Incan Anatomy of the Soul
Inca Atahualpa. Brooklyn Museum. Public Domain
Translated by Jarita Acosta
2012 Marc Torra (Urus)
Creative Commons — Attribution – NonCommercial – NoDerivates
Published by Chakana Creations, Australia
BEFORE THE ARRIVAL of Europeans in South America, no form of currency was used by the Andean civilisation. Their exchanges were based on ayni, a word that can be translated as ‘reciprocity’. But ayni implies something much more than simple reciprocity. It involves the recognition and acceptance by the entire community of a natural law that gives back in proportion to what was given.
This book is distributed under Creative Commons licence with a reciprocal clause I call ayni. Creative Commons means that you can share it. The ayni clause asks that if you received it for free and enjoyed its content, you give something back in return.
There are several ways of giving back. You can buy this or any other of my books as a gift to yourself or to a friend. And if money is not what you wish to give, you can always write a review on your favourite on-line retailer or publish an article about the book.
About this book
1. Records of the Mythology
2. Records of the Legends
3. Records of the Architecture and Urbanism
4. Records of the Festivals and ceremonies
5. Records of the Emblems
6. Records of the Dances
7. Records of the Sacred Objects
About the Author
Other Books by Marc Torra
Connect with the Author
UPON ENTERING THE age of materialism ―around 5000 years ago― knowledge about the anatomy of the soul became a part of various esoteric traditions. It was therefore kept private among a few initiates.
In the Himalayas, it was knowledge passed down orally, from master to disciple, and recorded in texts like the Puranas or the Tantras. In ancient Egypt and Sumer, it was transmitted through various mystical schools. With the arrival of Islam, many of these schools became Sufi brotherhoods. In the West, because of the power associated with this knowledge, various secret societies were founded, keeping it only for a few initiates and limited primarily to those few who were members of the upper echelons.
It was not until the end of the nineteenth century that such information began to transcend the circle of disciples, initiates and followers to become accessible to the remainder of the population.
However, this was not the case in the Andes. As this book reveals, the Inca civilisation conveyed such knowledge openly. It was communicated in their myths and legends, in their urban planning, ceremonies and festivals, dances, symbols and emblems, and in the language. It was ‘written’ for everyone to ‘read’ because, by definition, in a culture without a formal writing system, there cannot be illiterate people.
Apu. Anonymous mural. Picture by the author. Creative Commons
THE ANDEAN WORLD does not distinguish between good and evil, between positive and negative. Rather, it speaks in terms of a range of densities of energy: heavy (Hucha) and light (Sami). The denser energy comes from the underworld (Ukhu Pacha) and the lighter energy comes from above (Hanan Pacha). The world in between—which we inhabit (Kay Pacha)—is the cross (Tinkuy) or the point of intersection or between the realms.
The Andean view of the Cosmos is not based on duality, but rather, it seeks for complementarity. When taking the Andean view, we do not try to do good by simply denying our dark sides. We would instinctively know that when one denies a certain aspect of ourselves, rather than defeating it, we end up dominated by it. For example, when we project some evil intention onto others, while at the same time imagining that there can be no evil in ourselves—believing that we are only good—we end up turning this pretended ‘good’ into something malignant.
For this reason, Andeans neither perceive the underworld or lower chakras—nor the serpent that represents them—as something evil that must be feared, avoided or annihilated. Instead, they see the underworld and the lower chakras as something to be integrated and evolved, so that the serpent can grow wings and fly. They seek to transmute the reptile into bird, the caterpillar into butterfly, giving continuity to the process of the evolution of consciousness. We also find this metaphor in the Toltec Quetzalcoatl, the Mayan Kukulcan, the Uraeus of Ancient Egypt or the Greek Caduceus, among many others.
Uraeus of Ancient Egypt
From the Andean perspective, the underworld is the place of origin, the pakarina, that which gives birth to life, the Lake Titikaka, the womb of Pachamama (Mother Earth), the centre of the Chakana cross, the reality from which we were born. It would not make sense to see it as something negative or malignant; that would be like saying that children are evil for not having attained adulthood, or that animals are wicked for not yet having taken on the human condition.
