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Posts on the Andean Cosmovision

Tag: shaman

Thread A: Paths to the Other Side of Reality

This post is a continuation of Thread A and is pretty much what I have been working up to in that thread.  My goal is to shed further light on the Andean Cosmovision by viewing it within the larger context of various other paths that lead into the other side of reality.  I usually don’t step out of my path to compare it to others as I know them less well.  I would like to apologize ahead of time if I do not adequately or accurately portray the path you are on.  In any event I hope that you find this post interesting or useful or both.


In the post The Other Side of Reality I developed the idea that we do not consciously experience reality itself, we experience instead a neuronal representation of reality created by our mind, brain and sensory organs. This representation can be thought of as a map of reality, and like all maps it corresponds to the territory being mapped yet at the same time it is fundamentally different than, and much less than, the territory. The territory, reality itself, exists beyond all of our thoughts and concepts and perceptions. I refer to this essential “suchness” of reality as “the other side of reality”.

Our consciousness is the observer who experiences our representation of reality.  It is possible to turn off our mind/brain’s process of representing reality and when we do our consciousness becomes directly aware of reality itself. When we do this we turn our eyes away from the shadows cast by puppets on the wall (ala Plato’s Cave) and walk out into the ineffable, sacred, beauty of the Cosmos. Over the millenia many paths have been developed in many cultures for reaching that state.

In the post The Guardian of the Threshold I defined our “ego” as all of the thoughts, concepts, and beliefs we have about ourselves. Our ego is not who we are, it is our map or representation of who we are. We exist as Beings, however, beyond all of the thoughts and beliefs we have about ourselves. Just as the essential suchness of reality is ineffable, beyond all thought, and ultimately mysterious, the essential suchness of who we are is ineffable, beyond all thought, and ultimately mysterious.

A major challenge we face when we seek to experience the other side of reality is that when we endeavor to turn off our map of reality we are also turning off our ego. Our ego tends to respond to this as if it were facing death. In mystical approaches this is known as the little death, the (temporary) death of the ego, as compared to the big death (our actual physical death). Like the computer HAL in the movie 2001, the ego does not take the prospect of being turned off very well. The ego responds with everything it can think of to stop us. Its main weapon is fear. In this way the ego, in mythological terms, serves as the guardian at the threshold to the other side of reality.

In this post I would like to take these two ideas–the nature of the other side of reality and the nature of the ego–and use them to differentiate three paths that lead to the other side of reality; the Path of Knowledge, the Path of Power, and the Path of Heart. While the Andean Cosmovision cannot be encompassed with words or understood through thought, my intellect (yachay) likes to have some idea of where that-which-is-beyond-thoughts might fit into the scheme of things.  It is with that in mind that I would like to share the following reflections.

1) Mystics and the Path of Knowledge. The goal of the mystic is to turn off the brain/mind’s interpretation (map) of reality. When this happens our consciousness gets to know (in a purely experiential, not intellectual, way) the other side of reality. The other side of reality cannot be put into words. “The Tao that can be talked about is not the Tao” (Tao Te Ching). When mystics do attempt to describe the mystical experience their words point at that which is beyond words. The concepts of time, and of the universe being made up of separate objects, are concepts, part of our brain/mind’s map of reality, rather than being a part of the essential suchness of reality that exits beyond our thoughts. Thus when mystics attempt to describe the mystical experience they speak of entering Eternity (a state outside of time) and they speak of being One with the Cosmos (of no longer being a separate entity). They also speak of experiencing the Sacred (which exists beyond any belief system).

Many mystical paths use meditation to achieve this special way of knowing reality. When I first entered the field of psychology there was a great deal of interest in the psychology of consciousness, altered states of consciousness, and meditation. The following was proposed as a way of understanding meditation. I am not sure it quite does meditation justice, but I have found it to be interesting at least.

Meditations generally fall into one of two categories; those that call for us to “focus in” and those call for us to “open up”. Focussing-in meditations involve attending to an unchanging stimulus, such as a mantra, or our breathing, or a flower. Opening-up meditations involve paying attention to all of the every-changing stimuli reaching our senses in the moment. In order to work properly our mental processes that create our representation (map) of reality rely upon a certain rate of information flowing into our minds. Focussing-in meditations (attending to an unchanging stimulus) underwhelm our map-making processes causing them to collapse, rather like a wind sock with no wind. Opening-up meditations (paying attention to everything at once), on the other hand, bring in so much information that they overwhelm our map making processes, also causing them to shut down. With either type of meditation, and extensive practice, we can learn to stop our process of creating a representation of reality and when that happens we become conscious of what is left, the essential, unprocessed suchness of reality itself. This is what I believe is pointed at by such terms as enlightenment, satori, buddhahood, etc.

