¡Hola a [email protected]!
I was contemplating what to say to you all in this letter of intro and finally what I can share is my present moment.
Les escribo de las montañas del noroeste de Guatemala. Aquí en los atardeceres las nubes bajan a rozar las montañas con su algodonosa blancura y el cielo se ve más pequeño y te sientes más cerca del firmamento. En las noches hay un silencio que se escucha y te levantás con él en la mañana también. Y así siento que me ha tocado Guatemala estos últimos meses que he compartido con ella.
I write you all from the mountains in the northwest highlands of Guatemala. Here, the afternoons bring clouds that come down to brush the mountains with their cottony whiteness and the sky looks smaller and you feel closer to the heavens. In the evenings there is a silence that you can hear and you wake up to it in the morning as well. And this is how I feel Guatemala has touched me in these last months here.
As a Dragons instructor in South America I have had the opportunity to lead a few courses in Guatemala since the summer of 2018. It has been a pleasure to get to know this country. I had the chance to stay longer and I am currently here getting to know how the countryside feels, looks, and tastes and how the people inhabit this sweeping green landscape with ease and appreciation as well as with a hint of struggle rooted in insecurity and loss. It has been humbling, enlightening, and a learning experience that I hope you all will have the opportunity to experience in Peru when we live and learn together in less than a month’s time.
A little bit more about myself:
I have instructed courses with Dragons since the summer of 2017. Although my first experience in Peru was January of the same year I am excited to guide you all to places that have hollowed out a special place in my heart. I hope that after our time together you will feel the same. One of my homes is in South America. I grew up in Bolivia and in Argentina and have carried the spirit of these countries with me ever since. When I moved Stateside at the age of 12, I knew that I wanted to continue learning about the Global South—the history, culture, languages, etc. I have been able to do this in most of my personal and professional endeavors, but can practice this even more in this type of work.
My professional background is as an educator (my undergrad in Indiana and Masters in California are both in teaching with an emphasis in intercultural and cross cultural perspectives) and I enjoy appreciating and questioning what is around me and sharing this appreciation and questioning with students like you! Sometimes it is only when we get outside of our comfort zones and the places that we have always called home that we learn about ourselves and the world around us with much more intention and curiosity. I know that the semester that is just ahead of you is something that might be quite new and took a lot of courage to sign up for. I invite you to dive into this new experience head-on and I hope that Mónica, Teto, and I can help you with this new challenge as best we can.
Apart from being an educator I also enjoy stories and poetry and I dabble in the creation of the same. During the first semester I taught in Peru I ran across a book of legends of Peru and I was struck by one that I would like to share with you now. It is a short Andean legend that involves Tata Inti (Quechua for Father Sun) and Mama Quilla (Quechua for Mother Moon). At the end of the post you can read it in Spanish if you wish.
There was once a ceremony in honor of Tata Inti and during this ceremony the sun talked about the significance of the light. Tata Inti said that he would put a damsel in the sky, named Quilla, La Luna, which would reflect his light during the nights so that there would never be absolute darkness. She would meditate for seven days in silence in order to re-energize and be sure that her feminine energies would remain sacred. During those seven days of rest, the stars, who are the brothers and sisters of the sun would help to illuminate the sky, he assured. Without light, darkness is useless. The darkness, even in semi-darkness or penumbra, is important because it gives significance to the light. Without darkness, the stars or the beautiful moon would have no reason for existing. This is why the darkness provides the balance that is just right.
You will find that in Andean cosmovision there is an important duality, a yin and yang, an equilibrium that is always important to maintain. In our first exploration of this belief, I’d like you all to reflect on what brings you to this new adventure. This darkness is what is at any beginning—the unknown. And this light is our understanding, our knowledge-seeking, and our growth as students of life.
This new beginning that you are about to embark on is one of mystery and challenge, one that requires inner and outer strength, one that will be both transformative and an act of preservation.
I am excited to meet you all and learn not only about how your light shines but how your darkness manifests. Mónica, Teto, and I are eagerly preparing your arrival and we want to know if you have any questions or comments before we see you in Cusco on the 1st of September. Feel free to email me any time or post a yak here because surely others have the same kind of questions that you do: [email protected].
¡Abrazos y hasta pronto!
El Sentido de la Noche
Cuentan los ancianos que en una ceremonia en honor a Tata Inti, este bajó del cielo y le habló del misterio de la luz:
–La oscuridad de mi ausencia será aplacada por la radiante luz de una bella doncella a quien llamaré Quilla, la Luna. Esta humilde, generosa y refinada ñusta reflejará mi luz durante las noches a fin de evitar la penumbra total –dijo solemnemente Tata Inti—.
Esta doncella sin embargo meditará en el silencio por siete días, a fin de renovarse de energía y mejorar sus sagradas aptitudes femeninas. Cuando Quilla, la Luna, se encuentre ausente por estos siete días, las estrellas que son mis hermanos y hermanas ayudarán con su tenue luz, a fin de alumbrar el firmamento de la vida. Aseguró. Sin la luz la oscuridad es oscuridad inútil. La oscuridad aún con su penumbra es importante porque da sentido a la luz. Sin la oscuridad aún las estrellas más luminosas, ni la bella Quilla tendrían motivo de existir. Por ello la oscuridad concede el justo equilibrio –concluyó Tata Inti.