Salka Wind Blog

Posts on the Andean Cosmovision

Year: 2014 (page 1 of 5)

It is not about ‘us’.

I would like to share the following thoughts and feelings as we head into the new year.  I have decided this once to skip all of the links to posts covering the terms that I use, and to just write what I want to say.

There are many, many aspects of the path of the Andean Cosmovision that I value greatly.  Walking this path has touched those parts of me that rejoice in the presence of beauty and love, it has given me the sense of living a life that has deeper meaning than I can possible put into words or thoughts.  It has been a great adventure, calling at times upon both my courage and my perseverance.  When I tire and wonder if this is where I want to be wandering I turn a corner and something completely unexpected arises to fill me with wonder.  When my everyday life seems mundane I find that the meditations open me up yet again to the ineffable mystery that is the Cosmos and my existence as a Being in that Cosmos.  And…this path is not about me.

This path is not about me, it is not about ‘us, it is about ‘Us’.  You, me, the waikis in our lives, the waikis across the planet, the Andean people, the Apus, Pachamama, the stars, the trees, the rivers, Mama Tuta, Tai Tai Inti, Mama Killa.  As we walk this path we are all dancing with each other, and composing the music at the same time.  With the meditations we open ourselves to the greater melody.  Though our finite yachays may only discern our own part of the melody there is a deeper knowing that something much greater, driven by love and hope and dressed in beauty, is going on.

If you enjoy the immediate effects of the meditations then consider persevering and see what happens over the long run.  More and more will open up.  If you sense that the effects of the meditations don’t resonate with what you most deeply value, then move on to a different path.  No path is right for everyone, nor does everyone have the same destination in mind.  Trust yourself and your deeper knowing.

Here are some guiding stars for the upcoming year.  I have written them to you so that they may resonate with you, but they are actually what I intend to do.

    • Make your life a work of art.
    • Remember to let the mystery in.
    • Continue to explore your presence as a Being in this Cosmos.

Thanks everyone for all of your support and your great hearts.



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Las Estrellas (The Stars)

“When we are born we have a star connected to our wisdom (yachay), a star connected to our heart (munay), and a star connected to our physical body (llankay). Everyone has their own three stars.” Don Americo Yabar.

The meditation that I would like to share in this post is one that two or three people can do together. I like it quite a bit. It is a rather advanced meditation, in the sense that it builds upon the experiences that are available in other meditations, and it also involves a larger than usual number of steps.

I think you’ll get more out of this meditation if you have already had some experience in getting in touch with your three centers of Being. The Tuning the Three Centers of Being meditation is a good place to start. It might also be nice to have already had the experience of touching the stars connected to each of your centers, which is available through the Saiwachakuy (Upward) meditation. It is not like some part of your body is going to fall off if you do this meditation without those experiences, it is just that I think you will get more out of it if you have had those other experiences first. But then maybe that is just because that is the sequence in which I learned these things. We are all explorers.

As usual I recommend that you first prepare your energy by doing the Touching Pachamama meditation and then the Releasing Hucha meditation, these take just a few minutes.

I will describe this meditation as if two people are doing it, then I’ll describe how it can be adapted for three people. In this meditation the two people take different roles, one person has the more active role of going through the steps and serving as a conduit for the flow of energy, the other person simply receives the energy. When you are finished you switch roles and go through it again.  The meditation is done with you both standing.  In the description below I use the term waiki, which is an affectionate way to refer to a friend (it is an Anglicized form of a Quechua term that Americo uses to refer with fondness to people of both sexes).

Before you start notice how you feel, what your energy is like, how it feels to be you. This serves as the baseline for understanding the effect of the meditation.

If you are the recipient, then with your intent (sincere pretending) connect to Pachamama through your feet and to the Cosmos through the top of your head, and attend to your experience during the meditation.  That is all you need to do.

