Speaking with the Ancestors at a Cusco Huaca

Plaza de las Armas, Cusco, Peru

Click here to learn more about Cusco Huacas

One of the benefits of connecting with the Earth and with sacred sites is connecting with the ancestors.  When I visited Cusco, Peru, I had a conversation with one of my ancestors, but before I tell you about it, I must provide a little background to that experience.

Before going to Cusco, Peru, I had a difficult 2 months with a health problem.  I had been planning this trip for over a year and was nervous about being well enough to go out of the country.  During this challenging time, I had the love of family to help me through in addition to something else that may be considered unorthodox to some–psychic communication with the spirits of my grandparents and mother.  During this time, I had noticed that my grandfather’s spirit was absent and spirit communication was primarily with my mother and grandmother.  But, once I was on a plane to Peru, I felt a stronger connection with my grandfather’s spirit.

One of the most amazing experiences I had in Cusco was at the Plaza de las Armas, which is in the center of Cusco.  As I approached the fountain in Plaza de las Armas, my grandfather’s voice grew louder and louder.  I turned around and saw a dog trotting past me towards the fountain.  The closer the dog came to the fountain, the louder I heard my grandfather’s voice saying, “Hello!  You made it!”  I thought in my head,  “Where have you been the last few months?!”  He replied, “I’ve been hanging around here and waiting for you!”

Bear in mind that while I have many psychic communications with my ancestors, this particular communication was unique in that it was so vivid that I felt as if my ancestors were alive and in human form.  My curiosity was piqued as to why did I have such a communication in the middle of the town plaza of Cusco?

  1. One possible reason is because the fountain at the Plaza de las Armas is a huaca.  What is a huaca?  A huaca is “a sacred natural setting or burial site, or shrine along a seq’e line”(Williams, p.162).  A seq’e is “the system of lines and corresponding shrines radiating out of Cuzco”(Williams, p.165).
  1. How did I determine that the fountain at Plaza de las Armas is a huaca?  According to John E. Staller, “Even as such things as tombs, altars, temples, offerings to the Sun, fountains, canals, and corners in houses were termed huacas….”(p.371)
  1.  Since the fountain at the Plaza de las Armas is a huaca located along a seq’e line, functioning as a portal to other dimensions, I assumed this was the reason for such an intense and vivid psychic communication with my grandfather’s spirit.  I verified this assumption with this quote from Anthropologist Garth L. Bawden:   “The ancestors are often associated with special places – caves, springs…” (Bawden, 2003, para. 12)

It’s true that Cusco is a magical city as I’ve described from my experience at the fountain at Plaza de las Armas.  A deliberate and intricate design of seq’es and huacas in Cusco acting as dimensional pathways to the ancestors allowed psychic communication with my own ancestors.  I am convinced we are all connected.

References:

Bawden, Garth. (2003). University of New Mexico Anthropology 324: South American Archaeology [Syllabus]. Retrieved from http://www.unm.edu/~gbawden/324-syll/324-syll.htm & http://www.unm.edu/~gbawden/324-shamanism/324-shamanism.htm

Staller, John (Ed.). (2008). Pre-Columbian Landscapes of Creation and Origin.  New York:  Springer Science & Business Media.

Williams, J.E. (2012).  Light of the Andes:  In Search of Shamanic Wisdom in Peru. (n.p.) Irie Books.

 

It All Starts With Pachamama

(Q’ero Paqo Shaman Don Sebastian Pauccar Flores, video courtesy of http://www.takiruna.com)

In our western society, having a relationship with the Earth is a rare topic of discussion or thought. Perhaps, due to technology, we have distanced ourselves so that now we are being challenged to renew our relationship with the Earth. It is a challenge well worth pursuing as I have discovered in my learning about the indigenous Andean teachings of the Q’ero people.

