Which Andean Tradition?

Is there more than one Andean mystical tradition?


As I travel around the country teaching the Andean tradition as I know it and Elephant compressed Dollarphotoclub_68320463practice it, I have had the honor of meeting wonderful “paqos in training” (of which I consider myself one, as there is always more to learn and we are always deepening our practice). However, over and over I have come across a potential stumbling block to the tradition. It’s the elephant in the room that few people seem willing to discuss openly. Not doing so, to my mind, is third-level thinking, and as paqos we are working to accumulate the personal power to evolve to the fourth level. So I would like to open a fourth-level discussion about this elephant in the room. I invite your comments and questions.

What’s the elephant? Feelings of confusion about what the “real” Andean tradition is or if there even is such a thing. Feelings of competitiveness between some organizations and individual teachers, and among their students.

Let me give you examples. I have run into or heard of situations where teachers of this tradition refused to alert their students that I or another teacher was in the area because what we teach is different and they apparently feel a need to protect their turf or their students’ ability to handle alternative perspectives of the tradition. I have run into a student or two who walked out of a training because what I was saying or doing was too different from what their primary teacher had taught them. These are only two of the many ways the undercurrent of fear, ownership, competitiveness and just plain bad juju is flowing through the community.

At one time these kinds of behaviors bothered me. They no longer do. Because I have come to know, as I hope you have or will, that this tradition is not mine or yours, it is ours.

There is a “flavor” of the tradition that tastes good to each of us, so we choose to colorful of cupcakepartake of it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a tradition that comes in 21 flavors of frosting, as long as the cupcake remains a cupcake.

In every tradition, if it is to remain a living tradition, teachers have to walk a fine line between preserving the integrity of the tradition and making it their own, expressing it through their own personalities, strengths, understandings, preferences and such. Different teachers emphasize different aspects of the tradition. There is nothing wrong with this. It is surely true of the paqos of Peru. I have worked with enough of them to know that the same concept can come across differently according to the paqo offering it. So variations are not something that are unique to non-Peruvian teachers of the tradition.

As a living tradition, the sacred work changes over time. While the fundamentals may remain the same, new practices may be created even as old ones die off. It is a fool’s view to think that a tradition can or should remain static and, thus, Juan Pauqar Flores and don Manuel Q'espi at Raqchi FLIPPEDunchanged. Like kawsay, the living energy whose natural state is flow (and which becomes hucha when it stagnates), the Andean tradition is a living tradition.

These and other factors all come into play when you choose or assess a teacher, so I would suggest that it serves you well to remember that his or her teaching is only one presentation of a multi-faceted living tradition. All of us as paqos are striving to accumulate the personal power to evolve consciously to the fourth level. The fourth level is where we accept our experiences without having to judge them against others. We don’t believe we have “the one and only truth,” so we don’t have to defend it and we feel no need to proselytize. We can find “gold” in every vein of the tradition we mine.

That said, as paqos striving to see “reality as it really is,” we also need to make conscious choices and understand that restriction can cause hucha. For teachers, it is important to let students know of the variations, cross-cultural add-ons, and personal flourishes that are expansions beyond the core tradition. Without such an understanding, students are left confused about what is the cupcake of the tradition and what is the frosting. Fourth-level teaching means cultivating students who “graduate” and go off to new endeavors, further explorations, other teachers, and even become teachers themselves. Fourth-level teachers empower their students, they don’t enslave them. And certainly they don’t need to shield them from alternative views or hinder their personal choices.

As students, it behooves us to choose the teachers and presentations of the tradition that most resonate for us at the time, according to the condition of our energy body, without the wholesale dismissal of other offerings. As students we need to be aware that our current teacher may be perfect at the moment but may not be the best teacher for us two years from now. One teacher is not replacing the other; both are to be honored for their contribution to our personal evolution.

I speak for Juan and Ivan when I say that we love this tradition, and we believe it is the most efficient in terms of energy work and the fastest path to accumulating the personal power to live with greater joy and well-being. We believe we are in the dawning stages of the birth of a New Humanity, and the Andean tradition is front and center in helping foster this evolution. So we want you to learn the tradition, from whomever you want. We want you to share it, with whomever you want. We are honored if you learn from us, but we don’t have any judgment if you don’t. Mostly, we want you to be clear-eyed about the choices you make and why, and we urge you to aspire, as we do, to the fourth-level perception that fear, jealousy, competition, control and restriction serve none of us. Most importantly, they don’t serve the Andean mystical tradition.

So what’d’ya say? Shall we agree to kick the elephant out of the room?


14 thoughts on “Which Andean Tradition?

  1. Ah, Joan! Thank you so much for addressing this important topic!
    I would like to add that one of the great strengths of the Inka was their flexibility and adaptability. One of the reasons that their empire grew so quickly was that they took the best of each culture that they came in contact with and incorporated it into their world. Yes, they are traditionalists, and that is why their belief system has endured the past 500 years, against the odds. But their world is also very fluid and practical and they have never been adverse to morphing what they are doing with “what is”.
    This path is meant to be uniting, not divisive. As you have said previously, it is not an exclusionary path, but embraces and enhances all paths. The Fourth Level asks that we are no longer motivated by fear, but rather that we come from and move into the energy love.


