Space, Time and the Three Worlds

Andeans spatially position time differently than we do in Western Judeo-Christian cultures, and this blog post examines the Andean conception of future and past in relation to the Upper World (hanaqpacha) and Lower World (ukhupacha).

Generally speaking in our culture, we think of the Upper World—sometimes as a heaven—as representing the future. After all, we won’t go there until after we physically die and its most common characteristic is that of redemption, something we may not be worthy of in the current time but may attain or be blessed with in the future. The Upper World is a perfected world and a place beckoning us through future possibility and even potential reward. It presumes a future state we might attain. On a more personal level, in terms of our body and spatial positioning, we locate the future in front of us: we are walking into our future, creating it moment by moment. It is unformed until we form it through how we live. It is full of potential because we can improve how we live and thus impact our future for the better.

In contrast, generally speaking our conception of the Lower World is of the past. It is the place we may go once we die because of the conditions of our past—the quality of our past character, the thoughts and actions of our recently ended life. Spatially, the past generally and our personal past more specifically is behind us: they are comprised of our collective or personal completed thoughts, words, actions, and so on. We are walking away from our past toward our future, but our future is conditioned by the consequences of our past.

Andeans see things differently.

Let me start with the Upper World, the hanaqpacha. It is associated with the past, which Andeans call the ñaupa pacha. In terms of its characteristics, the Upper World is eternal and perfected. What was now is and forever will be. It is the abode of the Past Present And Future Signpost Showing Evolution Destiny Or AgingMystery, or whatever you want to call God, who is unchanging. According to anthropologist Jan Szemínski and his collection of oral testimonies of indigenous Andeans, the Upper World’s chief characteristics are stability, permanence, duration, in front (spatially), and past (chronologically). He also reports that Andeans associate it, in terms of the direction of left or right, with the right (paña). In the Andean mystical tradition, the right-side work is that of yachay and perception—of knowledge. The Upper World is the place of those who know or who have perfected their perceptions (qaway). It is the place of perfect ayni, and hence occupied by God and those beings who practiced ayni well during their lifetime (their past).

In terms of each of us as humans, we have a personal hanaqpacha, which encodes our true and eternal self—our ñaupa pacha, or past. It is our inner heaven, where we are revealed for who we really are—drops of the Mystery/God, already enlightened and perfected, although as beings in human bodies in this material world our past as an aspect of Gods is something we have forgotten and must recover. Thus, enlightenment is held in potential in our Inka Seed, and on this material plane we must grow into who we really are. Anthropologist Constance Classen, in her book Inca Cosmology and the Human Body, confirms this association of the past with divine time and eternal space. She reports that Andeans correlate the Upper World and the past with the moment of creation, when “Viraqocha sets the body of the cosmos in motion with his animating breath . . .”

In terms of spatial position in the physical world, the hanaqpacha is above us. But in terms of its association with the past in relation to the human body, both the mystical eye imagistic compressed Pixabay -1228968_1920mystical tradition and the indigenous peoples of the Andes place the past in front of us. We know it, we have seen it, and we have experienced it. It is in full view for us. In terms of our personal poq’po (energy body), we can have a striking clarity about our past because we have six mystical eyes (ñawis) in the front of our poq’po looking at it. These are the qosqo ñawi at the belly, the sonqo ñawi at the chest, the kunka ñawi at the neck, the two physical eyes, and the qanchis ñawi in the  middle of the forehead. This mystical vision can provide deep insight into our past, which can be liberating; or it can cause us to become fixated on our past, as so many Westerners do through our psychological and analytical propensities.

But we also have a personal hanaqpacha inside of our poq’po. It is located in the space between the top of our head and the upper inside of our poq’po. This mystical knowledge is supported by anthropological knowledge, as Classen tells us that for Andeans the hanaqpacha is said to be located not only in the upper part of the world but also around the upper part and top of the head. Mystically, this is the place of the three eyes (the two physical eyes and the qanchis ñawi). Our two physical eyes provide the vision to see ourselves as we have been in this human life whereas our seventh eye provides the mystical vision to see beyond this world—to our eternal past and our original perfected, enlightened selves.

