Interview about Willka: Part 2

Joan: Continuing our discussion of willka. . . As a metaphor, other traditions focus on the white light, on radiating the energy of all visible light frequencies, which results in radiating white light. But for me the power of the Andean tradition is that it is focused on the exact opposite energy dynamic. Before you can radiate all frequencies, you have to be able to freely absorb all frequencies—without blocking anything. The Andean focus is on being a perfect absorber of energy.

Don Ivan: Absolutely.

Joan: Well, the perfect absorption of all the frequencies of visible light, again using the visible light spectrum as a Joan's mullu chunpismetaphor, is the color black. For us, that is the black light energy, or willka. It moves down our spines and creates the yana chunpi [black energy belt], filling the siki ñawi [mystical eye] at the root of the body. Talk more about actually working the willka energy of the siki, moving it up on what we said previously was like an evolutionary scale.

Don Ivan: We use the mullu khuyas [stones used for weaving the four chunpis] in the Chunpi Away karpay. We use those khuyas as our raw material [for weaving the chunpis]. Then by pulling up the energy [from the siki ñawi/yana chunpi] and making all of the other chunpis, you are going to be developing that energy, tuning it, making it rise higher and higher.

Don Juan: Higher and more vertical.

Don Ivan: You start at the ground, which is the base for everything, and then you go higher. The two most important parts of your psyche are your feelings and your thoughts, but they are not possible if you don’t have a body. So that’s the scale. Feelings and thoughts are the top energies, but our Andean scale is upside down in terms of power. The very top [of the energy power hierarchy] is at the siki ñawi, and the willka that is there is the lowest frequency of energy but the most powerful.

Don Juan: We [understood all of this] basically as a result of practice, of weaving the belts of hundreds of people. After doing that, sometimes you discover you have the whole thing as a protocol. How do you start? What do you do [in the karpay of weaving the chunpis]? You start at the top [of the body/head] and pull in the cosmic energy and then you come down the spine using material cords—the spine is the material. You have connected the metaphysical with human matter. Then you absorb the grounding power of green [earth energy] and pull it up, and you merge them [cosmic and earth energies] together. You are merging the top and bottom. You are becoming the absorber. You are, we could say, becoming the black cord. Then you start to come up again [create the chunpis] at the front of the body. This black belt connects you to the power of your base part, then you move up.

Don Ivan: It’s important that you can tune with this black energy [willka]. It’s the potential state of the absolute absorption of reality—receiving everything directly inside. But this energy can be found outside, too.

Joan: So, according to this process, is that why once you, don Juan, told me that willka is of nature but not in nature? Because we create it?

New Apu wilkanusta VeronicaDon Juan: In a certain way it a phenomenon, an emergence of. There are things that are going to manifest that are not already here. Energies can change and emerge. One of these processes is the emergence of willka inside human beings. But willka as sacred energy is found, for example, in some of the sanctuaries. You can make a connection to a waka [sacred object or place, including the sacred sanctuaries] that is associated with willka and pull it to you, and that will help awaken you. As examples, Waqay Willka [an apu] or Willka Ñust’a [Urubamba/Vilcanota river, also called the Willka Mayu], or more specifically in the left side of the path there is Willka Uta, an apu of the left side that is in the south of Peru. This is the House of Willka, an apu in the south of Peru. [Uta means “house” in Aymara.]

I like to ground these things. So, let us ground this speculation, because the Andean spiritual tradition is always grounded. I talked with a friend, another anthropologist, (Jean-Jacques Decoster, a professor at the university in Cusco) and he has a very interesting statement on the tradition: he says that the Andean tradition is geodesic. He told me about his theory of Andean geodesic spirituality. By this he means that for the Andean people the spiritual power is always grounded in a specific place on the surface of the earth.

If you take a look at the Hatun Karpay Lloq’e of don Melchor Desa, [a formal cycle of rituals and energy work], one of the places we work is Machu Picchu, which is the most sophisticated creation of Pachakuti Inka. It is surrounded by the Willka Ñust’a, the sacred river [known variously as the Urubamba, Vilcanota, and Willka Mayu]. If you follow the course of the river upstream and to the south, you will reach La Raya, which is the point of the watershed between the sacred valley and Lake Titikaka. To the east of the watershed and just above it is the snow-capped mountain Willka Ñust’a, from where the river of the same name goes to Cusco and another river called Pukara is born and goes to Lake Titicaca, making a connection with this. Pucara means “fortress” but this is not a fortress with walls. It is a fortress of energy, a source of power! It is a source of power creating protection around you. If you continue along the shore of the lake towards the south, near the border with Bolivia, you will find the sacred place called Willka Uta, which in Aymara means the house or abode of willka, which is the last sacred place in the southern direction of the Don Melchor ritual itinerary.

