Salka Wind Blog

Posts on the Andean Cosmovision

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Hampi Taki: A Salka Project

From a traditional song sung by the women of Peru.

I walk without shoes in the mountains.
My bare feet touch the mountainside.
The mountain takes pleasure in knowing my body.

Before I describe the hampi taki project I would like to touch again briefly two concepts I have covered in earlier posts, salka and ayni.

Salka is quechua (the language of the Andes) for undomesticated energy.  The wolf is salka while the dog is domesticated, the condor is salka while the chicken is domesticated, the deer is salka while the sheep is domesticated.  Salka is essential life energy, so it may not be quite accurate to say that some beings are more salka than others. It might be better to say that some beings are more domesticated than others.  In domesticated beings our domestication is like a veneer through which the light of salka must shine. The Andean meditations that I have shared in this blog and in my book help us get in touch with our salka, which in turn, brings into our awareness the mystery and beauty of our existence as living beings.  The Peruvian mystics Américo Yábar and Gayle Yábar are founders of the Poetic Salka Movement on the Planet, and they have been my mentors in my exploration of the Andean Cosmovision.  For more information on salka please visit this post.

Ayni is a quechua term for reciprocity. Ayni is the guiding principle of relationships within the traditional Andean culture. When you give you receive, and when you receive you give. Completing the circle of ayni elevates both parties, it is like a spiral, where every time the circle is completed the relationship moves to a higher level. The traditional Andean people live in ayni with each other, with their domesticated animals, with their land, and with the Cosmos.  Ayni is not a social obligation, it is a dance that enlivens both party’s sacred energy.  For more information on ayni please visit this post.

When I earn money from teaching the Andean Cosmovision–e.g. in my workshops or my classes or my book–I like to give half of the money to the people of Peru as ayni. This completes the circle of ayni between the Andean people (who have so open heartedly shared their Cosmovision with the West), and the people who have taken my classes or have purchased my book or have donated on my Salka Wind web page.  I don’t mean to come across as saintly in mentioning this.  Other people are doing things like this as well, and I am ridiculously pleased to be part of it.  In my mind’s eye I see great circles of ayni being formed across the continents, connecting the munays of many beings (organic and inorganic) on the planet.  From these circles of ayni the future may blossom in greater beauty.

I use some of this money to help fund the  “hampi taki project”.  Hampi taki is quechua for singing medicine. Over the years the beautiful, traditional, songs that have linked the Andean women to the Cosmos (e.g. the barefoot in the mountain song at the beginning of this post) have been slowly replaced by laments about how hard life is in the post Spanish conquest society. In the hampi taki project Américo has revived the traditional songs, and  teaches the women how to create a flow of healing energy as they sing.   He pays the women for learning this way of signing.  After they master it, he then pays them to teach other women.  In this way the singing medicine is spreading from village to village, and now has a strong presence as far away as the jungle and Bolivia.

To me this is such a beautiful way to use money to nourish salka. Western society is sweeping through the high Andes like a tsunami. The associated material benefits are available for those who have money, which usually involves them having to step away from their traditional culture.  In the hampi taki project the women have a way to earn money by stepping more deeply into their traditions.  They are also receiving a clear but implicit message that their traditional culture has things worth holding on to…plus there is healing involved…and salka.

I have included below some photographs (compiled from various visits) of women who have sung to me and my friends as ayni for our support of the project.  I particularly love seeing the children there, knowing that they are watching their mothers being valued for the beauty of what they are offering to the West.

Photos by Karen Cottingham and Barbara Mahan © 2013 by the photographers, all rights reserved.

Text and all other photos in this post © at time of posting, Oakley Gordon , licensed under a Creative Commons License — some rights reserved.

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Peru Trip: 2015

Another great trip to Peru!  This time I went with 11 waikis to work with don Americo and Gayle Yabar, and other paq’os and healers with whom they arranged for us to meet.

