Five Words at the Heart of Andean Mysticism

Each department of knowledge passes through three stages. The theoretic stage, the theological stage, and the metaphysical or abstract stage.
—Auguste Comte

When people are new to the Andean mystical tradition, I like to introduce its richness by distilling the tradition down to five words. To me, they encompass the core of this metaphysical tradition. These five words are: energy, intention, invisible, efficient, and universal.


Most spiritual traditions and cultures discovered that underlying the material world there is an energetic one. The Andeans were no different. However, their unique take Atomon the kawsay pacha—the world of living energy—is impressive in its relevance to modern science. For instance, the word pacha means, among other things, both space and time as two aspects of one field, just as modern physics discovered with the fourth dimension, that of the space-time continuum. The kawsay pacha is an immaterial energy field, but from it arises the landscape of space-time—the Pachamama, which is the material world.

For Andeans,  energy is just energy, devoid of moral overlay and thus with no intrinsic qualities such as good or bad, or positive or negative (as in beneficent or maleficent). Just as there are no good or bad electrons or photons, the energy of the kawsay pacha is beyond moral labeling.

Andean paqos train to become masters of energy exchanges—of ayni, which is the reciprocal exchange of energy between the kawsay pacha and human beings and vice versa. Everything depends on their “personal power,” which means the quality and efficacy of their ayni. Most cultures, when they divined the reality of this foundational energy field, sought to interact with it through the body: yoga, martial arts, fasting, breath, ecstatic dancing, drumming and sound, etc. For Andeans, ayni mostly comes not through the body but through something else—which brings me to the second word to describe the tradition.


Andean paqos say that the prime mover of energy is our intention. A fundamental teaching of the tradition is that energy must follow intention. We are all masters of using our intention. The quality of our lives, say the Andean paqos, is a reflection of how we are using intention to move energy. We cannot not be using intention if we are a thinking, feeling, interacting human being. However, the key is that most of us are unconscious to how we are in ayni with the kawsay pacha. Unlike cultures that first went through the physical body to learn to move energy, Andeans go through theGame of Inner Geometry poq’po, or energy body. Thus, the practices of the Andes are all about refining the state of our energy body—our poq’po, or personal energy bubble—and aligning our energy with our intention. We must be conscious of how this dynamic interplay works. This is why I say so often that a paqo is someone who is on a path of conscious evolution.

Many other cultures eventually got to this insight that intention alone moves energy, and modern metaphysics is rife with methodologies for marshalling intention to manifest thoughts, desires, and more. The Andeans, having come to this insight early, have developed ways to perfect ayni, which brings me to the next word to describe the tradition


Efficiency means two things in relation to being a paqo. First, the practices move you along the path of personal power and conscious evolution relatively quickly, so they are in efficient in methodology. And second, the practices produce results. So they efficient in effects.

Because ayni—energetic interchanges—are at the heart of all the practices, these two meanings of the word “efficient” are tightly bound. Let me speak to both of these meanings together.

Andean mysticism is a practical path comprised of energy techniques that provide excellent results—both in terms of personal development and of manifestation of intention—relatively fast. You are not expected to spend years or decades learning plants-growing-on-coins-compressed-flipped-adobestock_106627490what to do, why you are doing it, and perfecting your technique. If you are true to the practice, you should see improvement in your well-being quickly. Furthermore, the practices—from saminchkauy and saiwachakuy to hucha mikhuy to despachos—are not complex, but, in fact, are rather simple and, certainly, direct, even as the cosmovision that underpins them has an impressive level of richness and comprehensiveness. The practices are ones that use intention to move energy, so there is no long learning period of complex techniques. The primary “technique” is perfecting your ayni exchange and the various methods of becoming conscious of those exchanges and using them to improve the condition of your energy body can be taught quickly. In fact, I would say that one of the biggest surprises to those new to the tradition are just how simple (but not simplistic) the core practices are.

Going back to effects of applying the practices: This is not a path of wishful thinking or hope. It is one based on producing results right here in the human world as quickly as possible. If you are not getting results, look not to the cosmos but to yourself and the quality of your personal power. Remember, personal power is about the condition of your energy body first and foremost and how that condition supports or undermines your ayni. If you find your results lacking, you take personal responsibility, and go back to the basics of the simple, direct, and efficient practices for empowering your energy body and, thus, increasing your personal power. (“Responsibility” could have been another word used to define this tradition as it goes hand in hand with efficiency.)


An interesting aspect of this tradition is that because it is purely personal energy work, it is invisible. No one will ever know you are doing saminchakuy, saiwachakuy, hucha mikhuy. You can even learn to offer a despacho using your energy body as a living despacho. There need be no outward sign that you are working—and workingSteps of gold gloriously and fruitfully—as a paqo. Thus, it is a path of power but not of ego.

The Native North American Sun Bear once said something to the effect that if you can’t work without your feather or crystal, then you are not working at all, or at least not very well. I find this especially true of the Andean tradition. In the lloq’e work we learn to turn our body into a living despacho, so you never have to be caught short if you don’t have all the physical items for a material despacho. Everything you can do with your mish (mesa), you have to be able to do without it, or else you are turning that misha into a fetish. A fetish is an object in which you have invested your power, so if you lose the fetish or it is taken away, you lose your power. That is not the way of the Andean paqo. Ayni is the core energy dynamic of the cosmos, and to make an energy exchange you need only your intention. Even with healing, the practices are such that you do not have to be with the person or doing anything physically with them or to their body. You can use pure intention to move energy on behalf of activating another person’s well-being. In all of these ways, this is a path of invisibility.


Walking the path of Andean mysticism does not mean that you have to forgo exploring other paths simultaneously. It is not a tradition that asks you to be exclusive. It does not ask you to believe in any dogma, doctrine, or theology. While to practice well you have to understand the cosmovision that underpins the energy Yin Yang Celestialpractices, you can be a Buddhist paqo, a Christian paqo, a Jewish paqo, or any other kind of paqo. You can practice the Andean techniques without having to give up Reiki, holotropic breathwork, meditation, yoga, Wiccan or shamanic techniques, or any other set of practices you keep in your metaphysical toolbox.

Andean mysticism also is a path of universality because it is all about your personal relationship with the kawsay pacha. Energy is universal and impervious to the imposition of human moral labels. The way to move energy is common to all humans—using intention. Thus, the practices require only a belief that there is a world of living energy and that you are interacting with that energy. That’s it—and that makes it pretty universal!

There are other words I could have chosen to describe the basic, foundational aspects of the Andean mystical tradition, but these five serve nicely not only to describe the tradition but to distinguish it from others. By referring back to these five words, you can check in from time to time to ensure you are staying true to the path of the Andean paqo.


2 thoughts on “Five Words at the Heart of Andean Mysticism

  1. Wow! I have been feeling the tug to dig into my mystic roots lately. This article feels like it was written “from me” in the sense it feels so familiar,

    I would really like to practice the Paqo tradition as i feel it resonates most deeply with this journey.

    Thank you so much for providing clarity

    Peace and Purtiy



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