Some 500 years ago the Incan Empire in South America met its demise. Strong willed Spanish Conquistadors invaded Incan territory and easily defeated a people that were already significantly weakened by the Smallpox epidemic that preceded the Spanish invasion. In the name of their Queen and their religion, the Spanish were determined to convert all of the native peoples away from their �heathen� spiritual practices and into Christianity. From all appearances� they were successful.
In the 1940s, a team of anthropologists lead by Oscar Nunez del Prado discovered a group of people living high up in the Andes Mountains. Reportedly, some of them lived at elevations in excess of 25,000 feet above sea level. These people are known as the Q�ero Indians and are understood to be the direct descendants of the Incan people� both by blood and by tradition.
They speak Quechua (the ancient language of the Incans) in its purest form, as opposed to people in the cities that speak a form that has been influenced by Spanish over the centuries. They wear traditional clothes� in fact; if you were to visit the Smithsonian and look at the textiles from Incan times you would see the exact same patterns manufactured the exact same way. When visiting the cities, like Cuzco, they walk in a straight line and the people give them respect and a wide berth.
They also have maintained the spiritual practices of their ancestors. I have recently returned from a trip to Peru to learn about these spiritual practices and to be initiated into them by one of their practitioners� Ivan Nunez del Prado, grandson of the man that originally �discovered� them some 60 years ago.
One of the really interesting things to note about their brand of spirituality is that these people are extremely adaptable to changes that have occurred in their culture over the years. As mentioned earlier, the Spanish desired to force Christianity on these native people. Many modern Peruvians have found ways to participate in their ancestral spirituality while using the icons or symbols of modern Christianity, including the crucifix, Jesus, and Mother Mary. Their entire practice is based upon an understanding of Ayni, loosely translated as �reciprocity.� Somewhat similar to the concept of Karma, Ayni is the recognition that there is always an even exchange, on an energetic level, to every action and thought. This reciprocity, or exchange, happens on different levels as well.
In the lowest level, the buying of a product from someone would be an example. You use your money to buy something from a merchant. You have exchanged one thing for another thing of equal value� this is the lowest form of Ayni. An example of a higher level of Ayni would be as follows� you help an older lady to cross a busy street. You notice that a week later someone does a good deed for you, like putting a quarter into your expired parking meter before you get a parking ticket. At the highest level, perfect Ayni, you are in complete sync with the world around you and the universe responds to your every thought. It isn�t that you can �control� the universe, per se, but more like you and the universe are involved in a beautiful synchronistic dance. At night, gazing up at the sky, you look at the exact spot that you know you will see a shooting star at the very moment that the shooting star crosses the heavens� that is perfect Ayni.
It is interesting to note that, according to the Andean philosophy, the only �commandment� of God, or Wiracocha, is to practice Ayni� and this is to be done with no expectation of the �repayment� of the deed or action� just practice unconditional giving. Conversely, the universe �repays� bad deeds in the exact same manner. However, according to this Andean concept, each of us begins our lives and ends our lives with a clean slate, as opposed to the concept of Karma, where we carry our �debt� from lifetime to lifetime.
Each of us has a �bubble� of energy, or Poqpo, which surrounds us, ranging from the top of our heads to just below our feet, including a small part of the ground underneath us. Our bubbles are filled with the energy that we attract, create or allow into our personal spaces. Andean spirituality does not interpret happenings, feelings or energies as either good/ bad or positive/negative. What is perceived is either �light energy� (Sami) or �heavy energy� (Hoocha). Many of the practices and ceremonies are centered on learning to fill our bubbles with Sami from the higher realms and releasing the Hoocha to the lower realms. Once a person is initiated into this work and has the ability to fill their bubbles with light energy they are also �obligated� to help others release their heavy energy.
There are 3 levels, or �worlds� or existence according to this cosmology. The Hanaq Pacha is the upper world� this is the source of Sami, or light energy. This would be the realm of God (Wiracocha) and other spiritual entities.