In this place there is a vertical rock, whose surface has been carved in a flat square canvas of about four meters on a Lord of the Staffsside, and on the center of the lower side of the square, the negative silhouette of a head that emerges from the ground has been sculpted and the two vertical sides are flanked by cylindrical cavities that resemble two rods, also negative. It is one of the largest representations of the Andean sacred character known as The Lord of the Rods, whose head emerges from the earth [also called the Lord of the Staffs].

So there is a connection between the House of Willka [Apu Willka Uta]and the original image of God, which is represented by the carving of the Lord of the Rods. This is related to the Inkas but also with the more ancient civilization of Tiahuanaco, in the south of Peru.

Joan: So, you are saying that really the whole Inka empire—no, not just the empire, the whole civilization—was connected and surrounded by willka, by this creative and protective energy—and still is!

Don Juan: Yes. For the Inkas, the name of the Creator God is Wiraqocha. The Lord of the Rods in the tradition of Tiahuanaco is called Wiraqocha. But there is a more ancient name for God in the Tiahuanaco civilization and that is Thunupa.

Also at Titicaca Lake, Thunupa created Inkari and Qollari [also called Manqo Capac and Mama Oqllo]. But Thunupa is said to have travelled from Titicaca Lake to Cuzco. He went many other places, and he was seen as a white man with a beard who was dressed all in white. He eventually disappeared, his whereabouts unknown. But the point is that from this geodesic point of view, everything is sacred  and is related with the surface of the earth. And what is the surface of the earth? It’s the meeting of the power of Wiraqocha and Pachamama [the cosmic and earthly], the point of creation on the surface of the earth [which is what willka is].

Don Ivan: I am thinking of the relationship between us and the earth, with places of power and so on. For me, this is our projection, as those places are going to stimulate some part of our psyche. They also will be symbols, many timesFran another despacho archetypal structures from the outside that represent the energies inside, or that are projected from inside yourself to the outside. And also, with the work that we do with our body and bubble [poq’po]—all of the energies we create can be thought of as inner projections of yourself outwardly. In a certain way what happens is that we somatize certain aspects of our mind on our body. Those are our ñawis: your psyche, your psychic self, creates a universe from within your body. Parts of it will represent aspects of your mind. There may also be links to physical parts of our brain, of our neurological system, so it’s a whole. You are working with those power places that are related with those energies like willka, and you also at some level may be working with energies that are inside yourself and projected outward onto the place. But you are actually dealing with your inner world and energy. It’s like a big despacho, the world is like a big despacho, and you are relating with the parts and adjusting them, and these energies are going to organize the self.

Joan: This is such a beautiful interpretation and translation of the tradition, one from the fourth-level view. You need to write this down—to include this in the book you are writing to preserve it!

Don Juan: Do you know—this is your fault! We are writing a book with your help, and we are thinking and putting together things. The process with you is reminding us of things. We are generating an overview that was not there for us five or six years ago.

Joan: And I, too, am thinking in new ways and learning so much in the process of these discussions. You have no idea! So, thank you. And I am sure my blog readers thank you, too.

Interview about Willka: Part I

In this long discussion with don Juan Nuñez del Prado and his son don Ivan, we discuss willka in great detail. I have broken the discussion into a two-part interview, with this first part addressing willka more generally and then taking a deeper dive in the second part of the interview, which I will post in about a month. I have added explanations, context, and definitions when necessary in square brackets.

Joan: Willka is so central to us, especially since it runs down our spines and creates the yana chunpi. It’s black light energy, and it is said to be the most sacred and most powerful energy. In one of our previous conversations, you said that willka and indeed human energy are different from kawsay. That’s confusing to me, since everything is kawsay.

Don Juan: Human energy is a kind of living energy. A specific kind. Just like the sun is different from the moon, human energy is different from both kawsay and willka. Yes, kawsay is everything, but human energy is just one kind of Illustration of woman and man with aura, chakras and healing energykawsay. This is the runa kawsay pacha, the world of human living energy. [Runa means people or human being.] In that term, human energy is emphasized as a specific part of the kawsay pacha—the energy specifically related with humans.

Don Ivan: Kawsay is the energy of everything. And human energy is just part of that. It’s one frequency or vibration of kawsay.

Don Juan: Now, the willka—how does the willka energy emerge? It is not naturally in your siki ñawi. It is created when, for example during the Chunpi Away karpay [karpay for weaving the chunpis, or energetic belts], when you pull down the gold and silver cosmic energy along your spine and then you pull up the green earth energy, and you merge them. Together they form willka inside the human body. The whole process is happening inside the human bubble [poq’po]. This is the condition of the emergence of willka, I think. You must realize that this is not something that was explicitly explained by the masters.  