In contrast, the ukhupacha, or Lower World, is associated chronologically with the future (called kaya pacha) and spatially is situated behind us. The ukhupacha in Andean cosmology is not a place of punishment or damnation but of regeneration. It is the place of potential—of the future self. Those who occupy it did not live their lives in ayni, and now they are in the Lower World to learn ayni and, thus, to improve themselves. They are being given an opportunity for personal transformation and growth. If they succeed, they can rise up to the hanaqpacha.Unfolding of Self

According to Classen, the ukhupacha symbolically is the place of the “dark, fluid future.” Szemínski confirms this information: he reports from his discussions with hundreds of Andeans that the Lower World is associated with future time, with a spatial position in back of or behind us, and with the main characteristics of change and creation. He also says Andeans place it in a position/direction of the left. This makes sense, since in the Andean tradition the left-side work (lloq’e) is the place of action, which is certainly what the people in the Lower World are undertaking on their path of regeneration.

As already mentioned, in terms of the body the future is located behind you, which has an important connection to the mystical eyes, the ñawis. Classen reports that for most Andeans “the future . . . is not something one can walk ahead into, but rather, is something that one has to turn oneself around . . . to reach.” This may not be a literal turning. It may instead refer to the single ñawi that is in the back of the body/poq’po. Remember that you can see your past with clarity because you have six mystical eyes in the front of your body/poq’po looking at it. But you can’t easily see your future—or potential future, since it is not set but is a field of potentialities—because you have only one eye, the siki ñawi, at the base of your spine looking at it.

Classes also points out that in terms of the human body, the Lower World is associated with the feet and is considered a place of transition. This correlates perfectly with the mystical tradition, where the personal ukhupacha is located within your poq’po in the space between the bottom of your feet and the lower inside of your poq’po. It is your place of personal inner regeneration and transformation, where you undertake the work of realizing your potential.

There is much more I could say about the Upper and Lower Worlds and their time and space relations, but let me end Healing Hands Ayni Compresssed Dollarphotoclub_67573261by mentioning the Middle World, or the kaypacha. The kaypacha is this world—our material, human world. According to Szemínski, the kaypacha results from the interaction of the two other worlds. The hanapacha and ukhupacha energies, the past and the future, meet in the now to create your personal kaypacha. We can turn to psychology to help explain more about this process. The Lower World can be associated with our unconscious and conscious selves, and the Upper World with our divine and Higher Self. We become whole in this life, in our kaypacha, when we bring our unconscious impulses under our will and integrate our unconscious and conscious selves to express our Higher Self. Our inner Lower World/ukhupacha expands and moves upward while our inner Upper World/hanaqpacha expands and moves downward, with the two coalescing into a more perfected personal human world or kaypacha.

Phutuy: Flowering as a Paqo

This post is based on a conversation I had with my teacher, don Juan Nuñez del Prado, about phutuy, or flowering. Literally, in most Quechua dictionaries, it is a noun that means germination, and it correlates with the Quechua word wiñay, which means many things, such as eternity, to develop, to grow, to sprout. In your mystical work, it refers to being born or to birthing your mystical self. Juan reminds us all that our paqo path is a process of kawsay puriy—walking in a world of living energy. Don Martin Quispe Machaqa, the current top paqo of Q’ero and one of many paqos our group was working with, said, “We try to walk with well-being through our lives, in alignment with the kawsay pacha, in ayni, using all of our capacities.” To do that, you have to “flower” as a paqo.

There are other metaphors that provide context for your work. Two are wachu, which means furrow (as in a plowed row in a field), and tarpuy, which means both Seedling close up compressed Pixabay forest-2290740_1920to plant and to sow. In effect, you are a muyu, or seed, and you are learning to plant yourself in this wachu—the universal field of living energy—so you can grow and evolve. You literally have an energetic seed within you, the Inka Seed, which is close to your heart in your chest and which contains within it your fullest potential. When you grow your Inka Seed you not only can realize who you are (exactly as you are) at the current time, but you can perceive your highest potential—that of an enlightened sixth-level being. Everything you need to realize this potential lives within you. You have only to use your energy practices to germinate this potential and grow yourself into the fullness of your individual beingness over time.

Juan says that in your work, especially the basic energy practices of saminchakuy and saiwachakuy, you are enriching yourself, feeding your Inka Seed. When you grow, you will grow as a tree does—you are building yourself. A tree uses all the power available to it—water sun, earth and wind—to form and shape itself. You use all your practices to grow and shape yourself, to feel and express your beingness. Touching that beingness enriches you, it empowers you to continue to evolve, enriching yourself in many specific ways.

