Understanding the Eight Helper Spirits

I am frequently asked to go deeper into an explanation of the energy dynamics of the eight helpers. For those of you who have studied the Andean sacred arts with me, don Juan Nuñez del Prado, his son don Ivan, or another of the teachers they have trained, you know that in the lloq’e (left side) training, we choose eight helpers to guide, counsel, and inspire us. For those who have not taken the training, the helpers are just what they sound like—spirits who guide and assist us.

In the lloq’e training, we consciously and deliberately choose these eight helper spirits, one for each level of consciousness, from the zero level to the seventh level. The first three helpers—the zero through the second level—areFalcon compressed and cropped a reptile (cold-blooded animal), mammal (warm-blooded animal), and bird. The third-level through sixth-level helpers are human beings from the past or present who represent the qualities of that level of consciousness and so can inspire us to lift ourselves up to that level. The seventh-level helper usually represents Taytanchis, or whatever God is to you, or, less commonly, it can be a fully enlightened human being who is ranti, equivalent, to Taytanchis.

When we begin our work with these helper spirits, we imprint and tune ourselves with each one’s energy, moving them through our ñawis, or mystical eyes, and perceiving each one’s energy directly and viscerally so that we can know it and begin to more easily develop an energetic relationship with it. Once that relationship strengthens, the helper spirits can come of their own bidding to work with us, and we can call on them when we need them. Seeing the helpers as real spirit beings is what we call “working from the third level,” and that is the way it was taught by don Melchor Desa, who passed on this knowledge and these practices. 

However, there is another way to understand what the helper spirits actually are and how we interact with them. This is a high-level, more abstract view that is from the fourth level of practice, meaning it takes us beyond the third-level concrete teachings of the paqos; we bridge traditions to see how what the paqos discovered correlates to similar things discovered by mystics and others in non-Andean cultures and philosophical domains. Reaching across cultures and intellectual fields of inquiry not only provides independent verification for the Andean paqo teachings, but also fosters an opportunity for us to widen our perceptions and deepen our understanding of the energy dynamics of the eight helpers. So, that’s exactly what we are going to do, relying once again on my (and Christina Allen’s) discussions over the past year or two with don Juan and don Ivan. I have combed through my transcripts of our talks and pulled out the material on the eight helpers, editing them into this long “interview.”

Before I get to the interview, there are two terms that need to be defined briefly: archetype and prototype. According to psychoanalyst Carl Jung, who did the most to develop the theory of archetypes, an archetype is a primal, universal symbol, pattern, or theme that is common to the human collective unconscious and that shapes the human psyche and behavior. A prototype, as applies to our discussion, is a physical representation that superbly embodies the qualities of the archetype. If the archetype is “Devotion,” the prototype might be Mother Theresa or your best friend or your dog. Prototypes differ based on personal values and preferences. Archetypes are timeless and universal.

Joan: Let’s talk about the eight helper spirits—how they are real and how they are archetypes. Let’s start with talking about them as real energies, actual spirit beings.

[Note: Although don Juan uses the male pronoun and examples in his answer, helper spirits may be either male or female.]

Don Juan: What is the list? Let’s start there. The top helper is Taytanchis. He has a characteristic: he must be kanaq—able to create—which is the seventh level. The sixth-level helper is a Sapa Inka, a helper who is characterized as being qanchaq, able to glow literally. Then at the fifth level is an Inka awki, a candidate to be an Inka, or a tukuy hampeq, a Inkatotal healer. Then comes qapaq, a king, but he must be wise because he is hamuta, which is wisdom. The fourth level is an apu, representing leadership. Then [at the lower three levels, level two down to zero) are the animals. The pisqa, a bird; then a qorikawsay, warm-blooded animal, then at the zero level the chirikawsay, a cold-blooded animal.

Don Ivan: Working with them as real energies . . . if you have a perception, it changes the shape of your poq’po [energy body/bubble]. If you touch the essence of your helpers, this can retune you and change the shape of your bubble. Because you are able to touch their essence. I always say when you are working with your helpers you are shapeshifting in a way. Your body is the same but your bubble is taking different forms. I feel it like that, but that’s just my perception when I work with my helpers.

Joan: What do you mean by shapeshifting? Energetically or literally? Your bubble becomes shaped more like your cold-blooded helper or your bird or whatever helper you are working with? 

Don Ivan: Not literally, but its energy is perceivable to your senses. You tune with the bird or the puma. Its energy shapes you like that, tuning you.

Don Juan: You become charged.

Joan: Even if different many people select the same helper—say a fox or an eagle, or, for the human helpers, don Benito or the Christ or Buddha—the way that helper tunes each of them is different, correct? You have said the helpers are holding the space for capacities within each of us, places where we are still undeveloped, and helping us to develop those capacities. So, how they help is going to vary from person to person. The same helper is tuning different people in different ways to realize different capacities. I just want to verify that.

Don Ivan: Yes.

Don Juan: Take a look . . . you have an Inka Seed inside yourself. [The Inka Seed holds within it all the capacities we each have to reach our full potential, for our development to the highest level of human consciousness.] Your helpers are the difference between what you are today and what you can be. The only thing we are bridging are the levels [of consciousness]. Because the Andean tradition is flexible in every other aspect, except in these levels of development. This is about ontological levels, about a way of being. The difference between the first level of consciousness and the second level—it’s not just an idea, a concept. [It is a real difference in states of consciousness, in a way of being and acting in the human world and so not just an intellectual difference.]

Joan: You have said that everything, all knowledge, all human thought and experience, everything is “imprinted” in the earth or the entire material universe (Pachamama). Is there a connection between this idea and the helpers?

