A Note About Vocabulary: The suffix “-kuna” designates a word as plural in Quechua: apu is singular, apukuna is plural. Apu can be translated as “superior” and in the mystical tradition is most commonly associated with a mountain that is a spirit being. In this respect, it can elevate that spirit being to a level of greatness—to the appellation “Lord.” Apu Ausangate refers to the Spirit Lord of Ausantage. Among other meanings, the word teqse means “the most fundamental,” and in the mystical system means “universal,” as in the most fundamental energies of the cosmic realm. So, in the post below, the term teqse apukuna can be loosely translated as “the most powerful universal spirit beings” and does not refer specifically to mountain spirits. Taytacha refers to a universal or sacred father, whereas Mamacha refers to a universal or sacred mother.
Sun, moon, wind, water, earth . . . in many mystical traditions, the elements are found not only in the material world, but are spirit beings of the metaphysical world. This is true in the Andean tradition, where there is a hierarchy of seven universal spirit beings called the teqse apukuna.
In order, starting from the highest level of these universal beings is the Taytacha, Father God (usually as Father Jesus Christ); Mamacha, Holy Mother Mary; Mama Killa, Mother Moon; Tayta Inti, Father Sun; Tayta Wayra, Father Wind; Mama Allpa, Mother Earth; Mama Unu, Mother Water.
It might appear odd that two Christian figures occupy the top of the teqse apu list. However, the paqos easily took to Christianity because, at least according to the New Testament, the message is one of love—of munay. In the New Testament, Jesus gives three commandments, each about love: love your God with all your heart, mind and strength; love your neighbors as you love yourself; and love your enemies. This is munay—loved grounded in will, love beyond impulse and subject to conscious choice. Christianity’s Golden Rule to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is ayni, the universal law of the cosmos according to the paqos. Jesus and Mary easily represented the core principle of yanantin (the complement of differences), which most fundamentally in the material world is the universal masculine and feminine.
As teqse apukuna, the Taytacha (Father Jesus) and Mamacha (Mother Mary) are spirit beings we can connect with, learn from, and receive blessings from. As an example, when Q’ero paqo don Manuel Q’espi was ill with kidney problems he went to Wanka, an ancient temple site of healing. There the Taytacha appeared to him and healed him. He also told don Manuel to go to Q’oyllurit’i, a sacred sanctuary in the mountains, and there he would give don Manuel the karpay, or initiation, of the tukuymunaynioq, the karpay of munay. Don Manuel went to Q’oyllurtit’i and there had a vision of Christ, who bestowed the karpay on him.
During the past year I have been working deeply with the Taytacha and Mamacha, and I can attest to how generous they are with their blessings!
The other teqse apukuna also bestow blessings. As a paqo, you can work with them in any number of ways and for various reasons. For example, you can determine what capacities are lacking or undeveloped within you and work with the associated teqse apu to learn those capacities, heal, and grow. If you need flexibility and openness, fluidity and strength, you might work with Tayta Wayra, Father Wind. Or perhaps Mama Unu, Mother Water (she is associated especially with rain).
If you seek to bring light to a dark situation or to an aspect of your unconscious, or if you need to increase your life force and vitality, you could work with Tayta Inti, the sun. You get the picture. You choose the universal elemental being that can fill you with what you lack or strengthen within you what is weak.
How do you work with them? By using saminchakuy or saiwachakuy, respectively the cleansing energy practice or the empowering energy practice. This blog can’t teach you those practices, even though they are simple to learn and you can get an idea of how to do them from the descriptions below. If you know them, use them with the teqse apukuna and see what kind of result you get. Remember, this tradition is practical. We want results! So expect them. If one practice is not working to your expectations, then adjust that practice or try a different one.
Let’s say you want to bring clarity to a situation that is confusing, that is stopping you from moving forward with well-being and joy. You might decide to connect with Tayta Inti, Father Sun, and bring his light into the situation through a saminchakuy practice. Really, what you are doing is bringing his sami into your bubble and pushing out hucha, the result of which is a cleansing that can heighten your ability to see the situation clearly and deal with it better. To use saminchakuy, you could connect with Tayta Inti through any of your mystical eyes (ñawis) or chunpis (energetic belts) and draw in his sami. As you do, you cleanse your bubble of hucha (heavy energy) down through your lower spine (siki ñawi) or feet and feed it to Mama Allpa, Mother Earth.
You could use saiwachakuy to empower yourself. Perhaps you are up for a promotion or you are unemployed and seeking a new job. In either situation, you might want to empower yourself. You might be seeking stability, strength, focus, concentration, nurturing, and support to grow in new ways and directions. You might then decide to work with Mama Allpa, Mother Earth. In saiwachauy, you connect through your bubble to her and pull up her sami, filling your bubble with her sami.
Saminchakuy is always about cleansing and saiwachakuy about empowering your energy bubble, and you can use these practices with any of the teqse apukuna. As in all Andean practices, you use your intention. You intend to connect with a particular teqse apu, you communicate with him or her and ask for what you need or want, and you expect that in the spirit of ayni you will both give and receive. In both saminchahuy and saiwachakuy you give your hucha as a gift and receive the teqse apu’s sami as a gift.
This is just a taste of how you can work with the teqse apukuna. Find your own way of getting to know them, for instance by “tasting” their energies through a seqe you extend from your qosqo. Find your own way of working with them, using the Andean techniques you know and molding them to fit your needs. There are no mistakes in the Andean tradition. There is only the state of your energy and the clarity of your intention. Love is met with love. Giving is met with giving. The teqse apukuna are there, waiting to get to know you. Begin introducing yourself to them today.
4 thoughts on “Working with the Teqse Apukuna”
Thank you for this empowering information. I am sharing it with my Ayllus. One Question:
Why do you not mention Hucha Mikhuy? We use all three of these practices in sequence. Hucha, Sami, and than Saiwa.
According to the teachings as I learned them, each of these three practices (saminchakuy, saiwachakuy and hucha miqhuy) are used for different purposes. Saiwachakuy is an empowering and strengthening practice. Saminchakuy is a cleansing practice, particularly on the personal bubble, whereas hucha miqhuy is a deeper cleansing and usually used when you are working on another person, although you can use it on yourself. I don’t see how you would use hucha miqhuy with the teqse apukuna since in hucha miqhuy you receive sami from the stream of hucha itself (from yourself or the other person’s bubble), so you wouldn’t need another source, such as a teqse apu. In contrast, saminchakuy and saiwachakuy pull sami from a source outside the self, so they are perfect for working with the teqse apukuna, who are major sources of sami. I would have to have more information about how you use them in sequence and why you use them in sequence to really answer this beyond what I have said, but I have never heard of doing them in sequence as a practice and that is not a teaching, as far as I know, of don Benito, don Melchor or don Andres, the three primary paqos of the lineage from which I learned. But mostly, to repeat myself, hucha miqhuy doesn’t need an outside source of sami so I don’t see how it would apply to working with the teqse apukuna.
Wondering- is “Pachamama” interchangable with “Mama Allpa”, or is a different perspective or function or even an altogether different Spirit/Energy/Being/Apu distinguised by the different names?
Just found the answer to my question about Pachamama & Mama Allpa in your illuminating essay “Happily Human”. Thanks & sorry about the redundancy.