walkscape Titicaca Lake
Where the moon meets the legend
Posted on July 8, 2018

From the small coastal town of Copacabana, the view of the Titicaca Lake seems to be undetermined, but not so far from here two islands rise up from the water. They are the "Isla del Sol" and "Isla de la Luna"Their names mean islands of Sun and Moon, the origin of which is intertwined with the legend. We have already seen how customs and traditions are closely bound with mysticism in the Titicaca Lake, where sacred and profane are one and the same. 

Once on board of a slow motor boat, in three hours the first of the two island is reached. The moon one. From the shores, the eyes go immediately beyond the horizon. The Andes and the mighty Cordillera Real become increasingly clear, while the sky takes on light shades and then darker ones upwards. The Island is very small, a slice of earth divided by a mountain ridge in the middle. A few houses, simple and isolated, enrich the nearly pristine landscape.

Going up to the top, it's pretty easy to meet locals devoted to agriculture and breeding. On the terraces, a few llamas stand to face the horizon while grazing the grass. From these lovely animals, local people get wool to make clothes, whereas milk and meat to sustain themselves.

Halfway down the path, we see the first ruins. The islands, being considered as extremely sacred places during the Inca period and before, show a great number of memories. For sure a long series of legends and myths come from these archaeological rests, like the one which tells that Viracocha commanded the rising of the moon from the depths of the lake. The Moon's Temple is definitely the main attraction of the place. It is marked out by a rectangular flat space where ceremonies were held. Kept in good condition, the temple has many rooms and geometrical portals. In addition, the facade walls host the typical Inca cross named "Chakana". This special symbol encloses a very powerful meaning. The cross has twelve corners just like the months of the year and symbolizes the three levels of Inca life, the underworld, the world of every day and the upper world. The levels are also represented by three animals, respectively the snake, the puma and the condor. 

The temple seems to be originally dedicated to rituals of purification, as well as reception of the Inca noblewomen in their training to become priestesses. Some people say that the temple could be used to make human sacrifices. 
Once inside the ruins, the quantity of objects present in the niches of the building is very curious. Cocaine leaves, coins or cigarettes. It seems that the burning generated by some of these objects can re-create the sacrifice carried out with the fire. 

Nowadays to follow the ancient legends and traditions, during the spring equinox and the winter solstice, a significant number of pilgrims travel to the island to relive the mystical and supernatural experience. Now as it was then, the Moon Island still releases energy.