Don Juan: Yes. I am going to look in the scientific framework of the Western tradition, as there is something there to explain that. There is a Jesuit psychologist who speaks about how the human unconscious knows everything. Unconscious is a word. What is your unconscious? It is also something you can project—to the heavens and into the ground. It’s something like the idea of Rupert Sheldrake, the morphogenetic resonance or field. It is a memory of reality, or, it is saying that reality has memory.

Don Ivan: It’s like the Akashic records.

Don Juan: Yes, akashic records is another way.

Don Ivan: As a concept, they say the akashic records are in the ground, memory or imprints in the ground. Whetherbinary code they are there or not . . . what we are saying is that many people talk about how a certain amount of information is accessible in some way. So, when we work with helpers, we can say that we are not working only with the spirit being, but also with the memory of that helper [especially of human helpers, most of whom tend to be historical], which is imprinted in the earth, into the physical world. In the practice of the left side, when you choose your helpers, you are establishing a connection between yourself and the field of information—and with the ground, with Pachamama, and with those specific pieces of knowledge. So, in working with the helpers, you are working with information that you bring into your bubble.

Don Juan: In this way, the levels are ontological. The helpers are just symbols of each level of consciousness.

The first way to see them is as real beings. This is the third level. We are working with the teaching of don Melchor Desa. And for him, these are real beings. For Andeans the Taytanchis is super real, because he is the Creator. If you are here [in this physical world] you can make a connection with the other side of reality [metaphysical and spirit world]. I can work with my [deceased] grandfather as my ally. He’s just my ally. Where is he? In the hanaqpacha [upper world], but we are connected. For the Western mind, this idea can be very difficult, because for them he is dead. But we are talking now about the fourth level, bridging realities or states. For that, we can look at these as archetypes according to Carl Jung.

What are the archetypes? The most important ones are in the map of the unconscious: your ego, your shadow, the Royal Couple [animus-anima/inner male and female self], and the Self. This map is only from Carl Jung. I didn’t find it anywhere else. Jung made a statement about the Self. He said it is an archetype. Then he said the Self in Western culture is the imprint of Jesus, and in the East it is the imprint of Buddha. What are Jesus and Buddha in both cases?

Joan: Prototypes.

Don Juan: Yes! So, every helper, especially human helpers, we choose can be seen as a prototype. Because they must be or have been real people who we can take as examples or guides; they can help lift us up. They are prototypes. But I am only showing the way in which we can work. We don’t jump from one thing to another. We take the Andean structure and then we look for equivalence in other Western frameworks, and if we can put together two structures, this is what we are looking for. Because a structure is a system, which is a whole. It is not just a collection of factors. We are trying to build and work with systems, with wholes.

The important thing is to follow what we did. We started working with the traditional Andean system, then we picked up the main character of every step in the system and we searched in the Western system, in a different system, which is to us a possible way to make a progression that is trans-civilizational. This is what we are doing. Because the Inka civilization is ours and Western civilization is ours, and we are trying to translate not words but meanings. In anthropology, there is a discipline which is trans-civilization translation and it’s very sophisticated and precise. You take a whole and compare it with another whole. You don’t look for semantics. You look for the meanings and the big background. This is the way we operate.

Don Ivan: Would you agree with me, I think, that the qanchispatañan, the path of the seven levels of human development, is an archetype?

Don Juan: Yes.

Don Ivan: The structure of the seven levels of human development is the archetype, and then the helpers are prototypes that are going to fit into this archetype. But you can put the two things together. The most important archetype we have for working with consciousness is the qanchispatañan, the stairway of the seven levels of the development of human consciousness.

Don Juan: Yes.

Don Ivan: This pathway of development is common to every human being independent of their culture or tradition. It is within. That is the archetype. So, all human beings will develop along those stages of the qanchispatañan, with maybe the help of these prototypes of helpers or whatever their own tradition provides to develop that particular level.

Don Juan: I would say something else: the seven levels is an archetype of the protocol of human growth, and you find it in the Andean tradition and in other traditions. They provide independent verification for each other. And the system of the seven levels of human conscious development is the most important aspect of our teachings. The Andean tradition is absolutely flexible except about the qanchispatañan.

Christina: What’s interesting is that when you go to Peru you see the animals associate with the three worlds—the hanaqpacha, kaypacha, and ukhupacha. They’re all over the place—the images of the condor, puma, and amaru. They obviously are pretty basic in the Andean cultural perspective.

Don Juan: We are going to frame it in the left-side teaching of don Melchor Desa and approach it from the fourth-level, the archetypal level, where the animals represent deep parts of you. In this framework, the cold-blooded animal is the zero level, the warm-blooded is the first level, and the bird is the second level. But, in general, people talk about the condor as similar to the hanaqpacha [upper world]. The puma connects with the kaypacha [this world], and amaru with the ukhupacha [lower world]. It’s correct, but in general you can take them as symbols of those worlds, which means as images, instead of real spirits or animals, that represent that inner state of human beings. But you need to remember that the framework of don Melchor is larger than that. Because birds are only second level, you must then choose a human being for the third level of development; a hamuta qapaq, or wise king, for the fourth level, and so on for the scale of the levels of development. Don Melchor was using in a very personal way something that is general in the Andes. It’s the condor as the symbol of upper world, puma of this world, amaru of the underworld.

It’s the difference between the common knowledge and the specialized work of the paqo path. The Andean culture in general uses these three animals in the most general way, with the three worlds, the three levels of the kawsay pacha. A specific animal will help you connect and tune with one of the three levels. But there is another way, a certain way that they help you to resonate with the levels that are within you. They help you deal with that aspect of yourself. Like the ukhupacha is your unconscious, the kaypacha the conscious part, and the hanaqpacha is your connection with the spirits and gods, the metaphysical part of yourself. They help you access these. For the Andeans in general, they are at the door of each of the three worlds, as kind of gatekeepers; for you as a paqo, they also are a way to tune yourself inside of yourself to those worlds in order to tune to that reality. You deliberately choose each of your helpers, which makes it more specific, because they the ones you feel serve as the best possible way to help yourself to connect.

