I am a Paqo of the Inca tradition, it is a shaman for want of an easier word, a medicine man. I received the karpay rites, which are the rites of passage to become a shaman. They are initiations that have been passed down through the lineage of the shaman priests of the Q’ero people of Peru; the medicine men and women known as the Laika (translates as ‘long hairs’) who have until recent times, kept these initiations sacred.
Alberto Villoldo is the director of the ‘Four Winds Society’ in 2006 he was instrumental in bringing the Karpays to the western world, as the Munay Ki rites.
Villoldo is a Cuban born psychologist and anthropologist who studied the shamanic healing practises of the Amazon, Andes and the Laika medicine men and woman of the Inca tradition for over 25 years.
There is a prophecy in the Inca tradition that the medicine people of the future will come from the West, those who helped destroy the earth, the conquistadores, will be the ones to help repair the earth, bringing us back into Ayni - right relationship with the universe - and become the new healers and medicine people. Their prophecy also stated that one man from the conquistadores will be the one to share this wisdom to the west; they chose Villoldo to be this messenger.
There was and still is a controversy surrounding the Munay Ki rites. Villoldo was very much a participant in all of the rites and customs of the Amazon and the Andes, whereas most other ‘Anthropologists’ took the approach of non-participatory observational learning’s, seeing the indigenous ways through a non-dogmatic and non-mythic place, Villoldo immersed himself in the life of a Q’ero Shaman, as a westerner, to the west this was considered as a misrepresentation of the tradition.
The Karpays (the shamanic rites) are the keys to our evolution to the next level of humanity, to that of homo -luminous. Bringing about a rainbow body, the Karpays are the initiations into the shamanic priesthood. The Munay Ki rites are an evolution of these indigenous Karpay rites, out of the pot of the whole Inca/Q’ero traditions with all its rattles, drums and feathers sprang forth a seed that is the Munay Ki. This seed has grown into a set of simplified rites, more accessible to the Western world, using a simple Pi stone, a torus shaped stone to transmit them.
A decision was made with the Q’ero and Andean medicine men and women, that the time to share these rites was now. But a question was posed, ‘Can we give these rites to everyone, in a matter of a few days or weeks?’ You see the Karpays were traditionally given to a student over a period of years, during which training was given to the student. The answer was, ‘No, I don’t think so...this hasn’t been done before…so let’s do it!’
Time is speeding up and so are our energy fields, so it makes sense. All things need to evolve, each one of us, each view, each thought, each action, each breath, otherwise we will always get what we have always got, which is no longer working. This is an evolution of shamanic practise.
The rites are stripped of some of their Q’ero traditions, these rites are still given in the traditional way, during the shamanic training, but the Munay Ki rites are much more effortless, pure, it is energy work for everyone. Today they are available to anyone who ‘shows up’ to receive them, honouring and accepting their guardianship of all of creation, becoming co-creators of the infinite.
‘Munay’ means ‘Love’ in Quechua, the language of the Q’ero, descendants of the Inca, ‘Ki’ means ‘Power’. It is the power of love in its purest form, all healing is simply a form of love, any shaman or healer will tell you this, it’s all love. A good healer doesn’t actually do anything to anybody, a good healer knows how to heal themselves, to hold the client already healed and hold sacred space energetically so they can both embark on a healing journey together, hand in hand along the way.
At the core of these rites lay a foundation of five principles.
· Non-violence; rather than a principle of ‘peace’, non-violence allows us to act accordingly when faced with a difficult life situation, with non-violence we become the peacemakers rather than a passive participant of life.
· Moderation; we learn to not take more than we need, and also not to give more than we have.
· Integrity; with integrity we learn not to compromise our self in order to please others, we see what our values are, and as long as they serve us well, we live by them, to help us serve others.
· Truthfulness; to hold and live truth. Once you know that what you believe, think, speak will manifest, you develop a great responsibility to be truthful. What you speak contains the principles of non-violence, moderation and integrity.
· Generosity; giving without looking for what we can get back, taking your gifts out into the world to share, to be in service.