  2. I so agree with you Joan. To attain growth and knowledge and personal power many teachers and different ways and traditions can be utilized…uniting and accepting all traditions, even many teachers within the same path. Each teacher is unique unto their self and their understandings and experiences can be valuable to one who wishes to learn and attain knowledge. If we as human’s could embrace the acceptance of all traditions as a way to enlightenment and personal power there would be no war and crimes from fear. Rooms would be filled with love and understanding and not elephants.


  3. This is yust how i struggled with the variaty in teachings avaylable.
    Fore me it has to do with gut feeling it must feel right.
    And you have to find your personal path in this.
    Whe have to evolve indeed, use it and some things transform.
    What i find personaly important is to find the spirits ore wakas of our own suroundings and honour pacha mama hollanda fore instance i go to lakes to old trees and power places whe have.
    Holland is flat country whe have no apus only anthils and the are very powerful places anthils.
    Withing strugling and fichting whe dont evolve only quarrel.
    I let it go i know my truth wat fits me.

    Thx urpichay


  4. Well said, one of the most wonderful things about studying Andean tradition is that we are given permission to make it our own. I could never follow a straight line tradition cause I grow and change. This tradition gives me tools to use as it serves me, and I pass my method to those who ask. I don’t believe I know enough to teach a tradition, just enough to use tools and processes to good advantage. I and as I work and practice I come closer to understanding living energy. To me that is the point of all of it, is to stay in ayni be aware of and work with living energy (this translates to me in one word, faith). So as I grow.and.learn and connect with, I develop my own cosmology of faith. When in Peru I seem to feel that the.paquos and the people are.a.people.of faith, and thus they are are at ease and can be playful, kind, industrious, in service, fun and funny. They seem happy. That is what I am hoping to become very day of my life. They are a colorful living example.


    1. Cari,

      Thanks for your input. I agree with you to a point. I do believe that we can grow and change within the cosmovision of a “straight line” tradition, and I do think we have to honor the way the masters do things. Who are we to know better than those who have been doing the practices for thousands of years? Of course, we can’t know what changes have occurred over those thousands of years, and we would be foolish think there were none. That said, if we do add our own flourishes, we are obligated I believe to let others know so that confusion and so misinformation does not result.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Tena koutou kata – I see you, all of you

    My understanding is that when you are given ancient knowledge freely by pacos of all cultures, you are obligated to pass it on, and to pass it on in a sacred way, that is, the way that it is meaningful and useful to you and to others.

    I was introduced to the Andean way through Alberto Villoldo, but subsequently met (at workshops) with Juan Nunez del Prado and Amerigo Y in London and then, after reconnecting with the mountains/apu/maunga of my own land, with the pacos in the Sacred Valley. I spent three years running workshop programmes in New Zealand, passing on what I had learned, and received an email from Linda Fitch of the Four Winds society telling me to stop because I was breaching copyright! It fills me with great sadness to be reminded of how our paths of greed and consumption can pervert and destroy these ancient knowledges we have been so privileged to share. I had already taken the decision to stop giving workshops anyway. I found that calling and leading “workshops” replicated the colonising/power relationships of our culture – people purchased something from me! – and I did not want that kind of relationship.

    I wanted to share, to give and receive, to grow the knowledge, to use it to transform hucha into the energy of creation, in community…..

    Now I sit with knowledge holders of Te Tiritiri o te Moana (an ancient name for New Zealand) and I pass on these knowledges through living in my community and honouring Papatuanuku/Pachamama with ayni and munay (which I am coming to understand through practising them) and lots and lots of work!, growing food and planting native trees and passing practical knowledge to whoever wishes for it.

    It has been a good journey, and I honour all my teachers and let them go too, since I understand that highest form of respect and love for them – to use the knowledge they have given freely to honour Papatuanuku and live in right relationship with all that is, and to let go of all attachments – which only create more hucha anyway, and the universe can do without that!!

    noho ora mai – remain in wellness

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I honor your path, Deborah. The core traditional teachings (knowledge) cannot be copyrighted, so your experience around that is unfortunate. An organization does have the right to create programs and “approve” teachers to represent them and their presentation of their teachings, but that is legally splitting hairs when it comes to the Andean tradition. As the paqos I interviewed for Masters of the Living Energy so plainly said, this work is for everyone. When you are a fourth-level paqo, you train people to go out and freely share the teachings, instead of keeping them as perpetual students. I have no problem with a teacher charging a fair price for a training. That is one form of ayni. Paqos charge clients for doing despachos and healings, whether that payment is in the form of money or a chicken. There are many forms of ayni, and we all have to decide according to our comfort level and sense of integrity.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. thanks for your response! – I have only just seen it… I like the way you put it, re ayni
        – it is an exchange that has to feel right – both comfortable, honourable, and making a contribution to the sami energy of the universe…. just have not found that yet!!


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