Your helpers can be seen as a projection from yourself! To help you make a connection with a part of your psyche. Your zero-level helper with the reptile brain, the bottom of your psyche. The mammal is another projection from you that is connected to your mammal way of being. And the bird helps you make a connection with your [more developed] ape brain, ape way of being. The interesting thing is in Jungian psychology, Jung shows how there is in every other society a representation of reptiles, mammals and birds like this. In the Andean tradition, the three animals [condor, puma, amaru] represent the Andean cosmology [three worlds]. But what are the three worlds? From the fourth-level, the ukhupacha can be seen as the world of your instincts or impulses. The kaypacha the world of your affections, your social world. The hanaqpacha the world of your metaphysical factors. The three worlds can be thought of as a projection of the structure of the human mind—Andean style. And all of our eight helpers represent the path of development of our human psyche.



Energy and Healing: Part 3

Continuing with the interviews with don Juan and don Ivan about healing, this third and final discussion covers topics ranging from healing by a fifth-level person to dealing with mental and psychological ailments to working with animals. You will see that this interview, coming as it does at the end of the series, is peppered with my bracketed “Notes” so that people who may not have read the first two interviews will understand what is being discussed and to remind people who have read the first two interviews of important points of understanding or explanation.

Christina and Joan: For people who are healers, the mind may be a major obstacle in their clients, because people can use illness to meet their unconscious needs. They may not really want to heal, because their illness serves them in brain chained resized square-3446307_1920some way. But you have said healers cannot override another person’s will. We can only enhance a client’s capacity for self-healing. Yet a fifth-level healer is an infallible healer. He or she always heals, every time. So, what is the fifth level about, what is so special about it that a person at this level can heal people in spite of someone’s [unconscious] will or unconscious desire to not heal?

Don Juan: The mind is not an obstacle. This teaching is not my teaching. It is don Andres Espinosa’s. Because in the beginning, I believed that [the mind was a factor.] This is today a prejudice of the New Age way of thinking: you need to use your mind and decide to heal. Maybe we put too much stock in this belief! Maybe that’s why they [Andeans] arrived at the fifth level and we [non-Andeans] didn’t. So, maybe first you need to detach from that way of thinking. 
       The first year I was learning this path, I was committed to putting aside all my [Westernized] theories, all my knowledge, psyche, etc. I was very proud of that. I went to don Andres and I told him that. He said, “You’re a fool.” I asked why. He said before studying with us you had half [of a certain kind of human knowledge, the Western scientific/psychological view] and now you are jumping to the other half [the Andean, mystical view], but if you keep both you have the whole!

Christina: I get that on my end as a healer. But what about clients who unconsciously want to stay sick because they maybe get some kind of benefit from it in their lives? There are clients like that.

Don Juan: In reality, nobody wants to stay sick.

Don Ivan: But what you say happens. I think it comes from a way of behaving: that if they are healed, then they will not get the compassion or attention they want from other people. So, it is a normal way for them, a state of consciousness, that allows them to retrieve energy from other people by attracting their pity. They take some sami from other people: good will, compassion, attention and things like that. Some people learned that in their life.

Joan: Would you say then that the fifth-level healer—the level of the infallible healer—is not just healing the body, but the psyche, the mind? He or she is healing the other person’s whole self, so that kind of unconscious need is no longer active or a problem?

Don Ivan: The Dalai Lama says one thing relevant here: your mind is the main tool to end suffering in the world. Take it like that. A very important part of our work as teachers is to retrain the mind of our students to use this spiritual path, to not generate hucha. To show them the value of that. That’s one of the big ideas of this kind of spiritual path. So, some of it is a mental training. But you also have to ask: How do you define healthy or not healthy? We would say ayni. Ayni is action. Unhealthy is more or less about lack of ayni. 
       But when you are on the fifth level, you are not going to use talking. You are just going to touch the person and return that person [to health] through your energy! You are resetting the person in the right direction. That’s the fifth level. Healing is a resetting, reconnecting the people with the action of ayni and the source of life.     

Don Juan: The fifth level is when you are in such deep connection with the earth that when you touch somebody, you retune or reset that person with the proper energy of life.
       The first thing is survival. When people come to you for healing but they really don’t want to heal, our mostearth green energy Pixabay 4075006_1920 powerful driving force is instinctive—it is for survival. Anything that is in the way of survival, especially disease, is what is against that. We all want to survive. The idea, then, is just to be able to follow the person’s will to survive, and help the person reconnect with that will.  Focus on the survival impulse. When you are at the fifth level, you have such a deep connection with the black light [willka energy], the source of life, that if you touch that person you will reorganize them. [Note: The healing love energy, called hampi munay, and the black light energy, willka, are both generated by tuning energy and adding in cosmic and earthly energy, then integrating them inside the human body].
       To do that, you need support. As a fifth-level person, you have the amazing support of all the energy of Father Cosmos and all the energy of Mother Earth. If you receive the support of Father Cosmos and Mother Earth, who is going to stop you? Who can stop you? They are the main sources of energy, and of information to process within yourself to help you to develop to the highest level. You have the whole! This is the idea. You don’t need anything else outside yourself. You focus on your Inka Seed and these two main energies [Father Cosmos and Mother Earth].

Joan: What about energetically working on mental health problems, depression, anger issues. We have “talk therapy” in Western medicine, but is there some equivalent to that in the Andes, practices other than energy techniques like saminchakuy?