Joan: Ok, and when we talk about the progression of energy—munay, hampi munay,  willka, tawantin—willka is high in the hierarchy.

Don Juan: Hampi munay is close to munay and not yet willka. Willka is the full development of munay.

Joan: What is the difference in quality or effect, if any, between touching munay or hampi munay energy versus touching willka energy?

Don Juan: Hampi munay, which is healing love, is very kind. It’s a tender energy. Willka is very raw, amazingly strong. When you perceive willka, how it moves, you can be smashed! This is the feeling: that there is a raw power sleeping there, that can be awakened in willka. This is my experience. Objectively, we don’t know. This is not something the masters taught, so I am speculating from my subjective experience. The truth is that I don’t know. We have to grasp its meaning, how to work with it, because the masters didn’t teach about it. We have our own experience with it, and we can make assumptions based on our thinking deeply about it. It may be that the mastery of using the willka relates to the fifth level. But we don’t know about the fifth level, because it has not manifested yet.

Joan: You did tell me about one way of working with willka energy, which I won’t mention publicly in case someone tries it, and it was overpowering, it was beyond your ability to handle. It felt like the energy of a steam locomotive, really overpowering. Maybe that’s what the fifth-level energy is like.

Don Juan: When you touch willka, you can feel that force. To drive that energy is probably like learning to how to drive a locomotive! It is something powerful and complex, and you have to be able to handle a huge power. Willka in a certain way is the power of life and death.

Joan: Well. I certainly want to hear more about that!

Don Ivan: Let’s talk about how create willka in our exercises, in our work on the path. It’s a connection of the energy of the earth, which we say is green living energy, and cosmic energy, which is the gold and silver energy you pull down during the Chunpi Away karpay. You merge them inside of yourself. So, let’s ask: What is the energy of the earth? It’s all the power of the material, the power of material things, places, nature. What is the cosmic energy? It’s when we bring down the power of God—it’s like the drink of life. It’s like a trigger of life.

Joan: Creator energy.

Don Ivan: Yes, the Creator is the one who can take matter as it is and make it into a living thing or being. Through the grace of God there is life. So, what you are building with willka, bringing down the cosmic energy into the energy of matter, of the earth, is like using the energy of creation. This is the contact between the two: of the greatest spirit of God with matter. When you create willka you are doing that under the power of your will, by choice. You have that ability! It’s like making this quality of energy in a laboratory! But it doesn’t mean we are the only ones who can do that. Willka is everywhere. It is reality! Many times when we are working with energy, for example when we make hampi munay in the Hampi Munay Muyu practice in our chaupi work, people report seeing the black light! We make hampi munay by bringing down the cosmic energy and pulling up earth energy and running it through ourselves. Similar to how we create willka, and people see the black light sometimes!

Our master said the willka power can take you to the fifth level. That’s because this kind of energy is healing. It is related to munay, because in the Hampi Munay Muyu practice you are choosing, under your will, to take energy in the direction of healing power. This again is the recognition of the creative power. The power of willka can reset your body in a way that you can create yourself again, be healthy again, heal what needs healing at any level of the self.

Joan: The willka energy—we are so full of it! It is the energy of the entire yana chunpi, and in the Master Class we fill our Inka Seed with willka and then imprint that willka energy in all the interior pachas and ñawis. It’s prominent in so much of our work. So, is that like infusing the creative potential throughout our poq’po and body, and directing it toward our growth, our potential enlightenment?

Don Ivan: Yes, it’s like tuning yourself with willka.

Joan: So through willka, we are getting a huge input of creative, evolutionary energy within the self.

Don Ivan: Yes, and in the training many times you will find that you have to be able to tune yourself with something in order to be to keep it. You tune with an energy for a moment, then you relax and that connection goes away. To be able to hold it, to keep the connection in place, to stay at that frequency, that’s the very realization of the fifth level! Again, the masters did not teach this, but we have some experience with working with willka. It is an energy of the lowest frequency but very high power. You shouldn’t take it for granted or play around with it. It is serious. A power that you cannot handle might hurt you or even kill you if you cannot tune and use it. But this is speculation.

Joan: It’s important that people reading this make the distinction between what we know, or what the masters taught, and what we speculate about, so thank you for continually pointing that out. It certainly is very interesting speculation! I think we have enough to do with working with the willka we have after weaving the chunpis. With this form of willka alone we can re-create or reset ourselves, advance our conscious evolution. We will leave working with willka in other ways to the masters . . .  