For example, you can work through your ñawis—mystical eyes—in various ways. Juan says just like a tree works with the power of sun, earth, water and wind (which are not elements, but spirit beings: Tayta Inti, Mama Allpa, Mama Unu, and Tayta Big tree in nature compressed Pixabay -4238445_1920Wayra respectively), you can work with them through your poq’po (energy body). He explained, “Working with those spirit beings at your ñawis is a type of phutuy, or flowering. You offer yourself as a flower to Wiraqocha. You germinate, bloom, grow. For example, you can lay on the ground and connect your four main ñawis to the Earth and grow as a mallki (an energetic tree) and see the project of your life.” The mallki, or sacred tree, is a symbol of the enlightened human being, a “self-made” being just as a tree is self-made using the gifts of the spirit beings of sun, earth, water and wind. When you pull in these powers you can catch a glimpse of yourself in your future potential, as a sixth-level being. And that glimpse can be enough to motivate you to do the day-to-day work of seeding, germinating, and growing yourself and your poq’po.

Juan reminds us that it is not just your mystical body you are seeking to evolve, but your physical body as well. In the mystical work, “you are building another kind of body, a perceptual and mystical body,” he says, “so you can be stronger. When you are energetically weak, you cannot do fully, you cannot be fully. But your work also builds your physical body. You are developing your gifts—such as atiy, khuyay, munay, and yachay—but also building your body.” As paqos, we are always about building and empowering both: our human self and our spiritual/mystical self.

We have many practices to help us do this work, but in terms of phutuy we would do well to work with our primary mystical centers, our ñawis, or mystical “eyes.” These are, in reality, full perceptual centers and are not associated only with “seeing.” The seven mystical eyes are the siki ñawi at the base of the spine, the qosqo ñawi at the belly, the sonqo ñawi at the chest/heart area, the kunka ñawi at the throat, your twomystical eye imagistic compressed Pixabay -1228968_1920 physical eyes, and the qanchis ñawi (seventh eye) in the middle of your forehead.

As I pointed out previously, the ñawis—the mystical eyes—are associated with the seven teqse apukuna, or universal spirit beings. (Among other posts on this site about the universal spirit beings, see the one of December 27, 2015.) As examples of how to work specific ñawis, Juan offers the following: “If you want to have the capacity to stick with something for a long time, to undertake a long-term effort, you work through your qosqo and qosqo ñawi with the spirit being of the Earth, Mama Allpa. Mother Earth provides the stability and grounding to help you sustain an effort over the long term. If you want to start something new, you work with the siki ñawi and the capacity of atiy, which is the power to do something, to take action, and also about the proper timing to start your project. If you want to learn about a subject deeply, you work with the air and wind (Tayta Wayra) at the kunka ñawi, the eye of the throat. If you want to deepen feelings, you work at the sonqo ñawi with the sun (Tayta Inti), who sheds light and brings illumination to what you are feeling so it you feel with greater clarity.”

These are all ways to “flower” the self, both physically and mystically. But I would add that none of these practices will be particularly effective if you are not attending to the coherence of your entire poq’po. Ideally, these specific practices should be combined with the more general practice of saminchakuy, which is a type of pichay, of sweeping hucha from your poq’po. Pichay literally means to remove dirt, to sweep clean. (If you don’t know saminchakuy, it is a practice of bringing sami in and over your poq’po while simultaneously releasing hucha from your poq’po.) I always start my work with a general saminchakuy of my entire poq’po, and I recommend you do that as well. Then, if you are planning to work at a particular ñawi, you can go on to do a pichay at that center. You can direct the sami to a particular ñawi and release hucha from it. Then, once it is “clean,” you can begin your phutuy work with the spirit being associated with that ñawi. Following this sequence is like preparing the soil bed of the self first, and then preparing a place for a particular seed. However you decided to work, your intention matters. Your focus is on phutuy—flowering the fullness of yourself.

Sanctuaries as Engines of Power

Juan 2019 editedWhen I am with my teacher, don Juan Nuñez del Prado, we have wide-ranging conversations and he inevitably offers enlightening off-hand remarks that, unbeknownst to him, alter my perceptions of the work we are doing together or with a group. Recently he said, “Sanctuaries are spiritual engines. You pull energy from them.” That might seem an obvious statement, but it got me thinking about my relationship to the sanctuaries we work at and how to expand and deepen the work I, and others, do there.

