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Waltaska a Traditional Andean Postpartum Practice

We moved to the Sacred Valley in Peru towards the end of 2023. It was a place we had on our list for a long time, as our dear friends Angelica and Aleider, along with their beautiful daughter Aluna, live there. In the Sacred Valley, you are embraced by the mountains. It felt like I was plugged back into nature and able to receive a recharge. I felt my energy and inspiration returning, which was a gift after such a shock in March when my brother died by suicide (I'll also get to this more deeply one day).

On this trip, I was introduced to Katerina, who I felt like I'd met before. We instantly clicked, and she felt like home, with her beautiful family whom we just loved to spend time with. As a trio, we hosted women's circles and found such nourishment in the time spent together. Angelica and Katerina had both studied with incredible traditional Andean teachers in birth and postpartum. And, they offered me a gift, a Waltaksa - a traditional Andean postpartum practice, even though I was 2 years past giving birth. I had not experienced a postpartum closing of the bones (more commonly known as), and I very much craved it.

As I mentioned Walaska is a traditional Andean postpartum practice. Very little can be found online, this practice is passed on through women in the communities. It is usually carried out a few days following the birth with the intention to guide the bones, ligaments, muscles, and organs back into place and nourish the cells. On an emotional level, the mother is witnessed, held, and guided through this rite of passage.

Katerina spent a lot of time prior to the ceremony collecting herbs from the mountains or within the community. On the day of the Waltaska, I felt pretty nervous and excited. I rarely offer myself up to other people; I always have my hand on the steering wheel. This was a chance to surrender and trust.

We prepared the herbal mixture together, which also included egg whites and our urine. I'd already prepared myself for this, so I wasn't so shocked, and I had an idea urine is a medicine. The room was prepared; Auraya helped. A mattress in the middle, petals, and candles. The room was cleansed with herbal smoke and prayers. And when it was time, I sat in a circle with my sister and received the prayers, the calling in of my ancestors, the love and gratitude to my daughter and partner. I felt truly seen, and it made me very emotional because I don't think I can recall a time I felt such belonging.

After the prayer, I was cleansed with an egg, yes, an egg. It is a practice to clear my energetic field. Next, my body was cleansed with alcohol and herbs, my feet were covered in the herbal mixture, and socks were placed on top, my abdomen was smothered in the urine potion, and then I was wrapped, my pelvis, my shoulders, my legs, and my feet.

I started to freak out, but began breathing through it. Clothes are on me at this point; it's getting warm. Then I'm wrapped in a white sheet. I cannot move, finally, many heavy blankets cover my body and my head is covered with a hat. I look them both in the eye and say "I cannot do this". I feel like I am about to freak out. I feel vulnerable and hot, and I cannot move. I didn't realize how much I hated being restricted, but it makes sense as my whole life I have run from situations that made me feel unsafe. So here I would lie for the next THREE HOURS!!!

They sing to me, lie with me, and remind me to breathe. The waves of panic come and pass constantly. I started to ride them. Auraya and Ilan called in a few times in the second hour, and I just wanted to hold her, but this was a great practice for Ilan and Auraya to be together without me. When Ilan came in, he said, "Wow, you look younger," I think because I had softened to surrender, or he was trying to make me feel better. I tried to sleep through it, but I absolutely couldn't. I found watching everyone exist with such beauty, singing, and dancing, was a gift. And the thought passed my mind, this is also how I want to die, which is beautiful because there is a death with each rite of passage, from the known to the unknown, from the maiden to the mother.

After 3 hours, I was unwrapped, and oh, how the world was so vibrant. I felt so much peace and love for my family and friends. We sat on the balcony and ate and drank. I still had the urine herb paste and wrap on, which I would keep on for 24 hours and then bathe in specific herbs, that was such a release, I smelt so bad haha.

This experience was truly life-changing for me, but one I would adapt to in the future for myself. I would not have liked to test my limits straight after birth with the wrapping, yet I wouldn't change a thing for this experience. It was exactly perfect for that moment.

Listen to our episode together HERE Thank you for reading xx

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Yema Del Mar
Yema Del Mar
09 Φεβ

Beautiful, Danielle! I'm so happy you had this experience. Thank you for sharing about it. I pray for an opportunity to receive a ritual like this after I give birth. 🙏🏼❤️

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Danielle Baker
Danielle Baker
09 Φεβ
Απάντηση σε

Thank you 🙏 ❤️ they always come at the perfect time. Sending you love for your womb and soul journey xx

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