A Sacred Healing Journey to Peru's Laguna Negra

by Ray Warren
Writer and Energy Worker

Huancabamba. I like to say it. Its meaning in English is sacred place. Huancabamba is a small town in the northern Andes of Peru, not far from Ecuador. The area in and around Huancabamba is known for its concentration of healing energy vortices. There are sacred healing lagoons and ancient ruins of ceremonial temples in the hills surrounding the town. To get to Huancabamba, my friend Eleanora Amendolara and I flew from Lima, Peru to Piura on Peru’s North coast. From Piura we traveled by bus to Huancabamba. We were in search of Laguna Negra, a sacred lagoon of high energy and powerful healing qualities.

I had been looking forward to this Peru trip with Eleanora for some time. Eleanora is a healer and teacher of shamanic energy work. I have known and worked with her for nine years. She has often helped to balance my body’s energy systems. Eleanora had been to this area before, and to Peru numerous times. Besides taking groups of seekers to experience the people and energy of the Andes, she usually goes once a year on her own to reconnect in a personal way with what has become for her a way of life, i.e. living the connectedness of “Pachamama”—Mother Earth and the Universe—a shamanic sense of being. She has impressed upon me how important the energies of the mountains and the natural world are to healers, shamans, and native priests. I didn’t know what I would actually find. I was just there, and open to the energy of Pachamama.

Although the trip from Piura to Huancabamba is only a hundred and twenty kilometers, it took eight hours (plus one flat tire) to get there. Most of the road is extremely rugged, and switches back and forth as it climbs to its twelve thousand foot destination. We stopped once for lunch, and often to take on and discharge passengers. There was no toilet on board. The joys of the journey were with the incredible mountain vistas—the pesticide sprayed bus floor and road dust not withstanding.

Huancabamba is a delightful town quite different from the busyness of Cusco, where we had been the week before. We secured rooms at a small hotel in the town square just across the street from the cathedral. The square was wonderfully resplendent with “Edward Scissorhand” type hedges. Later that evening I realized that the cathedral’s bell rang three times an hour, every hour. Eleanora said she never heard the bells at night. I heard every one.

After the second short night of this, we woke at three a.m. to the yelling of our guide, a local purveyor of herbs and potions who was to take us to Laguna Negra. We spent the next two hours in a Toyota van traversing twenty kilometers of a dirt road so rutted I was forced to lay across the back seat to distribute the jostling over my horizontal rather than vertical spine.

Our first destination was a mountain village of just a few homes. We ate a brief breakfast before mounting our horses and burrows. With the early morning light over and through the mist of the surrounding mountains as we climbed the first hills, I felt like we were emerging from Middle Earth en route to a Magic Kingdom. We climbed higher. The wind became colder. After many rock strewn, uphill steps of my surefooted burrow the land leveled out to what was—to my mind—not unlike the Mongolian steppes. Here, the wind was fierce and the cold penetrating. My uneducated seat called out in pain to dismount. I began to wonder what I was thinking to come such a distance for this rich physical experience. By the time we arrived at the lagoon, two and a half hours later, I could barely walk—and still had to go back down the mountain.

But we did arrive at Laguna Negra—a smallish body of water in a hilly, barren landscape. Once there, the idea was to immerse your body in the lagoon for the benefit of its significant healing powers. Springtime at twelve thousand feet in Peru, even near the equator, is still cold. It was really too cold for a full immersion in the lagoon’s healing waters. I was wearing a down coat, a Turtle fleece hat and earmuffs. But I did shed my jeans and wade to wet my feet. The photo I have proves I walked on water—jacket, hat, and orange earmuffs. Before retrieving my jeans I added long johns for the ride back down the mountain.

Laguna Negra was truly the real destination of the trip. It wasn’t until I returned home that I realized the full impact of my journey there and, in fact, to all of Peru. The trip to the lagoon was a pilgrimage. It was “just showing up.” I’ve come to understand that showing up is the first step in healing. By making myself available to the energy there, I was, in a very profound way, affecting my cellular structure at a much deeper level than the experience offered to my physical mind. I can still go to each place, energetically, as if a part of me is still there. I feel as though my spirit has permanently attached itself to the life force so readily available in these sacred centers, these grids and vortices of energy.

And I did receive a physical healing from Laguna Negra. My lungs, that had previously suffered damage through illness and abuse have healed dramatically, and now feel close to normal after many years.

Eleanora is a wonderful traveling companion—knowledgeable and sure of her mission of sharing, teaching, and healing—and willing to go with the flow of the journey. I am looking forward to returning to Peru in the future for even more surprises and lessons.

Ray Warren, MFA, is a writer and energy worker. He lives and works in E. Dover, VT For more information, visit www.sacredcenter.net.

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