Interview about Hucha and Power

Here is another excerpt from my discussions with don Juan Nuñez del Prado and don Ivan. I often wondered how seemingly hucha-filled people, especially national leaders, could rise to power. Doesn’t having a lot of hucha reduce your karpay, your personal power? Doesn’t having less power mean that you would lack influence? Actually, no, it’s Politicsdoesn’t mean that at all, as this intriguing conversation makes clear. The first part of this conversation is intellectual, referring as it does to several theories from academics. I add comments and explanations in square brackets to help readers follow along and understand better. Later in the conversation, things lighten up as bit as we ground the knowledge in the practicality of the Andean tradition.

Joan: So you have heard my question, basically setting up the equation that the more hucha you have, the less power and influence you have. Hucha reduces well-being, reduces personal power, and so on, right? So how can seemingly hucha-filled people—let’s take Hitler as an example—wield such power?

Don Juan: This is a fairly complex problem, which I also faced at one time. I will share the way in which I solved it in a somewhat complex and quite intellectual way. But first, it must be remembered that in the Andean tradition, hucha is not negative: it is energy that is simply heavy. And power is simply the ability to harness energy to do work.

In times of crisis, people are looking for a savior, that is, someone to solve the situation for them. The key to clarifying your question about hucha and power is by noting the difference between personal power and impersonal power. Personal power is a power that does not depend on circumstances. It is what German sociologist Max Weber calls “charismatic” authority. Charismatic power is fully self-contained [within the person] and cannot be missed [it is very noticeable to others]. It is basically a [person’s] intrinsic ability to do things, but it is not ordinary [or common]. Impersonal power, on the other hand, depends on the circumstances, such as social or political position, or on money, property, possession of means of destruction, etc. It is an extrinsic ability to do ordinary things, that is, to repeat an existing formula.

Joan: Ok, so far so good. That’s an important point: impersonal power that is not so much dependent on the qualities inherent in the person but on that person’s status or circumstance versus personal power that is intrinsic to the person, to their abilities.

Don Juan: Now let’s look at personality types and conditions of crisis. The historian Arnold Toynbee says that there are basically two classes of personalities that manifest themselves in a time of crisis: Creative personalities and Mimetic personalities. The Creative personalities are equivalent to the charismatic personalities of Weber I just mentioned and the Mimetic personalities to the routine personalities of the sociologist Erik Fromm. In Fromm’s book Fear of Freedom, he says us that most of the people, as long as they do not assume responsibility, are willing to hand over their power to another, provided that the other is the one who takes over the responsibility. [The thesis of the book Fear of Freedom “is that modern man, freed from the bonds of pre-individualistic society, which simultaneously gave him security and limited him, has not gained freedom in the positive sense of the realisation of his individual self.” This quotation is from the website] Toynbee speaks of two classes of saviors corresponding to the two classes of personality: The Creative personality type is associated with the type of savior called the Messianic Savior, who works through the transfiguration of the situation. That is, this type of savior is someone who, by being above the circumstances, is capable of reorganizing the existing forces in a new, more harmonious way. But he does not try to impose his solution; he only proposes the way to solve the problem and hopes that people will take it freely.

For the Mimetic personality type, the associated savior type is savior by the sword, or what is called the Caesarist. This is the solution of the routine: returning to some archaic form that once served to solve a similar problem. This type of savior believes that his solution is the solution, and he tries to impose it on others. Generally, he chooses a path based on force or violence.

The Creative type of people are always a minority, even if their solutions are the most efficient and definitive in the long run, and there are few people capable of understanding and following them. The Mimetic type of people, in contrast, are in the majority, and if a leader resolutely takes one direction, they follow almost automatically. It is theOn the crossroads herd mentality, and it is based on a kind of neurotic psychological contagion. In short, then, there is no contradiction between being full of hucha and having power. But this power, the Mimetic type of power, either leads to routine behaviors or destructive behaviors.

Joan:  That was quite an enlightening explanation! But I would like to bring this down to a more practical and less intellectual level. My judgment is that these heavy types of leaders are lower down on the scale of consciousness [the Andean, and other, traditions identify seven levels of consciousness]. If that is true, despite all the theory you just shared, doesn’t it mean they would not have a lot of personal power, or at least not a lot of influence? Because of their hucha, they would only have the power to influence a small group, and not a nation? How does a hucha-filled person of a lower level of consciousness, from a purely energetic point of view, and not a psychological or sociological point of view, wield so much power?  I am still missing something here.

Don Juan: Have you ever read Carl Jung? He has a key concept that applies here—the concept of consciousness inflation.

