Fourth-Level Politics

One of the penalties of refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.
— Plato

No matter what your political party affiliation or where you fall on the spectrum from liberal to conservative, if you are a person who practices the Andean way, there is a Andean lense through which to view politics. PoliticsAt the current time, this post may speak more to those from the United States, who are in the midst of a presidential election cycle, but it is relevant to all who take their civic duties seriously.

The first lesson a budding paqo learns is about ayni—reciprocity. The supreme practice for learning ayni is the hayway, or despacho. Ayni is the natural law of the cosmos and the driving force of evolution. It is the teaching that is quite literally at the heart of human conscious development.

Ayni can be restated in many ways: give generously and freely according to the measure of your gifts and receive generously and freely; as you sow, so shall you reap; love others as you love yourself; do unto others as you would have them do unto you; treat others with the respect you would like to receive yourself.

However, ayni is not just any kind of exchange. It is one that moves from the foundation of feelings, not the impulse of emotions. Feelings are distinct from emotions. Feelings are the “big” expressions of our humanity, Platonic in scope and character: compassion, generosity, empathy, kindness, love as agape. Feelings are  energetically connected with the qori chunpi, or belt of power at the heart.

In contrast, emotions, associated with the belt of power at the belly, or qosqo, are more transitory, and are situation- and circumstance-driven. You feel happy one moment when things are going well and unhappy two days later when they are not. You are kind when people treat you well and are insulting  or hurtful to them when they do not. You are madly in love this month and angrily kicking your lover out the door the next.

Both feelings and emotions drive ayni, and both can be expressed at any level of the six levels of consciousness. (The seventh level may be beyond human feelings and emotions. See my May 23, 2016, post, “Cleansing Emotional Hucha,” for a description of the seven levels of consciousness.) Because the highest expression of ayni arises from feelings, it is not just any kind of exchange but an exchange that is larger than the two people or entities (such as cultures or nations) involved. This kind of ayni is the opposite of ch’allay, the mercantile, self-interested exchange. Ch’allay is about me, for my benefit, to enhance or enlarge my own interests. Ch’allay doesn’t really consider the other party except as a means of fulfilling a practical, personal desire. It involves transactions more than interrelations. Buying a car is ch’allay, but treating the salesperson with respect is ayni.

Liar businessmanAs you go to the voting booth, in the United States on November 8 or elsewhere at other times, ask yourself: Who among the candidates understands and acts from ayni instead of ch’allay? Also remember that ayni is not a stream of earthbound energy; it has cosmic ramifications. It is always cosmic in scope because everything, including human consciousness and its intent, is part of the vast web of a living universe. So ask yourself: Which candidate’s platform and vision have the most beneficial impact not only at the personal level but at the spiritual and cosmic level?

The answers will help you choose to elect a fourth-level public servant instead of a second-level or third-level politician. Among other qualities and characteristics, a fourth-level person has personal opinions, beliefs, and stances but doesn’t feel he or she has a monopoly on truth and so is open to others’ ideas and opinions. This person sees beyond constructs and symbols to serve as witness to that which unites people rather than only to that which divides them. Such a person can see Spirit and the sacred wherever he or she goes, in all kinds of environments and through all kinds of lenses that are different from his or her own. A fourth-level person has a global vision even if his or her actions are primarily local or regional.

The Andean mystical tradition teaches about two kinds of relationship exchanges: Group of Diverse Multiethnic People Teamworkmasintin and yanantin. In their simplest forms, masintin is a relationship of shared characteristics whereas yanantin is one of dissimilar characteristics. Yanantin relations tend to cause the most hucha—but only if the person is blind to the energy dynamic. A person wise in the ways of energy dynamics will be aware of where and how his or her relations are similar and where they are dissimilar, and act accordingly to prevent discord and harm. It’s easy to act from feelings (empathy, compassion, kindness, generosity) when feeling kinship with another person or group (masintin). Fourth-level maturity comes into play when those interactions feel distant and different (yanantin). When faced with a combative press, a disparaging opponent, a hostile crowd, a fickle ally or a ferocious foe, the skills of the fourth level are crucial to keeping the yanantin energies from creating hucha for all involved.

