Shamanic Practitioner and Arts Counsellor

A Pilgrimage to Q’eros

The Andean Cosmovision

This trip to the High Andes of Peru, was the singular most powerful event that opened my heart wide, helping me to step onto my path as a shamanic practitioner. The Q’ero nation and my teachers have offered me a portal of learning that’s open to everyone. These beautiful human beings have taught infinite wisdom, showing that the Andean Cosmovision gives us a sustainable model of respecting all that is as sacred in the natural world. One of their fundamental principles is Ayni or universal reciprocity, which, when implemented on a larger scale, the Q’ero say will bring peace and unity consciousness. This important message can help many cultures and nations come together in these challenging times.

Don Augustine’s family in Ccochamocho

The Q’ero people have maintained their teachings largely due to the supreme isolation of their location in the high Andes, up in the clouds. They live at the foot of their sacred mountain Huaman Lipa. They have shown me very patiently and with a great sense of humour, the foundations of a solid daily energy practice. This helps me to stay clear, grounded and centered (no matter what might be happening around me).

There are roughly 3,000 people in the Q’ero community. Their houses are stone with a thatched roof and no chimney. The smoke just goes out through a hole in the roof. Everyone seemed to be drop spinning here, using a spindle, even when they are tending their Llama’s and alpaca. In a rural Quechua home, the whole family participates in economic activity, from planting potatoes to herding animals to spinning wool and girls learn to weave in their early teens.

Master Weavers

Baby Alpaca Ausengate Mesa cloth

There is a very high level of weaving, spinning, and knitting skills passed down through the generations. These people are master weavers and communicate their sacred connection with Mother Earth through the patterns and symbols of the cloth that they weave.

Diamond Pattern of Cochas or ‘eyes’, representing lagoons or lakes. In Ausengate, the lagoons are icy inside. Andean weaving includes a rich tradition of iconography. The designs and motifs used in Quechua textiles are passed down from generation to generation and are repeated over and over again in the weavings. Each pallay (or design) has an important meaning for the weaver, although the meanings attributed to each pallay may vary between regions and villages.

Each weaver chooses how to use the multitudes of pallay that she knows in each of her pieces. The textile designs are based on the daily lives of the Quechua weavers. Agriculture, flora, and fauna of the region, astrological phenomenon, human forms, bodies of water, and geometric designs that inspire them. The Ausengate mesa cloth shown here actually has more colour than a mesa cloth from Q’eros. This cloth is depicting a rainbow lagoon with icy particles. The zigzag represents the river and the eyes represent the frozen lakes or lagoons ( or cochas) in the dry season in Ausengate, it’s really clear and when you walk at night you can see the complete reflection of the starry sky above reflected in the stillness of the water. I will write a separate blog post about this soon.

The Q’ero community lives among seven villages, one of which is Ccochamocho ( also spelled Qochamoqo). They mainly grow different varieties of potato, which can be freeze-dried on the earth, they also farm different kinds of Alpaca, often having llamas, Suri and alpaca together. The Llamas are the ones that are dressed in colourful headgear and they stand out on the sides of the mountains where they roam, wild puma is still a real concern here. These seven villages range in elevation from 10,000 to 16,000 feet, reaching the cloud forests of the Amazon jungle. There is no electricity or running water, it is pure nature.

The medicine men and women from the Andean Mystical Path are also called Paqo’s, they are the wisdom keepers originating from the Incas, with their ceremonies and rituals. They bring Munay: which is love imbued with will, Yachay: their wisdom, and Ll’anqay, which is the physical aspect of work into balance.

After sowing the seed of an idea to travel to Peru with a small group of friends and fellow Paqo’s, we aimed to connect to the pure integrity of these Andean Mystical teachings and to learn from someone yet to become my teacher, Pampamesayoq Don Augustine (Pampamesayoq means ‘Earth Keeper’ in Quechua).

Pampamesayoq Don Augustine

Ali and Don Augustine 2009

I was originally introduced to Don Augustine Machacca Florez via a friend who lived in Cusco at the time. Don Augustine invited us to stay for a week in his home village of Ccochamocha high up in the Andes, one day’s horse ride from the nearest main road. We would experience everyday life, making a pilgrimage to his sacred mountain Huaman Lipa in Q’eros.

In this tradition, there are two types of healers the Pampamesayoq and the Altomesayoq. The Pampamesayoq (pahm-pa ma-sigh -yok) is a healer, master of ceremonies that honour Pachamama as Mother Earth, especially the Despacho or Haywariqui ceremony. An Altomesayoq is someone who communes directly with the Apu’s or mountain spirits.

In my next blog post, I will write about our trip to the sacred valley and the many ceremonies we performed at Sacred sites around Cusco.

For more information on the Despacho Ceremonies, online retreats, and workshop events that I’m offering on Zoom with Don Augustine, please go to my Facebook Page and events section, or contact me for more information.

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