Salka Wind Blog

Posts on the Andean Cosmovision

Tag: ecology

Ayni

I would like to turn now to what may be the most fundamental aspect of the Andean Cosmovision, ‘ayni‘.  Ayni is the principle of reciprocity. The essence of ayni is that when you receive something you give something back in return. This keeps balance in the relationship, but it also does more than that, it nourishes the relationship as well.

Ayni informs the Andean people’s relationships with each other, and in that context it can be easily understood. It is when the Andean people apply ayni to their relationship with Nature and the Cosmos that we move into mysterious territory and begin to glimpse the profound beauty of their Cosmovision. To understand how ayni works in this context we first need to understand their very different view of Nature and the Cosmos. It is not possible to have a true relationship with inert, mindless, matter, and in the Western view of reality that is how rivers, and stones, and trees, and the Cosmos itself are basically seen. We can love a forest, or the Earth, but within our world view it is hard to conceive of them loving us back. The Andean people have a very different experience of reality, one that allows true relationships with Nature and the Cosmos. This was covered in the earlier post  Andean Cosmovision: The Basics and I recommend that if you haven’t already that you read it and the post Barefoot in the Mountains before proceeding so that you will be better able to understand what I am going to say about ayni.

Village men threshing wheat

Village men threshing wheat.

Let us begin by looking at ayni in the context of the Andean people and their relationships with each other. Ayni shows up clearly in the work that the people in a village perform together. When it is time to work a family’s field the men and women in the community unite to work it as a community. The sowing of a field, for example, involves a line of men working foot plows to overturn the soil, followed by a line of women who plant the seeds. When such communal work is done the recipients rarely express thanks, for it is just part of life that they will then establish balance by working their neighbor’s fields in turn. When you give you receive, and when you receive you give, balance is maintained, both sides are nourished, and the community is healthy.

Reciprocity is like a pump at the heart of Andean life. The constant give-and-take of ayni…maintains a flow of energy throughout the ayllu [community]. Allen, 2002, pg 73.

I would like to share some of my own experiences with ayni, from the perspective of a Westerner entering into a relationship with the Andean people. My trips to Peru involve working with various paqos and healers, and this ‘working with’ often involves my participation in the ceremonies and healing rituals that they provide. What I can give them in return to balance our relationship, what they really need that I have, is money.

At the beginning of my exploration of the Andean Cosmovision I felt uncomfortable about giving money in reciprocity. From my Western perspective it just didn’t seem quite right to give money for a sacred experience. There is a lot of cultural background to those feelings, tied to our views about the relationship between the sacred and the secular and how– when the two are mixed in the wrong way–the sacred becomes profane. Ayni, however, is not the same thing as payment. Ayni brings people closer together, the goal is balance rather than gain, mutual support rather than advantage. When I was able to shift from my culture’s Cosmovision to the Andean Cosmovision I was able to enter into the true ayni of the relationship. On their side they were willing to do the same, to interact with me in ayni within the context of the ceremony, rather than slipping into the Western capitalistic relationship that is encroaching into their culture. It is interesting that when the ceremony is over, and ayni has been completed by my giving them money, then the context usually does shift, the sense of the sacred evaporates, they pull out their goods-for-sale, and some hard haggling begins. The two ways of being in relationship, one of ayni within the context of the sacred, and one within the context of selling, could not be more different.

I would now like to share another context where I experienced how ayni works in Peru. This specific instance occurred in one of my more recent trips. I had brought along some extra money to give to the people of the Andes, not much, but it doesn’t take much to really help out someone who lives in the high Andes. The challenge was to find a context where the money could be given in ayni, for it is so easy for it to shift into a context of “the (comparatively) rich Westerner giving money to the poor and needy indigenous person” which is not ayni at all.

I was able to proceed with the help of an Andean friend (who is a genius at getting around my misled but well-intentioned efforts and helping me to do something even more beautiful than I anticipated). In this case we were in a very small village high in the Andes, which was probably important as there the people still lived a life governed by ayni. The following story is perhaps the best way I can share how ayni works.

