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Most people have heard about the Snake (Amaru), Cougar (Puma) and the Condor (Kuntur) which accompany the cosmology of the Andes and the three corresponding levels of spirituality. The Snake belongs with the Uju Pacha, which is the underworld; the Puma belongs with Kay Pacha which is our world, and the Condor goes with Hanaq Pacha which is the upper world. There are many stories and interpretations regarding these animals and the worlds they inhabit. However, a lot of people may not realize that the Llama is also one of the most sacred animals in the Andes.
The Llama or Qarwa, as they say in Bolivia is an animal that provides spiritual help for people. To begin with, llamas are adorable! They are also extremely hygenic in their habits, as they all defecate in one tidy place. They have big eyes, an admirable quality which represents their ability to see many things. The llama is a very social animal that likes to stay with its family.  However, if there is some danger or if, for example, they want to protect a mother who is birthing, they will form a circle around, to protect it.
The llamas live high up on the sacred mountains, the Apus. The Apus are the mountains that hold spirits of light within them. These spirits live in both the middle and upper worlds and can intercede and help humanity so, they are often called upon by the people for help. The peaks of the Apus are the closest land to God and the heavens. Since the llamas live on these high mountains, they hold the energy between the land and the mountain spirits. They can act as guides for the soul’s journey to the upper world.
Traveling through the Andes mountains, one passes through many portals. The llamas are the guardians of these portals to the higher realms. They are also collectors of energy.  When they eat the grasses of the high mountains, that spiritually strong energy is stored in their wool. Llama wool is highly prized for this reason. Many of the Andean sweaters and hats have the design of a llama on them, because it represents the spirit guide nature of the animal and the help that we can receive from it. When traveling to the Andes, be sure to go to the market and buy at least one item with a llama to bring back home with you. You will find that it provides great comfort.
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Having just returned from a transformational journey to Peru and Bolivia, I feel overwhelmed with all that I have to share. Thinking about my time there, I will start with the most convincing, basic fact. The Andes Mountains hold the feminine energy of the planet. This concept was expressed by the Dalai Llama many years ago. Visiting there however, gives one a first hand realization of the truth of it, since it can be directly seen and felt.


The Andean people hold “Pachamama”, the feminine energy of our Mother Earth dear to their hearts and consistently speak of her with great reverence. While on the trail to the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu, I felt compelled to visit a massive rock just off the trail. Sitting in front of it, a kind of unconditional, motherly love swept over me. Emanating from this rock was a misty blanket of peace that wove its comfort around me. Then, I heard its gentle, welcoming song. Back on the trail, I asked a local worker what was up with the amazing rock.  “Oh”, he said in a reverent whisper, “that is Pachamama.”

The feminine energy is quite evident with the people living in the Andes.  The hard working women are proud to dress in their colorful skirts and hats, whether they are headed to market in town or out working the fields. They are always beautifully dressed with piles of petticoats under their skirts. The harmonizing key however, is found in a balance of energies, where the men do their part as well, so the families work together. For example, even today, the men plow the fields and the women plant the seeds. While staying on the Island of the Sun, we watched in amazement as both the husband and wife got to scrubbing the sheets together in one big outdoor washbasin.

Andean people participate directly with Mother Earth. Families spend their days out in the fields plowing, planting, harvesting, or even spinning wool. They are content to enjoy the day sitting and working on the Earth, watching their animals and fields, while the children play. It is a beautiful life which results in a deep love for their Pachamama. This is how they take care of our Earth. We owe them a great debt for their guardianship of Mother Earth. 

The Elders carefully prepare offerings of love and thankfulness to Pachamama. These are often buried into the Earth, heartfelt gifts of beauty, purity and sweetness that our Earth receives with gratefulness. We would do well to learn from these people of the Andes how to more honestly revere our Earth. Mother Earth would appreciate any intention of tender thoughtfulness, consideration and thanks from us. Why not? 

Our Mother Earth gives us everything, free for the taking: fresh water to drink, delicious food to eat, clean air to breathe, purifying fires, deep oceans, high mountains, lovely flowers, birds, animals, and everything we need to thrive. She is so grand and generous! Practice at least a thought of love for our Mother Earth each day. The Spirit of the Earth will feel it, appreciate it and you will be blessed for it.
Thank you, Tina
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