Andean

2000 BCE – The Q’anchi tribe settled in the Andean mountains of Peru near Lake Pomacanchi in the region now known as Cusco.

Lake Pomacanchi, Peru. Photo by Adolfo Ttito Condori.

They lived in harmony with nature and embraced a mystical and spiritual way of life.  The word Q’anchi means seven in Quechua, which is the indigenous (original) language.

1200 AD – The Inca began to move into Peru and established the “Land of the Four Quarters” or Tahuantinsuyu.

Apu Asangate – Peru. Photo by Adolfo Ttito Condori.

The Incan empire stretched 2,500 miles along the Andean mountains of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. It reached west to the coastal desert and east to the Amazon rain forest. At its height, the Incan Empire totaled 12 million people of 100 different ethnic groups. They incorporated customs of the various cultures it conquered to create a unified empire. They made Cusco, Peru the center or capitol.

1450 – The Inca’s built Machu Picchu about 50 miles outside of Cusco in the Andean Apu’s (mountain.) The Quechua translation of Machu Picchu is “old peak.”

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1535 – Francisco Pizarro was a Conquistador who seized the Inca empire for Spain. He named the land Peru. The Inca Empire fell under Spanish rule. The Spanish brought the Roman Catholic Faith of Christianity to Peru and began to convert many of the indigenous people.

1500’s – The Q’ero and Q’anchi people have lived for centuries in villages at 18,000ft elevation. The Q’ero are descendants of the indigenous Q’anchi. Around the time of the Spanish invasion a small group of Q’ero moved to a remote area in the mountains where the Spanish didn’t explore. Machu Picchu was also untouched by Spanish Conquistadors. There are many myths surrounding the Q’ero, but the truth is they are simple farmers and magnificent weavers with deeply held spiritual beliefs.

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Traditional weaving in the Andes. Photo by Adolfo Ttito Condori.

They are known as weavers of the Light. The symbols woven into their cloths are those of the ancient Inca. They are one of the few civilizations on Earth that still holds their ancient teachings intact that was handed down from generation to generation for thousands of years. They believe they are of the same lineage as the ancient Mayans, Hopi, Navajo and Tibetans. They are more mystical than shamanic.

1950’s – Anthropologist Juan Nunez Del Prado visited the Q’ero and saw their belief system from a Jungian perspective, “their tradition teaches that anyone can have the seed of an Inca. The seed is a metaphor for being an enlightened individual.”

The Andean spiritual cosmology centers on three primary concepts.

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Adolfo in ceremony in the Andes. Photo supplied by Adolfo Ttito Condori.

Inti (Sun) – the sun is a central theme of the Andean people. They live high in the apus (mountains) and are close to the sun. The Incan are sometimes referred to as the “Children of the Sun.”

Apus (Mountains) – are all seen as sacred, they are the wisdom keepers who hold the teachings for mankind. The Apus share their wisdom through direct communication and through khuya’s or sacred stones that are held within a mesa/misa or medicine bundle.

Pachamama (Mother Nature) – is an overarching and grounding principle of the Andean cosmology. Pacha – means time & space in all levels, in all dimensions, throughout the cosmos and all that is. Mama – Mother nature, which includes earth. Pachamama – the time and space on mother earth.

We are living Trees of Life – (Manqosninchis) beings of light.

Trees are seen as special beings that feed on k’anchay (celestial light) and sami (light energy.) A tree spirit is called a mallqui. They believe that when a person feels disconnected from spirit that healing can occur by working with a great tree spirit or hatun mallqui.

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A drawing of the tree cosmology as it relates to the three energy centers of our body. Photo by Laural V Wauters.

Hanaq Pacha (Upper World) – Head (Yachay) – Branches of the Tree – Right Knowing. Where all wisdom is gained, processed and understood. Here is where the: who, what, where, why, when and how to begin to take form and the pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place. It represents the upper world that connects us to the sun (Inti).

Kay Pacha (Middle World) – Heart (Munay) – Trunk of the Tree – Right Love. Tranquil and compassionate. Unconditional love, tending to the garden of energy we are setting into motion. Love, humility, patience and compassion for us and others as the energies of manifesting are in momentum and finding a stabilizing flow. It represents the middle world that connects us to the mountains (Apus).

Uhu Pacha (Lower World) – Belly (Llankay) – Roots of the Tree – Right Action. Personal power/doing our work. This is where our will power and action reside. It takes what we are creating and breathes life into it. This is where manifestation is put into motion. It represents the lower world that connects us to the earth (Pachamama).

Adolfo teaching about the Monqos Wasi (light body) Photo by Laural V Wauters.

Note: The teachings of ourselves as living Trees of Life in the Andean tradition was passed on by my teacher/maestro Adolfo Ttito Condori. These teachings occurred at my home in Green Bay, WI in August 2016. Adolfo is an Andean Altomisayok, which translate to Andean Wisdomkeeper. He communicates directly with the Apus and other spirits to gather information for our continued evolution. Adolfo is featured in a movie called: Wisdomkeepers.

Chakana or Inca Cross – As the Tree of Life

Chakana means “bridge or ladder” in Quechua. In Spanish, it translate to “cruz cuadrada” meaning square cross. It represents the Southern Cross constellation, which the ancient Andeans believed to be the center of the universe and was easily distinguished while gazing upon the night sky. (There isn’t a true “Pole” star in the Southern Hemisphere like there is in the Northern Hemisphere.)

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Andean – Peruvian Chakana on traditional Andean weaving. Photo by Laural V Wauters.

The chakana has numerous meanings hidden in its shape. Its three dimensional levels are said to represent the three worlds:

Condor/Eagle – Hanaq Pacha (Upper World) – Branches of the Tree

Puma/Jaguar – Kay Pacha (Middle World) – Trunk of the Tree

Snake/Serpent – Uhu Pacha (Lower World) – Roots of the Tree

The chakana also represents the four directions: North, South, East & West and the four elements: Earth, Air, Water & Fire.

The top of the chakana represents the consciousness of light expressed as the Sun (Inti).

The bottom of the chakana represents the consciousness of earth expressed as Pachamama.

The center of the chakana represents the consciousness of being human.

The round hole is symbolic of the World tree as the Axis Mundi.

Each of the twelve steps that surround the chakana represent a level of initiation in consciousness.

Sacred Tree – Palo Santo Bursera graveolens (Holy Tree) – are the most revered trees in Peru and are only harvested when they have fallen to the ground. This is a practice in respect of the spirit of the tree.

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Palo Santo Wood harvested from fallen trees. Photo by Laural V Wauters.

The burning of Palo Santo gives off a sweet woodsy aroma that is used for clearing of a person’s energy field, it can also be used to clear spaces and to offer during ceremony.

“Help us awaken through our experience in this world.” – Adolfo Ttito Condori