Don Ivan: It’s a very specific term: the conviction that you are bigger than you really are. From our point of view, this ego inflation is the only real risk of spiritual development.

Joan: I agree, but we’re back to psychology. My thought, and I am asking if it’s reasonable or not, is that someone might have an inflated ego but still not have a lot of personal power if he or she is hucha filled.

Don Juan: No, it’s power—just zero-level personal power [on the scale of the seven levels of consciousness]. At that level, you surrender to the lower aspects of yourself—to your impulses. You become something like an animal, undeveloped. But what happens to the people around you? If they really identify with that lower level of a human being [leader] than you [the leader] can connect at the lower levels with hundreds of people.

Don Ivan: Personal development is always like a pyramid. There are a vast number of people on the lower levels of consciousness and the [numbers] grow smaller and smaller as you go up. Normally we have the most developed people as our leaders. But in certain very unfortunate circumstances we lose the developed leaders, and the ones at the lower level [of consciousness] can become the ones who others, who are also at that level, constellate around.

These people still have energy. There is power there! It’s just a lower level of consciousness. When we don’t have a high-level leader, someone who is at least at the third level of consciousness, or even at the second level, then people just choose anyone who they think is better than them. In unfortunate circumstances, like what happened in the Second World War, you get someone like Hitler. He was a lower-level person, what we call a fetishist [using philosopher of religion Huston Smith’s term], which is at the first level of consciousness. He constellated his power through attracting zero- and first-level people, because no one else was there at moment for people to follow. It was just a really unlucky moment in history.

Don Juan: Take a look . . . you need to see this [Hitler’s rise] in a historical framework. The first thing [influence] was not the Second World War, it was the First World War. What was going on there? The US and USSR were both born [elevated] through the First World War. What happened then, as a consequence? A new kind of people, the Socialist, were arising and expressing their power. All the ancient powers become excited. . . What happened with the Europeans who had been ruling the world for the whole time? They were not able to accept that [see what was happening, that these “ancient” energies were activating and in a struggle]. The assassination of the Austrian was the trigger of a struggle between the new and the ancient regimes, of these two energies. Of course, the action of the new regime was violent. And this was the mistake, and triggered the violence of the time. But then the forces of the ancient regime were defeated. Back to the US and USSR: the victory was half achieved by the Russians, who had their revolution, and the other half was achieved by the North Americans. What happened? Even though it was defeated, the ancient regime did not die. Its power was resurrected by Franco in Spain, by Mussolini in Italy, and by Stalin in Russia. The three of them were man of a lower level of consciousness.

brain chained resized square-3446307_1920What is this a lower level [of consciousness]? Carl Sagan talked about the development of the human brain: the reptile brain, the mammal brain, the limbic zone, the right and the left hemispheres. . . You can take a look at that in Andean terms as the development of atiy (impulses), khuyay (passions, attachments, emotional intelligence), yachay (thoughts, reason) and munay (love under your will). The human powers. But the lower energy is that of the reptile brain, which makes you a person of the first level. When someone identifies with that, when he allows the lower part of the brain to drive him [the primal impulses], he expresses himself with the lower, least developed aspects of being a human. Other people then identify with that. . . It’s difficult to identify with people who are higher than you in consciousness. You identify with people at your own level or lower.

Yes, you are correct that your level of consciousness expands your impact. But your power attracts those at the same level, and there is power at any level. Part of the characteristic of the zero-level of consciousness is the mob or herd [energy dynamics]. At the first level, to use Hustom Smith’s term, there is the power of the fetish. This can be an individual, like a leader, who people invest their power in. A first-level person can be heavy in and they can have mob mentality too, but they transfer, or invest, their power outside themselves. [That can be onto someone with a lower level of consciousness who they elevate to leadership. That leader is like their living fetish.]

Joan: I can see that happening. It has here in the United States, at least according to some of us. It is happening in Europe, Central and South America, other places. There’s a lot of hucha!

Don Juan: Yes, but hucha is only heavy living energy. It’s survival energy, but very basic. You revert back to being a human of the beginning of our history [like early humans, evolutionarily one step above the apes, driven by survival impulses]. This energy is not evil—it’s hucha. Hucha is hucha! It’s heavy energy.

Don Ivan: You move things with energy, including with hucha energy. You can drive people with hucha. It is just energy. Normally, there are people who express that lower-level consciousness and their hucha to society, and, normally, other people, at higher levels, call them crazy! But in certain unfortunate moments we make them our leaders. They express their hucha and people of the same level identify with that and follow them.