[Note: In Part 1 of this series of interviews, don Juan and don Ivan make clear that some types of illness or health problems must be dealt with first by trained allopathic medical professionals, and in this case by mental health professionals. They explain that a problem may not be for the “hand” of a paqo. The following discussion is rooted in their belief that a paqo focuses on the soul and energy, and so may be helpful. But the Andean paqo view is that anyone with an illness use both aspects of medicine, allopathic and energetic, even though for most of their modern history it was very difficult for the native Andean people to access conventional medical resources.]

Don Juan: That kind of problem has a name in Quechua, which is wak’a. [Note: Not waka or huaca, as in a sacred site or sacred item; here don Juan is using a different word (spelling is with as apostrophe after the k, also spelled waq’a) that means mental illness, although on a literal level, if you look in a dictionary, it is defined as mad, crazy, alienated, and paranoid, reflecting outdated and stereotypical colloquialisms.] The way it is viewed energetically is that if someone is wak’a, it means he is not able to connect with Mother Earth or he is not open to receiving the flow of the light living energy.
       In [healing] you can do more or less good things. But to do that you need to develop your rapport with your client first. I will connect this do Dr. Carl Jung, and he said if you are a doctor and you are going to work with mental illness you are going to take the responsibility of doing it, because in the relationship the client is going to transfer to you his mental disease, and it’s going to be yours and you need to learn how to deal with that in yourself. 
       From the Andean perspective, many psychological diseases are diseases of the soul and you must be the expert in that [paqos work with the energies, with the soul]. In this case, someone who is emotionally sick [may be] a hucha sapa, he has a huge amount of heavy energy and he cannot release it. [Note” Don Juan has said in a previous interview that hucha does not cause illness. But it can influence it because it depletes our energy and ability to deal with our problems.] You help the person to release that hucha. For that, the most important knowledge is of the Inka Seed. You need to connect with the Inka Seed of the person, because the seed is totally whole no matter how the person is [physically or psychologically]. If you awaken the seed of the person, the seed is going to help the person.

Don Ivan: You also mentioned depression. Depression from an Andean energy view is having a weak bubble [poq’po]. When you have a weak bubble, you are not receiving your saminchakuy and saiwachuy [sami/light living energy from the cosmos or earth], and then the energy of the environment inside you can begin to crush you. That’s what we call depression. Anger is an overcompensation: when you feel small and try to make yourself bigger, through aggression you try to make more room for yourself because you don’t feel the connection with the ground [earth]. We always come back to the energy and the concepts of the tradition, of the Inka Seed, which is the most important one, and then from there to the state of your poq’po and whether you have enough energy or not. So, it’s the relationship of your bubble with the environment and it’s the [quality] of the flows of energy. Then you can figure out what the solution or the support for that problem may be.
       There are paqos who work energetically with people once a week, like therapy. If you work with clients you are going to know immediately that there are clients where you cannot help fix things in one try. And then you will have to meet with them many times, returning back to the same point, and build little by little, which is a long process. This is also [important in relation to] the work of a paqo, for the paqo’s ayni. The most important thing is to be able to see. If you see progress with the person, see change, then your ayni is in alignment to continue working with that person. But if you don’t see progress, then you have to see if maybe this person and this problem are not for your hands and you will need to refer that person to someone else.

Joan: Before we end, let me ask about animals. Many of my and Christina’s students ask about how to work with their animals, like their pet dogs and cats, or a horse. Any advice?

Don Ivan: You don’t need to heal them in the way we traditionally think about healing. Animals only have sami. No hucha. But they can have more sami or less, a lot or a little. When an animal is sick or wounded, the amount of sami energy the animal is flowing becomes smaller. It is reduced. If you want to help an animal who is ill, pull on their bubble [poq’po]. Pulling on their bubble makes more sami flow in. It’s like blowing on a fire and you make it stronger. The flame flares up, stronger, brighter. It’s that kind of saminchakuy. [Note: Saminchakuy can mean two different things in practice: a hucha release “cleansing” practice, or simply working with pulling sami to you or sending it to someonebulldog-Pixabay 1224267_1920 else, with no hucha release involved. The latter is what don Ivan is discussing above in relation to working with animals, who have no hucha and therefore don’t need a standard saminchakuy “cleansing.”]

Don Juan: Animals are totally open to receiving. If you pull on their living energy [their poq’po], they are going to increase their sami faster. You are going to increase the amount of sami energy that is flowing through the animal.

Don Ivan: They flow with nature, so we consider that they don’t have hucha. They learn. If they get wounded or something, that’s an experience and they learn from it. They avoid that [behavior or situation] later. They learn to respond to dangers and that kind of thing. They are not heavy. But they can respond to our hucha. They copy us, our ways of being. If they have a neurotic owner, they will feel that and act in response to that. It is a response. But they don’t have their own hucha. Their owner does. They are just trying to follow that person.

Energy and Healing: Part 2

Continuing the interview with don Juan and don Ivan (See previous post for Part 1), we go deeper into energy and healing. Christina Allen, a fellow practitioner and teacher of the tradition, was on the call with us, and she starts off the questioning.

Christina: I see a lot of students or clients who say their heart center is heavy [has hucha] because they have had broken hearts or love lost and that kind of thing, and it affected the actual physical quality of their heart. In science, there is a correlation physically between heartbreak with the actual physical condition of the heart. So how would you talk about that?

Don Ivan: When people say their heart center is closed, I think they are just turning the energy down. Turning off the natural flow. You can turn it off. But normally people think it is hucha that caused it, they attribute hucha to the heart- compressed Gerd Altmann Pixabay 1982316_1920situation, but that is not necessarily true.

Christina: Are you saying they have closed their heart center instead of having collected hucha there?