Someone with an Andean perspective does not need to make such distinctions. This helps to avoid many of the dilemmas that trap the three main religions of book (Judaism, Christianity and Islam). The duality between good and evil brings with it paradoxes— a God who is omnipresent (it is in everything) but does not include evil (as if evil were separated from everything), or a fallen angel one who incites us to do evil acts, the very symbol of darkness, whose name Lucifer comes from the word ‘light’ This system creates a dual universe in which God is seen as pure love and Satan as complete evil, without any middle ground: a world of extremes and paradoxes.
The Eastern world, unlike the West, did in fact learn how to perceive these concepts in more relative terms. They uphold that nothing is good or bad per se, given that these represent relative concepts. Things and deeds could be interpreted as being good or bad depending on how we use them and how we look at them, just as people could be perceived as acting saintly or wickedly depending on our beliefs. However, none of them are intrinsically good or evil—they are simply things, deeds and people.
This is why in Samakhya, an ancient philosophical school in India, darkness is called tamas: signifying inertia and apathy. There is nothing malignant about it—it is just an underdeveloped expression of Nature, something to be refined until it is enlightened by Spirit. The light, on the other hand, is known as sattwa: purity, harmony, beauty and balance. Between the two, there is the quality of rajas, signifying movement and energy, typical of the intermediate world.
These terms, sattwa and tamas, are much closer to describing the characteristics of the Andean upper world and underworld than the typical Western concepts of good and evil or heaven and hell. In spite of that, neither the Andeans nor any of the other indigenous people of America have ever felt the need to apply such dual concepts. They have not made them relative, like in the East, and much less have they expressed them with the typical absolutism of the Western world.
This is why, before the arrival of the Castilian conquistadores, there was no specific word for ‘bad’, ‘wicked’ or ‘evil’ in the Quechua language. In this ancient Andean language, the word to refer to something good is ‘allin’. One of its uses, for example, is to say good night (allin tuta). In contrast, no word exists to say ‘bad’. And this is how it was up until 500 years ago, when Europeans arrived with such concept. In order to incorporate this word into their language, the Andean people had to translate it as a negation of the good. So they invented the expression “mana allin kay” which literally means “no (mana) exists (kay) good (allin)”.
The same is true for the concept of ‘evil’. The Quechua speaker says “mana allin sunquyuq”, where “mana allin” means “does not exist”, and “sunquyuq” refers to the heart. Therefore, evil is expressed as someone “having no heart”. At this point, one must ask: “Who had no heart?” The Andean people, who founded a society based on the three fundamental values of service (llankay), love (munay) and wisdom (yach’ay); or those who arrived with the sword in one hand and the cross in the other, accusing them of evil acts, in order to justify to the world their own acts of cruelty…
Presently, the Andean indigenous people seek to recover the knowledge lost during the long, dark 500 year period out of which we are slowly emerging. They seek to recover it from the records that are still preserved, those that were salvaged after what has been called the extirpation of idolatry^^1^^, performed by the Catholic Church. Other civilisations were not as fortunate. The Maya codices literally fuelled an enduring fire.^^2^^ However, because the Inca lacked a formal writing system, their knowledge was recorded in multiple forms so now it can be easily restored. This so-called illiteracy might have been perceived as a disadvantage by many; instead, it has become a strength as it allowed them to preserve their wisdom.
THE INCAS, WE are told, had no form of writing in the strict sense of the word. However, their lack of a conventional writing system that communicates words, syllables, and phonemes did not prevent them from recording and sharing information. For example, they had the quipus, a system of knotted strings used to compute a variety of data such as dates and figures. But aside from this technique, they possessed an extensive and sophisticated array of other methods to record information, and it is in these that information regarding the anatomy of the soul is encoded.
Quipu – Museo Larco. Lima by Claus Ableiter. Creative Commons
For instance, they had a strong oral tradition featuring myths, legends, allegories, tales, riddles, poems, parables, proverbs, and maxims. How would it benefit them to write down their wisdom if there were enough sages (amautas) among them to transmit it orally? Avoiding the written word also saved them from the danger of misinterpretation, as often happens when wisdom is written down!
Sachamama Stargazer by Creative Christine Marsh. Copyright.
In addition, they used urban planning as a means of communication. This included the alignment of their streets, squares, monuments, and canals.
Architecture was another way to pass on information and was incorporated into structures through their shapes and dimensions, the materials used to construct them, the directions they faced and their layouts on the ground. Water sung the song of this ancient wisdom as it flowed down the carved stone channels. Even the light shining from the Sun and the Moon upon the monuments spoke the Andean philosophy through the reflections and shadows it cast. What need had they for textbooks crammed with information, if each and every building was created to be an interactive encyclopaedia whose volumes were spread across the city streets?