Power is the capacity to do something. In terms of energy, you can use hucha or sami. And you will do it. When you grow on the path of consciousness, you reduce your hucha because you release the heaviness of past mistakes and other things, and that raises the level of your sami. Then your actions will be more elevated. But you can do things with hucha. It’s not a moral judgment. Energy as energy is beyond moral judgment. [Although, what you do as a human being within society is not beyond moral judgement.]

Joan: It’s a challenge to get beyond judgement, especially when a leader’s policies hurt people, cause massive suffering and even death. And when truth and justice fall victim to propaganda, disinformation, and even lies. It seems like politically, at least, we are devolving instead of evolving.

Don Juan: You know what was driving Hitler and others? It was the survival impulse. That is atiy. They want to survive—but in the old-fashioned way, according to the ancient power structures. They were trying to restore a regime that was finished. They were attempting a kind of psychological resurrection. In some places, this is happening again today. There is a big struggle between the old and the new.

Take a look at the book Energy and Structure: A Theory of Social Power by Richard Newbold. He is talking about energy as natural resources, but it applies to how we are talking about metaphysics, about hucha as a kind of energy and power.

But remember, you only can receive what you are capable of receiving. The system of seven levels of consciousness allows you to know what you are capable of receiving in every step. You are not going to go two steps forward, only one—we go one step at a time. And everybody starts at the zero level, remember that. We all do. And at each level what is real for the people there is totally real to them. We cannot argue with that [with what they think is real].

Don Ivan: At the basic level of life for all of us is survival—the will to survive. This is the basic will of the siki ñawi. It doesn’t have to be heavy. In fact, I think it is the energy that triggers every possible thing that can happen or be expressed through or by a human being, starting with our impulses: sex, protecting our territory and our family, all the survival mechanisms. We start there. Then we can grow, if we choose to. We don’t have to. Remember, you can be happy at any level of consciousness. But eventually, because of the energy of our Inka Seed, we feel the pull in the highest direction, what we can say is the search for God, for the numinous. It is not a certainty, but only a possibility, that people will feel that pull and follow it.

Don Juan: Let’s review and approach the problem from the Andean perspective: Kawsay is simply living energy, and energy produces work. Kawsay is [a spectrum from] sami to hucha. They are simply light living energy and heavy living energy. If the action is produced by hucha, it is a heavy action. If it is produced by sami, it is a light action. As an example, a caress and a slap are both totally possible actions, both expressing power. One is the result of the application of sami and the other of the application of hucha. Whether one or the other occurs depends on the quality and intention of the person who executes it.

Joan: Yes, getting back to basics always helps! I feel that both the weighty intellectual discussion and the more practical and simpler discussion have helped me sort through my confusion about hucha and the availability of or ability to wield power. I really get how hucha is power: not a reduction of power as I first thought, but a different expression of power. It’s not as simple an equation as I thought, and, as always, I see how the Andean tradition is applicable to many ways of looking at an issue. Thank you!

Interview about Perceiving Energy

I and a fellow paqo, Christina Allen, have been holding a series of discussions online with don Juan Nuñez del Prado and his son don Ivan, who are our primary teachers. These discussions have been wide-ranging and deeply engaging—and enlightening. As always, my focus is to bring this information to those of you who have studied with me and Juan, and with others, since much of this information has not found its way into our trainings because of time constraints. So this is the first of what will be a series of interviews with the maestros about the Andean mystical tradition. Today, our focus is on qaway, which is mystical seeing and part of our capacity to perceive energy.

Joan: A lot of our work in Peru, for example, during the Hatun Karpays, is connecting our energy with the spirit beings and sanctuaries, the places of power. We do saiwachakuys or saminchakuys to pull energy to us or we send our energy out and connect Atomthrough our munay and other powers. Let’s talk about this, starting with a general view of connecting in this way.

Don Ivan: When you share energy through a seqe, connect with a sanctuary or something, you establish a connection and you will always have the energy of that place with you. You are always connected. You can trust that! It’s like an electrical wire: you turn on the switch and electricity runs, and you trust that to happen. It’s the same with seqes to sanctuaries [or other things]. Of course, the connection and flow depends on the quality of your ayni, but that sanctuary can be a source of light living energy for you.

Don Juan: We do not work alone. During a saminchakuy you receive the support, the sami, of Father Cosmos and you release your hucha to Mother Earth. You are creating a personal relationship with them. In saiwachakuy, Mother Earth returns her energy to us. But we also can take sami from anywhere and everything, as nature is only sami.