Women of a village Club of Mothers

Club of Mothers

I was introduced to several people whom my friend knew could use some help. First I was introduced to a middle-aged man who was suffering from severe diarrhea, he asked if I had anything to help. Being the well-prepared gringo that I am of course I had some medication that is good for diarrhea, and I gave him some with instructions on how to take it. He thanked me most sincerely, and a few minutes later he returned to give me three eggs from his hens, which of course I thought was pretty nice of him. Then I was introduced to two young girls who were orphans and needed some money to get school supplies (in the small villages there are few resources for people who are outside of any family). They smiled and looked shy. I gave them some money and with big smiles they each gave me a hug, then one ran out and returned with a belt she had made to give to me as a present. The village Club of Mothers (who meet weekly to pursue activities for the benefit of the children in the village) gave me a live chicken in ayni for my support. I contemplated texting my sons that I was bringing them home a sister but we ate the chicken that night instead. And at the end of the day I was introduced to a very old woman whose family were all gone and I gave her the rest of what I had. She gently grasped my hand with both of hers and looked into my eyes with a gentle smile and said something to me in Quechua, which my friend translated for me. She said that she had nothing she could give me, so she would pray for me instead. It was a beautiful day.

While ayni in the relationships among humans may be easy for us to understand from our own cultural perspective, when we look at the Andean people’s ayni with the animals upon which they depend then we start to move into territory that is both different and beautiful. I would like to talk about the relationship between the Andean people and their traditional domesticated animals, specifically alpacas and llamas. The following description pertains to people who live in isolated villages in the high Andes, at or above the tree line, and who still live the Andean Cosmovision. These people, and their animals, and their plants, eek out a living at altitudes as high as 15,000 feet, in villages that may be a good two-day walk from the nearest road.

The alpacas and llamas make it possible for the Andeans to live at such altitudes. Unlike other ruminants, alpacas and llamas can graze upon the sparse, high-altitude, grass without damaging it . Llamas carry loads to and from the fields, and from one village to another. They can carry 70 – 90 pound packs, up to 16 miles a day. The hides and wool from both llamas and alpacas are used for clothing. Wool from the alpacas is sold in market towns to obtain sugar, and flour and other materials that cannot be produced in the village. When an animal is slaughtered or offered in a sacrifice every part of the animal is either consumed or used to make things. Dung from the animals fertilize the high-altitude fields or when dried can be used as fuel (it is not a very hot fuel, one time we decided to make hot chocolate at 17,000 feet and it took over an hour for the water to get kind of warm).

The Andean people recognize that their alpacas and llamas cannot survive without human protection, and they equally recognize that humans cannot survive without the alpacas and llamas. The people and their animals share the same resources, and the same weather, and the same hardships of life at high altitudes. The llamas and alpacas are not seen as resources to be managed, they are seen as partners in a mutually supportive dance of reciprocity among beings.

The llamas and alpacas are treated with love and respect, an Andean herder knows every llama and alpaca by sight and all are given names. The llamas and alpacas participate–adorned–in sacred ceremonies, so that the ceremonies may make them happy too. They join the people in appealing to Nature and the Cosmos in times of need.  Special ceremonies are held in honor of the llamas and alpacas. In the llama ch’allay ceremony, for example, the llamas are given chicha (locally brewed corn beer) to thank them for all of their work in carrying the harvests up the mountain. During the ceremony a small bell is rung near the llama’s ear to clean its energy.

When an alpaca or llama is sacrificed or slaughtered the event calls for a special ritual. The animal’s feet are tied together and it is laid upon the ground with it’s head in a person’s lap. The person sings to the animal and strokes its head and gently feeds it coca leaves. At the appropriate moment the animal is killed swiftly, and as it dies its feet are untied so that its spirit may begin its run to the sacred mountain Apu Asungate, accompanied by prayers by the people that Asungate may receive the spirit and send it back to be born again in the same corral. Through its death the animal’s spirit is a gift to the Apu who returns the spirit back to the herd in ayni.

As the life force [of the animal] flows towards the mountains and back in perfect reciprocity, the cosmic balance is maintained. (Bolin, 1998, pg 56).

Market at Pisac

Bounty from the Pachamama and her daughters

Now we will take a step yet further away from the Western view of reality to consider ayni in the relationship of humans with the Cosmos when it comes to raising crops. As the Pachamama (the great mother who is the planet Earth) is but a part of the conscious Cosmos yet has her own consciousness, and the Apus (majestic mountain peaks) are but part of the Pachamama yet have their own consciousness, the chakras (fields in which crops are grown) are daughters of the Pachamama and have their own consciousness as well. Each chakra is responsible for the crop that is grown upon her, and each chakra has a name given by the people who work that field. Before entering a chakra to work a brief ritual of gratitude and respect is given to the Pachamama and her daughter. A little chicha (corn beer) may be poured upon the ground to slake their thirsts. Upon leaving the field another brief ritual may given to thank them for their generosity, in this way ayni is nourished. At that time a little thanks may also be given to Illapa, the god of thunder, thanking him for sending the rain (and for not sending lightning).

