When 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 much 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 are 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 connection 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.
This 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.