Don Ivan: I would say yes, it’s just closed. You decide to close so nobody can touch you there because somebody in the past hurt your feelings or somehow hurt you.

Christina: Would you say there is a physical correlation to or manifestation in the physical heart? Because you will see correlations with people who are shut down . . . those are the people that nurses say are most likely to have cardiac problems. Or is that just coincidental?

Don Juan: Cardiac problems don’t mean you have an [energetic] block or [emotional] disappointment. And if you have a breaking heart, if you have emotional pain from love, it doesn’t mean you have a cardiac defect. There is no correlation between one and the other. You can have a very healthy love and you have a heart attack. No relationship. One thing is the physical and the other thing is the feelings. The problem is in Western culture, where we use the [heart as a] muscle as the place for feelings. But this is a metaphor. The way you speak is really just a metaphor. Because when you finish your nice, loving relationship [have a break up in the relationship], you are not going to have a heart attack. And if you have a heart attack, you can have a loving husband. Nice, loving relationship and you have a heart attack anyway. These are two levels. Feelings are psychic factors. Feelings are in the sonqo ñawi. The other is anatomical: the heart is just a pump.

Joan: Some confusion can arise because the word “sonqo” is often translated, even in Quechua dictionaries, as “heart.” But we are clear when we teach that the sonqo ñawi is not the heart, which as the organ is pirwa in Quechua. The sonqo ñawi is the energy center, and it’s the center of the feelings. There is no hucha there, or in the organ of the heart. Correct?

Don Ivan: Yes, the sonqo is not part of your heart. The heart, the pirwa, is the organ. The sonqo is a ñawi [part of your energetic anatomy]. The thing is that in our tradition, the sonqo nawi as the center of the feelings is located in the chest area, near where the physical heart is. But in other traditions, as in your teaching Joan in the seminar of the Greek tradition and the kardia, they [the Greeks] attribute to the actual heart muscle the things [feelings] we attribute to the sonqo. Okay? So it can be confusing to some people. In terms of hucha, it doesn’t matter—neither of these [heart and sonqo ñawi] have hucha. In our tradition, and in the case of the Greek tradition, too, there’s no hucha there.

Don Juan: Every culture develops a way of using these energy centers, okay? There is an anatomical structure and then there is energetic structure. This is common to every human being. The words differ. In the Hindu tradition are the chakras, and they have certain functions. We are not working with chakras. The term “chakra” is the linguistic or cultural Illustration of woman and man with aura, chakras and healing energyattribution from a specific tradition to the energy centers. We have slightly different placement of the energy centers, and we call them by different names. So, this way of assigning meaning to energetic centers is not something fixed.

Joan: It seems to me that the siki ñawi, which has the most hucha, would be important in healing—to release hucha from that center. It’s also where “reality” is so to speak: the most human part of the self, the unconscious, the impulses, the natural but possibly least developed aspect of the self. [The siki ñawi is the energy center at the root of the body, a mystical “eye” at the base of the spine in the back of the body.]

Don Ivan: Yes, it’s a fact that when you do the healing process with people, it’s the siki where you find the biggest amount of hucha that they are carrying. A very big part of that is our lack of connection with nature. Lack of awareness of the flows of [energy] of nature and natural things. Moral judgment and things that get in the way of natural thought—these are in the siki and so are other things: all the shame of sexuality, all the shame of our animal nature . . . all these things are part of our deepest nature, the most primitive aspects of the self. That is part of the hucha there in the siki.

Christina: Does hucha create [or cause] illness? Is there a causal relationship?

Don Juan: No.

Don Ivan: There are people who are really packing the hucha and they live in a healthy way, perfectly healthy. And there are really nice, powerful people who get sick and die.

Christina: So, if you were to describe someone who has illness, would you describe them in a vibrational way? Because you are going to change their vibration through the hampi munay [healing energy]?

Don Ivan: When you are ill, the frequency of your energy, the amount of your energy, goes down. But this a consequence of the illness, because you are not in your full power. . .  So, your energy goes down. The disease affects the state of your energy. Of course, when you have a lower level of energy you have less chance to heal yourself or develop the healing faster. This affects your performance. [Your level of energy] can turn your self-healing capacity on or off. So that is one thing. If you are in a good energy, this will help your recovery. This will influence your recovery. But with hucha, you can be very healthy, and as a person with sami, you can still have disease.

Joan: Still, we learn to tune energy, such as raising munay to hampi munay, because it is a higher frequency or vibration. The higher vibration is the healing energy. Correct?

Don Juan: About healing. Just try! It’s not about explaining how. You don’t say “It is the hucha, it’s not about hucha.”  No. It’s not so much about that. It is about tuning, but in certain circumstances you can perceive within yourself that you are capable of doing it.

Joan: But my point is that we learn to tune energy. We speed it up, and there’s obviously a reason to learn to tune energy, so I just want to be clear about that. It’s explicit that if we tune energy to hampi munay we can use it to facilitate the conditions within ourselves for healing.

Don Juan: In every step of development, you are healing something [at some level of the self]! People who are starting out on the path, they can do something and healing happens! But it’s totally random! [Unless you are fifth level, healing is out of your sphere of influence, because you are not controlling that energy.

Don Ivan: All the energies that are needed [for healing or anything else] are there already within you, because of your Inka seed. But when you are growing, you can hit the nail [heal] but randomly. When you arrive to the fifth level, you will know how to tune yourself to that energy. You are going to tune yourself and make it [healing] happen. The powerAtom is already always in you, but at first maybe you need some help or it is random. The thing is that when you arrive from the fourth to the fifth level, healing will happen every single time! It’s not going to be random anymore. But I think that all the elements that are needed are there from the beginning, so when you hit the nail randomly, healing happens some times and not others.