So, why did I show up? Good question, I have always known I wanted to be a part of the healer’s lineage, ever since I was a kid, I wanted so much to take all the pain and suffering away from the world, I saw sadness everywhere, illness, famine, pain, it’s a lot for a kid to deal with, I always wished I had magical powers to heal, see into the future, to fly. Growing up I went through vast challenges which knocked me down to the floor, power-less I became very interested in the occult and witchcraft, to regain my powers and control, but it doesn’t quite work like that does it.
I was told about the Munay Ki rites from a shaman, Chris Waters, we spoke about becoming a shaman and receiving the rites, so my reason for showing up? I wanted to be the most beautiful vessel I could be, to contain the healer’s knowledge, enabling the grace of Great Spirit to flow through a clean and clear channel, for the service of mankind and the earth.
I didn’t know what to expect when receiving the rites, as far as I could tell the rites run contrary to scientific beliefs that say that who we are, our determined futures selves, comes from our past, by the gifts and illnesses of our ancestors, our DNA, bound by time and genetics. The Munay Ki teaches you that when you step outside of time, into the timeless, we can be influenced by who we are becoming, like a giant hand from the future pulling us forward into our destiny.
One thing I remember vividly when receiving and especially performing the rites on others was that they somehow felt very familiar, like I had always known how to do this. The tools of the Munay Ki are very simple, a small round stone with a hole in its centre, found all over the Americas and throughout many other lands and cultures. These ‘Pi Stones’ represent the luminous energy field (aura) which is torus shaped. It becomes the star gate in which these rites are channelled through, also the physical presence of this stone takes ‘You’ out of the equation, allowing you to become a vessel, rather than the great ego ‘I’
One of the rites is called the ‘Ayni Karpay Rite’ here we received the archetypal spirits of the four direction into each of the lower chakras and three arch-angels of the Inca tradition into the higher chakras.
During the Munay rites, I laid down in sacred space while enveloped in the other persons energy field, a seed was then placed in each of my chakras for me to grow. A Serpent was sent to my base chakra, a Jaguar was sent to my second chakra, I then received a Hummingbird into my third chakra, then a great Condor into my heart. I received the three arch-angels, Huascar Inca came to my throat, Quetzelcoatl came to my brow and Pachacutti Inca was placed at my crown.
I felt a great and humbling honour to receive and to gift these rites.
During my south class training (medicine wheel to become a shaman) we received these rites again, but this time in the traditional way, the Karpays.
A shaman elder laid out her mesa, (healing bundle of sacred stones) seven kuya stones were set out, each to become the vessel in which the archetypes were to be transmitted. The archetypes were blown into each chakra and sacred words were spoken over them in Quechuan. Oils and sacred water were sprinkled over them. The dark room was hazzy with incense, I sensed a menagerie of animals all fluttering and pounding about the room, I could almost smell the heat and sweat of the animals, all waiting to join with their new beloved host. Two elder shamans sat at the back waiting to tie our mesas to all the other mesas in the world through time and space, above them I could see Grandmother Spider weaving out threads of silver and gold tying all our mesas with everything in the universe, all is one, she seemed to be saying. It was a truly remarkable and very different experience.
Both the Munay Ki rites and the traditional Karpay rites were equal in their grace, beauty and power. The Munay rites were simple, less fuss, it felt like a deep remembering, not just from our ancient past from our future. But if, like me, you like tradition, then the Karpays from the elder shamans are powerful and evocative, full bodied, so I guess you’d better start your medicine wheel training!
Amongst all the controversy and tradition, these rites are a true blessing, I hold them dear to my heart, they transformed me and helped me fall in love with life again. I have a deeper and greater connection to the world around me and with Spirit and Mother Earth, how can that be controversial? Now it’s my turn to pass these seeds on.
There is a saying amongst the Q’ero;
We are here to grow Gods, the way we grow corn. This is exactly what we are doing.
For more information on the Munay Ki rites, please visit my Munay Ki page.
Shamanism has been a passion and an inspiration for me for many years now.