Patchwork quilt of chakras on the lap of the Pachamama

Patchwork quilt on the lap of the Pachamama

On one of my trips to Peru we stopped to watch the people gather a harvest of potatoes. It was in the high Andes, on the land between Cusco and the Sacred Valley. The numerous plots were all small, and at different stages of ripeness and containing various crops. The ground stretching up to the mountains looked like a patchwork quilt upon the lap of the Pachamama. Thin trails of smoke rose from a dozen small camp fires scattered across the land. The fires were tended by young mothers and older women. The first potatoes taken out of the ground in the morning had been placed back into holes dug in the Pachamama, covered with earth, and then a fire was lit above them, cooking the potatoes for a meal later in the day. The custom is both practical and sacred, honoring the Pachamama, nourishing her children, and maintaining the relationship between the earth and those that live off of her bounty.

After appreciating this sight, we piled back into our van to continue on our way. As we pulled out my gaze fell upon a young woman tending a fire near the road, perhaps 20 yards away. She looked to be in her early twenties. She was wearing the traditional full skirt and sweater of the Andes made of a woven fabric dyed in colorful shades of green and brown, and a tan hat with a rounded top and a wide flat brim. She was sitting on the ground, in contact with the Pachamama, and nursing her child. As the van pulled away she looked up and for a moment our eyes met, and she smiled. It was the most beautiful smile I have ever seen, a smile that conveyed an absolute contentment with life-at-that-moment, a smile from the heart of the Pachamama.

In the Andean Cosmovision humans are not distinct from Nature, nor is Nature distinct from the Cosmos. The role of humans is not to use Nature for our own good, nor to serve as stewards over it, but instead to interact with Nature in a dance of respect and mutual support. We are but part of the fabric of life, not its apex; children of the Pachamama, but not her special children. Is it any wonder that the fields that the Andeans have cultivated for thousands of years feel as wild and natural as our National Parks?

In the Andes ayni goes beyond the people’s relationships with each other, and with animals, and with fields, to inform their relationships with the Cosmos. When the Andeans gather together socially, or in ceremony, or to do communal work, they perform brief ceremonies to invite into their circle the Pachamama and the Apus and other great Beings of the Cosmos, to honor them and to express respect and gratitude. In their sacred ceremonies, the Andean people offer gifts to the Pachamama, to the Apus, and to the various other Beings of Nature and the Cosmos. This is all done as ayni, to nourish a relationship of mutual support, of mutual service. They serve the Cosmos and the Cosmos serves them, and from this their sense of relationship becomes stronger.

Inge Bolin (1998) summarizes a night of ceremony among the Andeans as follows:

These ancient rites reconfirm a close interdependence among humans, animals, and nature. This night, through a dialog with gods and spirits, we entered the realms of the sacred. We wove threads which symbolically bound us to our physical, social, and spiritual worlds. We reinforced ties with the past, with the Apus, with those ancestral spirits living in mountain peaks, and we looked toward the future, hoping for the aid and compassion of the deities from whom we requested health, prosperity, and peaceful coexistence. We engaged in reciprocity, the hallmark of Andean life; we were offering and asking, giving and taking.

Every gesture and movement was performed with great dignity and elegance. Every ritual carried an expression of respect for others—for gods, humans, animals, plants, and the spirit world. On this night and in the days to follow, the message of the rituals is clear. Only where there is respect can we find a way to live and act together. We must adjust and readjust to accommodate the various benevolent and malevolent forces within the cosmos. Pachamama, the giver of life, is also responsible for earthquakes and other disasters. The Apus are protectors of the herds, but they also send malevolent winds which can bring disease and death. There is no trace of aggression or hostility, domination, or subjugation in any of the rituals. Our offerings, our thoughts, our efforts in dedicating this night to a spiritual dialog among humans, animals, and the powers of nature are meant to reinforce the positive,, to give hope to a life so harmonic and serene, yet so vulnerable in this marginal environment. (pg 43)

This I believe is the heart of the Andean Cosmovision.  Ayni is the pump that sends the energy flowing through the people and their Cosmos. There is a mistake, I think, in our culture to remove the Andean meditations from their context, to see them only as a technology for personal transformation. The meditations, however, are fundamentally about our relationship with Nature and the Cosmos. The benefits of the meditations come from this relationship, and being a relationship we need to attend to our side of the relationship as well, with love and mutual support and respect.