Stone of the 12 angles. Cusco, by the author. Creative Commons
During festivals and festivities, each act and each dance—whether it was in the theatre, music, or a parade—revealed some crucial information. Each act and gesture conveyed something important. What would have been the purpose of written books if stories were told in these festive acts merry activities?
Inti Raymi 2008, by Bill Damon. Creative Commons.
Another of their record-keeping methods consisted of using symbols, such as logograms, logotypes, images, talismans, and shapes. These they painted, engraved, drew, stamped and embroidered on fabrics, walls, and other surfaces. They also carved, moulded, and modelled them in stone, wood, copper, clay and other materials. What did they have for manuals if every object spoke for itself?
Serpent carved in stone. at Sacsayhuaman, by the author. Creative Commons
In addition to all of the above, the Incas conveyed information through clothing such as costumes, jewellery, emblems, masks, crowns, walking sticks, and other similar articles. If properly understood, their wardrobes revealed the wearer’s age, village of origin, level of education, profession, social status and posts held, among many other things. What need would anyone have for identification cards, if everyone introduced themselves through what they were wearing?
Colonial portrait of Manco Cápac. Public Domain
Sacred objects, especially, had something to say. For the most part, however, all that remains of these are descriptions, as they were either destroyed or purposely misplaced in order to be safeguarded. Thus, we ask, what would have been the use of sacred scriptures if every idol and icon spoke for itself?
Replica of the solar disk, by the author. Creative Commons
To conclude, the Quechua tradition is rich in oral symbols. These are much like the Chinese hanzi, Japanese kanji or the hand movements used in sign language. However, the Quechuan language convey information orally as opposed to visually. So, if we were to reduce the words to their roots, we would hear—both in their literal and analogous meanings—detailed explanations of the concept being defined in the deconstructed word. And when the roots of these words are reduced to individual sounds (phonemes), what we discover are intoned mantras linking us to Mother Nature and Her elements. What need would we have for dictionaries if every word was self-defined?
From looking at all of these non-linguistic records, we gain access to information surrounding the knowledge that the Andean people possessed about the anatomy of the soul during the time of the Incas. In the following chapters, this information is presented according to the categories of these non-linguistic record-keeping methods.
IN ORDER TO understand the customs of the Incas, little can be recovered from what could be referred to as formal script. Philip II of Castile prohibited any writing relating to customs of the ‘Indians’. Friar Alonso Montufar—who was responsible for the duties of Inquisitor before the Holy Office— formally banned the sale of these works and demanded that all the volumes be collected.^^3^^
As a result, only the official chronicles remained, plus those few that for one reason or another managed to elude censorship. This is why, when recovering the Incan knowledge, the ‘unwritten’ records are much more reliable than the written ones. They are much more reliable because those who wrote the chronicles reinterpreted history with the intention of justifying the conquest to the world. For instance, Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa admits, almost inadvertently, that at the time he wrote his chronicle, his objective was:
“[…] To prove the tyranny in this land of the cruel Incas, so that all nations of the world should understand the juridical and more than legitimate title that the King of Castile has to these Indies and other lands neighbouring them, especially to these kingdoms of Peru.”
(Sarmiento de Gamboa, Pedro: History of the Incas. 1572)
Even mestizo chroniclers like Garcilaso de la Vega and Father Blas Valera, or indigenous Andean writers like Juan de Santa Cruz Pachacuti, allowed words such as “the ignorance of these Incas” to escape their lips. How is this possible? Perhaps they had fallen under the influence of the dominant culture, which imposed itself upon others under the pretence of being superior. Or, perhaps it was out of mere desperation to keep their works from being censored by the Holy Inquisition and that, under the guise of towing the party line, they hid their true intentions behind phrases like ‘ignorant Indians’ and ‘Incan tyrants’, hoping that future generations would read between the lines to get to the genuine truth. Hence, chronicles should never be read literally.
These unwritten, symbolic records are also much more reliable for a more subtle reason, which is connected to a still-living interpretation of reality. According to the official version of history, up until some twelve thousand years ago, during the Middle Paleolithic period, we were still living in caves. It was not until recently that humans began to form civilisations. That is why the Incas are only placed within a few hundred years ago. Furthermore, the remnants of any Pre-Columbian civilisations are always dated within the historical period of humanity, this being the last five thousand years.