We always say that healing is like a symptom of [correlation to] your consciousness level. At the sixth level, you glow: the light [glowing] is a consequence of your consciousness level. So there is something beyond only the act of healing. . . . With the light, it means that your consciousness has arrived at a level where you can manifest that energy—whether to be able to connect with the light or the healing. So yes, you can say there is a goal behind tuning energy, but the healing is not the goal, just like the light is not the goal at the sixth level. There is something more that you can decide to make your goal—and that is your own growth.

Don Juan: The healing is only a measure of your self-development. The goal is self- development. The goal is the level of consciousness. You start by tuning with munay. It’s a tool. But you tune your munay to improve yourself. You are not going to perform a physical healing, but certainly you can heal your own psychic background and your personal story—this is something you can do, and it happens for all people. That’s why you need to learn to tune to hampi munay, too. And sometime maybe you are going to attain the fifth level [that of the infallible healer], but maybe not. But first, you are working [tuning energy] to improve yourself.

Christina: Would you also say it’s learning how to entrain? If you can vibrate at that hampi munay level you can impart that to others?

Don Ivan: Yes, you can do that. And you can teach and share it with other people. But the fifth level is different. It is healing everything, every time. So imagine. . .the thing is I cannot really imagine the fifth level! How satisfying would it be if I were able to go to a hospital and heal someone who was dying and that person walked out of the hospital!

Don Juan: There is a karpay to the fifth level, to the level of the infallible healer, and that is the Mosoq Karpay. We do not yet have that karpay, and it is only given by God. It is given to a person directly from God. We can’t do it [healing] by ourselves. We use the energy of Father Cosmos and Mother Earth, but the karpay is given to us from the Holy One.

In the final interview, Part 3, we talk more about what a fifth-level healer is like, as well as topics ranging from the mind in healing to mental health issues such as depression to healing animals.

Energy and Healing: Part 1

On February 13, 2021, I posted an interview with don Juan Nuñez del Prado and don Ivan [don Juan’s son] titled “Interview About Perceiving Energy.” After going through my transcripts of many of our recent conversations, I found that there is quite a bit of material scattered here and there in different conversations about energy and healing. So, I thought I would pull together some of that material into a three-part interview. Fellow paqo and teacher of Andean mysticism Christina Allen was also part of these discussions, and her questions for don Juan and don Ivan are included here along with mine.

Joan: Let’s talk about energy and healing. What is it a paqo is doing as a healer?

Don Juan: When you are a healer, what you are trying to use is your personal power. To be a healer is not a training. It’s the practical use of the power you have achieved before [during your development]. When you become a healer, you take the whole responsibility [for the healing session], through your personal power, in yourself.

Don Ivan: The very definition of personal power is the sum of your capacities and skills. So, it’s all your munay, all your llank’ay and all your yachay together, plus your connections, which means all possible help you can find around you, crystallized around you and then flowing through yourself. That’s personal power. And for that, all your connections count. Not only your family history, your collective history, your group, your religion, the Apus, all the spirits, Pachamama, Wiraqocha—everything. In the moment of a healing, you become a channel for all the connections fromIMG_4436 compressed your life. That’s your personal power.

Joan: Is there a structured process a paqo typically uses in a healing?

Don Juan: What I saw are four processes: One is hucha miqhuy. If you are a healer, probably the first thing you would like to do with your clients when they arrive is a very big hucha miqhuy, to make a deep connection with your client, because this is very important. Another is saminchakuy, a pichay that you do with your misha on your client. The third is saiwachakuy, which you also do with the misha. It’s hoqari, a pulling up, or a kallpachi, a reinforcement [of the client’s energy/sami]. And the fourth process is animu waqyai, the soul retrieval if you want to call it that. These are the four ways in which you perform healings.

Don Ivan: [In other discussions] we have talked about how don Benito healed, and how we heal, because we learned from him. If you take it analytically, you will go through several steps. The first step is to create a connection with your patient. This can be done through trust, because they trust you; it can be done through hucha miqhuy, making the deep connection. This connection even has a name in medicine. It’s called rapport. This bond between you and your client is actually what allows a healing to take place. For that there is a lot of talking involved: you need to scan the person by talking, trying to decide what the problem is. And when you decide what the problem is, you ask for feedback. You check with the person: “I am seeing this. Is this what you are feeling too? Is this correct? Is this what we need to address?” Then you work together to heal it, to fix it. That’s a lot of talking, but the connection is the most important thing, the most critical thing. And then after that, you address the problem with anything you want: cleaning, empowering, the animu waqyai, the collecting of [a part of] the soul. Whatever you want. Some people use a coca leaf reading, to see what the problem is. We don’t do that.

After using the healing techniques that you know and think are right . . . then we and don Benito used one more step. We always ask the person to take action. We advise the person to make a little ritual by themselves to take control of their own healing, in certain ways to catalyze the healing. So, to make a little ritual, a little offering, maybe with candles or making a k’intu, or something. We always ask the person to take some action in order to take responsibility for their healing. Some people will do it, and some people will not. They may return back [for additional healing], and the first thing you are going to ask is, “Did you do what I told you to do?” It’s always like that—that process. You build a connection, do your healing, ask the person to do something to take responsibility for their healing, and then you start all over again! That’s the cycle of the healing.

Don Juan: Something that is very, very important is what happens when you become really familiar with the levels [of consciousness], when you start to perceive the levels. At a certain point, you are going to perceive what is first-, second-, third-, fourth-level person. This is an important teaching of my master [don Benito Qoriwaman] . . . don Benito started by working with the client and giving him the whole benefit of the doubt. He started by dealing with him as if he were his equal: he dealt with him as if the person was at the fourth level. Then, if the person was not able to engage at that level, don Benito came down a level, to the third level. If the person is still not able to connect, he came down don Benito  Qoriwamananother level to the second. And if not that, he even would come down to the first. The practical aspect is always working at the level [of consciousness] your client is at, but always starting at the fourth.