There is one level of ayni I have not talked about yet that I would like to mention. The Andean people are willing to share their Cosmovision with the West and many of us feel that we have benefited greatly by their willingness to do so. For the circle of ayni to be completed, so that not only balance is achieved but that both sides may be nourished by the exchange, we need to give back to the Andean people, particularly those who have given this gift to us. I recommend that if you pursue more knowledge about the Andean approach from various authors and workshop presenters that you look to see if any of the money you give them goes back to the Andean people.

If you find this Salka Wind web site to be of value to you and would like to donate some money as ayni you can do so at the Donate page. This nourishes my efforts in this work and leaves me feeling like we are on this path together and that this project is the best thing since puffed rice. I always give a goodly chunk of any money I receive from my Salka Wind work to the Andean people to insure there is ayni at that level as well. If you would like to give some money to nonprofit organizations that work to benefit the Andean people–in a way that is guided with wisdom so that their lives and their culture are nourished rather than damaged–you will find links in the Resources page of this web site, there are undoubtably other good nonprofit organizations working to help the Andean people out there as well.

Note there is a subsequent post on ayni called ‘Ayni Revisited‘.

This post on ayni draws heavily from the work (cited and uncited) of Inge Bolin. I strongly recommend her beautiful book Rituals of Respect: The Secret of Survival in the High Peruvian Andes. I would also like to thank Monique Duphily whose dissertation-in-process on the topic of ayni also contributed to the writing of this post.

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The Three Centers of Being (Part 2)

If you have yet to read Part 1 on this topic I recommend that you read it first. This post covers the same concepts introduced in the post The Crazy Ape (which I also recommend that you read), but with a slightly different slant that we can now consider given what we have covered in this blog.

The three centers of being (yachay, munay, and llankay), when applied metaphorically to cultures, provide a useful way of thinking about the environmental crisis we face and how we might approach it. Western society has the knowledge (yachay) and the technology (llankay) to head towards a future of greater health and beauty on this planet, not just for we humans but for the diversity of life. We seem, however, to lack the heart (munay) to do so.

The indigenous people of Peru (I am thinking specifically of the Qero because I am most familiar with them) have the heart. The Qero (also spelled Q’ero) are as developed in the munay as the West is in technology and knowledge. Knowledge about our planet’s environmental crisis and the technology to address it are crucial elements to solving the problem, but they may not be enough. The Western view of reality which leads us to being so great at technology and knowledge also tends to disconnect us at a very important and deep experiential level from Nature. The Andean Cosmovision puts us deeply into the experience of our connection with Nature, but it does not lead to the knowledge and the technology to address the problems we have created. My hypothesis is that an important step toward solving the environmental crisis would be to build a bridge between the two Cosmovisions. Americo Yabar and other Andeans are working to build a bridge from the Andes to the West. Other Westerners and I are working to build a bridge from the West to the Andes.

It might be possible to bring together experts from the various cultures, experts on the environment and technology from the West, and on the munay from the indigenous cultures, to map out the course our species needs to take. Or perhaps what we need to do is to develop and integrate the yachay, munay, and llankay within ourselves. That is part of what I am working on within myself. In this Salka Wind site I am endeavoring to give you all I can to help you follow a similar path if you would like. I say ‘part of what I am working on’, for the ‘three centers of being’ are but part of the Andean people’s vision of who we are and what our relationship can be with Nature and the Cosmos. I’ll be covering other aspects of their vision as this blog progresses.

One of the themes of this blog is ‘we can still head toward a future of greater beauty on this planet and this is one way that might work’. This was not my intent going into the study of Andean mysticism, the theme emerged as I was looking for ways of bringing my studies in Peru into my discipline of psychology, and finding that ecopsychology was a good fit. Even if it was not my original intent it is very congruent with my own values, cares, and concerns. I would like, however, to share that thinking of the Andean Cosmovision as a means to a desired end (healing the planet) does not encompass it, there is something more going on (‘means to an end’ is a very yachay thing) that will either connect with your munay through its love and beauty, or not.

