“When I’m at home, there’s always the telephone ringing and there are people around- it’s what I ask for and what I want and what I love. But when I’m on an airplane — it’s like having your own private office; you disappear in to the clouds and nobody knows who you are. So I say, ‘Could I have the seat next to me free? I have a lot of work to do.’ And they say yes if the plane isn’t very crowded, so most of the time I get it, and I spread out my things and I work and I think. And when I’m finished I look out at the clouds and I think of the wonder and the magic of the universe.”
–Leo Buscaglia, from Living, Loving and Learning
Many of you ask me with all of my demanding world tours how I get the time to reflect and integrate all of the rich experiences that I am blessed to receive. Often, it is on the long flights to and from my magical adventures that I get the chance to sift through my memories and pluck out the gold nuggets of experience. Here are a few golden ingots of my Inca Magic adventure.
A few months ago, I was invited to represent the United States at an international magic event named INKA MAGIC. (yes, Inka is the old spelling) Part of the tour was a special adventure to the spiritual center of Peru, the city of Cusco. Our hosts Jholu and Juan Carlos did a fantastic job of arranging this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
THE LOST CITY OF THE INCAS
Machu Picchu is enveloped in an eternal aura of mysticism. Its temples convey ideals of the amazing empire which built them. It is also a place which takes us on a journey to the spirit of serenity, and to our eternal connection with the magic of the Incas. I was one of thirteen magicians that made the journey from Lima to Cusco, and then boarded a mountain train running along the Urubamba river, to go high up into the awe-inspiring Andes. This was the “easy way to travel.” Many of the hard-core pilgrims hoof it, taking the 88 km Inca trail from Cusco all the way up. It takes four days. “Machu Picchu” means Young Mountain. For over four hundred years, the Incas built an empire, and this was one of their most sacred cities. Suddenly, all the inhabitants vanished, and no one will ever know why. Scientists are still puzzling over this.
THE “MYSTIC 13”
Our small band of magicians was comprised of some of the top performers from all over South America and the USA. I was joined by my friends Michael Ammar and Costya Kimlat. We bonded not only because of our shared interest in magic, but also our passion for the mythology and our eagerness to explore the rich history of Peru.
Our merry band of magical adventure-seekers took every opportunity to perform street magic for the local villagers and guides. There happened to be a film crew doing a documentary on sacred sites in Peru. We ran into this film crew a number of times during our travels, so they decided to do a feature story on us! The day after our Machu Picchu expedition, we journeyed to Cusco, which is known as the “navel of the world.” Cusco was the center of the Inca empire. Many of the ancient rituals and traditions are still carried on there.
As good fortune would have it, we had the opportunity to witness a recreation of perhaps the most ancient and sacred festival of the Incas, “Intiraymi,” which means the Festival of the Sun. Over ten thousand villagers and tourists gathered on the mountainside just outside of the city. In the center of a large field, hundreds of colorfully garbed drummers, dancers, flautists and conch players heralded the arrival of The Inca. This god-man appeared on a throne of gold and was carried to a central pyramid, where he re-enacted the ancient rituals of the returning sun. This re-enactment also reinforces the people’s connection to the natural world and sources of life.
INKA MAGIC CONVENTION
This is the largest magic event in Peru. I was astonished by the high quality of the organization and hospitality. I have been attending magic conventions since 1970, and this event was one of the best I have ever attended. It might have something to do with the amazing talent of the South American magicians, or maybe it was the energy of all the pilgrims that had traveled so far to experience the magic of Peru. The Latin American close-up card magicians rocked my world. Among them, Luis Otero is a true star in the world of card magic. I spent many hours studying his techniques and hope to share them with you the next time we meet.
I was most impressed with the quality of the “children’s shows.” One of the main events was a show comprised of performances by many of the top children’s entertainers in South America. They take this kid-stuff very seriously! I was amazed to see full on theatrical productions with lighting, music, dance, puppetry and quick-change. There is a sophisticated aesthetic that permeates this form of “young adult theater,” that has yet to be seen in other areas of the world. Later this year, the largest magic event in South America, FLASOMA, will be held in Peru. I hope to return if I can arrange my tour.
WISTERIA CORNSTALK FESTIVAL
Abbi and I, along with Michael Wall, Joshua Levin and Nikki are all going to be at the Cornstalk Festival in a few weeks. This event will be happening July 30th – August 3rd, at the Wisteria campgrounds, in Ohio. Here’s a link:
The Cornstalk Festival is “A Magical Convergence of Spirit, Earth, Art & Music, with a focus on blending the Earth-loving, Magical and Fantastic in five days of blissful entertainment, camping, celebration, awareness and eco-education…”
Abbi and I will be doing our full on Las Vegas magic show on the main stage. Kan’Nal will also be playing there. Spinner & the Web will be doing a set in the coffeehouse, and, of course, there’s going to be some outstanding fire circle magic happening…. There will also be two nights of fire circle magic, drumming, dancing and ritual theater. If you’re in the Ohio area, consider this your personal invitation to join us!
I’m off to Oregon for a few shows. First up is Portland, OR, July 7th and 8th, where I’ll be doing my full show, a lecture and a Master Class. Call Mark at 360-261-1606. for more info on the show or class.
July 11, 12, and 13th, I’ll be performing at the Oregon Country Fair, with our friends Nicki Scully, Johnny D, BrightHawk, Mz. Imani, and Michael Wall. For other upcoming dates, check my tour schedule:
I hope to see many of you on tour, or here for one of our classes in Las Vegas! Enjoy your summer… Keep the magic alive!
Jeff & Abbi
We have some late breaking news from the U.K. — Jonathan Shotton, who will be with us for our July extended class, sponsored by The Magic Circle, was just featured, along with former student Romany, the first woman ever to be named Magician of the Year by the Magic Circle.
You can see the video at:
While our July Extended Master Class is completely full, there are still a few spots open for the August class. This will be the last extended class of 2009, and we expect to have some special surprises for those who attend. Sign up now at http://www.magicalwisdom.com.
Best to all!