The Magic of Moray

As I sat around the fire, waiting for my hair to dry, Elder (the owner of the lodge we were staying at) offered to take me on a discounted motorcycle ride to Moray the following day. Since the rest of the group was going to Machu Picchu, and I was (literally) drained from the Temazcal (sweat lodge) a couple hours prior, I planned on having a chill day to myself. I didn’t want to completely shut down the opportunity, so I told him I would decide in the morning.

As the bright morning sun came seeping in through my windows, and then through my blanket, I arose, surprisingly, with much ease. I freshened up, and found Elder in the lounge area. We determined that we’d be off to Moray by 2pm.

After some fresh aloe, pineapple, and banana juice from the market, and a delicious bean burrito (my fourth one thus far, each from a different place, lol), I found myself putting on my leather gloves, a helmet, and hopping on the back of a motorcycle for the first time in years. We set off for a hour long ride towards Cusco. As much as I’d like, I know that words cannot truly describe the beauty of the Peruvian landscapes. I saw shades of green, blue and purple, both on the land and the skies. We were surrounded by mountains, looking in all directions. As we would reach higher elevations, I could see small towns down below us, surrounded by grass and trees. Further into the mountains were fields of green and brown, amongst terraces of different sizes.

I have said this time and time again, and I will most likely continue to do so, but really, there is something about looking out into the vast spaciousness of the Andes that gives me a feeling of being in love. A feeling of such awe, wonder and gratitude.

After an hour of looking out into the aforementioned love, we arrived at Moray. Elder is familiar with the land and the history of the place, so I was happy to have my very own tour guide. He explained to me that there were 3 different sectors, one with 12 terraces, the second with 6, and the final with 3. He said that the Quechua people (he corrected me after I said ‘Incas’, because that is the term meaning ‘kings’) used the sectors as an agricultural laboratory. Each level had a slightly different climate, and temperature, which would allow them to experiment with several different types of vegetables.

We walked down into the second terrace, the one with 6 levels. He mentioned that he had been there with a group prior and they had done yoga in the center of it. Because this place was so old and unique to the land, it is considered a very spiritual place, so many come here for meditation and other esoteric practices. Each terrace had a different name, this one was called ‘Intiwatanamuyu’. The Quechua language is quite complex with its meanings behind each of the words, it’s different than English, where our verbs usually only mean one action. Inti, means Sun, or sunlight, ‘Watana’ means a hugging or grabbing, and ‘Muyu’ (this is my favorite one), means the circular movement of sunlight.

We continued our walk further up the hill to the smaller sector, and after 10 minutes of a challanging incline, we had arrived. It was only 3 terraces deep, and inside had 5 or 6 small boulders sorted symmetrically. We walked down into the center, and then took a seat. I saw the subtle movement of the sunlight shift into shadows as the clouds passed by above us. Around us, birds sang a sweet rhythmic tune as if to welcome us to this sacred space. I put my hood over my head and laid back on the cool dirt beneath me, let out a sigh, and instantly felt at home.

I spent an hour breathing in the cool air, staring at the clouds, waxing and waning out of a meditative state. I remember looking over at Elder who was walking on the other side of the terrace, and I said to him “quiero dormir aquí.”, Which in English, translates to “I want to sleep here.” He agreed, and said that it would be totally doable to do with a rain cover and a sleeping bag. “Maybe next time”, I thought to myself.

I stood up and started walking out of the terraces, and was blessed by the sight of the beautiful moonrise, I had to do a double take to confirm that it actually was the moon, and indeed, it was Mother Moon, exposing her soft pastel-white light to us.

We hopped onto the bike just in time for the dark clouds to start coming in. The ride back home was absolutely stunning. The sky was casted a deep greyish-purple and the earth a burnt red color, with hints of pink. All the while, sprinkles from the sky gently showered us down from the elevation of the mountains, back into the valley, graciously guiding us home.

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