So ask yourself as you go into the voting booth: Which candidate deftly and wisely handles both those who are similar to him or her and those who are not? Who has the maturity to show the same respect to each group—to those who are allies and those who appear to be opponents, to those who share the same values and beliefs and to those who do not? Being able to negotiate both masintin and yanantin relationships is a good clue that this candidate is both tolerant and responsive beyond the scope of his or her own belief system and outside of his or her own comfort zone.

As you cast your vote, carry with you the Andean teachings  of the three human powers: munay (love grounded in will), yachay (intellect, reason, logic) and llan’kay (the physicalUnknown people with question sign and number 2016, being able to propose action and then take it; following through on words with actions). An effective leader will have harmonized the three human gifts within. That person will say what he or she means, do what he or she says, and both speak and act (with munay and from ayni) with the larger good in mind. Someone who has harmonized the three human powers within is someone who has integrity, which surely is a core characteristic we want in those whom we elect to govern.

There are many more Andean teachings that can help us nurture a fourth-level political awareness. Those I have written about, however, are fundamental to ensuring that we not only hold ourselves to high standards, but expect the same, if not more, from our elected officials.


Tasting Kawsay

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”
― Alice Walker, The Color Purple

The world—the material universe we call Pachamama in the Andean tradition—has a Swan in the autmngrandeur we can hardly fathom. It is rich in diversity beyond the scope of our imaginations. But its grandeur and fecundity are not beyond our means of experience.

Rather than simply noticing the material world, as a paqo you want to have the personal power to be able to “taste” it—to perceive it energetically—as if it were a smorgasbord of goodies laid out to satisfy your personal appetite.

When I teach the tradition, after helping people perceive their poq’po (energy bubble) and locate their qosqo (primary energy center at the belly), I have them practice sending out seqes of energy like tongues to “taste” the world of living energy.

What does the grass taste like? That cloud? That patch of sand? How about a daisy? Does that daisy taste differently from the wisteria vine? From that patch of poison ivy? What do you perceive when you taste that plastic lawn chair? Is the flavor of its plastic different from the plastic of the child’s beach bucket? Does a Cadillac taste different from a Subaru? And on and on. I even ask multiple people to taste the same thing—say, a particular tree—to see if their energetic sense of the tree is similar or not. It may not be since we perceive the universe through the condition of our own energy body, but it often is.

“Taste” is a metaphor the paqos use, because they also use the metaphor of the energetic “stomach” for your qosqo. You are not really tasting energy as you would taste food. If you yellow lemons hanging on treesend a seqe out to a lemon tree, your taste buds won’t protest at the acidity. Instead, you perceive the energetic signature, or “personality” if you will, of that lemon tree. Does it feel light, heavy, healthy, sick, coherent, dissonant, or a host of other possible perceptions? According the Andean tradition, and to many other energy traditions, everything in the universe—even those things that are inorganic—has some semblance of sentience, of consciousness. So it may well be that you also perceive the consciousness of that lemon tree. It might even “talk” to you!

As an example, I once tasted a white plastic lawn chair. My preconceived expectation was that it would feel stiff and hard. It didn’t. It felt malleable, porous, and even a bit spongy. What most surprised me though is that once I had established an energetic connection with it, I felt that chair had emotions! It felt immensely happy, even giddy! What I perceived was a “being” of plastic that was happy to have been molded into a chair, not a handle or a hose or something else. It was delighted that it was an object that could be close to human beings. It loved human energy, and was proud to be an object they regularly used. Call me crazy. . .

Even if you pick up a “story” from the object, perceiving in the Andean tradition is not the same as using your intuition. Perception goes beyond intuitive knowing to a visceral perception—it is a feeling at the level of the body, although it also can be of the mind and emotions.