It may take many years of dedicated practice to collapse our representation of reality. But along the way benefits arise. Our maps of reality tend to be self-reinforcing. Our map largely determines what we pay attention to and what meaning we assign to what we perceive, which then tends to reinforce our map, which then determines our experience of reality, and so on. My relatively limited experience on the path of the mystic is that when I am meditating, cracks (metaphorically) appear in my map of reality, light from the essential nature of the Cosmos leaks through, and my map of reality begins to change in ways that open me up to new ways of Being.

To touch the other side of reality requires that we temporarily put aside our ego. It is a challenge to put aside our concepts of reality and our concepts of ourselves when moving through our social world. Everyone we meet reinforces our concept of the world and our concept of self.  For this reason mystics often seek isolation, by going to meditation retreats, or even by becoming hermits. It is much easier to shed our society’s view of reality and of ourselves when we are outside of our society. The archetype of the wise old person living in a cave in the mountains comes from this path.

2) Shamans and the Path of Power. The term “shaman” comes from the indigenous culture of Siberia where it refers to people who have special powers that fall outside of our normal map of reality. The term has since been adopted by our Western culture and applied to people with similar powers in cultures across the globe. I am simply using the term here to refer to individuals who walk the path of power. The power might be used to gain information on the origins of a person’s health problems, or to retrieve lost pieces of a person’s soul, or to alter the energy of a person or a situation, or for other purposes that lie outside of our culture’s view of reality.

An important characteristic of power is that it is not inherently good or bad. Technology, for example, is a path of power and technology can be used to heal someone (e.g. medicine) or to kill them (e.g. nuclear weapons). How power is wielded, for good or bad, depends not upon an inherent characteristic of power but upon the values of the person wielding it. Shamanism is a path of power. Some people become shamans in order to have the power to heal others, to do good, to serve humanity. Other people become shamans to boost their ego, to feed their own self-importance, and to manipulate the world to their own advantage. In observing people who follow this path I note that some are loving and humble, some are creepy and have huge egos, and others are somewhere in between. Power is power, it doesn’t care.

How is it possible for someone to enter into the other side of reality and at the same time maintain a big ego? How is it possible to have the mystical experience of immersion in the essential suchness of reality and still maintain a materialistic and selfish approach to reality? The answer is that it is not possible. The path of power is not a path into the essential nature of reality that lies beyond all maps of reality. It is, instead, the development of a different map of reality, one that includes aspects of reality that fall outside of the map provided by Western culture. It is still a map of reality, just a different map, one that opens up new abilities and power.

My understanding of this has been shaped by don Juan Matus (a Yaqui spiritual guide) in the writings of Carlos Castaneda. Don Juan used the term “sorcerer” to refer to people who are on the path of power. To gain power a sorcerer needs to experience a completely different way of perceiving, being in, and interacting with reality. This is no easy task, and to survive the challenges that arise a person needs to have the impeccability of a warrior. Much of the earlier work of don Juan with Carlos was to help Carlos develop a sorcerer’s map of reality.

In don Juan’s worldview there is also a step beyond becoming a sorcerer, and that is to become a “man of knowledge”. Having two completely different maps of reality (our every-day map and the sorcerer’s map) makes it possible, for a sorcerer who so wishes, to transcend all maps and know the ineffable suchness of reality itself. Thus the path of power can eventually become a path of knowledge. For this to happen the ego would need to be dropped to get past the guardian at the threshold of the other side of reality.  According to don Juan, relatively few sorcerers choose to move on to become people of knowledge.  Those who take the path of power to feed their ego and sense of self-importance, or to gain advantage in the material world, would be actively moving away from what it would take to reach the other side of reality.

