What did Peruvian shamans see on the proverbial cards for 2023?
December 29, 2022 11:40 PM
Atop a sacred hill in Lima, Peruvian shamans scatter coca leaves and flower petals while a snake named Maria slithers over posters of world leaders including Russia's Vladimir Putin and Brazilian president-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
It's the time of year that the shamans beat drums, chant, blow smoke and drink a potent hallucinogenic brew to make their divinations for the 12 months ahead.
What did they see on the proverbial cards for 2023?
The war in Ukraine will end. Brazilian football icon Pele will die. There will be "many dead" due to natural disasters in North America. And Lula will have a difficult start to his third presidential term.
"There will be peace (in Ukraine) this coming year, it will not go beyond August," shaman Cleofe Sedano told AFP after the vibrant ceremony.
Colleague Walter Alarcon, dressed in a colorful poncho and holding a conch that he blows like a bugle, said there would also be "many dead, many natural disasters," in North America.
As for Pele, Sedano said: "All of us in the whole world appreciate him because he was a good football player. We wish that he continues to accompany us, but next year is his appointed date."
Lula, who takes the reins in Brazil on Sunday, will see his mandate start "a little complicated because there will be opponents who will not agree with his thinking," said Alarcon.
"But then things will calm down and Lula will flourish."
The shamans, 13 in total from all over Peru, used the ceremony on the San Cristobal hill Wednesday to pray to the Pachamama Earth Mother goddess and Tayta Inti sun god for a good year ahead.
They spread oranges, tangerines, bananas and apples on colorful blankets on the ground -- symbols of abundance and prosperity -- and write out "Happy 2023" in yellow rose petals.