When you taste an object, you may also pick up the energy imprint of people or animals or Car close up compressed AdobeStock_36000736others who interact with that object all the time. For example, I said above that you might try tasting different kinds of cars. I actually tried that as an experiment. After doing this exercise or training hundreds of times, I realized I had never tasted cars. Beyond its basic “isness” as a metal and plastic and rubber object, I wondered if different models tasted differently. I tasted a Cadillac (metallic, sinuous almost like flowing mercury, and more) and a Subaru (felt like a weave of wires, or mesh, and of wood and smokiness, and more. I ended the exercise by “tasting” a Nissan sedan. When I connected my seqe to the Nissan I was overwhelmed with visions of candy and the taste of sweetness. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get past those perceptions. When I talked about this in the class after we regrouped from doing this exercise, one young woman smiled and look conspiratorially at her Mom, who was sitting next to her with a look of surprise on her face. Turns out the Nissan was the young woman’s car—and she was a candy maker! She delivered a lot of chocolates and other confections from that car. That was an intuitive overlay, but it was so strong that I never really got a perception of that Nissan.

As you practice tasting the world of living energy, remember that your ability is proportional to the state of your energy body. Keep your energy body “clean” and empowered by doing saminchakuy every day. If you have clarity of energy, you can pick up an amazing amount of information through your perceptions. There is a hypothesis in reflection white clouds and sun on the blue sky in waterphysics called Phase-Conjugate-Adaptive-Resonance, or PCAR. It says that everything is made of energy and information fields. Information rides on energy. When you connect energetically, you can, if you have the power and sensitivity, extract information from that energy field. There is an ayni exchange, from you to the object and from the object back to you, and the more concentrated your attention and coherent your energy, the more information-rich the interchange will be. I think PCAR is a great way to think of both natural and manmade objects and landscapes as “beings.” It helps us understand what we are doing when we “taste” all the various aspects of the Pachamama. When our practice is refined, we can go deeper than just “tasting” the energy; we can delve into the pool of information contained in that object’s field.

If you are not now playing in the field of living energy, I urge you to immediately make a play date! Get out and notice the glory of the Pachamama, and then plunge in and taste, taste, taste!

What Are the Mullu Khuyas?

What Are the Mullu Khuyas?

A few people have asked me to write about the chunpi khuyas, which are more formally called the mullu  khuyas. Let’s start by examining the terminology.magical  loving heart

Chunpi means “belt” in Quechua, In the mystical tradition this refers to the four “belts of power” of the energy body. More on that later. . . Depending on which Quechua dictionary you are using, the word may be spelled with an “m,” as chumpi.

Khuyas as stones that are infused with your affection. The word “khuya” literally means affection. The five chunpi khuyas are infused with your sami, personal power, and munay. In this way, they are holy stones.

Mullu refers to the spondylus, otherwise known as the thorny oyster or spiny oyster. As far back as 4200 BC, the shell of the spondylus was used to make sacred or ceremonial items, and during the Inka Empire was fashioned into jewelry for the royal families. Chunpi stones were originally made from f this shell, which ranges in color from dark red to an orangey pearlescence. There is some indication that this shell was prized even more highly than gold. There was plenty of gold in Peru, but the spondylus was scarce. It lived only in the waters off the northwestern mullu shellcoast of Peru, and most of it was probably imported  or traded into Peru from what is now Ecuador and other countries north of Peru. The flesh of the oyster was considered as the food of the Gods.

While I am not going to overview the karpay that weaves the energetic belts—the chunpismullu pots—and opens the mystical eyes—the ñawis—I will briefly go over the belts. There are four of them: one is around the lower trunk of the body, called the yana chunpi or black belt; another is at the belly area, called the puka chunpi or red belt;  the  belt at the chest and heart level is called the qori chunpi or gold belt; and the one around the throat is the qolqo chunpi, or silver belt. When you open the three eyes of the head—the two physical eyes and seventh eye in the middle of the forehead—you pull in violet energy, so this area around the head at eye level is sometimes referred to as the kulli chunpi, or purple belt, although it is not formally considered a belt.

To perform the karpay, which is called Chunpi Away (the second word means “to weave” and is pronounce rather like “ah-why”), you are literally creating the belts, weaving them into your energy body. They do not exist before they are woven in the karpay. Also, they made fade over time, so it is a good idea to perform the karpay occasionally and to work the belts often. Each belt contains an “eye,” called a ñawi. These already exist in your poq’po (energy body) but they are awakened during the chunpi ceremony. This aspect of the karpay is called Ñawi K’ichay, which literally means opening the eyes.

