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Posted April 11 2007 - 05:34 PM
HEALING WITH STONES: THE TEACHINGS OF A Q'ERO SHAMAN-PRIEST
HAL ZINA BENNETT Ph D
writes about Americo Yabar.
The Q'eros, are a Quechua- speaking people, who live in the
mist - shrouded mountains of south central Peru, high in the Andes.
They have managed to maintain their cultural and spiritual traditions relatively untainted by the outside world for the last 400 years or more.
Today there are less than 1,000 Q'eros, living in a cluster of five small villages, still tending small herds of alpacas and weaving wool from the animals for their traditional clothing.
Because of the parallels between the Q'ero spiritual teachings and sparse records of the secret teachings of the ancient Incas, there are those who believe that the Q'ero are descendants from an inner circle of high shaman-priests who sought refuge high in the mountains when the Spanish conquistadors ravaged the holy city of Cuzco.
Anthropologists would classify the Q'ero as animists, that is, their spiritual teachings are based in the belief of spirit in all things; everything is alive, and everything is a direct expression of spirit. At the centre of these teachings is their relationship to the Pachamama, or Cosmic Mother. To get a full grasp of how the Q'ero shaman works with stones we need to delve a bit into their basic cosmology. The following comments are from my tape-recorded conversations with Americo:
"There are many differences between the modern and the ancient worlds but there are as many similarities. I believe in God and you believe in God. The main difference is that your beliefs come through your education--your books of wisdom and human teachers--while mine come to me through Nature.
Christians believe in the soul. In the Andes, the Q'ero speak of a subtle energy that exists in all humans. We call this the animu.
At birth this energy enters through the top of the head, coming from the Pachamama. It warms the child's blood, giving it life. When we die, the animu leaves through the top of our head, merging once again with the cosmic weavings, the filaments that connect all and everything with the Pachamama .
The Q'ero teach that there are two realities - the panya and the yoqe. Panya is everything you might associate with the ordinary world, the surface reality we call the physical. Yoqe is all that we associate with the non-ordinary world, what some call the 'invisible reality.' Yoqe connects us with the mystery, the enigma of the unfolding of the unknown energies which are present in all beings, in all things, people, animals, plants, the dirt under our feet, the stones.
To enter the Q'ero priesthood, you must serve. Every living being in the universe has a relationship to service, which he or she must discover and develop. This doesn't mean one adopts an attitude of servitude, or that you surrender your energy to others - absolutely not. But to learn, you must serve the Pachamama in some way.
The men and women of the paq'o start their initiation by serving from the area in which they live, beginning with a small area, then moving to larger and larger areas as they master the energy they encounter at each step along the way. At each level, their power increases commensurate with the power of the area they serve.
The classrooms of the paq'o are the mountains, all of Nature. This is the temple where we come to realise the processes of our eventual strengths, our eventual callings. Along the way, we encounter many tests: tests of fire, tests to determine our physical readiness, tests that prepare our hearts, our ability to be compassionate, to love and revere knowledge. The path of the paq'o is very hard, and often one walks the sharp edge of the sword.
"There are many skills, many practices the paq'o must learn, all of them having to do with our relationship to Nature, to the Pachamama. All are ways to heal our relationship to the cosmic forces, to bring our lives into balance and harmony with the weavings of energies which are in all things.
One of the practices is the use of q'uyas, or power stones, for healing and therapy. A stone can cleanse heavy energy from the body. It is done by believing in the spirit of rocks and loving the stones. When you create a subtle energy through the help of the stones, it helps you. It's love, simply that - from Nature to Nature.
We learn how to use our intention to give the rock a purpose and meaning, a use within the energy of a person, animal, plant or particular region where the paq'o serves. There is an interaction between the subtle energy of humankind and the subtle energy of the stone. The rock has a munay - heart. It can incorporate your feelings. It can speak to you and transmit thoughts to you from the higher energies of the cosmos.
Americo explained that each of the rocks holds many energies, put there through Nature, through the Pachamama, and through the intent of the paq'o who uses them and the teachers who have helped him develop his/her healing skills.
Intent is extremely important in this process. The preparation ritual, prior to a healing, includes clearing one's mind of all preconceptions that you know either the reason for the person's illness, or what higher purpose it may serve within the broadest possible picture. Meditation and prayers of the preparation must include a profound humility and dedication to the service of the Pachamama, whose intelligence none of us can ever fully know. We clear our minds and our hearts, making room only for love to flow through us, once again in service of this higher purpose.
Blessings and Munay