In the land of the Andes, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia there is a guiding principle that the communities and people live by called “Ayni.” Ayni is the exchange of energy that creates sacred reciprocity and interchange. Balance and equilibrium amongst all of life, people, animals, and nature. To accomplish Ayni within the “natural world” is paramount within the Andean culture and everyday life.
Ayni is a Quechua word, the original language of the ancestors of the lands. The everyday ritual and concept of Ayni states “today for me, tomorrow for you.” This ritual practice of reciprocity continues to be ingrained generation after generation, passed down within the family and community. Ayni creates daily harmonious living, each gives and takes, always mindful of creating & maintaining balance.
The reverent importance of creating Ayni within the natural world is maintained through the continued traditional rituals and ceremonial observances of Andean culture. Prayers and rituals gifted to Pachamama, the Earth Mother, and the venerated mountain spirits-the Apus, are a common occurance in Andean daily life. Just a few examples of ceremonial practices include the despacho and coca leaf rituals.
Prayer bundles known as “despachos” are ritually assembled in a sacred ceremonial setting then burned or buried in the Earth Mother. Despachos specifically honor the natural world, cycles, and Pachamama’s lifeforms. Each ritual ingredient symbolizes a part of the whole. The way of life, from grains, livestock, home life, ancestors, the elements of nature, sun, stars, galaxies, clouds, rainbows in the sky. Births, marriages, new homes, jobs, pilgrimages, and death, passing of the calendar year of traditional festivities, moon cycles, solstices and equinoxes as well as planting and harvesting times are just some of the despachos gifted in ayni.
Another powerful common practice is the ritual offerings of the sacred “coca leaves”. Prayers are blown into the leaves, usually in a grouping of 3 referred to as a kintu, representing the cosmology of the 3 worlds of our existence. The inner world, the waking world of life, and the upper world of spirit. Traditionally this has been done forever. The spirits “recognize” the sacred act of the coca leaf offered ritualistically at sacred sites for the ancestors, and given to the Apus to offer gratitude for their tutelary guardianship and connection to the spirit world. Coca leaf ceremonies and divination are common practices in the Andean life, and asking in return for harmony within the family and community, good health, a generous harvest. Life in this way is animated, in each moment connected to nature, not separate.
Here in the modern world, we strive to connect with our spiritual nature, with harmonious balance, everyday joy and celebration. Gratitude for each moment, each aspect of life, including celebrationand challenges, creates Ayni. As we approachAutumn of life here in the northern hemisphere, our harvesting of crops, the “seeds” of life we planted in the spring of our yearly cycle, offer daily gratitude and approach the concept of Ayni to maintain balance and reverence for your life, family and community. Pachamama naturally aligns us with cosmic balance in each Equinox as we experience nature offering the balance of night and day, Stars and Moon, and Sun. A perfect gift ofAYNI from our cosmic origins in the heavens! In each moment, in each breath, in each thought, in each action create Ayni in in your own sacred ceremonial way. Take a walk in nature in your neighborhood and bless each breath from the plant life around you, the sun & clouds in the sky, the chirping of bird songs and each sound of nature, the sight of each gift of Pachamama’s creatures, down to the tiniest ant or worm. All are creations from our Earth Mother and maintain nature’s balance.
Why wait for Thanksgiving, why wait for the Fall Harvest? Ceremoniously offer your ayni in each day! Here in the America’s a small offering of tobacco or cornmeal is a “gift” for the ancestors of this land, recognized ritually from our original people that lived in harmony and in Ayni upon Pachamama’s belly.
From the Andean view, to live harmoniously it is essential to bring balance to the relationship between human beings and the forces of nature. This is accomplished by attuning oneself to the natural world by way of ceremony and ritual. Through these sacred interchanges we live in Ayni, reciprocity and right relationship, with our fellow earthkeepers and our environment. We begin to feel our interconnection with all of Earth and perceive the elements – the stones, sun, rivers, birds, wind, flowers – as beings with a Spirit. I offer individuals and groups the following ceremonies and rituals to initiate and deepen their connection:
As a healer and curandera for the past 25 years, Mona is gifted in bridging ancient shamanic traditions and holistic healing practices. Her life path is assisting others to cross over vital bridges within themselves, whether it’s from one state of consciousness to another, from the mind to the heart, and/or from dis-ease to well-being and empowerment.
Mona’s extensive trainings in holistic medicine includes 12 years employed in comprehensive outpatient physical therapy, working closely with orthopaedists, neurologists, dentists, naturopaths, acupuncturists, psychologists.
She has studied Craniosacral Therapy and Acupressure at the Upledger Institute, taking advanced course trainings, including therapeutic imagery & “speaking” with the consciousness of the body/mind/spirit (biofeedback). As well, Mona studied Transpersonal Psychology at the Synthesis Institute in Miami.
In 1998, Mona Rain experienced her own “shamanic death” from a vaccine poisoning and this experience further propelled Mona to seek shamanic connection and instruction. She found the Yachak fire shamans in Ecuador and was initiated into her Path of Light and the Fire Tradition in the high Andean mountains. From that moment, the energies and traditions of the Andes became her passion and life’s work.
As Mona’s interest and personal healing grew in the shamanic realms, her journey and trainings began with the indigenous cultures of North and South America. Mona is a Pachakuti Mesa Tradition carrier in Cross-Cultural Shamanic Arts.
Vision questing, pilgrimages & initiations, ceremonies upon the lands, and the medicine people, and sacred medicine plants inform her shamanic practice today. As Mona inter-weaves shamanic healing practices of the ancients with modern needs she is able to expertly guides your OWN innate healing wisdom to create personal empowerment and restore balance and harmony in these auspicious times of awakening consciousness.
Mona maintains a private healing practice at The Shaman Spirits Cave in Boynton Beach, Florida and at The Center for Human Development in Hollywood, Florida. She also offers workshops, mentoring, exploration of the divine feminine, drumming circle, ceremony, and Ecuadorian fire cleansings.
Her shamanic story is featured in the new book: Shamanic Transformations: True Stories of the Moment of Awakening edited by Itzhak Beery
SHUNGO! (Quechua) ~ “from my Highest Heart to your Highest Heart”