The only other point I will make about the karpay itself is regarding the black energy that is pulled down the spine and then wrapped around the hips and through the legs to make the yana chunpi. What many people don’t realize is that this is willka energy. Willka is the black light energy that is considered by many paqos to be the highest expression of sami in nature. In the karpay you actually make willka! This is accomplished by pulling gold and silver cords of cosmic energy into the head and down the spine, crossing these cords of light at the neck, and then pulling green earth energy up into the root of the spine and up the spine to the base of the neck. When you have these three cords in place, you then blend them into black light energy and pull the black light down the spine to make the yana chumpi. The important point of understanding here is that when you integrate cosmic energy and earth energy inside the human body, you make willka energy.

There are five mullu khuyas used in the karpay to weave the belts. Each has a specific number of points or protrusions, from one to five. The names of the stones follow the sequence, using the Quechua word for that number (but beware that dialects of Quechua vary). The stone with one protrusion is called ch’ulla. According to some scholars, this word means “single foot.” The two stone is called yanantin. This stone doesn’t use the literal number of the points as a name, as yanantin refers in the mystical tradition to the complement of differences—to two things that are different but that can be integrated harmoniously. The stone with three points is kinsantin, literally “three.” The one with four points is tawantin. Tawa means four, but of course this word is loaded with meaning.Joan's mullu chunpis The Inka Empire was called the Tawantin because four nations were integrated into one Empire. It also refers to the sacred integration of four factors. A despacho, or nature offering, is always based on a tawantin. Many other aspects of the mystical work are based on a tawantin. Finally, the stone with five protrusions is named after the number five, pisqantin. (The picture is of my set of mullu chunpis, which, according to the estimation of my teacher, Juan Nuñez del Prado, were probably made in the late 1800s. The stones are pretty large, with the five stone filling the palm of my hand.)

Although these khuyas as used during the karpay to weave the belts, they are not necessary. Remember, nothing outside of your own intent and personal power are necessary in the Andean mystical tradition. If you think that you lose the power to perform the karpay because you don’t have a set of these khuyas, then you are turning them into fetishes. Energy follows intent in this tradition, so you can perform the karpay using only your intent to follow the the instructions for weaving the belts and opening the mystical eyes. If you receive the karpay from someone who has a set of mully khuyas and uses them in the karpay, but you don’t have a set yourself, no problem either. You can later refresh the belts using only your own intent and following the protocol of the karpay.

So that’s something about the mullu khuyas. If you have questions about other aspects of the Andean path, I am happy to try to answer them and share what I have learned about the tradition.

All About Karpay

The word karpay in the Andean mystical tradition refers to an initiation, but if we dive Energy work during the Hatun Karpay 1997deeper, the meaning expands to bring light to what an Andean initiation is really all about—and it takes us beyond the initiation itself into the heart of this energy tradition.

As an initiation, a karpay is a transmission or interchange of energy. Thus, it is most often thought of and experienced as ayni—an energy exchange of sami.

For example, in the Karpay Ayni you exchange your finest sami with another person. You place your hands on the person’s head and transmit your finest sami to that person through your makis (the ñawis, or mystical eyes, in the center of the palms of your hands). When you are done, the other person reciprocates by sending his or her sami to you in the same manner.

A karpay does not have to involve ayni as we usually think of it in terms of an energy exchange of sami between people. For example, in many karpays—such as the karpay to the second or third level of the path—a paqo might take you into the mountains to a sacred lake. There you both would strip down and immerse yourselves in the lake, releasing hucha into the water and empowering yourselves with sami from the cosmos and/or from the apu. So this karpay is really a form of saminchakuy (a cleansing and empowering) and an exchange with nature and/or spirit beings.

When we take that dive deep into what is going on in a karpay (initiation), we discover the root meaning of the word: it is your personal power.

Scales Of JusticeYour karpay is your capacity for personal power at the current time.

It is related to atiy, the capacity at the yana chunpi (the belt around the lower trunk of the body), where you measure your power at the current time and under the current conditions. You can only energetically accomplish what you have the personal power to do, so your karpay is your capacity for pushing the kawsay. The quality and amount of energy you transmit and receive in a karpay as initiation is proportional to your own capacity for radiating and absorbing energy—which is another way of saying it is your personal power.

