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Sacred sites, Aluna and the Kogi: A Shamanic Awakening

About a year after my awakening, I embarked on a backpacking journey. I was recovering from an intense peak experience in Egypt, which left me unsettled and unable to ground myself at home. Feeling an irresistible urge to travel, I bought a ticket for a round-the-world trip, starting in Brazil. Initially, my plan was to head south to Argentina, but a strong inner call redirected me northward to Colombia more specifically to ‘The Lost City’. Despite some apprehensions about this change in direction, the pull was too compelling to ignore. I traveled north to the Amazon basin and arrived in Manaus, a vast port city thousands of miles upriver, deep in the jungle. From there, my journey continued by riverboat up the Amazon, eventually reaching the borders of Peru and Colombia, and then north via Bogota to Santa Marta on the coast.

El Ciudad Del Este, also known as the ‘Lost City,’ is seen as Colombia's counterpart to Machu Picchu. What set it apart at that time was its relative obscurity and the presence of paramilitaries and narco-guerrillas. Although I was apprehensive, my Kundalini awakening was compelling me to visit this site. The trek to the Lost City starts a few hours from the city of Santa Marta.

Upon arriving in Santa Marta, there was a palpable mix of excitement and fear among the few of us embarking on the 5-day trek. A few years earlier in 2003, tourists had been kidnapped by the left wing paramilitary group, the 'Ejército de Liberación Nacional' or ELN. They still exerted an influence in the area and seemed to control the tourist (and probably drug) trade. If I felt apprehensive, the Kundalini guided me to accept the fear as part of my journey. To really journey into this place with faith, I had to face some fears I had never felt before.

The trek was both beautiful and exhausting. I recall wading through knee-deep mud and being besieged by mosquitoes, yet feeling a constant, magnetic pull. On the first day we visited a small jungle cocaine factory. On the second day I remember crossing a very narrow pass just enough to fit my feet with a long steep drop on my left side to the river below. The year before when the Kundalini first arose I had very painful sciatica between my L5 and S1 parts of my spine. Three months of intense spontaneous yoga, pranayama and movement helped to heal most if it but I had not tested myself physically like this for years, I was doing this trek against any kind of logic, but the pull got louder and louder.

After two incredible days, we ascended a long flight of stone steps to reach the site.

This lush, spectacular location is segmented into terraces with a giant stone at its centre, as tall as a human and about five people wide. When the rest of the group went to explore, I was drawn to this rock and felt an intense connection with the place. My hands spontaneously began to move around the rock and kriyas began to flow like a dance. I didn’t know why this was happening but I gave myself over to the spontaneous movements and trance like state it brings

On our return, we passed through a village of the local indigenous people, the Kogi. I remember noticing that the men kept mixing a white paste in a gourd and used a stick like implement to put the paste in their mouths. We were told that the men often inhabit a slightly altered state, stemming from their custom of consuming this mix of coca leaves and lime powder from burned shells collected from the coast. The lime powder is mixed in a gourd called a Poporo and then wiped on coca leaves that are inside the side of the mouth. This combination enables a mild effect - some say a state of meditation and perhaps a deeper connection with the spirits and the planet

A Kogi village we passed

At the time, I was unaware of the Kogi’s quite profound and in some cases distinct beliefs. They view the Earth as a living conscious entity, and humans as stewards of the planet. They believe that the Earth possesses its own spirit and consciousness, with all elements of nature – mountains, rivers, plants, animals – forming interconnected parts of this living system. What really interests me is that they also believe in a non-material realm where everything is interconnected, called Aluna - The Great Mother. Sacred sites and the energy lines that connect them are places where the veil is thin with Aluna and a place that we can connect with her. Aluna, in their view, is a collective consciousness or spiritual world underlying physical reality. They maintain that occurrences in Aluna reflect in the physical world, and vice versa. Living in harmony with Aluna is vital for them, as disturbances in the spiritual realm can lead to imbalances in the physical world.

I had received a similar revelation about this the year before– that the Earth is gridded with sacred sites and energy lines, akin to our subtle system and chakras, however I didn’t yet know about the concept of Aluna. Years later, learning about the Kogi’s worldview and their concept of Aluna helped underpin my own experiences.

A great documentary film about Aluna can be watched here:

Aluna bears similarities to the subtle and causal body in Vedic literature, and also finds parallels in Western philosophy, particularly in Idealism and Panpsychism. In quantum physics there are theories of an interconnected energetic system that underpins the material world, as well as in other theoretical models like the holographic universe, or simulation theory.

Over the last 18 years, my spiritual awakening journey has led me to several sacred sites around the world: Rapa Nui in the Pacific, the Temple area of Palenque in Southern Mexico (where I was initiated into the mushroom journey by a shaman), Lalibela and Axum in Ethiopia, Glastonbury, and the remote Red Sea coast of the Sinai peninsula amongst other places. In these locations, I feel connected to something greater and in many places kriyas tend to spontaneously flow. On my next journey, I hope to undertake a pilgrimage to Mt. Kailash in Tibet.

The Church of St George, Lalibela, Ethiopia

Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

Palenque in Southern Mexico

I really believe that visiting these sacred sites with an open heart is a way to rejuvenate oneself and also assist in unblocking the subtle energies of the planet. I think these places are important for those going through the awakening journey, especially if you feel the pull. Each person going through the awakening process has their own journey to make, and each scared site works on a different level, but when I was at my most ungrounded from an intense Kundalini cosmic experience, it was trudging through the beautiful mud of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Colombia and communing with Aluna that grounded my experience and set me up for the rest of the journey.

In the years that have passed I have had intense feelings about Colombia and the other places I have visited, as if spirits of these lands sometimes still whisper to me. They have told me of vast ecosystems that are protected by the people who are born there with the Spirit of that Land inside them, and how these people speak for these ecosystems and feel their destruction. They tell me about crop eradication and the separating of plant medicine from a real symbiotic relationship with humans. Most importantly they say that some areas on this planet, especially in certain geographical, geological and tectonic parts of world, are not meant to capitalised, commoditised or conquered, and any attempt to do so will break hearts, tear communities apart, and lead to conflict. We in the West may not understand how deep the pain is when a connection to ones spiritland is severed, but when this happens the rage that arises can unfortunately become all-consuming.

However the planet knows how to balance itself and maybe this is what our collective awakening is all about.

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Very interesting, thank you for sharing. What really stood out to me was your "apprehension" at the journey but the irresistible pull of the kundalini. Presumably you also reached a point of no return where going back was no longer an option (not unlike the experience of spontaneous awakening itself).

What it brought up for me was the idea of allowing ourselves to be led by the feminine (the kundalini/ shakti). As a woman, the idea of allowing myself to fully express the mysterious feminine is extremely frightening but I had never thought about what that would be like for a man. Patriarchal society tends to frame women as repressed and men as repressors but of course, when we dig…


Lovely post, thank you for sharing. Beautiful photographs, as well! I too have had deep experiences at sacred sites. Love that you’re bringing awareness to the rebalancing and the importance of wild spaces. Looking forward to watching “Aluna”. What you describe about that inter-relationship between the planes aligns with my experience too.

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