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Warning on Hucksters Who Pose as S American Indian

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TRish and Pat, could you post this on our sites when you get the chance? Bryant, I think you'll be interested in this too, for any site you might build.

Mystical Travelers Advisory

Warning: Watch for wolves in sheep's clothing: Several have been spotted working over the many, now flocking to Peru.

This warning need not apply to discriminating seekers though they may find the whole thing amusing. Discernment makes the difference.

Of great value is the non-interfering guidance of a wise traditional elder who is there to share in the growth of the independent sovereign individual. The traditional healers that we choose to be around are all those who will powerfully aid in our next step and then get out of the way. None of them are prone to jabbering, trying to get us to memorize their terminology for stuff we all already know. They don't hang around slurping up adoration; they do their job then quietly leave. Then it's up to us to get it or not. Whatever we get in this manner we will truly have and cannot be taken from us, unlike some system of words, rootless and empty that eventually drifts off in the breeze.

There are the patterns of an old game being played in the Andes. We've seen the game before in India, remember those false gurus? Well once again the masses are being $$$-slaughtered, captured by the colorful bait of words and ideas that sell well while the simple and quiet truth of a more Pan-Andean thought is being obscured. The masses in follow the leader mentality will so seldom use discrimination when looking for teachers. Just because someone has psychic abilities and the power to call spirits does not mean we should blindly follow them. Con artists and spirits that suck vital energy can appear brilliant. Psychic powers do not necessarily mean that one is spiritually evolved. Power can be abused. While I am reporting here on the Andean phenomenon these warnings may be applied to any spiritual system being sold.

Before embarking on this rather touchy topic, I suppose it would be good to give you some of my credentials in support of my opinions. Since 1992 I've been living, usually 6-8 months out of the year, with my families in their villages and towns in the Andes and Amazon of Peru and Bolivia, mostly in the area from Lake Titicaca to Machu Picchu/Cusco. These families are those of my 14 Godchildren scattered through out the Andes. Almost invariably and obviously magically, after joining their families I've come to find that our Grandmother or Grandfather is the local traditional healer and ceremonial leader.

In this time I have checked out more than sixty native healers, or perhaps it would be better to say that they've checked me out. Anyway I've now narrowed it down to about twenty-two of these elders that I continue to work with in time-proven trust. I definitely will make no claim to knowing it all. Much of my time with the Andean wisdom keepers has been enjoyed in happy silence and shared worship. Normally it doesn't even enter my head to clutter our experience by asking for words of diverse details. The semi-silent elders, wise in their own ways, have obviously been content in this nearly mute mode (you would think they have good reason for this). Although, my years of experience in the Andes have given me a bit of what I like to call a Pan-Andean understanding.

For some time I had been growing increasingly disturbed seeing the amount of misinformation being sold at a high profit around the Andean culture. Disturbed until one morning, in that fuzzy waking time prior to the normal thought programs being fully up and running, a spontaneous realization had me laughing with the joke. It is from this attitude I feel comfortable in exposing some apparent discrepancies of those selling their various "Inka" systems.

So what is the joke that has me laughing over the whole mess? Well, it's just that from a certain twisty point of view it all looks to be just another a test brought to you by the makers of the Kali Yuga. The masters of illusion are a pretty slick bunch so as usual only a few people will see themselves clear of the games being played. It is to you precious few that I offer my observations; as to their validity...time will tell. Now, let's see how delicately I can handle this.

"Beautiful words are not necessarily truthful."
     —Lao Tzu

There are many tours out there that are advertising for people to come and pay to "play Inca". Rife in these outfits are many new age fabrications, ideas that perhaps someone once "channeled" or whatever that are now being accepted as cultural and historical truth. The selling of new age ideas mixed in with the traditions is misleading. At times it may be nothing more than colorful bait. In religious and ideological fabrications people can become the victims of superficial trappings, choosing reality's husk rather than the kernel. The noisemakers will spout cosmic debris and hocus-pocus because it sells, using secret coded passwords that say nothing new but sound so far out. Complicated terminology often times only clouds the mind, distracting from where the true work needs to be done. Why give ourselves away to those who mystify while they suck us dry?

In the Andes around Machu Picchu and Cusco the term Altomisayoq means a rare person who is in direct contact with the powerful earth spirits called Apus. The Altomisayoqs are among the most respected and attained of the mountain masters that I have met. Decades of apprenticeship and a lifetime of dedication produce in them astoundingly insightful healers. One outfit is selling a system to gringos that is calling Altomisayoq a certain level, while those who join this bunch are supposedly 'initiated' in a few days to a level above the Andean Altomisayoqs! I've asked mountain shamans and Q'eros about these "levels' and they also have no idea what it is. Perhaps the creating of this and other systems is based on some form of indigenous tradition and in good intent. People who need systems may get some good out of it. Or perhaps you are one of those not in need of buying such a system for your spirituality. Finding your own way and sharing with like-minded is also freely available.