There are three things in the universe: 1) those things the yachay (intellect) understands; 2) those things the yachay does not understand but eventually will (e.g. through advancements in science); and 3) those things the yachay will never understand (e.g. the munay and llankay).

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Fate of the Machukuna

There are many stories woven into the fabric of the Andean culture. It is difficult to know which stories are a pure reflection of the pre-conquest era and which were influenced by the conquerors and their religion. It is also difficult to know to what degree the stories have been shaped by the expectations and desires of those of us from the West who seek to find in the Andes what our own culture lost so many centuries ago. In addition, being an oral tradition, the stories may vary from village to village or from story teller to story teller. Here is a thread of a story pulled from a much richer and more elaborate fabric.

The indigenous people of the Andes refer to themselves as the ‘Runakuna’. In Quechua (the language of the Andes) the word ‘runa’ means ‘person’, and the addition of ‘kuna’ to a word makes the word plural. In it narrowest use ‘Runakuna’ refers to those Andeans who are the inheritors of, and who still live, the ancient Andean Cosmovision. In its widest use ‘Runakuna’ refers to the entire human race.

We are living in the age of the Runakuna, which is the age of the sun, and we are the children of the sun. Before there was the sun (Taytay Inti) there was the moon (Mamma Killa), and before the Runakuna there were the Machukuna, the children of the moon, the ‘Ancient Ones’ (‘Machu’ is Quechua for ‘ancient’). The Machukuna lived on this earth and the moon was their sun.

The age of the Machukuna ended with a ‘pachakuti’. A pachakuti is a time when space, time, and consciousness go through a great change, an overturning of the way things are. In this pachakuti the creative impulse of the living Cosmos created the sun, under whose searing light the Machukuna could not survive.

The Machukuna could see their doom approaching with the first dawn. Some fled into the hills to seek shelter in caves, some dove into deep waters, others hid in the trees. They died, the sun killed them all, but their spirits are still around.* Their spirits may be encountered in certain caves, and at night, in a bright moon, their bones are reanimated and walk about the earth. The ‘chullpas’ (small stone dwellings built by the Machukuna) are scattered about the slopes of the Andes. At sunset, when the sun has gone, the Machukuna emerge from their chullpas and warm their bones by the red glow of the evening sky.

Chullpas near Paucartambo

Chullpas in the hills near Paucartambo

With the rising of the sun and the fall of the Machukuna the Runakuna appeared and the age of the sun began. Why did the Cosmos create the sun and destroy the Machukuna? Some Andeans believe it was done for the benefit of us, the Runakuna, but many believe the Cosmos did it because it just felt like it.

This story has not come to an end. There will be more pachakutis, times of great upheaval and change, leading to new ages and new types of people who will thrive in those times. The Qero, and other Andean, paqos say that we have entered another pachakuti. One of the stories woven about the Qero is that they have abandoned their path of isolation from the West, a path they have followed since the Spanish conquest of Peru, because they have a piece of what humanity needs to make the transformation necessary to move into the next age of the world, that piece is the Andean Cosmovision.

What signs are there that a pachakuti has indeed begun? Well, from my Western perspective it seems obvious to anyone with half a yachay that our species is in a car speeding toward the edge of a cliff (of environmental disaster). From the Andean perspective, I ran across a small note in my reading about an interview with an Andean paqo several decades ago. When asked when the next pachakuti would arrive he said not to worry, that it wouldn’t happen until the snows leave the slopes of the sacred mountain Apu Asungate…

Andean Mountain with shrinking ice fields

Andean peak on road from Cusco to Bolivia. It used to be covered with snow at this time of year.

 

It makes a nice story, at least I like it. As with many good stories (see The Lord of the Rings) it contains some sadness for things lost. A fuller telling of the tale includes a prophecy that by opening up to the West the Qero may have doomed their own culture.

About the pachakuti, we don’t have to be driven by fear of cataclysm, we can also be drawn by love and beauty. In this story if humanity survives it will be by becoming more in touch with all of who we are, all of our facets as beings in this Cosmos. When this happens we will, metaphorically, grow wings and fly.

