In 1997, I took a couple of days off from my job in La Paz, Bolivia, and bought a bus ticket to the village of Uyuni so that I could visit the Salar de Uyuni. The Salar is the largest salt flat, 11,000 square km or about 4,400 square miles (see the image of Bolivia below), in the world. After a long, long bus ride that included getting off of the bus with the rest of passengers, slinging on my backpack (I learned years earlier to travel in Bolivia with a backpack and not a suitcase), and slogging across a swollen river that was too deep for the bus to cross to a waiting flat-bed truck that took the villagers and me the rest of the way to Uyuni. I spent the night in my sleeping bag behind the Catholic church in Uyuni and then caught a ride out onto the Salar the next morning where I booked a room for a couple of nights at a small hotel on the salt flat. The hotel itself was fascinating. The walls, floor, tables and chairs, and even beds were all constructed out of salt blocks. After a simple dinner I walked outside at sunset and then made the decision to take a real journey.
I walked for about thirty minutes, watched the sunset in the West, and then turned around in the twilight and picked out a constellation that was just visible over the hotel. I turned my back on the hotel and picked out a star that was just visible about three finger widths above the Western horizon and walked towards it for the next hour or so in the dark. When I finally turned around I couldn't even see the flickering lights of the candles in the salt-palace hotel. No problem, the constellation was still there. I laid down on the salt bed of the Salar and looked up into the night sky. I had never seen the night sky so vibrant, it seemed to be alive. The Milky Way was full of colors. As I laid on the salt tears streamed down my cheeks as I absorbed the beauty and majesty of the night sky . . . something our ancestors knew but something that most of us will never see.
After enjoying my time stargazing I turned around, found the constellation that I had picked out as my guide in the East and started walking towards it. About 70 minutes later I could see the lights of the salt hotel in the distance. The constellation wasn't right over top the hotel any more but a slight course correction got me back on track. The sky, the stars and planets, are like that. They can be our guides if we let them. To learn more about how the celestial forces influence us click here.
Sometime this Spring get out of the city, away from light pollution, and into nature. Check the weather forecast to make sure that your destination will have a clear sky. Get away, or at least away as possible, from all ambient light and then lay down on Pachamama and dive into the sky where Inti Tayta lives. See the sky as your ancestors saw it. Feel the energy of the planets and stars. Wonder at their influence on your life, they too have energy.
I'm Dr. Dave, an eclectic shaman. I lived and worked in Bolivia and Peru for over six years, where I and was trained by Andean Shamans, and today practice eclectic shamanism.