Sami is a kind of kawsay, of living energy. Sami is light living energy. But when the masters taught us, they didn’t use the word energy; they used the word kawsay. We translate this into our own culture and everyone uses the word energy. They have their own preferences. That’s okay. But everything has its own configuration of sami, like frequencies of energy. The difference in energy configurations is like the difference between a lemon and a lime: they are close but different. So each material thing has its own configuration. The concept is not hard, and our work is not hard. It’s just nurturing what is already inside you and what is happening with the energy flows.

Joan: A lot of students ask about imagery they receive when they feel a connection with a power place or are running a flow of energy. I tell them it’s personal. It may be something important or it may be a projection or story they are creating, so not to get too hung up on trying to analyze or interpret it. Stick with the energy perception, not the image. Am I wrong to advise them in that way? What do you think about imagery?

Don Juan: Images of the tradition are based in bubbles—in Quechua poq’pos—and cords or seqes. You are the center of the seqes. You are responsible for them. With saminchakuy and other energy practices, you might have an image, but the kind of image you see or the visual perception you have is not so important. Having the [energy] perception is! It’s the fact that you can perceive what is flowing between you that is important. Sometimes the image is not so important; it can be a projection or something like that. What we are developing is our ability to perceive energy flows. What meaning you take from it, what it means to you, that is personal because it’s ayni, which is personal. 

Don Ivan: It’s like a dream. I can help you in understanding the dream, the process, but you have to figure it out for yourself. The meaning has to come from you. The meaning is in yourself. We all have our own symbology, and the code is in the person.

Joan: What about if someone sees an entity or something? Usually that can be frightening. But let’s say you hold your fear in check and are energetically curious. How would you work with that spirit being or whatever it is?

Don Juan: We have some rights that we need to be aware of. If someone [an entity] shows himself to you, you have the right to know his name. The first thing you need to do is to ask the being: “Who are you?” Then ask: “What do you want?” Sometimes they come because you need to do something for them and sometimes they come to give you something. “What do you want with me?” That’s it, very practical. And if it feels heavy to you, you have a choice. You can leave it alone. If something is heavy for you, you need to trust yourself. It’s heavy for you! That is all. Even if your big teacher comes to you and says, “It feels light.” No, it’s heavy for you. The Andean tradition is very grounded, not a metaphor. It’s real, it’s grounded. It’s practical.

Don Ivan: But remember, things are not only heavy or light. There are nuances. From the heaviest energy, the slowest energy, to the lightest energy. It’s a spectrum. You can’t see the world in black or white. That can be a big mistake. Because you lose everything in between, which is most of reality! Nothing is perfectly heavy. Your perception will tell you what the quality of energy is. There are gradients. A whole spectrum.

Joan: What if a student or someone new to the path is not able to perceive energy flows, even though they practice and try to develop that capacity?

Don Juan: When a person is not perceiving anything, you can use the misha on the head to pull sami into that person and then they can try again. If you don’t have a misha, you can use any sacred tool. Usually, and this is a general comment, the lack of perception indicates that person has erected boundaries or has a fear of opening their poq’po to incoming energies, sami and other energies. They may have a fear of life, relationships, enjoyment, growth. Sometimes that is the problem.

Don Ivan: Fear closes us. When you are afraid you close up everything and try to save yourself in the most instinctive way that you have. You close every possible access of any kind of energy that can touch you and mentally you are in your head. As you grow, you get afraid less often. Things are not going to touch you in the same way.

Don Juan: Take the practical way. Are you going to receive every energy that comes to you?

Joan: I might feel it, but I don’t have to choose to interact with it. The teaching is that nothing can enter your poq’po without your Rising sun behind the planet - vector illustrationconscious or unconscious permission, so it’s just touching you and you decide whether you let it in, whether that intention is conscious or unconscious.

Don Ivan: Yes. The thing is that when you are not yet developed, unconsciously you are going to allow more energies to come in that [feel heavy to you.] You let in things that affect you.

Don Juan: What you need to do is be in control of the kind of energy that you interact with. Energies are there. But you have a filter. And sometimes you want to close [your poq’po]. You don’t want to receive this energy. We have an automatic sense about what energies we are receiving that our bubble cannot digest. You trust yourself.

Joan: Energy is just energy, and what it feels like is in relation to your own energy body. Hucha can’t hurt you, although it can frighten you if it feels heavy to you. Correct?

Don Juan: Hucha is heavy living energy. It’s survival energy, but very basic. It’s not evil, just hucha. Hucha is just hucha! We avoid thinking in black and white [good and evil]. What you feel as heavy or light is subjective; it depends on your level of consciousness. When I face something I don’t know [that feels heavy], I ask to my God or my Inka Seed, “What’s going on?” If you ask, you are going to receive the meaning, the teaching.