I often see references to the Andean Cosmovision as a path of power. Peru is a land of many paths and some are paths of power. I have heard don Americo refer to shamans/sorcerers in Peru as “brujas” (witches) but without the negative connotation the word carries in English. On several occasions he has arranged for brujas he respects to work on my energy. I have noticed that he hangs around as they do, I assume that he is monitoring the work to make sure it is beneficial, and I have indeed benefited from their beautiful work. I have also heard many stories of shaman/sorcerers (in Peru and in the West) who do great harm, either on purpose or through ignorance. Power doesn’t care whether it is used for good or harm, only the people on the path of power care (and some do not).

Another term I have heard applied to people on the path of power in the Andes is “layqa”. I believe layqas are the people that don Americo refers to as brujas and brujos. I have searched the anthropological literature to see if this is a correct use of the term layqa, particularly when compared to “paq’os” (described below). I view the academic literature with ambivalence. On the one hand it seems more reliable to me than second-hand information coming through Westerners, particularly as that information is often translated from Quechua to Spanish and then to English. On the other hand, academicians can be completely ensconced in the Western worldview and utterly and stubbornly oblivious to how the Andean Cosmovision may differ from the Western worldview. The bottom line of my research is that it seems layqa is more connected with power, power over nature and power over people, while paq’o has a different, more beneficent, connotation. We will consider paq’os next.

3) Paq’os and the Path of Heart. “Paq’o” is a quechua term that is usually translated into English as either “mystic” or “shaman”. Both terms apply a little and neither exactly fits (see the post Paq’os:  Shamans or Mystics). “Paq’os” and a “path of heart” go together and the latter defines the former, and so I will hold off on a definition of paq’o and develop instead the essential nature of the path of heart.

There are undoubtedly many paths of heart on the planet. I want to focus on the path of heart as I have experienced it during my twenty plus years of working with don Americo Yabar, don Gayle Yabar, and the paq’os of Peru. To what degree my experiences on this path correspond to other paths of heart I know not, but I suspect there are many similarities.

The Andean path of heart is the path of the munay. The munay is one of our three centers of being. It is located in the area of our heart and is the center of love. The love associated with the munay, however, is not an emotion. It has nothing to do with romance or sex or sentimentality or jealousy. It is, instead, the feeling that arises from experiencing our interconnectedness with the rest of the Cosmos, and this feeling is labelled with the closest word in English, which is “love”.

The path of heart is a path of interconnectedness, not as an ideal or a concept but as a process. As for how exactly to proceed along this path, well, I have written this blog and a whole book about it, and that is only part of what I could have said. I would, however, like to give a brief overview here, and perhaps that will be of interest even to those who have read my blog or book or both.

The main image or metaphor that comes to my mind for describing the path of heart is that it involves a certain way of dancing with the Cosmos. Dancing is an active process, something we do, and we are doing it in response to the Cosmos, which in turn is responding to our dance. The dance is, in other words, an active relationship with the Cosmos where we influence each other.

This dance with the Cosmos is made possible through a non-Western map of reality, the Andean Cosmovision. Within this way of experiencing reality the whole Cosmos is conscious. This includes, specifically and especially, the Pachamama (the great Being who is the planet Earth), Mama Tuta (the void, the night, who holds the stars in her embrace), the stars themselves, Tai Tai Inti (the sun), Mama Killa (the moon), the Apus (the Beings who are the majestic mountain peaks), the rivers that cascade down the mountains, Mama Cocha (the ocean), the trees, the stones, everything, including the Cosmos itself. They are all conscious, we can interact with them, we can dance with them, and if we make our dance with the Cosmos a work of art then our life begins to unfold in beauty.

Our steps in the dance are the “meditations” I have shared in this blog and in my book. They are not like the meditations of the path of the mystics, and I only call them meditations because I have no better term. These meditations provide a means for experientially exploring new and profound aspects of ourselves and of the Cosmos. While the meditations have value in themselves there are also beautiful effects that slowly emerge as we continue down this path. These effects arise naturally from the way the meditations allow us to connect to the consciousness of Nature and the Cosmos. This is beautifully stated in a quote from Eckhart Tolle (while not from an Andean perspective it fits nicely).

“There is a higher order, a higher purpose, a universal intelligence. We can never understand this higher order through thinking about it because whatever we think about is content while the higher order emanates from the formless realm of consciousness. But we can glimpse it, and more than that, align ourselves with it, which means be conscious participants in the unfolding of that higher purpose. In a forest, not a man-made garden, let go of thought, become still and alert, and don’t try to understand or explain. Only then can you be aware of the sacredness of the forest. And soon as you sense that hidden harmony, that sacredness, you realize you are not separate from it, and when you realize that, you become a conscious participant in it. In this way, nature can help you become realigned with the wholeness of life.” Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth, pp 194-195.