Now on to what the other person does:

  1. Place both of your hands on Pachamama and with your intent (sincere pretending) connect with her energy.
  2. Reach up with either hand and with intent connect to the star that is connected to your waiki’s llankay. Place your other hand on your waiki’s  llankay (a couple of inches below the navel). Let the energy flow from the star down through you and into the llankay. Hold that intent for a minute or so, feeling the flow of the energy.
  3. Connect with Pachamama again.
  4. Reach up with one hand and connect to the star that is connected to your waiki’s munay. Place your other hand on your waiki’s munay (heart). When working with a woman I usually ask her to place my hand on her munay so that she may place it where she feels comfortable being touched. Let the energy flow from the star down through you and into your waiki’s munay. Hold that intent for a minute or so.
  5. Connect with Pachamama again.
  6. Reach up with one hand and connect to the star that is connected to your waiki’s yachay. Place you other hand on your waiki’s yachay (very top of the forehead). Continue with the intent of being a conduit to this energy, and feel it flowing through you. Hold that intent for a minute or so.
  7. Connect with Pachamama again.
  8. Reach up with both hands and connect to the energy of all the stars. When you have collected that energy gently take your waiki’s hands in yours and blow that energy into both of your waiki’s palms.
  9. Connect with Pachamama again.
  10. Position yourself between your waiki and Tai Tai Inti (the great Being who is our sun) and face Tai Tai Inti. Connect with his energy through your hands. Kneel and blow that energy into Pachamama, as if into a small hole, into the uju pacha, honoring the star that is closest to us all.
  11. Both of you now take a moment to notice what your energy is like, what it is like to be you right now. The shift in your experience from before the meditation to how you are now is the sole meaning of this meditation.

Now switch roles and go through the process again.

If you are doing this as a trio simply have two people in the active role, working in unison, one works with the three energy centers on the front of the recipient’s body and the other on the back of the recipient’s body.

I pulled this meditation from memory one day while my waiki’s and I were meditating in the woods and I was trying to remember a process I hadn’t shared with them yet that we could do while standing up (to keep out of the mud). We valued the experience (blown away may be a better term) and revisited it a few times over the next couple of months. When I later went back through my notes from my workshops with don Americo I discovered that I hadn’t remembered it exactly like he taught it. He had the waiki who is receiving the energy lie on the ground on his or her back. When the other waiki gathered the energy from each star, rather than raising one hand and putting the other on an energy center, don Americo had us gather that star’s energy with both hands and then lean over and blow that energy into the waiki’s corresponding energy center. If you try one of these two ways of doing the meditation and value the experience, then you might want to explore the other way as well.

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Kudos (selfie) and Reflections

I would like to share with you that my book The Andean Cosmovision was selected as the November book of the month at Shaman Portal.  This blog has served as the place for me to publish rough drafts of the chapters of the book.  Most of the information is available here in the blog for free but the book presents it more coherently and clearly and minus the posts that aren’t relevant to the book.  I want very much to get this information out to as many people as possible.  Might you consider giving it to a waiki (friend) as a Christmas present?

Printed copies may be purchased from:

eBook copies may be purchased from:

A personal reflection on my book.  Sometimes, when I am in a particular state of mind, I think about my book and I am just blown away (generational translation…’amazed’) that I was actually able to put into words the essence of what I have learned from 20 years of exploring the Andean Cosmovision with don Americo.  This evokes in me a great sense of satisfaction and joy.  It certainly took me a long time, several years, to write the book and yet here it is on my bookshelf.  That is where the satisfaction comes in.  The joy I feel comes from some deep place within me and just bubbles up at times.


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So far in this blog I have mainly focused on meditations that we can do on our own (well…in the company of Pachamama and the Apus and stars and the trees and the stream tumbling down the mountain side…). I would like to now turn to sharing some meditations that can be done with a group of people.

The Back-to-Back meditation is an example of a practice in the Andes that is known as yanachakuy, the touching and sharing of energy between two Beings. I’ll be describing some other forms of yanachakuy in future posts. I like them all.

Since the essence of this meditation is the connection and sharing of energy between two people I recommend that everyone do a little spring cleaning of their energy before they start. When I am leading the group I have us all begin by first doing the Touching Pachamama meditation followed by getting rid of hucha (see the meditations Releasing Hucha (my favorite), Shedding Hucha, and Cleaning Hucha). Following getting rid of hucha with the Cosmic Circle meditation is rather nice as well as if fires up the old munay.

I will describe the Back-to-Back meditation as if you are the teacher who is directing everyone through the process. First, have the group divide into pairs. Suggest to everyone that they not pair up with someone whose energy they already know really well (e.g. a spouse or significant other). There are several reasons for that, including that they know that energy already, and that personal history and habitual emotions and thoughts are more likely to arise and cloud the perception of the energy.