If you have been to Peru you know how magnificent the sanctuaries are: Tipon with its amazing multilevel fountains, Ollantaytambo with its soaring walls and exquisite sweep of stairs, moray with its tiers of vast circular terraces , Machu Picchu with its finely wrought temples and profusion of wakas (stones and other structures or objects that are repositories of the sacred). We work in specific ways with each of these, and other, sacred sites. Among many other practices, at Tipon, we work with the ñust’a energies of the water fountains, at Ollantaytambo we work with the spirit of the wind, at Moray we form relationships with and are empowered by the teqse apukuna (seven universal spirit beings), at Machu Pichu we undertake all kinds of energy work, including the cycle of practices of the Q’enti Rijchay, the ceremony of awakening the hummingbird. But Juan’s remark helps me see that the work goes Ollantaytambo compressed and editedmuch deeper—beyond specific energy practices at individual sites within a sanctuary to touching the very heart of the poq’po (energy bubble) of the sanctuary as a engine of living energy.

Most of our work is that of connecting seqes—cords of energy—with a specific waka. But Juan is advising that we also connect with the entire sanctuary, offering it our energy and pulling its power to us in an ayni interchange. Once we lay down a seqe, it persists over time if we continue work it. That seqe then can be a permanent energetic link to the sanctuary from which we can—at any time, from any place in the world—continue to receive its energy empowerment. The sacred “engine” of the sanctuary is never idle. It is always running, thereby providing a continual source of power to us and helping us to grow and paqos and as human beings. What a beautiful concept! We would do well to remember that when we are in Peru or at any sacred site anywhere in the world.

The rituals of the Andes are not ceremonies per se. They are intention put into action to make energetic connections and to refine mystical perception. The flow between yourself and the entity you are interchanging energy with is an act of ayni.  There temple in Pacharare commonalities between each sanctuary—for example, they may all be engines of the sami of the earth. And, they are all sites at which paqos throughout time have worked, so they are imprinted with the energy of the collective energy of those paqos, which itself can be a source of power from which you can draw. But they also each have their own energy signatures. When you connect with that power source, then you may eventually become, as Juan would phrase it, an “owner” of that particular power as well.

Some sites are not man-made sanctuaries but natural formations that may or may not have been modified by the Inkas and pre-Inkas. For instance, the cave of Amaru Machay (which you can no longer enter) is a natural cave with carvings along the entrance rock face and a huge platform “altar” inside. You don’t have to enter to  connect with its poq’po and draw from the engine of power of this place. The work you would here is a kind of recapitulation of your life to release hucha and a rebirthing as a whole, healed human being, so the signature energy of Amaru Machay would be the energy of healing your past. By laying down a seqe to the poq’po of Amaru Machay, you can continually draw on this healing energy no matter where you are.

I am not an expert on what the “signature” energy is of the many sanctuaries of Peru, and I won’t go into any detail here for those I do know something about, but I can offer a few possibilities about how you can explore doing this kind of work. There are two primary ways. First, you can work with the sanctuaries according to their literal use and then extrapolate from that meaning to make a metaphoric Moray compressed and croppedconnection to human experience. Second, you can work with the energy of the site’s mystical significance within the paqo lineage.

Let me use Moray as an example. This was an experimental agriculture center, where the Inkas sought to develop plants that could thrive in different environments and at different altitudes. So, quite literally, it was a place of adaptation. If you extrapolate metaphorically to your life, you might draw along a seqe the energy and power of adaptation into your own life, perhaps to help you discover new ways to adapt in and thrive in a difficult environment of your current life (family, work, etc.). In the metaphysical realm, Moray is a place where we work with the seven levels of human consciousness. (This is not all we do here, but it is one of the primary energy practices we do at this site.) Notice in the photo above how each circular grouping is comprised of seven “steps” of terrace. In our mystical work, each level of terrace represents one of the seven levels of human consciousness. But you can work with the site holistically, drawing sami from the poq’po of the entirety of Moray to empower yourself to explore, heighten, and evolve your consciousness.

cropped-qero-in-front-of-archway-temple-of-wind.jpgThis is just a flavor of the work you can do with these sanctuaries as engines of power. I hope this post has inspired you both to see the creative ways you can apply Andean mystical practices and to develop a new appreciation for the sacred sanctuaries of Peru (or of anywhere else). Remember that everything is a being, including the sacred sanctuaries, and through ayni you can work with these “beings” to help you along your path as paqo and in your life as a human being.