The Andean meditations change our relationship with Nature and the Cosmos. When a relationship changes the relata (the entities in relationship) change as well. My experience is that as I have learned to dance with the Cosmos in this new way that subtle and beautiful changes have arisen within me unplanned and unexpected. Don Americo calls these “kamaskas”, small initiations into a new way of being that arise when we align ourselves with the Cosmos. This unfolding of a new way of experiencing reality takes us closer to the other side of reality which begins to inform our experience of who we are.

The theme of the paq’os relationship with the Cosmos is service and the operating principle is ayni. To be a paq’o is to be of service, service to the community, service to the Pachamama, service to the Apus, service to the Cosmos. Ayni (the Andean principle of reciprocity…see the post Ayni) insures that the service is service and is neither servitude nor mastery. We neither dissolve and surrender ourselves to the Cosmos (the path of the mystic), nor do we attempt to coerce and manipulate the Cosmos (the path of power). We dance with the Cosmos and as we do we become realigned with the wholeness of life, and we find our salka.

 

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Shedding Hucha

‘Hucha’ is heavy, discordant, chaotic energy. If you haven’t yet, I recommend that you read the earlier post dedicated to hucha. For me the prototypical example of hucha is how I feel when I come home from a bad day at the office. Unfortunately, not only does it sour my experience of reality, I can see the effect on my family when I arrive home full of hucha. There is a beautiful scene in one of the Commissario Brunetti books (by Donna Leon). Brunetti arrives home after a day when something terrible has happened at work (he is a police commissioner). He comes in the front door and his daughter greets him from the other end of the hallway with a happy ‘Hello pappa!’ He greets her back with the happiest voice he can manage, and turns to put his coat away so she can’t see the expression on his face. He hears her say “Mamma, something horrible has happened to pappa!”. The people I love pick up on my hucha even when I am trying to put it behind me when I arrive at home. My wife seems to notice it right away. My sons, when they were younger, would soon begin to bicker and fight.

This is a quick way to shed hucha before entering the house. Quick is not necessary a virtue, but it does make it easy to routinely do this after getting out of the car and before entering the house from the garage. As we will see in future posts, this is also a good way to get rid of your own hucha before working with other people’s energy.

While standing raise both your arms above your head with the palms of your hands facing the sky. With intent (sincere pretending) connect to the energy of the Cosmos with your right hand and let that energy flow into the right side of your body. When you feel that your right side has filled up with this energy, and still keeping your arms raised, bring your two palms together and with intent let the energy flow through your right hand into your left hand and down your left arm into the left side of your body and from there into your heart (munay), where you transform the energy into love.  This is simply accomplished with intent.

Now, bring your hands slowly down over your body, from your head down to your toes, with the intent of gathering up all of your hucha with your hands. When you finish at your feet put your palms down on the Pachamama (the great Being who is the planet Earth) and ask her to take all of the hucha from your hands. One of the great gifts of the Pachamama is to take our hucha and recycle it into refined energy.  This is basic paqo work.

Do this process just slowly enough to maintain the intent of what you are doing. If you do it too quickly it can become a mechanical process without intent and will lose its quality. Still, this is something that doesn’t take very much time and it can easily be tacked onto your arrival at home.

As always, remember, this is not just a way to get rid of hucha, it is a dance step in your relationship with the Pachamama, a relationship guided by ayni (reciprocity). In love she has taken your hucha, remember to at least express to her your gratitude, and next time you are having a drink perhaps pour a little first onto the Pachamama in thanks. A fundamental aspect of the Andean Cosmovision is the balance of giving and receiving. The full expression of the Andean approach is a life where that balance is maintained not out of a sense of obligation but out of love and mutual respect and gratitude. It is a relationship from which special and beautiful things can arise. The larger content of this meditation, then, is our relationship with the Cosmos. As I crank out future posts I will be sharing more ways for living a life of balance with the Cosmos, especially through ‘despachos’.

Source of this meditation: don Americo Yabar.