Direct them to let their hands hang to their sides so that they can then clasp hands with their waiki (friend).  Have them clasp hands. Explain that the goal is to stand back-to-back in such a way as to create as much contact as they comfortably can with the spine of their waiki. It is important, however, that they not lean against each other as that leads to a constant shifting of weight that gets really tiring really quickly. The idea is to make comfortable contact spine to spine.

Now they are set up and ready to go. Ask them all to use their intent (sincere pretending) to connect to the Pachamama through the soles of their feet, and to the energy of the Cosmos through the top of their heads. Give them several seconds to do that. I do it myself, getting a sense of how long to give them to do it too.

Next, ask them to use their intent to send their very finest energy to their waiki through where their spines touch, and to receive their waiki’s energy in return. Pause for a bit to give them time to sense what this is like, and then invite them to let the energy flow however it wants back and forth. Pause a bit, and invite them to experience what their waiki’s energy is like.

Let them go on with the process for a while. If there is an even number of people including me then I participate as well, if there is an odd number of people then I don’t partner up, but I use my intent to invite the experience to enter me anyway, as if I was doing it with the group.  I find that I enter a very nice state that feels connected with what is going on. Usually after two or three minutes, I start to feel like it is time to close the experience, that they have had sufficient time to get into it, I don’t want them to withdraw from the experience from doing it for too long, and I want to have time to move on to the next step. I call everyone back, if I’m paired up with someone I usually feel inclined to give them a hug when we are finished.

The next step is to ask everyone to pair up with someone new. I then lead them through the process again. After they have gotten into the yanachakuy I like to invite them to just notice how their experience of their new waiki’s energy may differ from their previous waiki’s energy.

I like to repeat the process a third time with new partners, and sometimes a fourth time. There is so much to be gained by doing this with more than one or two waikis, which is why I describe this as a group meditation rather than as a meditation for two people. It is very nice to have enough people for everyone to pair up with three or four different waikis before the meditation is called to an end.

Ok, that’s it. It is particularly nice to follow this meditation with an opportunity for people to share their experiences, what don Americo calls ‘opening the mesa (table)’.

What people experience in this meditation is the only true meaning of the meditation for them. I never try to talk them into experiencing what I want them to experience. For you, however, as the guide of this meditation I would like to share some of my thoughts and experiences.

This is a great meditation for a group of people. I almost always include it in my first or second class with a new group. Here is what I think it does for many people.

  1. Connecting with another person’s energy like this creates a pretty noticeable experience. It may be stronger than the first time we connect, say, with the Pachamama or  Tai Tai Inti. It can be a ‘convincer’ that there is something available for us to notice and play with on this path, useful for people like me who entered the path with little if any experience of connecting to an energy other than our own.
  2. A lot of people report that they can feel a difference in the energies of the various waikis they partnered with. Again, for people like me, this is an amazing and eye-opening experience.
  3. Something very special and beautiful happens to the people, and to the group, when we connect in this way. It is like, ‘oh, there is a very different way of interacting in the world, outside of ego, outside of personality, and it is beautiful’. It is a great introduction to the way we interact with each other and with the Cosmos on this path. We move to the level of the essence of who we are and we get to know the essence of others.

Option: perhaps after the second or third time the group has done this in a class, invite them at the end of the meditation to go back-to-back with a tree. Suggest that they first exchange their energy with the tree, and then connect their consciousness with the consciousness of the tree. You need, of course, to be in a place where there are trees. In my experience, doing yanachakuy with a tree is more subtle than with another person, which is why it is good for the group to have had some experience doing back-to-back with people first. But…wow.

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Running a salka class

Hi everyone,

My focus so far in my blog and book has been on sharing meditations that we can practice on our own (well…in the company of Pachamama and Tai Tai Inti and the Apus and the Cosmsos). I would like to share my thoughts on doing salka meditations as a group. There is a lot to be said in favor of that.  Extra energy can arise when you do this in a group and it is very rewarding to part of a blossoming salka community.

I would like to start off with a qualification to everything I’m about to share, so that I don’t have to add ‘in my experience’ or ‘I have come to believe’ to every sentence I write. Let me get it all out at the beginning and then I can just share what I want to share.

The Andean Cosmovision offers a path for exploring profound new aspects of ourselves, Nature, and the Cosmos. This territory is the heart of the Cosmovision, not the guides who help us explore. My mentor and friend don Americo Yabar is not a guru. He is like an older brother who has gone further down the path than have I, and he has provided so much help to me and to so many others, helping us explore the territory on our own.