As one example of karpay in its “deep” meaning, consider that when you have a goal or desire you want to accomplish or realize, you can only fulfill that desire according to your karpay—the amount of personal power you have. Perhaps you want to start a business. But as you do, you find that you are running into many difficulties and making a lot of ill-timed or ill-conceived decisions. You can’t get the business up and running smoothly. Of the many factors that are influencing that turn of events, one may be your capacity to push the kawsay. If it is lacking then you just don’t have the power to accomplish that goal at that time. Realizing this, you can work to accumulate the personal power—and skills and talents and other factors; and of course, the cleansing of your poq’po and absorption of sami—to help you be successful next time you try.

Here’s another example, which demonstrates a different aspect of karpay as personal power. I remember Juan telling me about don Melchor offering him the karpay to the second level. He, don Melchor and don Melchor’s son, Marco, went up to Ausangate to do the karpay, but Marco got very sick and they had to return home and so did not get to do the initiation. Later, don Melchor expressed the opinion that Marco’s sickness was not due to any physical condition or outside factor but to his inner lack of energetic capacity—he did not have the personal power to deal with the intent and work of the initiation. His karpay was not sufficient.

One final example: When don Benito first saw a new client in his healing clinic, he would assess energetically both his capacity and the client’s for the healing. He might determine that the client needed to first see a physician before coming back to be treated by a paqo. Or he might see that this client was not “for his hand,” and so refer him or her to another paqo who was better suited to deal with this client’s problem. In certain ways, this process was don Benito’s assessment of his and his client’s karpays—his measure of Benito from Kathay Pelkey found online cropped 1his own personal power as it relates to this client and the client’s energetic capacity to participate in his or her own healing with don Benito.

We don’t often use the word karpay to refer to personal power, but that is at the heart of its meaning. When you think of karpay as an initiation, consider that at the root of this transfer of energy are two people and their capacities—one must have the personal power to transmit the energy and the other to receive it and use it well. Both are in an energetic exchange based on their measure of karpay at the time they are seeking to make the exchange and on their capacity to share that energy.

Now that you have a fuller appreciation for the word karpay and its meanings, you can better assess your own karpay. Pay attention to your root—yana chunpi and siki ñawi—in order to measure your personal power at the current time. Attend to your belly center—puka chunpi and qosqo ñawi—to remain aware of how you are engaging your main power center, the place from which you most interact energetically with the world. Bring awareness to the condition of your entire poq’po (your energy body) and use saminchakuy to cleanse and empower yourself.

Doing so will allow you to “see reality as it really is” in terms of your kapay. You will better know what you need to do to increase your energetic capacity so that you can more effortlessly push the kawsay to fulfill your goals and desires. Rather than seeking “initiations,” your more profitable work as a paqo is to accumulate personal power so that you can engage fully and wisely in the world of living energy and in the real, action-oriented, relationship-rich human world.


Walking as a Paqo through the Shadows of Self

“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.”

– Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon

Conceptual abstract artificial intelligence with couple backgroundAt a recent workshop I was teaching, I mentioned that I think doing some psychological “shadow” work can propel you along the Andean path toward conscious evolution much faster.

If we are striving as paqos to be the grandest human beings, then we have to address all parts of ourselves, the conscious and unconscious. We both address our “wounds” and empower our Inka Seed by doing energy work, but it seems to go faster when we couple this energy process with psychological or emotional work.

What is the shadow? Broadly speaking, it is that part of you that drives your beingness below the level of your conscious awareness. It is everything within that you will not accept or acknowledge—or that you outright reject—about yourself. But it is also a repository for all of your unexamined and unlived gifts and talents.

Jung identifies many layers of consciousness, one of them being the ego. We are most familiar with the ego—the sense of “I.” Jung calls the ego a “field” of consciousness that encompasses all the “personal aspects of consciousness.” It is your experienced self, your empirical sense of self. The ego can both express the contents of self or repress them.

Two other fields of consciousness are the shadow and persona. As Murray Stein writes in Shadows of group of people with binary code backgroundJung’s Map of the Soul, “the shadow is the image of ourselves that slides along behind us as we walk toward the light. The persona, its opposite, is named after the Roman term for an actor’s mask. It the face we wear to meet the social world around us.”