11986993_1492555424389890_2733276932443929310_nPart of the beauty of following a path of heart is the company I get to keep. Here we are at Molino, Gayle’s place in the Andes that he has converted from an old mill into a wonderful setting for groups to stay and connect to the river and the Apus and the stars and the Cosmos.

IMG_0485Our first meeting of the trip with the Q’ero, here the men are creating a despacho (offering).

working with the female paqos from Qero.
Our second meeting with the Q’ero (at 15,000 feet) focused on the  ñustas (powerful feminine energies).

12006116_1492556284389804_7585939602780060350_n A special moment.  We passed this old man carrying a large sack up into the mountains. Americo stopped to connect with him and give him some food.  Things like this happen a lot when we travel with Americo, what a path of heart!  Photo by Pia Ossorio.

Barbara connecting with the energy of an Apu.Connecting with an Apu.  We were at 16,000 feet, the Apus tower much higher still.

I have a much more comprehensive slide show of the trip which I would be delighted for you to see.  If you would like to view it go to the Andean Cosmovision (the Facebook page for my book) and scroll down to the album.

This trip had a big effect on me and I have returned with some information that I would like to share with you.  I am still struggling with how to organize what I want to say, but that is what this blog is all about, to give me a place where I can play around with how to get the information out.  I will be tackling this in subsequent posts.  My intent is to help us refine our understanding of how to explore the Cosmovision back here in the West, for as much as I love going to Peru, it simply isn’t necessary to go to Peru to explore the vast, mysterious, and beautiful territory that is the Andean Cosmovision.

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Children of Peru

Hi, while I’m writing the next post I thought I would share some of my favorite photos of children in the Andes (several of these photos were taken by Alyson Froehlich, thanks Alyson).

Children (and mothers) in Cusco

Children on parade in Cusco

Gayle Yabar, Alyson Froehlich and children of Paucartambo



Moss dancers

Sisters in Tinki

Children of Mollamarka



Salka children living at 15,000 feet on Apu Asungate


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This post was originally uploaded several years ago.  It is reappearing for technical reasons (to my befuddlement), but it is a nice post.

The Qero are lovely-hearted people who live in very isolated villages in the high Andes and who still live a life immersed in the Andean Cosmovision. I was in Peru as part of a small group participating in a trip organized by Carla Woody and sponsored in part by Kenosis Spirit Keepers (the non-profit organization of which Carla is the president and I am the vice-president). The purpose of the trip was to provide an opportunity for a Hopi spiritual leader to meet in ceremony with Qero paqos.  We arrived at sunset at an ancient site in the Andes of Peru known as ‘Killarumi’.

Killarumi (moonstone)


Mamma Killa is the Cosmic Being who is our moon, and ‘rumi’ is a Quechua word for ‘stone’, so the place is that of the Moonstone. Andeans would visit this ancient site to get in touch with feminine energy, which is deeply powerful and in tune with the Earth. Women would come to give offerings and to meditate if they were having difficulties conceiving or when they were nearing the time of giving birth.

Altar of Killarumi

Altar of Killarumi

In the moonlight this stone glows with a beautiful light.

Cave at Killarumi

Cave at Killarumi

This being a place of feminine energy there is a cave nearby. We meditated at the Moonstone and then we entered the cave. In the cave the Pachamama (the great mother who is the planet Earth) draws all of the hucha (heavy, discordant, energy) from your body.

Andes by Killarumi

Andes by Killarumi

After meditating we climbed a bit further up the mountain to where the Qero were waiting.

Qero waiting in a field.

Qero Await

The Qero were waiting for us in a field. As we entered the field the men began to play their quenas (flutes) and the women began to sing.

Carla hugging the Qero

Carla Woody and Qero Greeting

Americo and the Qero

Don Americo Yabar and the Qero

Women of Qero

Women of Qero

Child of Qero

Child of Qero

Moon over trees.

Moon at Killarumi

By the time the ceremony ended night (Mamma Tuta) had arrived.

Killarumi is a place of feminine energy. The Andean Cosmovision is based upon the complementarity of opposites, a place of decidedly masculine energy will be shown in a later post.

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