The same applies to me (the not being a guru part). I have been exploring the Andean Cosmovision for 20 years. During that time I have taught hundreds of salka meditation classes, to newcomers, to people who have been on this path with me for years, to people who drop in and out of attending the classes. I have some pretty clear ideas about salka meditation classes, and I want to share them with you in the hope that they will be useful for you, not in terms of what you ‘should’ do but in terms of what works for me. To borrow a metaphor from don Americo, there are many ways to get to the mountain top. The paths to get there are not like beaten paths on the ground that all must follow. The paths to the mountain top are more like the paths the birds take as they flit from tree to tree.

General idea. I am going to write my suggestions as if you have invited some people to a salka meditation class and will guide them through the processes. I recommend that the guide be the person who has traveled furthest down the path, or if no one fits that description you could take turns being the guide.

This may be obvious, but as a guide I consider it important to enter every state of consciousness I am inviting the people to enter. It makes it easier for them to get into that state (and I get to go along for the ride).

Setting. I don’t see any way around it, the best place to do the Andean (salka) meditations is in nature, the more salka the spot is the better. This is really about our relationship with nature, we need to be in nature to develop this relationship. I don’t want to get into a discussion about how ‘everything is nature’ including cement and pollution and cars and buildings. I am talking about Pachamama, and the trees, and the rivers…undomesticated nature.

The second best place is in domesticated nature (e.g. parks and backyards).

The third best place is in a nice indoor location. When winter arrives we sometimes go out to sit in the snow but we often meet indoors in my friend Angela’s spiritual/yoga center. This week I am trying something new where I will be holding salka meditation classes indoors at the center on a regular basis through the winter. We will see how it goes.

Content. I like to start with the ‘Touching Pachamama’ meditation as a way to shift our consciousness and energy. I then like to do one of the meditations for getting rid of hucha. In the first few classes I like to do the Releasing Hucha meditation. In a later class I teach the Shedding Hucha meditation as an alternative that can be done more quickly and in more situations (I just happen to like the Releasing Hucha meditation more). In an even later class I teach the Cleaning Hucha meditation so that they have a way of cleaning the hucha from others.

After we connect with the Pachamama and then get rid of our hucha we move into one or two of the other meditations, the selection changes from week to week.

Between meditations give people a chance to talk about their experiences and ask questions. Encourage them to do so but do not push. The way I see it this provides a chance for them to integrate what has happened and to expand their understanding by hearing how others experienced it. It also provides an important pause between meditations. One thing that really bothers me, however, is when people get all intellectual about the experience (e.g. comparing it to other paths or other philosophies or bringing in science). That pops us right out of our munay (where we tend to go with the meditations) and back into the yachay and takes us out of the beauty and heart of the path. I encourage people to speak from their heart and to ask questions from their heart. They can always get intellectual about it when they return home.

I have tried two different ways of organizing the classes. What I have done the most is to offer the class once a week from spring to fall, and let people attend whenever they feel like it, so who exactly is attending changes from class to class. I pick meditations that seem right for the energy of the group that day, and in general I like to move through the many meditations I have learned so that the attendees eventually pick up a wide repertoire. This fits my own meditative practice (when I meditate alone) where I do whatever seems to be what I need for that day.

This year I tried offering a series of five classes that would more or less methodically move through what I consider to be the most useful meditations. Attendance at the first class was a prerequisite for attending the other classes so that I could present the basics of the Andean Cosmovision and not have to repeat that each class. I had hoped that this would also mean that people would show up for all five classes rather than dropping in and out. That kind of worked. I may try this again next year.

Ayni. Ayni (reciprocity) is an essential aspect of the Andean Cosmovision. First let’s talk about ayni with nature and the Cosmos. I always bring with me to class a small amount of tequila in a squeeze bottle. As part of the class I give some, holding the intent of gratitude, to the Pachamama and to the stream that flows by where we meditate and to the Apus and to whatever other Beings I feel like. Sometimes I pass it around so that everyone can do it. I just want to periodically make sure that people understand, and participate in, completing the circle of ayni with Nature and the Cosmos for all the support they give us in the meditations. A few times a season I also offer a more elaborate despacho and invite everyone to participate.

I choose to get upset when I see others share the Andean meditations as if they are a technology for personal transformation, paying scant or token attention to our relationship with Nature and the Cosmos. The Andean Cosmovision is really about that relationship, the meditations are like steps in a beautiful dance with the Cosmos. I have found that the most truly amazing transformations that have occurred within me on this path have emerged slowly as a result of this change in my relationship with Nature and the Cosmos.

