Inti Raymi…Australian Style!

L to R: (Back) Narelle, Jane, Natarsha, Ombi  &(front), Linda, Karen & Kirrily 

As I tap away, I am acutely aware that we are almost in the month of  November, which would not normally be such a big deal, except for the fact that the last time I updated my blog was months ago!  I have been meaning to write for weeks, months really, yet that elusive thing called time always seems to somehow, well, elude me!  Having said that, I have decided this fine Sunday morning that “the woman on a mission” has a new mission, which is to write a series of blogs that will update you on mine and Alex’s comings and goings over the last few months or so!!  So, let me get  cracking.

Peruvian shaman

In Late June my close group of friends that I fondly refer to as the “South America Contingent” collectively organised an Inti Raymi Party.  Inti Raymi, or the “Festival of the Sun” (to be exact, “resurrection of the sun”  in the Quechua language) was a religious ceremony of the Inca Empire to honour the Incan Sun God, Inti.  It also marked the winter solstice and a new year in the Andes of the Southern Hemisphere.  As a bit of an aside, since 1944 a theatrical representation of the Inti Raymi has been taking place at Sacsayhuaman, a sacred site only two kilometres from Cusco, on the 24th June, attracting tourists and visitors from all over the world….I was one of those visitors in 1999, only months before I met Alex.  The energy was intoxicating, and it is a memory that will always remain in my heart and soul.

Linda beating to the rhythm of the drum

Meanwhile, back in Australia…our dear friend Linda, aka “Ms South America Melbourne”, was involved in the organisation of this event in Melbourne (one of many), with a contingent of mostly Andean, and to be specific, Peruvian friends.  It was an invitation only event, to be hosted at the home of our also dear friends, Mick and Claudia Benham.  Let me tell you, that night it was definitely the Rain god and not the Sun god that was present, as there was an alluvial downpour to rival all downpours.  The backyard would have made a brilliant mud-wrestling pit, but alack and alas, the ceremony went on, rain, mud, slush and all!

Mud-fest at Inti Raymi

Despite the rain, a great time was had by all, as most of the attendees have some connection to South America, the Andes or its people.  We were all asked to bring along a plate to share, but before we all got stuck into the food, a shaman took us through the ritualistic part of the ceremony.  This ceremony transported me back to Peru, or even to outside the churches of Chichicastenango in Guatemala…a world where cultures, traditions and religions are mixed.  In moments such as these, I desperately want to be anywhere but Australia, as I long for that deep-rooted culture and tradition that I find so lacking here.  I suppose yearning is the word.  My physical body lives in Australia, but my heart and soul are constantly travelling the world – neither seems to want to settle in Australia!

Shaman conducting Inti Raymi ceremony

Despite the continual rain (the Rain god was NOT going to give in!), we danced to Andean music and conversed with our peers.  Unbenownst to others, I was floating in and out of my own little world….before backpacking through South America and meeting Alex 11 years ago, I knew not a lot about South America, its traditions or its people…but traversing this continent would change my life forever.  My travels and experiences there have touched me in the most profoundest of ways.  It turned me into a “culture jockey”…ever since, my life has consisted of straddling two cultures!

Shaman making offerings to Inti, the Sun god

Whilst I love Australia, and am proud of being Australian, not a week goes by where I do not yearn for South America.  I love the vibrancy and passion of its people, many of whom have nothing, yet have everything…and then I think of my own country…where many people indeed have everything, but who spiritually have nothing.  Love, passion, spirituality and few material goods  versus a plethora of material goods yet a spiritual void?  To “have” or “not to have”…that is the question!


Dedication: For South America and its people – you are my second homeland!  Thanks for the great love and passion you have instilled in me.  Knowing you has changed my life…forever!

What am I reading?
Conversations with Tariq Ali  – Speaking of Empire and Resistance, by Tariq Ali and David Barsamian

“Before we work on artificial intelligence, why don’t we work on natural stupidity?” – Steve Polyak

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Alex & Ombi

Alex & Ombi

Ombretta (Ombi) Zanetti is a co-founder of She has been travelling the world since 1989 and since 1999 with her partner, Alex, who hails from Ecuador. They both like to venture to the lesser known places. Ombi shares her passion for different cultures through her travel stories and Alex through his lens. Come take a detour or two with them!

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