend of ours also informed us that some energies in India might impact Dan negatively.  We were thankful for the information, and exchanged gifts with the healer at the end of our session.
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