There is also the ayni between me and the group, where I ask for something back to balance my giving the class. This has been a bit of a challenge for me to handle, my culture has some strong ideas about the propriety of asking for something in return for helping people connect with the sacred, and I swallowed some of that growing up as a member of my society. I do it anyway though. It is part of walking my talk, it is part of living the path of the Andean Cosmovision. And I can tell when things are unbalanced because I start to get burned out, indicating to me that I have given more energy than I have received.

The very close and tight knit waikis who have been with me on this path for many years all bring into our relationship a great deal of experience and skill at other paths. Our ayni is at the level of exchanging services with each other, perhaps I will get a card reading or a massage at some point or they will help me get the word out on my book, as ayni for me teaching them the path of the Andean Cosmovision. While this is kind of unstructured it is very real, we all do indeed give to each other and maintain the balance of ayni.

For my other classes I request a donation of some amount from the participants. I then give half of what I receive to the people of the Andes as ayni for their open-heartedly sharing their Cosmovision with us. I let the participants know that so that they understand that they are involved in that circle of ayni as well. Which I think is just really important!

I am in a good position to get the money to Peru. If you are not and want to do the same you can give the money to Kenosis Spirit Keepers or to the Heart Walk Foundation. I am the vice president of Kenosis Spirit Keepers and it is dear to my heart. Our mission is to “To honor and preserve the integrity of indigenous wisdom and sacred cultural practices by providing cross-cultural exchanges, education, and community-building opportunities.” There are several projects going. On the donate page you can direct your money to a project that helps the Q’ero of Peru preserve their ancient culture and spiritual practices. The Heart Walk Foundation is run by two good friends and it is geared towards doing things like helping Qero build green houses and schools and clinics.

The following are some of the attributes that make a good salka meditation mentor/teacher. I see these in don Americo more than in any person I know. These are what I strive to emulate, both as a meditation guide and as a person.

Walking the Talk. The Andean Cosmovision is not about what we know, or think, or believe, or understand, or what meditations we do. It is about how we are as Beings in the Cosmos. It is about how we dance with the Cosmos, with each other, with the mountains and the streams and the earth and the stars. It is like one big act of love with the Cosmos. It is living our life as a work of art.

Impeccability. Carlos Castaneda had a lot to say about the power of being impeccable. I am not talking here about being perfect, and I am certainly not talking about being Saint-like. I am talking about endeavoring to walk the talk, to be drawn forward by a desire to blossom into the full essence of who we are and anticipating that this adventure will never end. And to be forgiving of ourselves. Many years ago I gave up being impeccable as my goal, and selected instead being impeccable about trying to be impeccable (which both honors the goal and accepts that it is unreachable). For me this allowed a certain amount of lightening of the endeavor. Don Americo and I were talking about impeccability once, and I said that I found it to be a lot easier to be impeccable after a cup of coffee. He laughed and said that Castaneda might not approve, but that I was very Andean and salka in that.

It’s About Service not Power. This is a path of heart, not a path of power.  It is definitely not about gaining power over Nature or gaining power through Nature, it is about service, it is about love.  When I talk about service I am not talking about mastery nor servitude, just service. When I was in Peru my friend Karen asked Gayle (don Americo’s son and a great mystic himself) how he would define ‘alto mesayoq’. Let me share with you that alto mesayoqs are the most powerful paq’os (mystics/shamans) in the Andes, they have incredible mystical powers and abilities. Gayle, however, paused and then replied that an alto mesayoq is someone who has spent his whole life in service to an Apu. That is the nature of this path.

In my first trip to Peru (gracious…that was 18 years ago) a (much younger) Gayle and his friends served us our meals while we were staying at don Americo’s home in the mountains. When they gave us the food it was as if we were dear friends that they hadn’t seen in years and on the way there we got stuck in the snow for hours and had finally arrived hungry and exhausted and now they were giving us some hot soup, that is what I felt when they served us the food. If you serve Nature and the Cosmos in that way they will serve you back that way.

Well, that is all I can think of right now to share about the salka meditations classes and how to lead them. I probably will think of things to add or better ways of saying what I want to say. I’ll either add them to the blog or if I write a second book I’ll include them there. I hope this will be of some service to you, please feel free to email be directly with any questions or comments you have or you could post them as a comment on this post. Thanks.

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