A big new age talk now is about the few communities of Andean people called the Q'eros. There are some of the books and people claiming that the Q'eros are the masters and that only from them come the high level priests. I can tell you that their most immediate neighbors aren't that impressed. In fact I haven't heard any of the Q'eros that I've hung out with making these claims. There are Q'eros I know that are expressing displeasure over people profiting by misrepresenting them. There are books claiming prophecies of messiah type figures coming to crown again an Inca king. I've definitely not heard of any of their neighbors wanting to reestablish the Inca Empire. They were none too happy with the last child sacrificing despots who fell to the Spanish. The Imperial Inca were a patriarchal solar cult who justified their military conquests and subjugation by claiming to be the "only sons of the sun". When I hear of people paying to pretend to be "Inca" I really have to wonder why. For many millennia prior to idolizing the sun by the Inca, Andean worship was given to the Divine Mother and Father as well as to the All Creator beyond gendered archetype.

One group is telling their tourists that they will be special, that their work will bring about the return of the empire. Yuck! Who needs another friggin empire? These new age multi-level neophytes are being told that it is their spiritual responsibility to each one go out and get twelve more people more to usher in this new empire. Hey, that's some marketing scheme.

Also the street vendors tell me that a few of these big mystical outfits had been advising their tourists to buy feathers of the endangered Condor because they say the bird is sacred (where is the logic?). Perhaps they aren't telling the people that these feathers are illegal and can be confiscated by customs agents. This one pisses me off and is what inspired me to write this expose. So what is this? Are they selling some cheap "spiritual" thrill so their tourists think they had a special time? Is this brand of spirituality above ecological awareness? So then shall we have the worlds' tourists come to North America and buy bald eagle feather souvenirs. Hey guys, commercial justification is not granted!!! @*$#!T*%!

If a native shares an article of their indigenous culture there can be intent in the sacred and a far less ecological impact than common commercialization.

There are apparent discrepancie between some things I have read and heard concerning Andean practices and my own experiences. Things like time travel and an Andean medicine wheel, eating energy though the navel, working with energy bubbles and "high level" sudden initiations. So I took my questions to various university trained Peruvians, including PhD's and MD's, who work in the field of shamanism (not to say that the schools have all the answers). I also have questioned dozens of traditional Andean shamans in various out-back mountains from Machu Picchu to Lake Titicaca (including Q'eros). Not a single one of these people supported the practices or claims I've questioned here, in fact some of them were rather comical in their denouncements. I don't know, maybe I'm just asking the wrong bunch of tradition keepers.

Much of what is being sold comes from the recently self-ordained sorta' shamans rather than the true traditions involving at times decades of apprenticeship. Commercial guides who've become sudden shamans are easily found in the many newly established mystical (read mysterious) tourist agencies, especially around Cusco. Kind of cute, I just saw one place using Casper the Friendly Ghost in their advertising logo, at least you know what you are getting. My hope is that some of them are working in good intent. Because of my work I have sought out many of these guides, seeking good hearts that will share their authentic traditions with our travelers. In years of seeking I've found precious few that are natural, humble or true their culture. Here is a little clue for you all, the majority of the guides that we work with are native mothers.

The stuff being sold might actually come from some old Andean guy thus it has it's own truth. However, that these things that I pointed out here are not being found elsewhere in the culture raises the question of their authenticity as well as their broad application. Consider the difference between secret cult teachings and simple, open and usually inexpensive truth.

There are uncounted true paths with all of their words and ways describing their piece of reality within the many of the multi-universe. In the language of theoretical physics these are called parallel realities. For example if you find that the world description as given by the Eskimo (Inuit) shamans is really and truly your one soul path, go for it! But if it is not deeply you why further complicate your perhaps already over-full life with more words and practices to work out. We can waste a lot of time and energy chasing our tails on diverse paths leading to places of little value in our greater life purpose, while our natural strong path waits just as close as listening to our own heart. I have witnessed wounded gringos suffering from the idea that they are less than and unworthy of the indigenous they are trying to copy. In part I will have to agree, any pretense is less than our full on innate Divine naturalness. When genuine individuals come together there can be sharing and growing in full strength and depth. This then is a call to spiritual maturity, a challenge to claim responsibility for your own growth and joy and an invitation into to your genuineness. Though at times going it on your own may seem the harder path you will find with the development of your Divine connection that we have never been alone.