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Touching Pachamama

This is a very simple meditation (like the Bellybutton to the Pachamama meditation) but after years and years of seeking to know more and more I find that I have returned to the simple meditations as the foundation for integrating the Andean Cosmovision into my daily life. This meditation is very useful for coming into harmony and balance within ourselves. I don’t use this meditation to get rid of unwanted energy (e.g. anger, anxiety, stress)–there are other meditations for that–I use it when I have simply become too focussed on only part of who I am. For me this often means that I have gotten way too much into my head. There is a certain way I feel after a long spell of intellectual endeavor; from listening to papers being presented at an academic conference, writing computer programs, teaching (or taking) classes, or attending several meetings on the same day. It is a feeling of being disconnected from the full experience of being alive, which is what this meditation can resolve. This meditation is also beneficial for recovering from other ways we might be imbalanced, for example when we are too caught up in our emotions, or when we are feeling spacey and ungrounded from a mystical or spiritual experience. What this meditation can do is to balance our energy and get us in touch again with all of who we are, bringing the various aspects of ourself into harmony.

Here is the meditation in all of its simplicity. Sit on the ground. Begin by noticing the state of your energy, i.e. notice how it feels to be you right now, take a few seconds to do this. Now place your hands on the Pachamama (our mother Earth) and with intent connect the energy of your body through you hands with the energy of the Pachamama. Ask her to bring your energy into harmony with hers. Notice how your energy shifts as you do this, continue until you feel the shift is complete. Thank the Pachamama. Spend a few seconds being aware of your new state of energy, how you feel being you. That’s it.

Well, that’s it as far as the meditation goes, but there is more about this that I would like to share. I recommend that you do the meditation and then come back to this post to read the rest (if you are interested). It is the experiential aspect of the meditation that is important and I don’t want that to be overshadowed by my now going on to some of my thoughts about it.

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The Andean Cosmovision cannot be explored intellectually, it is explored by noticing the quality of some energy, doing some meditative-like process, and seeing how that affects the energy. If you experienced a shift in your energy when you did this meditation what does that prove? The answer is that it doesn’t prove anything. It doesn’t prove the Andean Cosmovision is true, it doesn’t prove (blah, blah, blah), it doesn’t prove nada. What it means is that you can notice how your energy is and that you have a way of changing it into something more pleasant, that is shaman work.

The Andean meditations all involve our relationship with Nature and the Cosmos (I see Nature as just the most local aspect of the Cosmos) and the foundation of that relationship is ayni. Ayni is the Andean principle of reciprocity, whenever something is received something is given back in return. This applies to the relationships people have with each other as well as to their relationship with the Cosmos. When done with love and respect this is not a matter of ‘breaking even’ it is an act that leaves both sides enriched and it opens the door to a deeper level of exchange. In this meditation the Pachamama does something wonderful for us, she brings our energy into harmony within ourselves by bringing our energy into harmony with her. To nurture this relationship we can insert into our lives smalls acts of ayni for the Pachamama, giving a little wine to her before we drink by pouring a few drops onto the earth, or laying a few flowers upon her breast (red flowers are traditionally offered to the Pachamama), or digging a small hole and putting the flowers and a few sugar cubes into the hole (the Q’ero women told me that the Pachamama has a sweet tooth…don Americo added with a smile that this might be a projection) then covering it with earth, all with the intent of expressing gratitude. There are also more formal expressions of gratitude that can be made (despachos and pagos) which I will cover in later posts but here I believe that intent is again the most important ingredient.

On the surface these offerings of gratitude seem almost to be a social act but more deeply they are energetic acts. We form a loving, respectful, mutually-supportive, energetic relationship with the Cosmos, this is the heart of the Andean approach, this is paqo work. The ayni takes our meditation–whose goal is to make our energy more harmonious and balanced–and elevates it to being a step in our dance with the Cosmos.

[Added later].  Please see the subsequent post on ayni.

Source of this meditation: don Americo Yabar.

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Paqos: Shamans or Mystics?

Paqo:  Shaman or Mystic?

My work in the Peru has been with the paqos who live in the high Andes. The term “paqo” (sometimes spelled “paq’o”) does not have an exact equivalent in our culture, some people translate it as “shaman” and others as “mystic”.  It is not a particularly great choice, it is like trying to describe a bear to someone who has never seen one and having to choose between saying that it is somewhat like a large cat, or that it is somewhat like a large dog.

