We were honored by being included in the annual Blessing of the First Seeds Ritual. We are staying at the home of Asunta and Armando. Asunta is the big sister of our oldest goddaughter, Noemi, and is married to Armando who grew up her in Llachon. We borrowed traditional clothing. This is my outfit all set out on the bed: montera or shade hat, jacket, chuco or head covering, and skirt.
The day starts with a procession from the plaza up to the furthest high point on the Capachica Peninsula, known as Apu Karu, or by an older title, Auki Karu. Leading the procession are three men carrying incense censers. They are followed by the village officers or authoridades and their wives, three shaman or pacos, the band, and then the rest of us. Sam and I filed in among the authoridades, giving them coca as Armando instructed us. I had given Armando our camera and we had permission to take pictures, so most of these photos are his work.
|giving coca to the authoridades|
|Sam looks dapper in his Indiana Jones hat, yes?|
|note Sam on the left|
Shortly afterward, coca was passed around and everyone got in line to bring our prayerful chosen coca leaves (known as a kint'u) to give to the pacos which they added to a despacho, a paper-lined collection of flowers and wine and incense. The pacos were focused and attentive to each person, to each collection of prayer-laden leaves. People have come from all over the region to present their prayers for health and good crops.
They also bring the new potatoes, samples of their first crops of oca, quinoa, fava beans, corn. These First Seeds are placed on the round stone table/altar in the center of the circle.
|First seeds being blessed|
|holding our candles|
|All dressed up!|
|The White Potato dances around the seeds|
|The sacred space under the table is sealed|
|Armando climbs up to take down the flags|
We visit all of Armando and Asunta's fields over the next two days, decorating with flower petals and colorful paper strands and sprinkling wine.
|Sam, Asunta, Jhoel, Tara, Kusi, Sarita|
|Flowers in the air|
|Tara sprinkles wine on the potato field.|
|A thatch-roofed shelter near our high altitude field|
|Ancient Chulpa above Llachon|