The world in which we exist is known as the Kay Pacha, the realm of living human beings and certain spirits. The spirits of mountains, rivers, lakes, etc., (Apus) are the highest forms in this dominion. Prayers and requests are made to the Apus to assist in protecting humans and helping them to do their spiritual work. For example, there are 6 Apus that surround and protect the spiritual Mecca of Machu Picchu... Machu Picchu, Huayna Picchu, San Francisco, San Juan, and the 2 female Apus Putukusi and Wajai Willka . It is said that the Apus will sometimes materialize into human or animal form to interact with humans.
The Ukhu Pacha is the lower world, where the Pachamama or Mother Earth receives our heavy energy. Central to the spiritual practices of the Andes is the interactions between man and nature, relating to the wind, fire (sun), water and earth in ways that fill our Poqpos with Sami and allow for the release of Hoocha. According to Incan tradition, there are 3 qualities that make us human and separate us from the rest of the animal kingdom� 1) Love and Will, 2) Action, & 3) Knowledge. Spiritual practice is designed to help develop these qualities, which facilitates elevating one to higher realms of existence. Inside each of us, they believe, is an �Incan seed� (Inkamuju), which is located in the center of our bodies, slightly below the sternum, behind the zyphoid process. Ceremonies are performed to get this seed to germinate, grow and flower� resulting in the enhancement of the expression of the 3 human qualities mentioned earlier. Additionally, there exists a group of awareness centers, or eyes (�wis), that are opened and coordinated into a �system of perception� that allows one to see the world in a different way, energetically speaking. These �eyes� are located at the base of the spine (Siki�), the naval (Qosco�), the heart (Sonqo�) and the throat (Kunka�) and also are represented by different colors of energy, similar to the Chakra system of Eastern tradition. Once organized, this system allows an individual to perceive the world around them in a different manner� one in which differences in light and heavy energies are more easily distinguished. Put another way, you can see things more truthfully or honestly instead of colored by preconceptions and deceptions.
Historically, the Inca was the ruler of the Incan people. When the old Inca determined that it was time for him to allow a new Inca to emerge, he would put the word out. Each of the 12 royal families would put forth one �candidate� to vie for the position of the new Inca. Ceremonies were conducted and rituals were performed. Eventually, the man to be become the new Inca was apparent by the fact that he would literally begin to glow. Once determined, the new Inca would rule beside the old leader until his death, at which time he would step up as the new ruler. This was known as a father-son relationship, even though they may not have been close biological relatives.
In modern times, the Andeans believe that every one of us has the ability to be the next Inca� we all have the Inca seed inside of us, waiting to be germinated and cultivated. We all have the ability to develop the 3 human qualities until the point at which we literally glow. The Incan prophecies speak of our current times and the return of The Inca. It is rather interesting to note that the timing of this �emergence� is to happen in the next decade or so. This is in perfect harmony with many other prophetic works that speak of the coming changes to our world over the next decade or so, including the Bible, the predictions of Nastradamus, The Mayan Calendar, the Hopi Prophesies, etc. This �great change� (Pachacuti) is a time in which the world will be turned right-side-up, harmony and order will be restored, and chaos and disorder will end. The Q�eros see this as the normal cycle of change that happens, the last one occurring when the apparent end of the Incan empire came about.
The work that I did in Peru was an initiation into the 4th level of this spiritual practice. Legend has it that a few 5th level practitioners (Pacos) will emerge from the initiates. They will be distinguished by their ability to heal with touch. From them a 6th level Paco will become apparent by his ability to glow� that will precede the returning of the Inca. The thing that impressed me most about this work is that this is not a religion full of guilt, rules, and dogma. What the Incans practiced, and what is still practiced today, is a belief in the ability of the human kind to transcend its earthly bounds and rise to be God-like in thought, word and deed. I also note that the people who practice this work do not in any way believe that theirs is the only way towards enlightenment� they readily see that there are many paths to enlightenment� theirs just happens to be the one that works for them.