Pachamama is the Supreme Goddess honoured by the indigenous people of the Andes including Peru, Argentina and Bolivia. Pachamama is referred to as both the Physical Planet Earth as well as the Universal Feminine Energy in Time and Space, The Cosmic Mother. Pacha is an archaic Quechua word meaning universe, world, time and space. So She is in fact the Goddess of all that exists for all time, eternal. 1)
She is considered the Mother who begets life, nourishes and protects. In Her role as Earth Mother, She oversees planting and harvesting and is responsible for the well-being of plants and animals. Offerings are made to Her regularly for success in all endeavours. Pachamama is often depicted as a huge Dragon as She represents the Andean Mountains. When She feels disrespected, She may cause Earthquakes. 2) The Andean People believe that recent quakes in the region are a direct result of humanity’s disregard for the planet. Pachamama is showing us Her displeasure at our attitude toward Her. The Andean People also believe Pachamama teaches us that work is a supreme virtue. For if we build, create, plant etc . . . with love in our hearts, our work will be sacred and we will be sacred. In this way, love and work may take us to a state of higher consciousness 3) much like the Karma Yoga of Eastern Religions.
Offerings to Pachamama are referred to as Apachetas. The apachetas most often consist of a hole, or well, dug into the earth within which is placed the offering and piles of stones are placed on top. Offerings may include cooked food, coca leaf, grain and corn flour, wine, cigars and chicha (a fermented drink). Each village would have a ceremonial apacheta and individual homes may also have one. They are also found throughout the Andes at mountain passes. The sacred cairns are used for offerings for a safe journey through the mountains, or may be used to indicate where the trails lead. These cairns may also indicate an energetic opening or doorway. 2) The apachetas are also symbolic of the Triple Goddess aspect of Pachamama. The stone cairns represent Pachamama Sky (Janaj Pacha), the offerings refer to Pachamama Soil (Kay Pacha) and the well itself represents Pachamama in Her aspect as She Who is Queen of the Underworld (Ukhu Pacha).
Pachamama is honoured on August 1 and the entire month of August is devoted to Her. She is also revered on the First Friday of every month and may also be prayed to prior to undertaking any new project. Offerings are buried in the apachetas to “feed the Mother.” Prior to planting, permission is asked of the Mother to hurt Her with plows to prepare the soil. At this time, men will stab the soil with plows shaped like spears, and women will follow singing to the Mother as they plant the seeds. 4)
Puma and Condor
Pachamama is often associated with Snake (or Serpent in the form of a Dragon), but She also has several other Animal Totems which are important to Her. I will focus on the two I have met on my journeys with Pachamama, Puma and Condor. Puma first came to me in dreams and meditations prior to my meeting with the Goddess, almost as if She was sniffing me out to determine if I was worthy. When I finally met with Pachamama, the initial encounter was brief. “Follow the Puma” was all She said. Puma is an archetype of Kay Pacha (Pachamama in Her Earth Mother aspect). 2) Puma is sacred to the people of the Andes. The city of Cuzco, Heart of the Inca empire, is in the shape of a Puma and Lake Titicaca is translated as Lake of the Stone Puma. Puma is one of four totem animals that are found at Machu Picchu ( the others being Snake, Condor and Bear).
The Andean people believe that we are entering a special age and that more Puma People are incarnating, the Puma Runa. Puma People bring balance and purpose to all they do. They see little difference between their spiritual quest and their everyday life. A potential Puma lives in each of us. As puma walks alone, so part of our spiritual journey is alone. The great teaching of the puma is that it is the animal with the least ego, never seeking to be seen. You don’t see the puma, only where it has been. Puma reminds us to move forward with faith and courage, to stop procrastinating with respect to important tasks. Puma teaches us to be clear and assertive in our beliefs and brings balance to our personal power. 6)
The Condor accompanies Pachamama and is symbolic of Her role as crone or as Janai Pacha (the Sky). She is known as the Eagle of the South. In Andean myth, Condor oversees the flow of life, birth and death of galaxies. This silent flyer is the voice of the Great Mystery. Condor is our messenger from the Cosmos and connects the reality of the Light Beings to our own. It is a symbol of seeing the perfection of all of creation without judgment. Its positive energies help us in shedding aspects of our selves that are no longer useful as well as experiencing the magick of spiritual flight. 2) Condor is seen as honouring the sun as it spreads it wings to dry the dew upon waking at dawn. Its ability to ride the thermal drifts is likened to seeing the auric field. It is a symbol of purification, death, rebirth and new vision. 7)
The Pachamama Alliance
When the Condor of the South meets the Eagle of the North, the Earth will awaken. This Inca prophecy is being fulfilled as more people from North America (the Eagle) are coming to understand and appreciate the indigenous cultures of South America. The Pachamama Alliance, established in 2004, is a partnership between a group of people from the modern world and the leaders of remote indigenous groups in the Amazon region of Ecuador. It came about over concern for the destruction of the Rain Forest and the impact this is having on the entire planet. The Pachamama Alliance believes that our ability to meet the challenges that face humanity as we make the transition to the next millennium, depends on our ability to successfully combine the best elements of . . . the intellectual and scientific prowess of the modern world, with the deep and ancient wisdom of traditional cultures. This is the commitment which underlies the work of The Pachamama Alliance. 8) We must all do our part to heal the Earth for She is Mother of us all.
