The light of idealism gleamed in his eyes as Dr. Alberto Villoldo
described how an earthquake in 1949 underneath a monastery near
Cuzco, Peru, had rent the ground asunder, exposing an
ancient Incan temple of gold. This fulfilled a sign that the
prophecies of Mosoq, the "time to come,"
were now to be shared with the modern world.
Dr. Villoldo, a psychologist and medicinal anthropologist, has
lived among and trained with the Q'ero shamans and has
played a key role in bringing their ritual and prophecy to the
awareness of the modern world. The Q'ero are the last of the
Incas -- a tribe of 600 who sought refuge at altitudes above
14,000 feet in order to escape the conquering conquistadors. For 500
years the Q'ero elders have preserved a sacred
prophecy of a great change, or "pachacuti," in which
the world would be turned right-side-up, harmony and order would be
restored, and chaos and disorder ended.
The Q'ero had lived in their villages high in the Andes in virtual
solitude from the world until their "discovery" in 1949. In that
year, Oscar Nuņez del Prado, an anthropologist, was at a
festival in Paucartambo, in southern Peru, when he met two Indians
speaking fluent Quecha, the language of the Incas. The first Western
expedition to the Q'ero villages then occurred in 1955.
Four years later, at the annual Feast of The Return of the
taking place in the Andes, the gathering of 70,000 pilgrims from South
America were awed, and the crowd parted to let the Q'ero,
unannounced and wearing the Incan emblem of the sun, make their way
forward to the mountain top to make known that the time of the
prophecies was at hand. They were welcomed by the assembly and were
told, "We've been waiting for you for 500 years." Recently, Q'ero
elders journeyed to North America in fulfillment of their
In November 1996, a small group of Q'ero, including the tribal leader
and the head shaman, visited several cities in the US, including New
York, where they performed a private ceremony at the Cathedral of
St. John the Divine. The shamanic ritual had not been
performed for 500 years. But in the very home of those who
symbolized the former conquerors of their Incan ancestors they
shared their ritual and knowledge, not only with interested
Westerners who were learning their ways, but also with the Dean of
the great cathedral, thereby symbolically and spiritually
linking the two continents of North and South America.
According to ancient prophecy, this is the time of the
great gathering called the "mastay" and reintegration
of the peoples of the four directions. The Q'ero are releasing their
teachings to the West, in preparation for the day the Eagle of
the North and the Condor of the South (the Americas) fly together
They believe that "munay,"
love and compassion,
will be the guiding force of this great
gathering of the peoples.
The new caretakers
of the Earth
will come from the West, and those that have made the greatest
impact on Mother Earth now have the moral responsibility to remake
their relationship with Her, after remaking themselves," said Don
Antonio Morales, a master Q'ero shaman. The prophecy holds that,
North America will
supply the physical strength, or body;
Europe will supply
the mental aspect, or head;
and the heart will be
supplied by South America.
When the Spanish conquered
the Incas 500 years ago, the last
pachacuti, or great change, occurred. The
Q'ero have been waiting ever since for the next pachacuti,
when order would emerge out of chaos. For the past five centuries
they preserved their sacred knowledge, and finally, in recent years,
the signs were fulfilled that the great time of change was at hand:
the high mountain lagoons
the condor is nearly
and the discovery of the
Golden Temple has occurred, following the earthquake in 1949 which
represented the wrath of the sun.
The prophecies are
optimistic. They refer to the end of time as we know it -- the death
of a way of thinking and a way of being, the end of a way of
relating to nature and to the earth.
In the coming years, the Incas expect us to emerge into a golden age,
a golden millennium of peace. The prophecies also speak of
tumultuous changes happening in the earth, and in our psyche,
redefining our relationships and spirituality. The next pachacuti,
or great change, has already begun, and it promises the emergence of
a new human after this period of turmoil. The chaos and upheaval
characteristic of this period will last another four years,
according to the Q'ero.
The paradigm of European civilization will continue to collapse, and
the way of the Earth people will return. Even more importantly, the
shamanic elders speak about a tear in the fabric of time
itself. This presents an opportunity for us to describe ourselves
not as who we have been in the past but as who we are becoming.
also refers to a great Incan leader who lived in the late 1300s. He
is said to have built Machu Picchu and was the architect of an
empire the size of the US. For the Incas, Pachacuti
is a spiritual prototype -- a Master, a luminous one who stepped
outside of time. He was a messiah, but not in the Christian sense of
the only son of God, beyond the reach of humanity. Rather he is
viewed as a symbol and promise of who we all might become. He
embodies the essence of the prophecies of the pachacuti, as
means "earth" or "time," and
cuti means "to set things right." His name
also means "transformer of the earth."
The prophecies of the pachacuti are known throughout the Andes. There
are those who believe the prophecies refer to the return of the
leader Pachacuti to defeat those who took the Incas' land. But
according to Dr. Villoldo, the return of Pachacuti
is taking place on the collective level. "It's not the return of
a single individual who embodies what we're becoming, but a process
of emergence available to all peoples."
The Q'ero have served as the caretakers of the rites and prophecies of
their Inca ancestors. The prophecies are of no use unless one has
the keys, the rites of passage. The Star Rites, or "Mosoq
Karpay" (The Rites of the Time to Come), are crucial to the
practical growth described in the prophecies. Following the "despachos"
(ritualistic offerings of mesa, or medicine bundles) at the ceremony
in New York City, the shamans administered the Mosoq Karpay
to the individuals present, transmitting the energies originating
with the ancestors of their lineage. The transmission of the
Mosoq Karpay is the ceremony representing the end of one's
relationship to time.
It is a process of the heart.
This process of Becoming is considered more important than the
prophecies themselves. The Karpay (rites) plant the seed of
knowledge, the seed of Pachacuti, in the luminous body of the
recipient. It is up to each person to water and tend the seed so
that it can grow and blossom. The rites are a transmission of
potential; one must then make oneself available to destiny. The
Karpays connect the person to an ancient lineage of
knowledge and power that cannot be accessed by the individual. It
can only be summoned by a tribe.
Ultimately, this power can provide the impetus for one to leap into
the body of an Inca, a Luminous One.
That person is
connected directly to the stars, the Incan Sun of
cosmology. The Q'ero believe that the doorways
between the worlds are opening again. Holes in time that we can
step through and beyond, where we can explore our human
capabilities. Regaining our luminous nature is a possibility today
for all who dare to take the leap.
The Andean shamans say,
"Follow your own
Learn from the rivers,
the trees and the rocks.
Honor the Christ,
your brothers and sisters.
Honor the Earth Mother and the Great Spirit.
Honor yourself and all of creation."
"Look with the eyes of your soul and engage the essential,"
is the teaching of