Salka Wind Blog

Posts on the Andean Cosmovision

Author: Oakley Gordon (page 1 of 26)

The Invisible Embrace

Sometimes I run across something from outside of the Andean Cosmovision that beautifully describes some aspect of that Cosmovision.  The following was brought to my attention by my friend Angela Rhinehart.  It is, to me, a beautiful description of Andean salka (undomesticated energy).

The imagination awakens the wildness of the heart. This is not the vulgar, intrusive, wildness of social disruption. It is the wildness of human nature. Social convention domesticates and controls us; it also imprints deeply on the interior life and would turn our one adventure in the universe into a program of patterned social expectation. We rarely break free; indeed, we are generally not conscious of how smoothly we slide along the rails of social ordering. The awakened imagination desists from this domestication. It returns us to our native wildness, to the natural and seamless fluency of our own true nature. Other worlds come into view and we are invited to risk new and original ways of dwelling in the world. —John O’Donohue, Irish poet, in Beauty: The Invisible Embrace, p. 146.

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It Is a Way of Being

The Andean Cosmovision provides a different-from-Western-Society way of perceiving and interacting with reality. It is not a way of thinking about the world, it is not a set of concepts and beliefs, it cannot be describe or encompassed with words. To explore the Andean Cosmovision is to enter into another way of experiencing reality that is so different from that of the West that it cannot be distinguished from actually exploring a different reality. I have found it to be a path that takes me through territory that my own society ignores. It takes me to my heart, to beauty, to love, and to a relationship with Nature and the Cosmos that fulfills my desire to sip at the cup of the sacred.

It isn’t easy. It is not a path that everyone would want to take, and it certainly isn’t a path that everyone should take, for it has no dogma, it has no rules laid down by an external deity, within the Cosmovision there is no moral imperative to walk this path. If the path itself is rewarding to you then keep going (if you wish). If not, stop, and try some other path, or no path at all. That decision is something that only you can make.

Today, like every other day,
we wake up empty and frightened.
Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.
Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

Jalal ad-Din Rumi.  From The Illuminated Rumi
Broadway Books, Coleman Barks (translator).

There are many different paths that lead into the Andean Cosmovision, each has its doorstep in a different region of the Andes or with a different teacher. I really only “know” the path I have been shown by don Americo Yabar and don Gayle Yabar and that I have walked for many years in the company of several dear friends. I know something about some of the other paths, not enough to describe them from experience, but enough to know that they have some noticeable differences from the path I have taken. I would like to point that out, so that you will understand that what I share in this blog may apply only to the path I know.

In this path of heart the meditations serve as the portals for entering the Andean Cosmovision. That is a reality that has no limits, and I intend to be exploring it for the rest of my life, or at least so long as it continues to nourish my blossoming as a Being in this Cosmos. For me it is not a set of powers to be gained, or techniques to master, or knowledge to accumulate, it is a way of being in this Cosmos, and very much so it is a way of relating to Nature and the Cosmos.

There are times in my life when I stop meditating for a while.  This often happens in the winter when it is hard to go outside and I am busy teaching at the University and being all intellectual.  Engaging with the politics of a world that seems to be increasingly directed by fear and hate also moves me away from meditating. Much of what I love and value is under immanent threat of destruction.  There are times to meditate by the river and times to throw myself in front of the bulldozer. The two modes represent my left side and right side, respectfully, and part of what I value about this path is that it embraces all of who I am.  Occasionally I get glimpses of that aspect of myself that is greater than the sum of those two parts, for whom the left side and the right side are but two facets of my existence, but we are the diamond that has those facets.

Still, when I stop meditating, this path stops being something I am being, and it becomes a memory, an idea, which it can never be without losing its essence.  I have discovered, rather obviously, that when I abandon this path, this connecting with the Cosmos, that I slowly start to feel abandoned by the Cosmos.  I get depressed.  When I start to meditate again I return to this way of being, and its essence returns and my existence again puts on a mantle of meaningfullness.  My challenge is that when I haven’t meditated for a while, and I start to feel down, I don’t feel much like meditating.

I would like to share with you something that I have found to be useful.  I have put the following poem on the desktop of my computer where I can see it everyday:

Work. Keep digging your well.
Don’t think about getting off from work.
Water is there somewhere.
Submit to a daily practice.
Your loyalty to that is a ring on the door.
Keep knocking and the joy inside
will eventually open a window
and look out to see who’s there.

Jalal ad-Din Rumi.  From The Illuminated Rumi
Broadway Books, Coleman Barks (translator).


You might enjoy my book:  The Andean Cosmovision:  A Path for Exploring Profound Aspects of Ourselves, Nature, and the Cosmos.

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The Path of the Poet

On my journeys down the path of heart into the Andean Cosmovision my intellect cannot lead, it cannot even follow.  It can, however, let me go and it can welcome me back.

Prose cannot guide me, but at times poetry can be a window to that place that blossoms, and even give hints on how to journey there .  The poems of Rumi, in particular,  and I have quoted Rumi in this blog.  Recently a friend of mine suggested that I read Letters to a Young Poet, a collection of letters written by Rainer Maria Rilke, during the years 1903-1908, to a young poet with whom he was in correspondence.