 

Working Your Practice as a Paqo

I have been reading the latest research about consciousness, which has prompted me to speculate about how this science relates to our practice as paqos. My question Mishas slightly closer up 2019 compressedto you in this post is: How often and well are you practicing Andean techniques?

The bottom line is that without committed practice, you will make only temporary gains in personal power. You will not make lasting changes in your attainment of all the benefits the tradition offers: greater consciousness of the self and the self’s integral connection with the conscious universe; greater well-being and joy as a human being in the human world, greater coherence in your poq’po so that directed intention results in more effortless and effective ayni; more profound use of your human capacities from munay to rimay to atiy, and on and on.

I turn to the latest science of consciousness to persuade you that you can’t just dabble in this tradition—or any tradition—and expect to reap its most important rewards. Practice matters.

I already have written a few posts inspired by Dawson Church’s book Mind Into Matter: The Astonishing Science of How Your Brain Creates Material Reality. In this post, I want to talk about the science of using intention, what Church calls “mind.”Mind energy beams compressed Dollarphotoclub_53649347

Let’s start with one of Church’s foundational points. He writes, “This is the everyday superpower that you possess: second by second, you are changing your brain by the way you use your mind. The consciousness of your mind is becoming the cells of the matter of your brain.”

Most conventional, materialist scientists tell us that mind arises as an epiphenomenon of the brain. For them, mind is little more than the complex firing of massively connected neurons and intricate arrays of biochemical cascades. Matter is “first cause.” They claim that the brain is the conductor of the orchestra of mind: It directs our sense of self and all of our perceptions, beliefs, desires, imaginative flights of fancy, actions, and so on. According to these scientists, we might not even have free will, since the impulse to act through the body involves signals that occur subconsciously milliseconds before we even have the thought or intention to act, such as to propel our arm outward to strike someone or reach out our hand to tenderly stroke a baby’s cheek. 

Frontier scientists such as Church, and the researchers he refers to in his book, disagree with the conventional consensus about the brain-mind relationship. They tell us the opposite: Mind in a very real sense is the conductor of the material orchestra that is our brain. “With each thought you think, as you direct your attention, you’re signaling your brain to create new neural connections. Use this 3d words of faith hope and lovepower deliberately, rather than allowing random thoughts to flow through your mind, and you start to consciously direct the formation of neural tissue. After a few weeks, your brain changes substantially. Keep it up for years, and you can build a brain that’s habituated to process signals of love, peace, and happiness.” Instead of matter to mind, the foundational flow is mind to matter. As Church explains, “What the mind does then determines which brain circuits are engaged. The neural pathways in the brain that the mind’s choices stimulate are the ones that grow. In this sense, the mind literally creates the brain.”

Of course, causality and correlation go both directions: from matter up to mind, and from mind down to matter. That’s what we as paqos call ayni. But as Church notes, you have to actually “direct” your mind/intention over time to effect change. Practice matters. You have to use your mind in a conscious way to build coherence, not let “monkey mind” keep you in a state of incoherent chaos.  You have to direct (or at least consciously monitor) your intentions—not once, or just when you feel like it, or when you happen to be in ceremony, but continually throughout every day.

In the same way that habitual and conscious choices are necessary to restructureJoan beginning despacho Clemmons Mar 2016 COMPRESSED 20160320_151543 your brain, Andean mystical practices need to become habitual and conscious to help you accumulate personal power and be in more efficient and effective ayni (to able to consciously influence the kawsay pacha to manifest your desires, from greater well-being to a more satisfying job to a new car).

Your practice does not need to be arduous, but it does need to be sustained. Church writes, “The speed of the process [how the application of directed mind correlates to physical changes in the brain] caused an earthquake in the world of our scientific knowledge. When neurons in a neural bundle are stimulated repeatedly, the number of synaptic connections can double in just an hour.”

That speed of change is indeed astonishing. However, the caveat comes in the following fact: “Within three weeks of inactivity in an existing neural signaling pathway, the body starts to disassemble it in order to reuse those building blocks for active circuits.” The cliché “use it or lose it” is quite literal.