The year 2020 was challenging for many of us. Covid-19 health risks, the deaths of loved ones, job loss or insecurity, social isolation. In the United States, it was an unprecedented year for weather-related disasters, from monster fires to destructive flooding, hurricanes, and tornadoes. Also in the United States, we were tossed to and fro by political and social turmoil, from massive protests against police tactics and racism to the culminating insult of this year: the storming of the US Capitol building by a horde of Trump supporters bent on insurrection, on delegitimizing a fair election, and on trying to prevent the peaceful transfer of power. For many of us, it was a year that challenged—and perhaps even undermined—our physical health, our economic security, our emotional equilibrium, and our core beliefs and values.

So how do we maintain our positivity, our centeredness, and perhaps even our faith in a benevolent universe?

By becoming humble. “Humble” and “humility” come from the same Latin root meaning “low or close to the ground.” That root meaning makes me think of the Andean term for a human being: allpa camasca, animated earth. In this sense, humility means acknowledging that while we are animated to life by the Creator of the kawsay pacha, we are children of the earth, of the Pachamama. We are limited, although we have the potential to be unlimited. Humility, then, means acknowledging where we are undeveloped while striving for our conscious evolution.

In the Andean mystical tradition there are two realms: the kawsay pacha and the Pachamama: the immaterial realm and the material realm, respectively. From the kawsay pacha we receive life, the living energy called kawsay. The finest kawsay is sami, the light living energy. From the Pachamama, we receive a body and everything we need to support our bodies and to live as human beings in the world. The kawsay pacha, we are told, is overly abundant in kawsay and generous beyond measure with sami. All the “blessings” of the kawsay pacha—and of First Cause, Great Spirit, The Holy One, Creator, God, or whatever you call Originating Consciousness and the Fount of Life—are freely available to us, without our having to earn them or deserve them. These blessings are a gift from Creator to us.

The Andean tradition is not the only one that teaches this precept. And while there isn’t a specific word in the Andean mystical tradition to describe this flow of benevolence,  perhaps sami is the closest.  Sami, the light living energy of the universe, flows through us imparting the life-force energy and increasing every kind of well-being. It’s the transformative power freely and abundantly available to us from the kawsay pacha byTocuhing God compressed Pixabay 1976544 which we evolve to our highest expression of self here in the human world.

Other traditions have a more specific word for this life-flow and these blessings: grace.

In Christianity, grace is the favor of God, the flow of support and blessings without your having to earn or deserve them. It is commonly defined as unmerited mercy. In certain schools of Buddhism, grace is seen as the essence of life, it’s “isness,” whereby everything is connected and interdependent, and thus you are energetically supported by everyone and everything else. No matter what the tradition, living a grace-filled life (in our tradition, a sami-filled life) means feeling and experiencing the benevolence, goodness, support, and assistance of the Living Universe.

While grace is freely available to every one of us, there is one requirement for receiving it. You must consciously ask for it or invite it into your life.

As the Andean tradition tells us, nothing can enter your poq’po without your conscious or unconscious permission or invitation—not even God. To establish a personal relationship with Creator, to allow Creator’s blessings to flow into your life through grace, you have to intentionally open yourself to it and accept it. And to ask for this grace, I believe, you must not only be courageous, but full of humility. Courageous because you are ceding a sense of full control, allowing someone/something else—in this case Creator—to guide and direct you. Humble because you acknowledge that you seek or need assistance.

There is no ceremony or ritual necessary to invite Creator in as an active energy in your life or to allowing Creator’s grace to inspire you. You just ask. You allow.

Then you may ask, what are the consequences of doing so? What are the benefits? What are the challenges? These questions are beyond the scope of this blog post. But inspired to dive into the topic of grace and all its grace flyer snipramifications, I and fellow paqo Justin “Cos” Moore have decided to offer a seminar on this topic: to gather together a group of people who are curious about grace and perhaps ready to invite Creator and grace to work in their lives. If you are curious to know more, I invite you to join us.

For me, 2020 was a tawantin year, a “4” year, which as the sacred number of the Andes represents wholeness, completion, harmony. Most of us might have felt that 2020 was anything but. Yet precisely because it was such a challenge, because it showed us our physical and perhaps even spiritual/energetic vulnerabilities, it was a year of opportunity to learn about and experience humility, of acknowledging how close we remain to the ground. Now 2021 is upon us, a “5” year, which in the Andes represents the energy moving from the horizontal to the vertical. Five is the pull upward. For me, this is a movement from the horizontal view of our earthliness to the vertical view of our sacrality. If this supposition rings true for you, what better time than now to allow Creator and grace into your poq’po and life?