Pachamama is the entire material cosmos, including the stars and planets. It is also the name given to the earth, although planet Earth has her own name, Mama Allpa. As part of our practice as paqos, we learn to pull sami from the cosmos to empower ourselves, but usually we don’t learn a lot of specifics about working out in nature. In this post, I will share some of the ways you can work with the beings of nature.
For the paqos of the Andes, and for many of the indigenous people of the Andes, nature is as conscious of them as they are of it. There are few things in daily life that occur without some connection to nature. Nature is both a challenge and a blessing. The vagaries of the weather can threaten crops—and lives, especially those of the very young. Yet, because these people are still for the most part agrarian, life depends upon the bounty of nature. Nature provides not only material sustenance, but also spiritual sustenance through the practice of ayni (reciprocity).
Beyond the daily ayni cycle with nature, the people of the Andes, especially the paqos, interact with nature as a living entity. According to the mystical tradition, there are seven universal spirit beings, called the teqse apukuna. The word “apu” doesn’t only refer to a sacred mountain. In its meaning of “Lord” or “Superior One,” it refers to many kinds of spirit beings. The teqse apukuna are the Taytacha, Father God (usually as Jesus Christ); Mamacha, the Holy Mother (usually associated with Mother Mary); Mama Killa, Mother Moon; Tayta Inti, Father Sun; Tayta Wayra, Father Wind; Mama Allpa, Mother Earth; Mama Unu, Mother Water. You can see my post of December 2015, “Working with the Teqse Apukuna,” for more information about them and how to work with them. Here I want to move beyond the formal spirit beings and talk about interacting with nature in general.
Walking in nature can be an opportunity to practice as a paqo. Since everything in nature—except for humans—has no hucha and is comprised only of sami, the most obvious way to work in nature is to practice saminchakuy. But instead of taking sami from the cosmos in general, take it from something in the material world, such as a tree, a rock, a bush, or a cloud. Each will have a slightly different “flavor” of energy and bestow a slightly different quality of sami.
In addition to saminchakuy, you can practice generally “tasting” energy forms by throwing a seqe (energy cord) from your qosqo to touch the poq’po of a nature formation—again, a tree, bush, flower, bird, stone, cloud, and the like. “Tasting” is a metaphor for discerning the energy of that natural item. Each form of kawsay will have its own “flavor.” As you connect energetically, you may even find that the nature being has a story to tell, teaching to share, or insight to provide. However, working in this way is not about getting anything from that being. It’s more about developing your capacity to discern energies, connect energetically, share in the great web of being, and to practice ayni. Remember, a paqo seeks to master his or her interaction with the living universe, so the more skilled you are in discerning different kinds of energies, the more you can participate in the great ayni of Beingness.
Don’t forget to “taste” inorganic things as well. What does a fence taste like? A garden hose? A plastic bottle left by the side of the road? (Don’t forget to police up the litter as you walk in nature!) Since as a paqo you are learning to master your energy exchanges, it serves you to sample all the kinds of sami that are around you, especially those that are right in your own backyard or neighborhood.
You can also work with the mallkis, the sacred trees, which really is any tree. The mallkis connect us with our ancestors, so you can “commune” with a tree spirit and “journey” back into your lineage. I had an amazing experience doing this is Peru during the Hatun Karpay Phaña. It doesn’t matter if you can verify what you see, feel, and come to know. The experience itself, if it is real enough, will convince you that the trees are doorways to your personal ancestry. And don’t forget that they might link you to the lineage of paqos as well.
The mallki, as the sacred tree, also is a teacher that connects you to four teqse apus, who are crucial to its own growth and survival: Mama Unu (Mother Water), Mama Allpa (Mother Earth), Tayta Wayra (Father Wind) and Tayta Inti (Father Sun). Although the mallkis have deep connections with these beings, trees essentially are “self-made” beings, because using these four powers they birth themselves, grow, and even regenerate themselves. If you meld your bubble with a mallki, that tree may lead you to deep connections with the four teqse apus through which you can empower yourself, helping you to also be a self-made being and furthering your conscious evolution.
Water as streams and lakes is always wonderful to experience, and as a paqo you know that water is a major eater of hucha. So whenever you are by water, you can do a deep release of heaviness from your energy body. But water also is sami, so you can be empowered by it as well. If you find a place where two streams meet and merge into one you are lucky! This is a chaupi, a meeting or integration point. (You can even consider one stream that splits into two and then reforms into a single stream as having a chaupi.) You can do many kinds of energy work here, including a yanantin exchange, where you touch dissimilar energies within yourself and help move them toward a japu—a perfect integration. Maybe you will work with the male and female aspects of yourself or maybe with aspects of your life that are keeping you from well-being: perhaps seeking to turn fear into love, or to transform work that feels like drudgery into work that is joyful, or even to turn financial lack into prosperity. A chaupi is a good place to work any two energies that seem to be in conflict within you. Offer one aspect to one stream and the other to the other stream, then connect with the energy of transformation at the chaupi point where the two streams become one and use your intention to transform the energy of the yanantin into a japu. Then, as all paqos do, expect results in your life!
At cave entrances you can work with the ukhupacha, the lower world. (Caves are also usually considerd n’ustas, female energies, so you can do n’usta work at one as well, but I won’t go into that here.) Part of the work of a paqo is to do ayni to connect the three worlds. The upper world of the hanaqpacha is the realm of the spirit beings who know only ayni. This world, our human world, called the kaypacha, is a place of inconsistent ayni, as we sometimes act from ayni and sometimes do not. The lowerworld, the ukhupacha, is filled with beings who do not know ayni, and part of our work is to help empower them in their conscious evolution. The lower world is not a place of retribution. Quite the contrary. It is a place of regeneration. It is there that people go who need to learn ayni, and we can help them. So you can connect through the doorway of the cave into the ukhupacha and connect to Waskar Inka, a master who oversees the lower world. Send him sami to help him in his own regeneration and his work on behalf of the ukhupacharuna (lower-world beings). You can also send sami directly to the ukhupacharuna.
Through a cave, you can energetically connect to the spirit “totem” of the underworld, the anaconda/snake. And you can travel go back even further in time to touch the energy of the original Andean lower-world spirit totem, the frog. Ask them to work with you to regenerate yourself and help you consciously evolve.
There are dozens of additional ways to work in nature. Spend some time refining your three human powers with the help of teqse apus. Through Tayta Wayra, the wind, refine the energy of your yachay (intellect). Through Mama Allpa, the earth, work on your capacity for llank’ay (action in the world through the body). With Tayta Inti, the sun, stoke the heat of your munay (love grounded in will). Work with the wind to get stuck things flowing in your life; work with the earth to ground you where you are unstable; work with the sun to help illuminate what you keep hidden from yourself. Really, the only limit to how you work with nature as a paqo is the scope of your own imagination and the sincerity of your intention.