Interview Cecilia & Raúl
In February 2023 we where sitting at the table in Cecilia and Raúl's house in Chavín de Huántar in Peru.
Overlooking the ancient temple we asked them some questions and we like to share their insights with you.
We did not correct the English flow, just to keep their flavour in it.
How did the medicine find you?
I was born in a Quechua community, in the valley of Conchucos. In our territory, the cactus, better known as Uachuama, or San Pedro, is known as Tsunaq. This is the original name.
The Tsunaq cactus is a plant known to my community and my family. The cactus came into my life because my ancestors used it; it came through the ancestral bloodlines to me.
With the sacred cactus I found myself in his own house, the temple of Chavín, and from that moment his teachings continue to come.
I was born and grew up in Lima. Since childhood I have had the question ‘why am I here?’ And I started my search to answer this question. I live in Peru and I properly found the plant because in the tradition of the community, people use a lot of different plants which is why it is not strange to find them on my path. Also because my family has this ancestral connection. I started to use the sacred plants and I also found my answer.
What does Tsunaq bring in your daily life?
Cecilia: The cactus taught me to have more order in my life, to stabilise and clarify my conscious objectives and purpose; for this short life, what can I consciously give back to life? This is for me to help each person to find himself, to open the channel of consciousness.
Raul, you are a father of 3 young children, what does Tsunaq bring to you as a father?
I think that with sacred plants and everything it is always a challenge to be a father, and to be more exact, to learn to be a father.
One of the most beautiful lessons that came to my life with Tsunaq is being able to recognize my own thought patterns, being aware of the frequency of my mind, and from being able to observe my mind to be able to change its frequency, like someone who changes a musical note for another, for a sweeter one.
This is how I learned to be patient, and I also learned to be present, and by being present to create the space within myself to share with everyone, and especially with my children. Those are the greatest gifts that Tsunaq and my children gave me.
After participating in many ceremonies, what do you feel has changed in you?
I learned to feel tranquillity and peace within me, independent of other people. I feel complete. This tranquillity doesn’t have a price. I arrived in a place of possibilities creating new things, beyond the patterns of the past. From this state of tranquillity and peace, comes the power to open new doors.
Definitely one of the most important changes in my life with Tsunaq is regarding my thoughts, it is about which stories about me I tell to myself.
At this moment of humanity, everyone goes through this type of process, where you have thoughts like "you are not enough", "you are bad or ugly", or "I am best/worst than someone else" etc; thoughts about oneself in which the comparison with the outside world prevails; thoughts that divide us more than anything else.
With the cactus I can see this very clearly and make a decision from the heart, and step out of that frequency of illusion. This changes everything in me. And from my feelings, I can find very beautiful words, and I can enjoy life more.
What is the specific teaching of Tsunaq, what can it bring to people?
It is a big theme. The master plant medicine enters the body to scan it. It does it individually per person because medicine has its own intelligence. It can bring things from the past, memories, painful things from the past to show, so that we can learn, process and heal. It can bring back memories of your life, of your family. And it can connect you with the things you have to do in this life, like what is my mission, what is my purpose. How can I integrate this memory into my life? There is no specific teaching because medicine will look for what each person needs. It is very individual what each person will find with the plant.
I would say that one of the most important things that Tsunaq teaches is to recognize our own energy, the one that is present at this moment. It can help us to recognize which events, traumas, fears, etc., are determining our energy, and thus be able to clear them, transform, resignify everything that has happened, to then obtain a teaching.
The keyword is ‘memory’. What does it mean in this context?
From the Andean worldview, memory is all we bring; all our thoughts, all our experiences, everything we live is part of memory, it is what we are. When we forget many things, the plant helps us to remember. All we feel, all we are is memory.
Memory is the past, the present and the future; everything we create, in this sense, we remember.
The Quechua word Yaypay means remembering the past, present and future. Is the same. We can access memory from the present. Memory is a timeless dimension. Tsunaq has the intelligence to help us get into the memory level.
For you, what is the difference between Ayahuasca and Tsunaq? People ask this because they know Ayahuasca more than Tsunaq.
according to my experience every plant has its own personality. There is no way to say that one plant is better, the other is worse. In my experience the cactus Tsunaq is a plant that works from the level of the present.
From the consciousness of the present, we have access to different levels of memory. It’s very embodied, very sensitive, having access to the living world.
Ayahuasca gives you more access to your internal world.
Both are master plants that show different access to energy. About Ayahuasca, we do not have a deep knowledge about its tradition.
Through Tsunaq you can feel your own energy and how this energy integrates with the energy of nature.
You can find your place this way.
Can you speak about the history of Tsunaq and the connection with Chavin and the temple.
Cecilia: the cactus, Tsunaq, was the bridge to build the temple, a school of high-level knowledge of all sciences.
The temple was the materialisation of the vision of the plant.
Can you give us a brief introduction into the Andean cosmovision, and the use of Tsunaq in it?
Cecilia: The tradition of my territory has been very connected to nature since it began. Every energy that manifests into nature has its own personality; springs, rivers, plants, and mountains are honoured. The way that every energy arrives is different.
From Hanan Patcha comes the stars, the sun, the moon. From Kay Patcha come all the plants, the animals. From Uru Patcha comes all that live in the depths, in the caves, in the ground. In the three-dimensionalal physical world there are located.
The energetical world has its own dimension, has its own doorways. They are located in the three-dimensional physical world, and the energetic world exists in its own dimension and has its own doorways.
How to prepare for a ceremony?
Cecilia: First make a clear decision to come for a ceremony, bring a clear intention. Further I recommend that for 7-10 days before a ceremony to not eat processed sugars. Fruits are okay. Eat vegetarian, and many vegetables. Do not take other medicine plants, no smoking. Minimise the use of electronic devices, TV, radio, laptop, cell phone. Stay away from sex.
This way you can come as much as possible into your own energy. Coming for the first time this would be the best. Coming for the second or the third time, follow this diet for at least a month.
Three days before the ceremony: minimise eating citrus fruits, this makes entering the medicine easier. This makes the medicine easier to enter.. Eat neutral, no spicy food.
The way to look at it is not so much a diet, but an offering. A sacred offering that I am giving up certain things to receive something really sacred. Like preparing your inner house to let the cactus enter.
Is it wise to have a clear intention before going into a ceremony?
Cecilia: Do not look for an intention, but when there is something specific that you want to heal or to clarify, or to pray for, you can have that intention.
But be open also to what the plant wants to show you, do not stay too fixed on your intention.
What do you see changing in people, after taking Tsunaq a few times?
Cecilia: the people who can connect with the plant and can listen to the plant create more order in their lives.
They are more calm. This is the most visible part.