“Here, where an immense country lies about me, over which the winds pass coming from the seas, here I feel that no human being anywhere can answer for you those questions and feelings that deep within them have a life of their own; for even the best err in words when they are meant to mean most delicate and almost inexpressible things. But I believe nevertheless that you will not have to remain without a solution if you will hold to objects that are similar to those from which my eyes now draw refreshment. If you will cling to Nature, to the simple in Nature, to the little things that hardly anyone sees, and that can so unexpectedly become big and beyond measuring; if you have this love of inconsiderable things and seek quite simply, as one who serves, to win the confidence of what seems poor: then everything will become easier, more coherent and somehow more conciliatory for you, not in your intellect, perhaps, which lags marveling behind, but in your inmost consciousness, waking and cognizance. You are so young, so before all beginning, and I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”  Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke. Translated by M. D. Herter Norton. Revised edition, 1954. W. W. Norton & Company. pp 34-35

The post The Creature and It’s Creations also address’s the poetical nature of the path of heart.  If you enjoyed this post you might enjoy it as well.

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Presentation and Workshop in the United Kingdom

Hi, I will be giving a Friday evening presentation and a Saturday workshop in the United Kingdom on August 11th and 12th, 2017.  More information, including how to purchase tickets, is available through the links below:

Evening presentation (August 11th), “The Andean Cosmovision”,  in Manchester.

Workshop (August 12th), “Reconnecting with the Wild”, in The Gathering Fields (Lancaster).

I am very excited to have this chance to connect in salka with the people of Europe!  Thank you Neil Brocklehurst and Debra Delglyn.

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Cuti…cuti…cuti!! Disconnecting from Other People’s Filaments

This is an Andean meditation that can only be done as a group.

There are times when either on purpose, or as the result of emotional and energetic interactions, other people’s filaments get connected to our own energetic body. The intent of this meditation is to disconnect any such connections from other people, leaving us free to blossom into the beauty and essence of who we each uniquely are. We are still connected to everything else through our filaments but the boundary of our own energy is clear. When our boundaries are clear we can dance in harmony with others in such a way that the whole of the relationship becomes greater than the sum of its parts (us). This concept harkens back to the posts Yin/Yang of the Andes, Warmi-Qhari (Woman-Man), and Tinku–Confirming the Rules of Life.

I have heard from friends who have trained with the Four Winds that this same process is taught there but with a different intent. In retrospect it doesn’t surprise me that the same process can have two different intents. The process is the vehicle and the intent is the trajectory. I’m struggling for a good metaphor here, but I’m afraid the one that has come to my mind is that the same tuba can be used to play many different melodies. Anyway, I am going to share the meditation as I learned it from don Américo Yábar and as I have I have practiced it for many years.

For a small group, one person stands in the center and the rest of the people form a circle around him or her, standing about 10 feet from the person in the center. For a larger group, three people stand close together in the center, facing outwards. One person in the surrounding circle is the leader, initiating the action and everyone else follows along. Here is what we do.

A) The people in the center simply use their intent (sincere pretending) to connect to the Pachamama through their feet and to the Cosmos through the top of their heads. They get all the benefit, everyone else gets all the fun.

B1) We all start moving together toward the person/people in the center. Our intent as we move is to scoop up the filaments of the Pachamama as we proceed. The posture that facilitates this intent is to have our hands to our sides, and our fingers pointing to the ground, with our palms facing the people in the center. It helps to bend forward a bit as we move to really get the sense of scooping up the filaments of the Pachamama.

As we move forward we chant “cuti cuti cuti…” (pronounced “cooty”), this flavors our intent. “Cuti” is a quechua term that means “change” or “a turning of the energy”. Thus our intent as we scoop up the filaments of the Pachamama is to activate or initiate change.

There is something inherently silly about chanting “cuti cuti cuti…” as you approach someone. This whole meditation/process is best done with a good deal of panache. Get into it. Enjoy it.

B2) As we get closer to the person in the middle we bend a little more so that we can pull the filaments of the Pachamama up through their feet, and then we straighten up as we pull the filaments up through their body, and then up through the top of their head. We don’t actually touch the person, our hands are a couple of inches from their body. While we are doing that we chant “ninikiriri ninikiriri ninikiriri…” (pronounced “neeneekeereeree”). The literal meaning of this ancient term has been lost in antiquity but the flavor it adds to our intent is to disconnect and bring along any filaments from the outside that are connected to the person’s body.

B3) Still all moving together, as we get to the top of the person’s head we then energetically toss the energy up into the Cosmos shouting “lloqse lloqse lloqse…” (pronounced “yoksay”). Lloqse essentially means “return to sender”. This is not a violent turning of the energy back on the other person, it is simply an act of “this energy is yours not mine, it belongs to you not me”.

After this, rather remarkable, procedure everyone scurries back to their original position and repeats the process two more times. At that point the people in the center join the circle and others take their place until everyone has had a chance to be in the center.

Describing each step in detail makes the whole thing seem more complicated than it is. Essentially, with a good sense of flair and panache:

  • Walk toward the person chanting “cuti cuti cuti…”, scooping up the filaments of the Pachamama.
  • Pull those filaments up the person’s Being from feet to head, chanting “nidikiridi nidikiridi nidikiridi…”
  • When you reach their head toss the energy up into the Cosmos shouting “lloqse lloqse lloqse…”

Repeat two more times.

The only real meaning of the salka meditations I have been sharing is the effect they have on you, and you are the only authority on who you are and how you want to be. Notice how you feel after the process is over, and decide if you want to add it to your repertoire of tools for navigating through the great mystery that is the Cosmos and our existence within it.

End note: as I write this I remember that Américo (when he taught us this process long ago) said that this meditation/process is from a different Andean tradition than most of the ones he teaches. My memory is that he said it is from the layqas (on the path of power) rather than from the paq’os (on the path of heart)…please see the post Paths to the Other Side of Reality.

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