Church sounds a warning, as he offers this message to readers in the early pages of his book: “Most of us are using just a tiny fraction of our ability, not even realizing that our minds create matter. . . . You’re already turning thoughts into things. You’re doing it every day unconsciously. Now it’s time to do it systematically and deliberately.”

don-martin-and-dona-isabila-apaza-blessing-despacho-and-mishas-compressedAt the start of every Andean mysticism training I offer, I get on my soap box and tell students the same thing—sustained practice matters. I advise them to not make the training just another workshop—fun while you’re there and then off to the next workshop on a different energy modality or esoteric tradition. If you value the Andean tradition and you want to reap its benefits, then you have to commit to practicing its techniques often and consciously, using directed intent. You’ll be glad you did.

August 1: Pachamama Day Ceremony

Back in 2015, I wrote a post about the significance of the date of August 1 in Andean mystical practice. I am going to revisit that topic here so that you can prepare for this auspicious day.

August 1 is called Pachamama Day, the day on which the Apus and Pachamama Apu Yanantin“awaken” to hear our prayers and accept our offerings. Of course, they are always “awake” and available to us, but on this day they lend an ear in an especially attentive way. In a sense it is a kind of mystical New Year’s Day, one on which paqos undertake personal work and ritual from feeding their mishas to honoring their spirit guides. (As a note of reminder, the word Pachamama, while commonly used to refer to Mother Earth, is really the name for the Mother of the Cosmos. She is the entire material, physical universe. Mother Earth as the planet is Mama Allpa). So, this is the day we set aside special time to be in ayni consciously and purposefully with the universe of living energy and with all the physical manifestations of that living energy, such as the various spirit beings. But most importantly, at a personal level, it is about undertaking a conscious, personal mast’ay, a reordering of the self.

When I was interviewing the Q’ero for my book Masters of the Living Energy, don Julian Pauqar Flores gave me a gift of a khuya, a stone from his misha that I was to place in mine. He explained all the ways the khuya could be used, which I won’t go into here except to say that it has more uses than any other khuya I have. During his explanation, he mentioned the August 1 date, explaining this day of awakening along with a simple but powerful incantation that paqos can say to renew themselves. I pass this incantation on to you, with my added ideas, instructions, and explanations for working in ceremony on this auspicious day. You can work the order of the parts in any way you want, and I change it up year to year, but this is a basic framework for working on Pachamama Day.

As the Apus and Pachamama awaken, we, too, can re-awaken or rebirth ourselves. We let go of the past and proclaim our intentions for the coming year. We claim our independence from who we were and declare who we are going forward. We cut the seqes, the energetic cords, to what no longer serves us and project forward toward the realization of our perfected selves. Thus, it is a day when we tap into the energy both of the living universe and of our personal power to nurture our potential to become enlightened, sixth-level human beings. This work involves personal recapitulation, a personal mast’ay (reordering of the self), and the mast’ay of the misha (personal power bundle).

You can start with a wachay, a rebirthing or recapitulation practice. As with all our of work, it is invisible energy work, done using your intention to move energy and Gold pocket watch and calendarundertake a mast’ay, a restructuring or reordering of the self.

First take a moment to feed yourself and your poq’po with sami to settle and empower yourself. Then, to do a wachay, you use intention to release your hucha (heavy energy), working from the present moment back to the moment of your birth. This process, as you can imagine, can take some time. Don’t rush it. Seek quality and clarity in your energy work. Working back from the present moment, you draw sami into your poq’po while releasing hucha down to Mother Earth, also using your intention to cut the seqes (energetic cords) to anything you feel you need to release or disconnect yourself from—emotions, events, people .  .  . whatever has felt heavy to you. Honor what you have learned, yet also let what is finished be finished both emotionally and energetically. You can choose not to carry this hucha any longer, and Mother Earth is happy to accept your hucha as a gift of her favorite food. This is not an analytic practice, so don’t get bogged down in reviewing situations or reengaging emotions or memories from the past. Simply note where you feel hucha as you recapitulate your life and at each point release that hucha to Mother Earth.

When you are done releasing the hucha through your personal timeline, it is time to renew yourself and focus energetically on your continuing growth as a human being. This is the work that don Julian described in his interview with me back in the mid 1990s. It is time to state your intentions for the coming year—to configure energetically your new inner personal mast’ay. I usually hold my misha while I do this part of the ceremony.