One problem with this official interpretation of history is that it is mostly based on Carbon-14 dating, which is used to estimate the age of organic remains. However, this method cannot determine when the stones were carved, as they are inorganic. Only when stones contain organic remains such as bone remnants, articles of clothing, clay formed from decomposed living organisms, or recovered wooden utensils, can the age be determined.
However, inferring the age of stones through the organic material found next to them is only feasible when these archaeological remains belonged to the original builders of the structures. When stones have been visited by many different civilisations and have been damaged by those attempting to erase the past, this method is not suitable. This is why stones dated within the last five thousand years are most likely much older, but Carbon-14 cannot tell us how much older they are.
Much more reliable than this method is common sense. When one visits Sacsayhuaman, Q’enko, or the Temple of the Moon near Cusco and reads its stones, there is a feeling that they are not just hundreds of years old but millennia.
When contemplating carved stones of more than 300 tonnes and fitted together perfectly, it becomes obvious that the knowledge to achieve such a feat was forgotten long ago. It seems that if these stones were less than six centuries old—as the official version of history states regarding Sacsayhuaman—such an ability would still have been retained three generations later, when the European conquistadores disembarked in America.
Stones heavier than 300 tonnes at Sacsayhuaman, by the author. Creative Commons.
Also, when one visits the archaeological remains in Pisaq and observes the ancient cultivation terraces on the slopes of the mountains, it is very likely that they are much older than they are believed to be. It would not make much sense to build these terraces on the mountain slopes, if the water, the fertile land, and the river basins are all located in the valley. Obviously, the most likely explanation is that when ancient Pisaq was first built, the valley was an immense lake. That would explain why the land in the valley is so flat.
Pisaq terraces, by the author. Creative Commons.
However, when was the valley a lake? Not one thousand, nor even five thousand years ago, but between ten and fifteen thousand years ago. This was when the end of an ice age created a thaw, which caused valleys to flood and sea levels to rise from water created by the melting. Therefore, ‘common sense’ tells us that the builders of those places located their communities on the slopes of the high peaks of the Andes to escape the continuous flooding caused by the end of the ice age.
These were terraces that had been constructed during the thaw, at which time the population fled from the lower areas and the river valleys to take refuge in the mountains. Memories of that traumatic experience are still alive in many cultures around the planet. Numerous chroniclers capture the event, referred to by the locals as Unu Pachacuti and by the Bible as the Great Deluge, estimated to have taken place around 9,700 BCE.
Then, some 5,200 years ago, at a time when the Great Flood had already become legend in human memory, a decrease in solar activity caused a global cooling and the beginning of a dryer period.^^4^^
It was during this period that the North African savannah became what is now the Sahara desert. Many nomadic tribes were forced to settle on the banks of the Nile, where they reclaimed land and ruins that had remained practically uninhabited since the Era of Leo, which took place around 10,500 BCE.
In the Andes, the colder temperatures and increasing shortages of water seems to have forced its inhabitants to abandon many of the cultivation terraces built on the mountain slopes. This is when I estimate they began to move down to the river basins.
FOR THESE REASONS, official chronicles were not included in the primary sources used to compile this book. It was even more unreasonable to do so, as this work seeks to raise matters which a few centuries ago were not only relegated to pure esotericism in Europe but which were labeled heresy and consequently punished by the Holy Inquisition. Therefore, there is very little authentic information that such chronicles can contribute to our knowledge of the Incas, the only exception being when they offer truthful interpretations that went unnoticed by inquisitors.
The information extracted from these non-written sources has not been interpreted within the accepted vision of history either, as the collective amnesia leading us all to believe in this vision would have never allowed me to read such sources properly. I am interpreting them on behalf of common sense and from the knowledge of a past that is starting to be remembered.
RECALLING ANCIENT WISDOM must be a collective effort and so, at the end of each chapter, there is a questionnaire for you. Each question is more difficult than the previous one. The answers to the final set of questions for each chapter are not even in the book. This gives you an opportunity to search within yourself, so the effort to find the answer further connects you to the source of the knowledge. The more of us who connect to that source, the easier it will be for everyone to do so. The knowledge never disappeared. It was simply relegated to our collective unconscious and from there we must recover it. This book is a small effort towards that goal.