I’d like to end by sharing something don Americo Yabar told me, but I find that I must use my own words and concepts to relate it. In the Andean Cosmovision, as I understand it, there is no God that stands outside of the Cosmos as the creator, nor is the Cosmos simply a collection of energy and matter operating off of mechanical principles. The Cosmos itself is conscious (and sacred), and the creator and the creation are one and the same.** The Cosmos is ‘thinking’ about the current situation on our planet and soon it will come up with an answer, in the ripening of time. All we need to do is to stay connected with, and in harmony with, the Cosmos as it evolves. The Andean meditations provide a means for doing this.

*That the spirits of the Machukuna still live in our world/age/time may be too Western of a way of putting it. In the Andean view of time/place/consciousness when there is an upheaval in the world then the old word/age/time continues to exist but in a timeline that is parallel to our own, less real to us but still able to affect our world.

**The gods of the Andean Cosmovision, including the ‘creator god’, are personifications of aspects of the conscious Cosmos itself, rather than separate Beings who reside in and direct the Cosmos.

Sources:

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The Crazy Ape

We humans have all the technology and information we need to turn this planet into a garden of Eden, a planet abundant with a diversity of life, healthy, unpolluted, with little disease, no starvation, and no poverty. Sometimes in my despair over the state of the world I forget the very good news that we actually have the tools we need to create such a future. We also, however, have the choice to move toward a mass extinction of species, the destruction of all the beautiful places on the planet, a steady increase in pollution, famine, war, poverty, and misery. Why does our culture as a whole select the second choice? It seems such an incredibly stupid and crazy decision. The answer to the question, and the solution for changing our direction, I believe, lie in the assumptions that underlie our culture.

A culture, or an individual, can’t operate without having some assumptions about the basic nature of the way things are. Assumptions are interesting things, they are rarely brought up to the light of day to be examined because, well, they are assumed to be true. Every culture has a set of assumptions about the nature of reality, and that set of assumptions makes it possible for a culture to be really good at some things while at the same time making it hard for the culture to be good at other things.

My Western, industrial, culture has a set of assumptions about the nature of the Cosmos that makes us really good at inventing technology. Technology contributes so much to my life; the computer I’m typing on, my telephone, electric lights, hot water at the turn of a tap, a furnace to keep me comfortably warm, a refrigerator to keep my perishable food safely cool. The assumptions, however, that make us so good at technology also make it difficult for us to do certain other things well. We find if terribly difficult, for example, as a society to head toward a future of greater beauty and health and harmony with the rest of life on this planet.

The default setting in our society–what we need to pay attention to and what we need to do to get by in our daily lives–separates us from our connection to the rest of nature, and leads us to engage in behaviors that are, largely out of our sight, killing our planet. And, time is running out for us to change our ways. It is as if we are sitting in the backseat of a car playing with (and fighting over) our toys while the car speeds towards a cliff. When we shoot off the edge of that cliff it will be too late to do anything about it, and we will take much of what is beautiful in this world with us.

The traditional Andean culture has a different set of assumptions about the nature of reality. These assumptions provide the foundation for a mutually supportive relationship with nature, a relationship that is difficult to conceive, let alone attain, with the assumptions of my culture. While certainly not conflict free, they are as highly developed at living in harmony with the Cosmos as we are at making computers and space probes. I have stood in cultivated land in the Andes that has been farmed for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years and they feel as natural and undiminished by human activity as the National Parks in my country (the United States). The default setting for that way of being in the world–what they pay attention to and what they need to do to get by in their daily lives–reinforces their experience of being connected with Nature and the rest of the Cosmos. On the other hand, I doubt that their culture–had its development not been destroyed by the Spanish conquistadors–would have ever gotten around to inventing the internal combustion engine.

My culture has the knowledge and technology we need to head for a future of great beauty. We apparently, however, lack the heart to do it. The Andean culture, and I suspect many other intact indigenous cultures on this planet, have the heart. For a future of beauty to be possible I believe we need to bring the two together. This Salka Wind website is my effort to help make this possible.

‘The Crazy Ape’ is the title of a book written by Albert Szent-Gyorgyi. I read it when I was a teenager. The book begins by asking a question similar to the one I begin with above (although he goes a different direction with it). That question…Why as a culture do we select a future of pollution, war, poverty, and pollution when we have the means to create a future of great beauty?….has stayed with me over the years as being one of the great questions of our time.

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