Sit quietly and mull over what you “intend” for yourself in the coming year. Be clear-eyed and sober about this. Distill your intentions down to the absolute most important essentials. Then stand, holding your misha, and declare aloud to the living universe the incantation that don Julian gave me: “I am what I speak, not what I have spoken.” Then speak aloud your essential intentions for the next year.  Speak aloud with clarity who this new you is: your expanded personal capacities and qualities, how you want to serve in the world, the kind of relationships you choose, and so on.  You are stating that from this moment forward you are renewed, you are reformed, you are revitalized, you are realized in a new way.

Once that part of the ceremony is done, you can elect to “reintroduce yourself to yourself,” since you are a newly organized you at the energetic level. Sit quietly with your misha and drop into your poq’po. Be alone with yourself and establish a relationship with the renewed you, the potentially more consciousness and developed you. Get to know yourself and perceive the state of your poq’po at that moment. Take all the time you need.

Because you have “reordered yourself,” at least in potential through your stated intentions, you now need to work with your misha, the bundle of sacred objects that connects you with the lineage of paqos and with your own growth as a paqo. The misha represents your personal power—as it is now. Since you have just released and restructured yourself, it is likely that your misha must be renewed and restructured as well.

The misha is a great eater of hucha, so take a moment to release more hucha from your poq’po into the misha. Then connect your munay (love) with your misha, honoring the lineages of paqos in which you work; any spirit beings, such as an Apu, you feel connected with; or any or all of the seven teqse paqos, or universal paqos/spirit beings. They are Taytacha (Father God/Jesus Christ/Divine Masculine), Mamacha (Mother Mary/Divine Feminine), Tayta Inti (Father Sun), Mama Killa (Mother Moon), Tayta Wayra (Father Wind), Mama Unu (Mother of the Waters, as in hail and rain, not lakes and rivers), and Mama Allpa (Mother Earth). Then sit with your misha and honor how it has served you as a representation of your personal power and a hucha-cleansing bundle. Then open your misha and undertake a mishas compressed IMG_4625mast’ay, a new ordering of the contents of your misha.

Your misha is a living thing—it represents your personal power. As you grow and change, so does your misha change to reflect who you are. August 1 is a day to open the bundle, connect with the khuyas inside (sacred objects), and feel what kind of changes are necessary to reflect your current state. Some khuyas may be ready to leave your misha. Maybe none will, but commonly you will find that some will. Put them on your altar or return them to nature with gratitude. You might also find that other objects want to be added to your misha. They reflect your progress on the path or important events and relationships that have had meaning for you since the last time you opened and reorganized your misha. Place these new khuyas into your misha with your attention and affection. Remember, misha is the Quechua word for “sign” or “symbol.” Your goal is to have a misha that reflects the current state of your being, of your personal power. When you are finished with the mast’ay of your misha, then “feed” the khuyas, sprinkling them with pisqo (a Peruvian alcohol), wine, water . . . whatever. It is the intention that counts. Your ayni matters more than the outward form of the ceremony. When you are finished, fold the sacred bundle back up in its covering cloth.

You may end the ceremony here, or you may want to offer a despacho. Actually, you can incorporate the despacho at any point in the ceremony. You may offer one after Q'ero despacho 2018 trip compressedthe wachay, to mark the cleansing of hucha and release of any heaviness from your personal past. Or after the incantation and statement of your intentions, honoring your commitment to be a “new you.” Or at the end, to mark the conclusion of the entire mast’ay and honor the spirit beings. Decide what feels right for you. Ceremony should never be robotic. There are no absolutes, especially in method. The Andean path is one of ayni, and ceremony is best seen as the externalization of your internal state, not of following some schematic touted by others. That’s why I say you can do this series of rituals in any order and, really, any way you want. Find what is true for you—that approach is why we call this work the Andean sacred arts. In any case, Pachamama Day is the perfect time not only to reflect on your gratitude for the knowledge offered by the masters of old and through the grace of God and the Spirit Beings, but also to purposefully work your energies as a growing, evolving paqo and human being.

Notes: Photo of mishas copyright Lisa McClendon Sims 2018. Also, this is the last post for about a month, as I am off to Peru.