Click to answer the questions related to the Introduction.
Sachamama Stargazer by Creative Christine March. Copyright
ANDEAN AND AMAZONIAN mythology tells of a serpent called Sach’amama that joins the three worlds or Pachas. This is similar to the way in which Jacob’s Ladder in the Bible, or the Tree of Life in many traditions, joins earth and heaven. It is for this reason that Sach’amama appropriately means Mother Tree.
Sach’amama is depicted as a two-headed snake that transforms into a rainbow (K’uychi) after reaching the upper world (Hanan Pacha). The two heads symbolise the transcendence of the ego, a state of being in which the ‘other’ is perceived as an extension of self.
In many cultures, the serpent symbolises the evolving energy of the soul. This energy is called kundalinī shakti (coiled energy) in tantric philosophy and yoga. It is also described by a wide range of names, depending on the source culture. Some of these names are: the Rainbow Serpent of the Aboriginal Australians, the Winged Dragon in Chinese and Japanese mythology, Chnoubis of the Gnostics, Quetzalcoatl (Feathered Serpent) of the Toltecs, Kukulcan of the Maya, Uraeus or the cobra with wings in ancient Egypt, Ayida-Wedo from Voodoo, the fire of the !kia among the Bushmen of the Kalahari desert, and the Amaru in the Andean culture.
Rainbow Serpent by Mintsi Griso. Creative Commons
Quetzalcoatl from Codex Borbonicus. Public Domain
Ayida-Wedo of Voodoo. Creative Commons
Winged Dragon by Katsushika Hokusai. Public Domain
TANTRISM TELLS US that the kundalinī shakti lies dormant in the energy centre of the perineum (mooladhara chakra), located between the anus and the genitals. There she waits until the moment she is ready to awaken and continue on the path to ascension. After ascending to the next octave, the serpent returns to a coiled position but this time in the base chakra of the next octave, an energy centre located above the crown of the head. This journey describes the evolving energy of the soul, ascending to the next evolutionary level, which could, in some way, be described as the angelic state.
Yogi with Six Chakras, India Punjab Hills, Kangra, 18th century. Public Domain
In a tantric scripture called Hevajra Tantra, it is stated that, ‘One must rise by that which one falls’. This means that the same sexual energy that made us fall into the sensual material world could also be used to raise us up to our original spiritual state. To make an analogy, the process of soul evolution is similar to the biological evolutionary process in which energy is transmuted from reptilian to avian, so that by the flap of her wings, the bird can take flight. The only difference being that now it is transmuted from human to angelical, so that a similar flight can take place.
THE ANDEAN WORLDVIEW is based on the union of pairs. This pairing occurs when two complementary elements converge to create something new, such as a man and woman uniting to give birth to a child. In the subtle human body, this complementarity is represented by the two lateral channels, described in the Bible as two olive trees:
“What do you see?” I said, “I see, and behold, a lamp-stand all of gold, with a bowl on the top of it and seven lamps on it, with seven lips on each of the lamps that are on the top of it. And next to it there are two olive trees, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.” (Zechariah 4:2-3)
The seven lamps represent the seven chakras or principal energy centres of a human being. It is through the chakras that the evolving energy of the soul ascends toward awakening, from the perineum to the crown. This ascent occurs through the central energy channel.
In tantrism and yoga, the energy channels of the human body are called nādīs, while in taoism, in the art of acupuncture and in Qigong, they are called meridians. In yoga and in tantric philosophy, the two lateral nādīs are called idā and pingalā, which are equivalent to the meridians ren mai (conception vessel) and du mai (governing vessel) of Qigong. In the Bible, they are allegorically symbolised by the two olive trees, but also by Adam and Eve. In Kabbalah, they are called Od and Ob, while in alchemy they are sulphur, the life principle, and mercury, the mind principle.
Mutus Liber, 1677. La Rochelles. Ed. Petrum Savovret, Bibliothèque Électronique Suisse. Public Domain
Idā, ren mai, Eve, Ob or mercury represent the lunar channel, negatively charged, through which according to yoga the vital energy (prana) flows, normally downward in the male and upward in the female. Pingalā, du mai, Adam, Od or sulphur represent the solar channel, positively charged, through which the vital energy flows mainly upward in the male or in the opposite direction of the female. From this point on they will be referred to simply as lunar channel and solar channel.
