Over the last few years, out of the blue, someone would randomly mention that I “needed” to meet a ceremonial leader from Peru who lived “somewhere near Santa Fe”. Each time, a few more details were revealed but never his name. I’m not certain if those urging me to connect actually knew his name or even realized that might be an important detail! This past summer, I participated in the Gamechanger Intensive through the Pachamama Alliance. Over the course of 8 weeks, we learned from a variety of thought-leaders and teachers through videos, excerpts from writings, and within our weekly small group meetings. While each teaching or lesson revealed a deeper opportunity to connect and learn, one stood out for me: Arkan Lushwala, an Andean Ceremonial Leader. Arkan, as it turns out, was in fact, the very person I had been guided to connect with on multiple occasions! And he was less than an hour away! We met on a beautiful, sunny day this past fall, on the land he is the custodian of, outside Santa Fe. I brought green chile (hot, as requested!) and jars of preserves for he and his beautiful family. Normally, he would return to Peru for the winter but the pandemic has kept him here. It was not luck but a precious gift I was given to find myself sitting with Arkan while his daughter played nearby, the ancestors of the land very much present. We talked about his life and work, his vision for the land, and how the mission of the Sacred Fire Foundation intersects with his. It is difficult to put into words how deeply grateful I was and continue to be, to have been able to connect with Arkan, especially during these times. Driving back to Santa Fe, I felt a sense of peace I had not experienced in many months. I felt as if I were actually in my body. My breath was even. My spirit was calm. My soul nourished. Before I left, I asked Arkan if he might consider sharing a message as we approached the end of the year and the beginning of the next. Perhaps his message might also provide some comfort and hope to others. He graciously agreed and we’re honored to share it with you today– on the Winter Solstice. Whatever you celebrate, wherever you may be – we wish you comfort and joy. We offer you community and connection. You are the spark that keeps the Sacred Fires burning – tended by our Indigenous Sisters and Brothers – for the benefit of all people everywhere and for future generations.
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