Your ego is usually deaf, dumb, and blind to the shadow, although your ego uses the shadow. As Stein says, “In adapting and coping with the world , the ego, quite unwittingly, employs the shadow to carry out the unsavory operations that it could not perform without falling into moral conflict.”

The shadow, in one sense, is protective. It saves you from yourself. Your moral and ethical conflicts, your self-condemnations and self-reprisals, your fears and trepidations, and so much more of your “unlovable” self gets banished to your shadow so you don’t have to deal with it and can get on negotiating the terrain of your daily life. But even though your shadow is not perceived or experienced directly by your ego, the content of the shadow often finds its way out into the light of day through unexpected behavior and words. Like most of us, you may sometimes be surprised—even shocked—how you act and what you say. What did that come from? you wonder, referring to something embarrassing or hurtful you did or said. It came from your shadow self.

What you won’t or can’t own within yourself often gets projected out onto others. You may see in others, truly or falsely, what you cannot own within yourself. Any blanket prejudice—against a race, religion, gender, whatever—is usually rooted in your shadow. So are other kinds of behaviors. Can’t stand a blowhard who only talks about himself? Maybe you have that same egotistical quality but are too ashamed to own it. Can’t seem to ever make an appointment on time? Maybe there is a “self” inside that gets its satisfaction from deliberately keeping people waiting. Have a reckless sense of courage and daring? Maybe that is a shadow compensation (a gift, in one way) from a “self” within who is cowering in fear.

In so many ways, that which you call your “reality” is shaped by the projections of your Evolving Unityshadow. You can see, then, how important shadow work is to your endeavor as a paqo. One of your goals as a paqo is to be qaway—to see reality as it really is. If you are not exploring your shadow self, you cannot easily realize that goal.

Your shadow also is a bestower of talents and skills. As Debbie Ford, author of The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, writes, despite the truth that our shadow is the repository of what we deny about ourselves, our shadow holds “the essence of who we are.” It holds “our most precious gifts.” When we can bring these rejected or denied aspects of ourselves into the light, we can be transformed.

But this transformation can be a messy process. Jung says it can be a “suffering and a passion that implicate the whole person.” From the point of view of a paqo, it can be both a mystical and shamanic journey or rite of passage: mystical in that exploring the secret aspects of the self can be a liminal journey, at once both disorienting and illuminating; shamanic in that it can feel like a dismemberment of the self or even a death and then a reassembling or resurrection. The payoff is that this work can, in the words of Debbie Ford, “give us the blessing of our entire sel[f].”

As a paqo, you want to live as a whole human being. To do that you must accumulate personal power, realizing that personal power is about accessing more of the self. It is an inward driven pursuit of cleansing the hucha from your poq’po to be more of who you really are. Additionally, accumulating personal power is about being in more perfect ayni, which is an outward driven pursuit. It is always about relating to “other,” whether that other is the cosmos of living energy or a person or group. In this way, doing your shadow work can illuminate a series of core dyads: the inner and the outer, the individual and the collective, the human and the supernatural.  These are yanantin energies, the complement of the differences. When you bring harmony to a yanantin relationship, you can better achieve japu, the union of the two into something greater than the sum of the parts. This is the achievement of the fourth level of the paqo path, that of transcending boundaries without erasing them.

businesspeople silhouettesIn his book High Country: The Solo Seeker’s Guide to a Real Life, depth psychologist David M. Alderman quotes Cal Jung about the value of fostering union with the inner and outer self—the conscious and unconscious selves. As a paqo, you can think of this as a yanantin pursuit that reaches japu. “Through the union of the opposites within us, we are able to discover our true selves beyond what our conscious awareness alone could ever make of us. . . . Through the conscientious union of the opposites within us, the true self emerges spontaneously into the conscious light of day; the conscious ego-based ‘I’ is literally transcended, and in its place arises a real, self-renewing, living being.”

This post cannot teach you the various kinds of shadow work, but you can explore those yourself, as there are plenty of accessible books and I am developing a master class that combines shadow work with the Andean path. However, I hope that this post can help you realize the value of undertaking this work as part of your Andean path, for the bottom line is that you have to walk through your own shadowlands to reach the landscapes of light. . .