How should we call the Andean teachers?, Should we call them Shamans?, or Should we call them Andean Paqo?, or Are both terms applicable and correct? Is there a difference between a Shaman and a Paqo, or are we talking about the same thing? How do we know how to name each Andean teacher? Who has the answer? Who has the authority to name someone a Shaman or a Paqo? If you have ever dare ask an Andean Teacher: How should I call you, Shaman or Paqo? Some would answer Paqo, some other would say any name works, while some would ask you to address them as Paqo. The answers would vary in relation to where each teacher comes from, their concepts and practices as a bottom lines.
The truth of the matter is that both words have become popular in recent times amongst teachers and students.
For those who are in contact with the Teachers it may be fine to call them Shaman since that was the way they learned. The word has been recorded in the mind and is at times very difficult to change an old learning. Other teachers and students however would not say the same simply because they are familia with the word Paqo or Paqo Andino.
These terms, “Paqo and Shaman” have caused a great deal of confusion amongst many teachers and students who are interested in the spiritual path of the Andes. Some people have never questioned the terms and have simply accepted them to refer to the teachers. For some other people it is just not important how they should address their teachers and disregard the fact that they may be offending someone. Lucky are those that with humbleness accept the authentic teachings passed down from the elders and Andean gods. Is is those people who will arrive at being great teachers of the spiritual community.
What we can tell is that Paqos as well as Shamans have a lot in common, in their practices and teachings, to the point of not being able to tell them apart. The main difference is rooted in where the teacher comes from, to which tribe he belongs and to which tradition. Their training and formation also make up a body of knowledge that makes them different from the types of practices and teachings each one gets.
The word Shaman or Shamanism has an archaic origin from a civilization of antiquity of the pre-ceramic era, where the first shamans learned the healing arts, the arts of self-knowledge, and the use of medicinal plants and how to travel to other worlds or dimensions in a state of trance. Through the use of hallucinogenic substances they have probably engaged the practices and teachings of contacting spirits from other worlds.
Probably the etymology of the word Shaman comes from the language Tungus and Manchu from today’s Turkey, between Europe and central Asia, both very far from the Andes, where the word Shaman in all its variations means: “he who knows or the one who knows”. In other words, it refers to teachers who possessed ancestral knowledge from those territories. The Manchues also have similar words to refer to a wise person and a knower of the spiritual arts.
Is it then the right thing to call the Andean masters shamans? Considering the fact that the most probable thing would be that the two never met (Shamans and Paqos) As far as the classical version of the two we could not confirm a relationship. These may not be the case for more modern versions of shamans and Paqos.
Instead the “ANTI PAQOKUNA” or “Andean Paqos” had their own philosophy of life, developed their own techniques and Recreation Arts, used the different materials that were not only Andean sacred plants, created and perfected his own language; rather, used many languages, where Quechua was officially spoken. Knowledge of Paqos have been passed from generation to generation, they practiced their own rites and ceremonies tailored to your spiritual and cosmic environment. In any case, this is a new form of spirituality, we have a culture that has its own roots and teachers, and we have a spiritual tradition where the word does not fit fully Shaman; from the point of view of some Andean masters, this word does not even approach to standardize both terms. Moreover, in the official language of the runes, to which we refer the Quechua language, there is no end or Shaman Chaman; therefore, this word was brought or someone came to take on paid and call themselves Shaman or Chaman the Paqos, or otherwise, is uncontrolled society that has this name, not understanding the role of Paqos or teachers Andean. We know that in ancient teachers may have had other names as officers came from each tribe or culture, and in their local language.
The practices of Paqos brothers, is related to the sacred mountains, are related to the spiritual guardians of the people Apus, Spiritual sacred mountains, Paqos also work with Pachamamas, or more specifically the “Hallp’a Mamas “or Mother Earth; but this does not mean that Paqos stop working with “Pacha”, are also closely related and connected to mother nature, with elements of the cosmos, with animals etc.
Just as I ever mention how Paqos have developed their own knowledge and practices from their ancestors, they also share with teachers from other specialties and functions as: Hamawt’a … so that the knowledge practiced the Paqos continue where possible practiced in its authenticity. Within it are the ceremonies in different names and categories, are the practices and teachings that some students already know; in this view, it is advisable and fair to call “Paqo” men or teachers from the high mountains, teachers who live and are used to living with nature and Andean animals, with birds and sacred mountains; Paqos as teachers would say “live with the Apus and Pachamamas”; Also, note that the teachers of this line Paqos were something like Andean priests who officiated ceremonies, spoke to the Temples, predicting the future in corn or other materials, etc.