“You look like a strong guy, Bill. Would you mind taking Don Francisco’s despacho* materials over to his room? It’s just across the parking lot.” Before answering, I said to myself, ‘how hard could it be?’ “Sure!”
The nice lady parted a set of draperies and there were three large Rubbermaid storage containers with contents I would guess weighing about 100 lb. I set about my task, staging the containers through the parking lot individually and finally I stacked them in front of Room 104 somewhere in Park City, UT. Before knocking on the door of the Q’ero elder, whom many revere as the penultimate example of the spirituality of the lost world of the Inca, I thought that I heard some small sound from within. I knocked … quiet. I knocked again … silence.
Not to be deterred, and positive that my instincts were correct, I knocked loudly a fourth time. That did the trick! There was the soft rustling of clothing and I thought that I heard a water spigot close. Then, a faint brush at the door. “¿Quién es…? [Who is it?]” I thought to myself, ‘how should address this elder? With deference? Perhaps some sort of greeting in his native language of Quechua?’ Then I remembered the words of advice given to students and supplicants throughout time and space: “Be yourself!” So I answered, “¡Es la Policia! [It’s the Police!]”
The door knob turned slowly, and the door cracked ever so slightly. There was one brown eyeball staring intently … seriously through the crack in the door up at me. A moment of recognition on his part and the door flew open with a force that surprised me. And there he was, standing in most of his formal regalia including the multicolored ceremonial poncho coming toward me with outstretch arms. An embrace. “¡Ah, Policia! ¡Policia International! ¡Gracias, muchas gracias!”
Seven years later, Don Francisco still calls me “Policia.”
A couple of years later, Don Francisco gave a group of us The Creator Rites. It was immediately after the rites that I went home and found a place to begin recording the Native American-style flute. The musical journey continues to this day and is a constant source of healing and awe.
I saw Don Francisco this weekend last, and made the above image of him at a fire ceremony. I can’t help smiling when I see him.
* the despacho is a major ceremony of the Q’ero, during which the prayers and intentions of a person are placed symbolically in a mandala of materials that are subsequently burned or buried for the purpose of achieving ‘right-relationships’ in one’s life.