"Therefore Ananada, be guiding lights to yourselves.
Be your own refuge and accept no refuge outside of yourselves.
Hold fast to the truth as you would to a lamp in the darkness.
Hold fast to the truth as your refuge.
Do not seek refuge in anyone else beside yourselves."
—The Buddha

I won't deny that many people have received much good from their group involvement even if the outfit was way off center. In these cases by your own faith are you healed. A classic example of this is the vast amount of up-lifting and life enrichment that has been experienced by individual Christians in the past 2,000 years. Just the same Christianity and the rest of the major religions have been one of the most destructive forces in world history. Christ, they nailed Jeshua/Jesus when he called the church of his day a brood of vipers while offering the simple truth of direct divine contact.

The energies of a group are focused through the leaders and in the end deeply affected by their intent. Is the purpose service for the greater whole or do they show signs of imbalance? Sex, money, power and so on have dropped more than a few of the high and mighty whose foundation was not firm. Now while I am flashing the warning signs I assure you I could not stand ready to cast the first stone. Who among us has not erred in the past? This is a call into awareness; to where are you being led now? Watch their intent. So many of us have poured our effort and money into some "spiritual" system to find with times passing that it isn't really who we are. In the process of extracting ourselves there is left another unsettling emptiness. There can be all this programmed guilt, stickiness and possibly deep blues depression. It is especially sad when the systems' leaders had been sucking power by instilling dependency, leaving even further weakened personalities.

Sure it's exciting when the magic happens as a group experience but at what cost when it is contrived. Do numbers make it true while taking another step down the path of the mindless herd? It is a process of devolving into sheeple (sheep people), easy prey for the wolves. Being herded through a sacred site and being told what to expect does at times work well for the sheeple. Group psychosis is a powerful tool providing a shared mysterious experience. These bubble-realities, while giving the illusion of group inclusion may only separate us from the greater whole. Of such are cults. At times I have witnessed groups gathered in some shared psychosis come into the quiet presence of reality grounded masters who gently offer the natural energies available. The group bubble, feeling threatened to be popped by single pointed naturalness, becomes quite discomforted and flees. Even though these people had paid much and traveled far to seek the masters, time and again I've watched them cancel and run.

The deep running truth can be found in the subtle. Flavorless like water or air, it is what we really need even though it is hard to wrap words around. Mystical flashes can be fun and even inspiring but easily slip into yet another external distraction. Even spiritual highs cannot be maintained for long, while the well-grounded path goes on growing in lasting spiritual strength. In the end ridged adherence to fabricated external belief systems only blocks our natural unity with the divine within and in all. Idolatry of symbols and forms will come to dominate rather than liberate. Far beyond emotional and psychological dependency in religious or cultural ideology, pure spiritual energy is universally available for the individual enlightenment of sincere seekers.

Many, perhaps even most deepening experiences are individual. Individual freedom greatly amplifies the possibility of lasting soul meaningful growth because it allows for each person's time/space synchronized magic moment. Show me a commercial tour guide that is so cosmic that they can write those moments into their itinerary a year in advance.

So how do we get our own?

"We thirst at first
—Emily Dickinson.

The sincerity of our seeking measures the response. All pervading truth is not hiding, nor is it far away. Our yearning is a blessing, it is our longing that moves us to return.

"Knock and you will be answered"
—Jeshua Christ

Though there are many worthy ways and words, said simply here are two that work well, meditation and prayer.

We may be kind with ourselves. In a greater picture the universe is much more benevolent than many of us think. We start from where we are, naturally. There is a great wealth of peace in appreciating the goodness we have attained and the naturalness of our own being. Being content but not complacent we may be gentle enough to permit gradual advancement. Yes there are times when advancement takes get-down and get-sweaty work. Taoism describes this as illumination through elimination. It takes doing it. The places of struggle are eternally worth it. We are all a work in progress and we are all equally loved.

No remorse need remain and no need to give ourselves away, thinking someone or some system is better than we are.

As for what is being sold as Andean spirituality, consumers beware!

Discernment makes the difference

I've heard more bad 'rumors', true or not, about tour operators in the Andes than I care to go into. Briefly here are a few pointers to guide your choice of a travel company.
— Most all of the traditional elders I chose to work with live in deep contact with the land and village of their birth and they choose not to leave. I don't find them in the cities. None of them create programs for foreigners to pretend they are Andean.

— Sex is a tricky question but some people get upset when so-called shaman/leaders are loose with their guests. I've heard of a cute catch line being used, with guides claiming they'd had shared a past life so it is alright to get it on again.

— Women watch out for sham shamans that need to touch a lot or want clothes off to heal.


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