Joan: What would that look like? How would you approach your client from the fourth, and then come to the third, or lower levels? What kinds of things would you do?

Don Juan: I would say to my client [treating him/her as fourth level], “Okay, take three coca [or other kind of] leaves, go in front of Mount Shasta [or turn in that direction] and blow. You are going to feel the feedback of Mount Shasta [its ayni] and you are going to be healed.” Then your client might start to argue, “I am feeling so bad. You know I am suffering.” Okay, then you tell them to do something else [come down to treat them at the third level of consciousness]. “You are going to make a half despacho.” And if the client starts to argue again, you come down another level and tell him he must make and offer a complete despacho. If he continues arguing that this is not going to be enough to heal him, then [coming down to the first level] send them to do a ritual that lasts the whole night, with smoke or palo santo cleaning himself, pulling a blanket over himself and filling it with the smoke, and so on. If that isn’t enough, if that doesn’t work, then the extreme healing, which was used by my master, is to have the person dig a hole in the ground and get in it and fill it up to the neck and spend the whole night there to try to make a connection with Pachamama. If a client feels that, then you can move up [the levels] again. Make the adjustment for your client, but never start by taking for granted that your client is at a lower level than you.

Joan: One of the things you told me once was that when someone came to don Benito for healing he would first ask, “Is this person for my hand?” Meaning that don Benito asked himself if he was the right healer for this client. That’s not a mindset common to Western healing or medicine, or even common among energy healers. For the most part, doctors or healers usually think they can handle any client, see any client who comes to them. Would you speak to that please?

Don Juan: That is a mindset not only of Western healers, but other healers, Indian healers, Eastern healers . . . they think that everyone is for them. For my master [don Benito], it was absolutely clear that if you have a disease for a doctor, he sent you to a doctor first. If you have pneumonia, he is going to send you to a doctor and you are going to have an antibiotic shot. And then you are going to return to don Benito. If you have a broken bone, he is going to send you to a doctor to help you with that and then you can return to him. He was focused on something that we can call the psychological side of the problem, or the spiritual side of the problem. If you have something related to the rational side of medicine [the physical], he put it aside and sent you to the doctor.

Don Ivan: That’s good advice for all of you. Don Benito was super clear about that. He would say that if you have a broken bone and you need a cast, he will not even touch you if you don’t get the cast first. As a paqo we have to be absolutely clear that we are not medical doctors. We don’t do that kind of healing. We are healers of the soul. That is our part, unless you are at the fifth level [the level of consciousness associated with infallible healing]. You can only think in those terms if you are fifth level, and we know there are no fifth-level healers around yet. In the meantime, let medcial doctor - Pixabaythe doctor do his job and you stay as the soul doctor, which is what the paqo is. Don’t overlap your duties and responsibilities. That is not your part.

Joan: Thank you. I think that is important for people to hear: to not reject science and Western medicine, because physical healing and energetic healing are different but complementary domains. We are yanantin: physical beings and energetic/spiritual beings.

Don Ivan: The fourth level is about being able to put things together! Of course, as a patient you can do the energy healing, you can do the soul retrieval, but you also do the casting, the antibiotic. You do both. You take everything, but don’t choose between the two. It is not either-or. It’s both. . . And if something doesn’t help you, look for more things. You keep adding. Third-level thinking is choosing between white or black, right or wrong, separating things. Fourth-level thinking is about putting things together. If you have resources, use them all.

Don Juan: I said [before we began recording this session] that I am so happy today. [He got his second Covid vaccination shot on this day.] Because a lot of people who are reluctant about science, about Western medicine, are not learning a lesson. They need to take their vaccine, which is made using rational resources.

The same thing—if you have something, if you are really sick, the first thing you need to do is go to the doctor, the medical doctor. This is my advice.

Don Ivan: Sometimes we’re a bit heavy on that advice with our clients [and students], but they will remember what we say because we are strong in our statements in that direction.

Joan [Actual question is from a student]: When you were just talking about don Benito asking if this was for his hand, obviously I can’t set a bone, but is there also a component where I ask if this client is for my hand as someone I am supposed to work with in an energetic and spiritual way? Maybe we just aren’t a good fit. Could you further clarify that?

Don Ivan: When you talk about something not being for your hands, it means it is out of your power. You don’t have the capacity to heal that. Or you don’t have the capacity to build a connection with that person in order to heal that. Our rule, what we always do with ourselves, we always take responsibility. When you are going to make a declaration like that, or when you make a decision like that [to not accept a client], we say, “It is not under my power. I cannot help you with this.” We have to recognize we have limited power and some things are under our power and some things are not. And this is the best way to do it in terms of ayni. Don’t create false expectations in your client. That’s not good for your own ayni! Don’t make people waste time! If you cannot help them, just let them go. They will try something else, see someone else. So, maybe that person can heal, but you cannot do it. Our rule is that we always put it on ourselves: we are not powerful enough, it’s not under our power. That’s best for your own ayni. That’s the best way to do it.

Don Juan: There is something else here, too. If you cannot heal something, it’s not because your client has that karma, it’s not the will of God. If you cannot heal him, it’s because you don’t have enough personal power. The responsibility for healing is the responsibility of the healer! To say [or think] about one of your clients, “Oh, you have enormous karma! Because of that I cannot heal you.” You are making the situation of the person worse. Or if you say, “You don’t have enough faith.” Or, “It’s not the will of God.” It’s worse for them. If a person comes to you with a terrible disease, you are putting something else on his shoulders because you are telling him has terrible karma or whatever or that God is not willing to help him. This is a bad way to deal with them. And of course ayni is ayni: if you do that kind of thing with your clients, the universe will do the same kind of thing to you.

