Peru Part 1: Calling Me Out of the Darkness and Into the Light

Nadia Hrynkiw
7 min readFeb 13, 2024

I can always tell when something big is coming for me. Life starts making a lot less sense, the amount of chaos around me begins to reach expert level, and my dreams go on “Do Not Disturb”. Recently, this happened the moment I booked my flight to Peru on October 2nd of last year. As soon as my friend Kristen told me she was hosting a retreat in Pisac, I knew it was time to finally make the journey down to the Sacred Valley. I had no idea what the retreat was going to entail, but what I got was a loud spiritual “YES” and that’s one voice that I always trust.

After my commitment solidified with the purchase of a one-way plane ticket, my life plunged into a spiral that brought me into the depths of my own personal hell. Exactly one week later, I said goodbye to both of my dogs. That same week, my husband moved into a different part of the house and we began preparing for separation. Several weeks after that, we admitted our 12-year-old into a 90-day residential program for reasons of severe self-harm and suicidal ideation. Two weeks after that, my bank account was empty for the first time in 5 years.

I had just enough cash to bring with me for food and transportation by the time my departure date arrived. It was probably the most unsettling experience of my travel life. However, when God (Spirit, Medicine, Higher Self?) tells us to jump off a cliff and have faith, that’s what we must do. And so I did just that.

Nothing could have prepared me for what I was going to face in Peru. The first two weeks landing in the Sacred Valley felt like I had entered a vortex that I didn’t understand. A lot of people talk about places that have vortex energy, but I have never truly felt that — until now. Pisac is like a vortex that leads to the astral/upper realms. It lives beneath the most incredible mountains, who simply hold space for you to go to that place just outside of your body. The message that kept coming through for me is about how I am the mountain for others, that this is what I create for other people needing spiritual healing. Now it was my turn to feel the mountains have my back. “Learn what it means to be the Mountain”.

For me personally, Pisac felt like no one was grounded, including myself, and everything was “spinning”. It creates an environment that makes it hard to plug into yourself, your work, the earth, etc. Even working with tobacco didn’t help. It flew right through me.

“You’re not supposed to be grounded here, that’s not the point” is what I kept hearing.

During those first two weeks, I was agitated, heartbroken, confused and so incredibly sick. It felt like the purge that never ends. I had the symptoms of food poisoning and parasites. I could not stop crying. My husband continued to demonstrate, over and over again, that it was time for me to let him go. I was being shown that he is not capable of loving me the way I need to be loved in order to do the work I came here to do. I had lots to let go around that — for myself, my mother, and my grandmother. Ancestral healing is on a whole other level!

The first two weeks finally took a turn with Ayahuasca, for whom I should not have sat with. Going into this retreat, I knew that sitting with that Medicine was not a good idea because this is a message I have gotten before. She has told me how she wants me to work with her (through the mushroom doorway) but I let my wounding get the best of me. This week was about being tested — and that was the first test I “failed” lol. One of the facilitators kept saying things like “you’re not committed fully to your path if you don’t sit in the Ceremony”. This is one of my wounds, one that comes out a lot in my marriage. “If I could just heal a little more, this would get better” and “I am the problem, I need to do more healing work”. Alas, I broke through this one and stood firm on not sitting in Ceremony right up until the morning of. Just as I broke through with my inner knowing of how that was not the healing path for me, a new test emerged:

“If you sit in Ceremony, you can bring in forgiveness for your whole family”.

That one hooked me. Instantly I felt that I wasn’t sitting for me, I was sitting for my family. That it was my responsibility as a wife and as a mother to “heal” all that we are going through right now. To bring in the energy of forgiveness so my husband could stop hating or being disgusted by me. To bring it in for my 12-year-old, who inexplicably wants to die. For my 17-year-old, who actively hates me as well. This is another aspect of my inner belief that I am the problem and my tendency to try to do work on behalf of others (or else I am worthless to them and to the world).

As soon as I entered the Medicine Space I was flung into a place that I know all too well — deep suffering and pain. Moving gnarly energy through my body that doesn’t belong there. I became a lightning rod of energy that moved through the group, the women beside me, the property, and the world. It was agony and it wasn’t even mine. When I made it to the other side of the worst bits, the Medicine spoke to me loudly.

“You do not belong here. When you choose anything from a place that is not your heart, suffering will ensue”.

And then she showed me all the suffering in my life for the choices I have made that are not from my heart. The choices I make from fear or old belief systems that need to go. I got a clear message not to return to any Ayahuasca circle and then I was held like a baby. I was comforted for doing all the hard work I am doing with Sacred Heart and assured that this was the place where I should remain. That the work I am doing is the same as what is being done there in that Ayahuasca Ceremony, only easier to digest and integrate. I was shown how amazing I am as a human and I was rocked in the arms of a loving mother. She showed me visions of the silly socks I wear in my Ceremony circles and how the person I will partner with will love these silly details of who Nadia is. He will be silly too.

The takeaway was that I need to stop questioning who I am and what I am here to do. That I need to follow my heart above all else, even if it doesn’t “make sense”. That I am a powerful Healer, Shaman, Medicine Woman, or whatever label I choose to claim, and that I need to own that in a bigger way because the world is in need. And that a partnership is coming, one that is filled with the love that I deserve.

Oof, it was a lot. And a total mixed-bag experience.

48 hours later I found myself with a Medicine that has been calling to me for almost two years — Huachuma. This Ceremony did not disappoint. It was a full-day journey through the most beautiful mountain range shared openly among the group of women in my retreat. For the first time in my life, my heart opened up in a way I didn’t know was possible. I felt love and gratitude at my core. I was met with unlimited support by the spirits of the natural world, 8 strangers, and God. I was advised to remove my hat as soon as we started and to “feel heaven” that has been trying to get through to me. This journey is a whole story I will not attempt to do justice to via blog, but I am happy to discuss it with anyone interested. The next day I awoke to a sexual awakening and a slamming back to the ground of “reality”. Knowing exactly what I need to do to bring more of “heaven” into my life and Huachuma into my work with Sacred Heart. This Medicine is being asked to come with me back to the States and its messages are to be shared among many.

In the week that followed this experience, I was given clear homework on how to share this with my clients. On how to bring heaven into a space that has once only held the experience of hell (for me). While all of my clients experience deep love, healing, and transformation, I have often been left in a place of pain and hopelessness. I have been sitting with demons and darkness for myself and others. I have been sitting in suffering and pain. I have been tasked with carrying the archetype of “The One who Suffers”.. and that era is over.

Hooray! Out of the darkness and into the light I go!

These years have given me the greatest gift I could imagine — the ability to sit with other people’s demons, to love them, and to help them move on to where they need to go. But now it’s time for something new… and I can’t freaking wait to unleash what is asking to come through my work. It’s a version of me that’s been waiting to come through all along… and she’s magnificent.



Nadia Hrynkiw

Medicine Woman specializing in Shamanic Healing & Ceremony, Teaching, Community Building, and Founder of