For the indigenous Q’ero of the Andes, I have noticed that it all starts with Pachamama.  In J.E. Williams’ book Light of the Andes: In Search of Shamanic Wisdom in Peru, he describes Pachamama as “the earth mother in space-time, the all creative cosmic mother”.  Pachamama is very important to the Q’ero and they frequently make offerings to her. When they say, ‘Gracias Pachamama’, you can hear their heartfelt gratitude echoing through each syllable. I have tried to emulate this concept when I offer thanks to Pachamama, whether through a tobacco ceremony or when I am praying to the Mesa (the Andean Medicine Bundle). I have noticed that the more I feel in my heart the love for Pachamama (as one would feel for a loved one), the deeper my connection. This has most certainly led me to a deeper relationship with the Earth.

Stay tuned for the next blogpost about sacred sites or huacas, in Cusco, Peru.

 

Book Review: Light of the Andes by Dr. J.E. Williams

Mountain at Machu Picchu

Ever since I came back from my trip to Peru, I’ve been looking forward to the release of Light of the Andes by Dr. J.E. Williams.  While visiting the Andes Mountains, I felt a deeply spiritual connection to the land of Peru.  Reading Light of the Andes helped me understand and place my experiences in Peru within a broader context.   It was a feeling of being in a land that I had never visited before, yet it felt like home.

While every person experiences things differently, there may have been similarities between what I experienced and what Dr. Williams experienced upon his first trips to Peru years ago.  Perhaps it was this feeling of being home, that led him to the very special Q’ero people, and his his soul brother, Don Sebastian Pauccar Flores.  Dr. Williams has chronicled his initial encounters with Don Sebastian in his 2005 book, The Andean Codex.  Light of the Andes continues this journey with Don Sebastian to the great Andes mountain, Apu Ausangate.

While storytelling is a very effective form of communication, it is the principles interwoven within the stories that create a deeper understanding.  This is the very difficult technique that Dr. Williams employs in his writing style in both The Andean Codex and Light of the Andes.  While there are many principles within the Q’ero tradition, I was most interested in the concept of ayni (reciprocity).  In the preface to Light of the Andes, Dr. Williams writes:  “Ayni is the touchstone of the Q’ero worldview who hold it as the code of life, an innate imprint discoverable in nature and ever present in the universe where it forms the content of every thing—the matrix of all being.”

In The Andean Codex, Dr. Williams ventured into the land of the Q’ero to experience life from their perspective.  Most importantly, the relationship between Dr. Williams and Don Sebastian forms a basis for their journey.  In Light of the Andes, Don Sebastian takes his first trip to Lima, the capital of Peru, and experiences urban city life.  When I returned from my first trip to Peru, I  experienced some of the same culture shock.  Once I felt the deep spiritual connection with the Andean world, it felt very disjunct and spiritually barren when I returned to the US.  While I had missed the familiarity of modern 21st century Florida,  I instantly felt a longing to have the spiritual energy of the Andes with me as well.

Most of all, I was impressed by Dr. Williams’ profound spiritual, physical, emotional and mental preparation. His initiation process at Apu Ausangate was the result of years of dedication.  He had to integrate the Q’ero principles into his life before venturing up the mountain.   It is because of his dedication over many years to this process that we as readers have been given a gift.

My Peru Trip, A Year Later

It’s taken a year to process the experiences and lessons learned from my initial trip to Peru, 10/2011.  The deeply personal experiences of my Peru trip to Cusco, Machu Picchu and Urubamba are thanks to the guidance of Dr. J.E. Williams.  It is through his guidance encompassing medical, cultural and spiritual backgrounds that allowed me to have experiences with the Q’ero people, their culture and traditions.

There were many times during the trip where I felt a deeply personal connection to Peru.  This connection was not just geographical, but also spiritual in the sense that I literally felt like I was home.  It was the same feeling one gets when they return after a long journey into the arms of their mother or father.  It is because of these experiences that I will return to Peru, not just as a traveler, but as a friend.

Stay tuned for my upcoming review of Dr. J.E. Williams’ new book, Light of the Andes, which chronicles his own journey to the great mountain, Apu Ausangate.