Human profile by Alex Engraver. The rest is own work. Creative Commons
Both channels join at two points: in the energy centre of the perineum—base chakra of the human condition—and at the eyebrow centre. These correlate with the first and sixth lamp of the lamp-stand (menorah) that was mentioned previously in Zechariah.
It is intended that the vital energy flows through both channels in a balanced manner, creating a self-reinforcing loop. This type of flow may be seen in the hermetic symbol of the Ouroboros, in which two serpents or winged dragons are biting each other’s tails.
Ourobouros by A. Elezar, Donum Dei, Erfurt, 1735. Public Domain
THE FEMININE LUNAR lunar channel and masculine solar channel represent complementary pairs. In the Andean worldview, this type of relationship is symbolised by the pair of Illawi. The representation of the Illawi image shows the divine couple, a female and a male, looking in opposite directions and but tied together by the serpents Koas and Asirus. In this way, the Illawi image symbolises the completed union. It illustrates union created out of the balance of complementary pairs.
Illawi by Mitsi Griso. Image inspired from the book of Javier Lajo ‘Qhapaq Ñan, la ruta Inca de Sabiduría’. Creative Commons
The Sun and the Moon provide an analogy of this balance. As observed from Earth, they appear to be the same size, even though the Sun is 400 times larger as well as 400 times farther away than the Moon. This means that they both exert their influence with the same level of intensity. The Sun is active as it illuminates, and the Moon is receptive as it reflects. As a result of the harmonious balance between the two, life developed on this planet.
Solar eclipse by NASA. Public Domain
The European alchemy of the Medieval period uses a similar type of symbolism to the one expressed by the Illawi, although not entirely identical. Here, we see a double-sided androgynous being with each side facing in opposite directions. The tree in front of the male figure bears a fruit that looks like the Sun, representing the solar channel. The other tree in front of the female figure has fruit that looks like the Moon, representing the lunar channel. The female holds a dragon, in reference to the feminine nature of the evolving soul energy. The male figure holds the Sun and the Moon combined, to symbolise the balance achieved between equal complementary forces. Beneath their feet, two dragons appear with life energy flowing out of their mouths to nourish the roots of trees similar to the ones mentioned in Zechariah.
Manly Palmer Hall collection of alchemical manuscripts Volume Box 14. Public Domain
However, there are significant differences between the two representations. In Andean cosmology, the man and the woman complement each other while still maintaining their own identities. For the Andean people, creation emerges from the complementary union between the Father Sun (Taita Inti) and the Mother Moon (Mama Killa), or between the Father Sky (Pachatata) and the Mother Earth (Pachamama). This represents a vision more similar to the union between Shiva and Shakti found in tantrism, whereas the alchemical drawing represents one androgynous being with both masculine and feminine attributes.
IN CONTRAST TO the Andean vision, which is a representation of unity attained by the perfect complementarity of the pair, European alchemy tends to emphasise an androgynous unity. Thus, during the Middle Ages, alchemy claimed that Divinity possessed the double manifestation of being father and mother, masculine and feminine.
German alchemical drawing from the 17th century. Public Domain
In the Book of Genesis of the Judeo-Christian tradition, Moses refers to God as Elohim. The word Elohim derives from combining ‘Eloah’ (Goddess) with the plural masculine ending ‘-im’. Therefore Elohim means God and Goddess all in one. As it can be seen, God had male and female attributes before becoming Yahweh, Jehovah, the Lord or the Father in heaven, which are all male depictions of the Divine.
At the beginning of the fourth century CE, there were numerous Gospels offering diverging interpretations of the message of Jesus. It was in the year 331 CE that the Roman emperor Constantine asked Bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia to compile the first version of the present day Bible, which included those gospels that would be part of the canon of the New Testament.
Eleven years before, in the town of Nag Hammadi, located on the banks of the Nile River, Saint Pachomius founded the first Christian monastery. Upon compilation of the first Bible, the gospels that had not been included were considered non-canonical and were suppressed. They became apocryphal (secret or non-canonical) writings.
Some of these writings, like the Apocryphal Gospel of John, tell of events attributed to Christ. In these writings, God is referred to not only as Father but also as Mother. In fact, the word ‘mother’ appears in this gospel a total of 31 times, with the word father appearing only 20 times.