Photo of a Siberian Shaman

A Siberian Shaman : Smithsonian

The word  “shaman” comes from an indigenous culture of Siberia where it refers to people who have special powers and a correspondingly special role in their society.  The term has since been adopted by our culture and applied to people with similar roles and powers in cultures across the globe.  While this has diluted the meaning of the term somewhat still there are basic elements to being a shaman.  Shamans typically enter into altered states of consciousness through the use of  psychoactive plants, drumming, or chanting.  While in these states they may journey into spirit realms not normally accessible in everyday life, and there they gather needed information or take actions to heal people whose afflictions have their root in these spirit realms.   The role of the shaman in society centers around their ability to perform these special actions.

Mystics, on the other hand, are those who seek to know, through direct experience, the essential nature of the Cosmos.  Thoughts, concepts, and to some degree perception, are interpretations of reality, not reality itself.  The experience, for example, that we are separate entities moving through time is a product of our mind, it is our experience of reality after the mind has translated it into something that makes sense, it is not the essential ‘suchness’ of reality itself.  When we experience reality before our mind has had chance to interpret it we find an eternal, seamless whole, we find the Sacred.  This place of deep knowing is the goal of the mystic.  The various outcomes we may ask a shaman to accomplish may no longer be of importance once we take a stance beyond our mind-based ego and its needs, thus a possible distinction between a shaman and a mystic is that of power versus wisdom.

Andean Paqos

Andean Paqos : Photo by Elaine Nichols

Paqos have some of the attributes of both shamans and mystics. The paqos are mystics in that they nourish an interactive and mutually supportive relationship with the rest of the Cosmos, it is a relationship that is only possible through the direct, mystical, experience of the interconnectedness of all things.  While it is this relationship that is paramount, the relationship does make it possible to ask favors from the Apus (the great spiritual beings who are the majestic mountain peaks) and from the Pachamama (the great spiritual being who is our mother earth) as well as others, and it allows for the manipulation of the energy that underlies all existence.

Paqos differ from traditional mystics, however, for mystics tend to be solitary figures who may have found it necessary to withdraw from society to pursue their path.  To be a paqo is to be of service, both to the great beings of Nature and the Cosmos and to the community.  This service is always performed within the context of ayni, the Andean principle of reciprocity, where giving is  balanced by receiving , and receiving is balance by giving.

Like shamans, the paqos have abilities that fall outside the ken of our culture’s conceptions of reality.  These abilities, however, are not ‘powers’, they involve neither controlling nature nor being controlled by nature (neither mastery nor servitude).  They stem instead from having an experiential understanding of the essential nature of reality and from nourishing a mutually supportive and loving relationship with the rest of the Cosmos.

Paqos are not exactly shamans or mystics, or they are both.  If forced to choose (to avoid long explanations) I usually go with ‘mystic’, and thus I label what I am studying as ‘Andean Mysticism’ rather than ‘Andean Shamanism’.  Few people would know what I meant if I called it ‘Andean Paqoism’ and I am reluctant to be held responsible for introducing a term like ‘paqoism’ into our vocabulary.

There is one thing I would like to add before bringing this to a close.  One of the more engaging and fulfilling aspects of studying a new culture comes from entering a world unlike the one with which I am familiar.  If I insist (consciously or unconsciously) on fitting what I experience into the categories I have learned from my culture (e.g. categorizing paqos as either mystics or shamans) then I miss seeing what is really fresh and new about the culture, and instead of looking into a fascinating new world I end up simply seeing  a reflection of my own.  This is something that has arisen over and over again for me, finding that I have interpreted something about the Andean culture in terms of my own culture’s view of the world and have subsequently missed something of great interest and  beauty.  In what I write in this site I will try to help you learn from my mistakes.

The photo of the Andean paqos by Elaine Nichols is included with her permission.  I scanned it in from the back of my copy of a 17 year old issue of the journal Shaman’s Drum.  Unfortunately it looks like it is from the cover of a 17 year old journal.  This is a metaphor of what it is like for me when I paraphrase in my writings one of the Andean paqos with whom I have worked (primarily Americo Yabar).  I want to share something beautiful they have said and I’m afraid that in doing so I’ll add some cracks and discolorations that may be mistakenly attributed to them rather than to me where it belongs.  Still, I think facing that risk is better than not sharing something beautiful at all.

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