As a healer don’t take responsibility for those things you really are in ignorance about. Someone has pneumonia, they need a shot of antibiotics. We are not denying the healing power of the energy. When you flow the living energy in yourself or your client, you are reinforcing their vital processes, which could eventually heal them. But don’t ever say, “I am going to heal you.” Eventually, you may be able to heal even terminal cancer, but until you are at the fifth level, where you can be sure you will have results, don’t make that statement. Don’t allow your client to think you can heal him of everything, because you cannot.

That’s why I prefer to be a teacher! I prefer to teach you, to allow you to grow by yourself, to become your own healer. I am not denying the power or vocation of people who want to be healers for others, but my first priority is show you how you can grow and become your own healer. To become a paqo is to become a healer. And of course, if you are a good paqo the first thing you are going to do is to heal yourself.

Don Ivan: Another part of your question was about if paqos get sick what can they do to heal themselves. Of course, you can do things for yourself: do saminchakuy, hucha miqhuy, etc., but it’s also advisable that from time to time you go to a healer yourself. So you go to another paqo, another psychologist, another therapist to help you with that, because if you work as a healer, there are always going to be little things that you are not going to see, not be able to fix in yourself, and somebody else will have to take care of you. It’s very healthy and advisable [as a healer] to take the help of a healer from time to time. You cannot handle everything.

Two Ways to Understand Hucha

In a recent conversation with don Juan and don Ivan, they elaborated on the topic of hucha, and, as always, I gained a deeper appreciation for the energy dynamics of the Andean tradition. But I was also surprised by some new information they mentioned during the discussion: there is hucha in nature! I had always heard from them that nature is comprised only of sami. That’s what I learned, and that’s what I teach. But they went into a nuance that clarifies the nature of hucha. This short blog post explains.

Our discussion was about sami and hucha as a spectrum of the movement of kawsay. Kawsay’s nature is to move, and sami represents the top of the spectrum, the light living energy. Sami is kawsay moving in its most refined and unimpeded form. Sami as light living energy refers not to visible light, but to density, to a lightness of substance, a weightlessness. The explanatory term the paqos used to describe sami was llanthu kawsay, and llanthu means “shadow.” So “light” living energy—sami—is like a shadow in that it is absolutely weightless. The spectrum then moves down in motion (getting slower) and in density (gaining weightiness or becoming heavier) to hucha. Hucha is sami, just in a slower, denser, and heavier form. So sami and hucha are not oppositional concepts or energy dynamics, but relative.

When we talk about hucha, we usually—and until now only—referred to it in relation to human beings. We are the only creatures to create hucha. We artificially, if you will, impact the flow of sami to slow it down. Hucha is a consequence of young corn plants Pixabay-4803128_1920the lack of integrity and congruity in our three human powers, and especially is a consequence of our emotions, particularly our unconscious, “shadow” impulses. But don Juan and don Ivan explained that hucha also is, in fact, an aspect of nature as part of the natural cycle of life. Here’s what they mean.

Nature is comprised only of sami, yet there is a natural cycle of life during which the life-force energy declines, or slows, until it ceases. That’s what we call death. The cycle is one of life arising, persisting for a period, then withering, and finally dying. This is a descending or diminishing energy process, according to don Benito, that can be thought of as an increaseRipe corn-Pixabay 917354_1920 of hucha. Hucha increases as sami decreases, as life moves through the natural cycle of arising and ceasing. (We can say the same is true of human life in terms of our physical bodies, of course, but how we understand hucha in relation to human beings also differs qualitatively, as I will soon explain.)

Don Juan said that to explain this aspect of hucha, don Benito used the example of a cornstalk. It grows, flourishes and produces ears of corn, and then it yellows, withers, and dies. This process is one of the slowing of the animating kawsay, or the lightness of sami. Seen in the converse, it is an increase in hucha. Hucha, then, is part of the natural cycle of life and death. I had never heard of hucha used in this context before, and it added a beautiful depth to mynew plant among dying corn plants-Pixabay 3696980_1920 understanding of sami and hucha as expressions of kawsay.

When we humans do saminchakuy, we give our hucha to the earth. This is exactly what happens in this natural process as well. Ayni is still operative, because what dies disintegrates into the earth, and Mother Earth composts it back into something life-giving: fertile soil in which new plants can thrive, food for ants and insects, etc. Mama Allpa transforms that hucha back into sami: she speeds the slow sami back up to its most refined form. What was static is again in motion.

Hucha, though, is understood differently in relation to the energy dynamics of human beings, and only human beings. We are self-aware, we use choice and will, we can both be in ayni and out of ayni. It’s when we are out of ayni that we create hucha. We are the only creatures who can create hucha, who can purposefully (although often unconsciously) slow down or block sami.  The emphasis is on the word “create.” We—through our lack of ayni, our incoherent and unconscious emotions, the loss of integrity in our three human powers, and our lack of clarity of intent—block or slow sami to create hucha for ourselves (and potentially for others). We create it through our personal energy dynamics where it didn’t exist before and where it doesn’t “need” to be. This hucha is not something we just touch in nature, we generate it. In this way, our hucha upsets the harmony of nature. It is, in this sense, outside of nature.

Seeing hucha in these two ways not only deepens our understanding of hucha, but it can help us to better understand how we both fit into the natural energetic cycle and how we are above or beyond it because we can create hucha where none existed—which is why it is so useful for us to do saminchakuy on a regular basis. I am reminded of something Samuel Beckett once wrote: “The creation of the world did not take place once and for all time, but takes place every day.” That’s true both in nature and in ourselves.