Monks from that first Christian monastery hid a total of 52 of these religious writings in a cave near Nag Hammadi. They did this to try to prevent the writings from being destroyed by a declining Rome that sought to interpret the message of Jesus of Nazareth to its own liking and convenience. This occurred 36 years after Eusebius of Nicomedia compiled the official Bible, which Rome chose to use as a cornerstone to convert their military empire into an empire of faith.
The original message contained in the apocryphal gospels is much closer to the Andean vision of creation, than the idea of a Father-only male God. For example, in the prologue of the Apocryphal Gospel of John it is written:
He said to me,
‘John, why doubt?
Why be afraid?
Don’t you know this image?
Be not afraid.
I am with you (plural) always.
I am the Father
I am the incorruptible Purity.’
The Apocryphon of John as translated by Stevan Davies
Based on all these perceptions, it is clear that in order to create, balance between two complementary principles is needed. Balance is needed between the masculine (Father) and the feminine (Mother). The ancient Egyptians called these principles Osiris and Isis, with the creation depicted as Horus. According to the the apocryphal texts Jesus simply called them Father, Mother and Son.
Acknowledging this balance prevents us from falling into a world of extremes. Nevertheless, after the Roman Emperor Constantine came into power, the Mother in the trinity became an androgynous Holy Spirit and the Trinity became a mystery for all, as it lost its original meaning.
IN STATES OF imbalance of the subtle body, energy will flow with more intensity through one channel than the other.
When the lunar channel is more active, a person will tend to identify with the feminine nature and be more passive as well as sensitive. If the imbalance becomes more pronounced, the sensitivity will change to hypersensitivity. This extreme susceptibility can be in regard to comments and criticism from others, as well as difficulty recognising one’s own mistakes. It can result in always attributing blame to others or to circumstances beyond one’s control. Feeling extremely emotional, one will tend to talk a lot with the intent of helping others even though his efforts may not always seem to be genuine and effective. This is all part of the imbalance in which the Moon dominates over the Sun.
On the other hand, when the solar channel is more active, a person will tend to intellectualise everything, including feelings, and have a more masculine and aggressive nature. If the imbalance increases, the need to reason out everything will even create arrogance to the point that the individual will speak less because it is not worth the trouble to waste words on anyone. This person will not engage in conversation until she feels there is an interesting subject for discussion, and even then, she will try to gain the intellectual edge by force of reasoning.
If such individuals were to awaken the kundalinī accidentally, or by force of will, the evolving soul energy would ascend through the channel most active at that moment. The person may confuse the experience with a spiritual awakening, even thinking that they had attained self-realisation. After having had one’s kundalinī ascend through the lunar channel, the individual could become even more sensitive, thinking that one is being constantly criticised and that every comment is about them. Those in the solar channel will reach unstable extremes of intellectual arrogance. In both cases, the unfortunate victim believes that all has been learned, they know everything and that therefore no one has anything to teach them.
This kind of event not only affects the relationship of individuals with others but could also threaten their own physical, energetic and mental health. The energetic effect is felt throughout the body during the experience. The lateral ascent of the serpent could be accompanied by spasms and an intense burning sensation deep in the gut. It would be something like passing a high amperage electrical current through a cable that was not prepared for it. The cable would certainly burn up.
As a result, physical ailments usually begin soon after. The kidneys will probably be the first to experience problems as they are the first organs in the path of ascent. After that will be the stomach, and the effect will continue to other organs along the way as all of this badly channelled energy tries to find its way out of the body. Symptoms may appear and disappear without any doctor being able to identify their causes. Faced with this situation, the best approach is to try to get the energy to flow down while releasing it through the feet and offering it to Mother Earth. This will prevent it from continuing to ascend and affect other vital organs like the heart, the thyroid or the pineal gland.
Mentally, the individual will experience a serious imbalance, similar to a manic-depressive state. After the serpent has ascended through the lunar channel, the unfortunate victim will soon begin giving advice to everyone, trying to help but incapable of even helping themselves. If the ascent occurs through the solar channel, the individual will become lost in a world of mental speculations to the point of becoming inaccessible to others and showing the typical signs of autism. In both cases, there will be a clear disconnection with the outside world.^^5^^
Many mental institutions house individuals who accidentally awoke the serpent without being ready for it. It is for this reason that Sach’amama, or its equivalent, is sometimes pictured devouring humans. This can be observed in the myths of Australian Aboriginal people, in which the Rainbow Serpent devours an entire community when the natural laws are not respected. This is also evident in many images of the Toltec deity Quetzalcoatl (the Feathered Serpent).
