PACHA MAMA
Earth Traditions of the Inca

The lessions of Juan Camargo Huaman - Peruvian Shaman
By Michele Brown

In many South American countries the Earth Mother is given the name Pacha Mama. 'Pacha' means Earth, Infinity, the Divine and the Sacred.
Pacha Mama is therefore the Earth Mother, or the Divine in material form.
The Earth Mother is a living, Cosmic Being and has a physical, astral and spiritual body.
All matter as we know it comes from her and returns to her.
Pacha Mama is much more than our nurturer, she is our true spiritual Mother and holds all the secrets of the Universe within her.
With the help of her Tutelary Gods, or guardian spirits,
she can point the spiritual seeker towards the truth.
As a living Being, the Earth needs us to look after her,
feed and love her with our hearts open to her.
We are living in dangerous times as we seem to have forgotten how to contact her.

A CONSTANT PRESENCE
The Inca culture has always been very linked to the Earth - there is a saying that 'wisdom comes through the soles of our feet.'
The Earth sustains us, suffers, has emotions, she needs us to love her. We say we want to heal her, but instead we just carry on poisoning her with our pollution.
Her rivers need to flow. they are her veins. veins she is deperately trying to clean out with all the rain that has been falling. Her mountains are her shoulders. her forests are her lungs. The hole in the ozone layer is a hole in her aura, and the greenhouse effect which is raising her temperature is because she is ill and running a fever.
When the Earth is ill, then we are too; because we are like cells on her body, we need to heal ourselves in order to help to her heal.
When we start to heal and purify ourselves, then we can begin to be in more direct contact with the Earth, her energies and the power of Nature.
The Earth is a constant presence in our lives: when we walk through beautiful countryside; when we watch a bird in flight; when we hear the sound of a waterfall or the crashing waves of the sea; when we see a kind action, watch animals looking after their young, or wonder how a plant knows to grow from its seed into a beautiful flower.
The Earth is always nurturing, forgiving, constant - she mirrors the Universe. The Incas look for all knowledge in the Earth because she is what we are made of - the sky is too far away.

EARTH GUARDIANS
When we enter into direct contact with earth energies we encounter what the Incas call 'Apus'. The Earth herself is benevolent. It is the Apus who defend her. Every place has an Apu or teacher spirit. Some people might call them guardian angels.
The Apus guard the Earth and when each one of us is born the Apu of that place takes reponsibility for our development. If you lose contact with your Apu, it abandons you and if you lose contact with your Apu you lose contact with the Earth. Apus act as intermediaries between humans and the Earth. The Inca shamanic tradition works with these spirits on a day-to-day basis, for guidance, the resolution of disputes and, most importantly, with healing.
Women are said to reflect the Cosmic Mother and carry within them the sacred fires that hold the knowledge and mysteries of the Earth. The Incas believe that women can work more intuitively with the Earth because their hearts are more open. Humanity as a whole is suffering from a lack of heart, yet it is not possible to understand the mysteries of the Earth by adopting a scientific or "macho' approach.
We need to rediscover the mysteries of women's traditions. To honour the qualities assosciated with women, is to honour the Earth. To honour the Earth Mother we need to honour our own mothers, even if they behaved badly towards us. We need to go beyond their limitations as a human beings and acknowledge that they carried us in their wombs.

WAYS OF HONOURING
So what can we do? The Earth and the Apus need to be fed and remembered by us. We can give thanks for our food before we eat and by blowing on it, offer some of its essence back to the spirits. We can look after our bodies with exercise and good nutrition and learn to be relaxed and detached in all situations.
Meditation is the heart of wisdom. Five minutes a day will teach you more than hours of reading. The Inca path is well-balanced between mysticism and materialism, an Inca warrior is of this world, not apart from it.
Through being on the Earth we can learn patience, strength and perseverance. Become aware of any fears that you might have and learn to face them, as fear will block the gateway to knowledge. Dare to overcome your fears and become a warrior for the Earth, we are here to learn, to open our hearts and heal ourselves. Only then will we be able to help our Cosmic Mother, so let's go for it. NOW.

Juan Camargo Huaman is a master of both the Solar and Lunar Inca traditions. He was sent to Europe to teach us Yachay, the path of light. He is returning to live in Peru, where he is building a healing and teaching centre in Cuzco to keep alive the ancient Inca knowledge.

Taken from Sacred Hoop Magazine Issue Number 3
Copyright Sacred Hoop Magazine 1993
 

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