Andean Spiritual Cosmology
Since ancient times, all cultures of the world have had to take a worldview in which they lived. The Inca empire had its own way of viewing the world, its own way of answering the questions that were posed in that time. It is evident that the conception of the Incas was a product of a long process of evolution of thought, that the Andean man made from the very beginning of archaic periods. It was its own concept and very different from that of the Europeans and other cultures at that time, and focused on and understood its own world, marking its behavior from the point of view of living in harmony, unity, peace and will power. In their different areas of life the cosmovision of the Inca religion took precedence, while Inca politics, economics, and military remained in second place. Thus, our Inca grandparents were well organized and ordered as a state.
Thanks to the stories of Andean myths that were incorporated into the chronicles, it has been possible to obtain information about the Inca cosmic plane. For them, both space and time were sacred, and undoubtedly had a mystical explanation and a ritual representation of all beings and the gods around them. Therefore, they sensed and captured supernatural forces, to thereby be guided in the performance of the different activities of life. In this way, our Inca ancestors down through today, live in unity and harmony with the Andean world that in Quechua we call Teqsi Muyuntimpi Sumaq Kausay.
Our Andean ancestors also had their own cosmovision of the environment and their cosmic reality, of the world around them. There were very important people with profound knowledge of the Andean cosmology and society, and on this basis they formed the organization and politics of the Tawantinsuyo (Inca empire). In this coexistence with the Andean cosmology, all those cosmic elements, matter, spiritual beings and energies that operated in the midst of this setting were always present. All of them for the Incas were sacred and divine, so that they respected and deeply valued all of these mysterious realities.
For our Andean ancestors, their cosmovision was based on the three worlds, the most important are distinguished from each other as noted below:
- Hanan Pacha: The upper world (gods such as the sun, the moon, the lightning, the stars, the rainbow).
- Kay Pacha: This world (men, animals, and plants).
- Ukhu Pacha: Urin Pacha or the lower world (snakes, the dead and diseases).
Andean men were always connected with the gods and the Andean cosmos; from the time of our ancestors, we were always present in every generation, as in Inca times, accompanied by great magic powers that come from the great spirits. This has prevailed and preserved to this day, in such a way that in today the tradition of the Andean world continues to be governed and ruled by the principles and laws called Nuna Apuchin. The heavenly spirits in turn are monitoring the activity of mankind and the various elements in the cosmos. It should be noted that the spirits are organized into levels and hierarchies as such: Nuna Ayllukuna, Anti Ayllukuna, Apuayllukuna and Llump’a Pacha Ayllukuna.
Wiraqocha Tayta, the upper spirit, controls and governs all three pachas or levels in the Andean cosmology; this is the understanding of Andean men who live in the villages and mountains. The three pachas form part of man’s knowledge, and there are other pachas in other dimensions.
This understanding guides us in our spiritual duties, while we exist in this pacha kausay…
Spiritual and material existence
The higher spirit of Hanaq Pacha gives rise to two things: spirit, called energy or force in action, and matter, elements necessary in the Andean cosmology. Man participates in these and is ruled by the universal laws, and within it is the spiritual law of the Andean cosmology. They are the basis for all that exists and that which we must do are (Spirit and matter). The most important and necessary is the spirit, because matter is a necessary component that gives us the sense of life, allowing us to realize that we exist on earth, while the origin and beginning of all that exists is the spirit– therefore the spirit is important in the life of any human being.
Our body is composed of matter, and it is our duty to care for and respect our spirit. At the same time, our body is a sacred place, a temple of the spirit, and it is our mission to keep it clean and unpolluted, so that the connection flows freely between our spirits and our ancestors (Ch’auchu pacha Machulakuna). Most of us feel an emptiness in our lives and in our bodies, but we don’t know what this emptiness is. Once we realize that it is necessary that we have more in our lives, we find that it is the spirit that fills the emptiness of our existence. But there are many, even though they already have a spirit or spiritual side, don’t know how to recognize or feel it. Therefore, we must learn that in every human being there is an immaterial force that motivates us and that drives us every moment.