Quetzalcoatl. Codex Telleriano-Remensis. Public Domain
It also appears in an engraving at the Chan Chan ruins of the Chimu culture emerging around 900 AD on the northern coast of Peru. At other times, the symbolism of the serpent devouring a human refers to the previous initiation as described earlier, in an esoteric sense.
With that in mind, the myth of Sach’amama is not exclusively Andean-Amazonian, but it is also present in cultures that inhabited coastal regions of the Pacific. It is therefore a myth of the South American continent as well as shared knowledge among most indigenous cultures of the world.
In the earlier Chimu engraving, Sach’amama is seen devouring two individuals. Each head seems to represent an element of pair which, in balance, creates a rainbow. The lunar channel is supplying the water and the solar channel is providing the light in order to project the spectrum of the seven colours. This symbolises a union that, as was mentioned earlier, takes place at the eyebrow energy centre, called by many ‘the third eye’.
Yet here, the imbalance is represented as a two-headed serpent devouring two humans. It is no longer an androgynous being or the male-female pair of the Illawi. Instead, the couple is depicted as separate and from the look on their faces, they also seem sad.
Images like these should always be interpreted like the reflection in a mirror, as they are a representation of the subtle body. Therefore, the right side of the image represents the left side of our body, and vice versa. We can see then how on the right side of the image, the serpent is shown devouring a woman. This is a clear reference to the fact that the feminine lunar channel primarily circulates through the left side of the body. And then on the left side of the image, it is consuming a male figure to represent that the masculine solar channel primarily circulates through the right side of the body.
Chimú ruins in Chan Chan by Juan Hidalgo. 2007 Copyright
MANY TRADITIONS OF the world warn of the dangers of not achieving balance between the masculine and feminine expressions of our being. Only when one has integrated both aspects of the Divine will the central channel open. This channel is called sushumnā in yoga or chong mai among the various practices of ancient China. The central channel ascends vertically through the spinal cord, from the perineum to the crown chakra. If one wants to avoid the previously mentioned misfortunes, it is through this channel that the serpent should ascend and not through one of the lateral channels.
THE KABBALAH CALLS this constant search for balance between complementary pairs the ‘Path of Initiation’. So as to move forward, one may go from one side of the Tree of Life to the other and, in this way, find the right balance. Let us remember that Sach’amama specifically means Mother Tree. This mother tree is none other than the Tree of Life, the one that interconnects all of creation to form a greater whole.
The Path of Initiation is long, but it is safer. This path helps us to further develop spiritually and prepare for the day when the evolutionary energy of the soul awakens. This is the path of the householder, the path of marriage. It is about the mutual coexistence that leads to a harmonious couple. Then, we will be able to reach a state of inner balance that will allow for the guiding of energy through the central channel.
Kabbalistic Tree of Life. Œdipus Ægypticus’, 1652. Public Domain
Although this constant search for balance can be found through marriage, there are also journeys that can be pursued alone. The science of yoga divides them into four major paths: the path of devotion towards an expression of divinity (bhakti yoga), the path of purposeful work without over attachment to the rewards (karma yoga), the path of meditation (raja yoga) and the path of knowledge (jnana yoga).
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Upon entering the age of materialism ―around 5000 years ago― knowledge about the anatomy of the soul became a part of various esoteric traditions. It was therefore kept private among a few initiates. In the Himalayas, it was knowledge passed down orally, from master to disciple, and recorded in texts like the Puranas or the Tantras. In ancient Egypt and Sumer, it was transmitted through various mystical schools. With the arrival of Islam, many of these schools became Sufi brotherhoods. In the West, because of the power associated with this knowledge, various secret societies were founded, keeping it only for a few initiates and limited primarily to those few who were members of the upper echelons. It was not until the end of the nineteenth century that such information began to transcend the circle of disciples, initiates and followers to become accessible to the remainder of the population. However, this was not the case in the Andes. As this book reveals, the Inca civilisation conveyed such knowledge openly. It was communicated in their myths and legends, in their urban planning, ceremonies and festivals, dances, symbols and emblems, and in the language. It was ‘written’ for everyone to ‘read’ because, by definition, in a culture without a formal writing system, there cannot be illiterate people.