Pachamama Stone- Machu Picchu Photo by Lila
You have walked far through the jungle to reach this place. You have sensed a presence near you for some time, just out of sight, watching you. You have faced your fears and now you emerge from the dark jungle onto a mountain top plateau bathed in bright sunshine. Below you are the ruins of an ancient city, Machu Picchu. You walk down the trail to an ancient aqueduct. Water has flowed from these stones for centuries. You cup your hands and drink the cold, refreshing spring water. You find your strength renewed as your fatigue vanishes. In the distance, you notice a large stone monument. You are drawn to the stone and walk toward it. You find it rests on a rock base and you sit down with your back to the stone and close your eyes. You feel a movement coming from the stone. You lean into the stone, enjoying the vibration that moves up your spine and out the top of your head.
You sense a shadow pass over the warm sunlight and you open your eyes. A large black dot traverses the sun, gently wafting down in a slow spiral. You watch in wonder as the giant condor circles down ever closer toward the earth. As it touches the ground in front of you, it transforms into a Woman. She is tall with wild dark hair, a cloak of condor feathers about Her shoulders. Tufts of white llama wool at Her wrists and ankles and Her skirt is of finest woven alpaca wool. Her beautiful ample breasts are bare on Her dark skin. A Puma walks at Her side, watching you. The Woman smiles and a name comes to you, “Pachamama.”
“This is my Stone” She says, indicating the large monument behind you. “Are you prepared for an adventure?” You nod and She encourages you to turn and place your palms upon the Pachamama stone. You immediately sense the vibration emanating from the sacred stone and find your body humming along. “This is the song of the Spheres, the sound of the universe, OHM . . . You resonate with the sound, adding your voice to the sacred OHM. You chant until you feel your entire being vibrating with the stone. Pachamama asks you to place your forehead against the sun-warmed stone. As your third eye contacts the stone, you are surprised by the intense electric jolt that passes through you. You sense your visionary eye awakening.
You turn to face Pachamama and She opens Her arms to embrace you. As She enfolds Her mighty wings about you, you sense gravity pull away. Pachamama has taken flight with You in Her arms. You gaze in wonder at the ancient city of Machu Picchu, far below you now, as you soar higher above the Andean mountains. From up here the mountains look like the back of a spiny dragon. “This is Who I Am” She whispers. You continue to fly higher into the sky and as you look behind you, you see the Earth as a sparkling Blue-Green Jewel. “This is Who I Am” She laughs. You fly out past the planets and stars to the farthest corners of the Universe. “This is Who I Am” she shouts.
She takes you back to the beginning of time and space, you are a midwife to Pachamama as She births the universe into existence. “This is Who I Am” she screams. You follow the births and deaths of the stars and planets and catch glimpses of your own past lives being born and dying and being reborn. You turn to look at Pachamama and see Her eyes are your eyes, Her face is your face. “This is Who I Am” you whisper.
You find yourself back at the Pachamama stone. You find a gift for Pachamama in your hands. You leave it on the Stone platform. You find that She has left you a gift. You pick it up and hold it to your heart.
“This is Who I Am”
Ritual for Pachamama
So many of us have experienced angst when we think about the ultimate questions. What lies beyond death? Are we alone in the universe? What does eternity feel like? When I was a child, I had a recurring vision. As I lay in bed, my mind would transport me to the far reaches of the universe. I would become lost in the vastness of space and eternity. I could not comprehend what it meant, all I knew was that it frightened me, I was too young to understand. I realize now what a gift this glimpse into the vast emptiness of space-time was, but I continue to struggle with what it means to me, and my childhood fears have often prevented me from seeking further. I believe Pachamama has come into my life to teach me what I was meant to learn so many years ago and I have designed this ritual to help me overcome my childhood fears and connect to Goddess in a more profound way.
If possible, do the ritual outdoors where you can create an apacheta (e.g. a small corner of any garden). This also allows you to look up into the starry sky and truly get a sense of infinite space and time as many stars you see tonight have already lived out their lives. For this ritual, the intent is to delve into the mysteries of Space-Time to better understand ourselves and to discover our purpose in this life. Begin the ritual on the cusp of Friday night (the first Friday of the month is sacred to Pachamama) and into Saturday morning (to connect with the energies of the unknown, death and time)
Candles--Red candle to represent Pachamama and a black candle to represent the unknown, place both in the center
Symbols for the four direction. I have placed a crystal in the North, photo of a Condor in the East, a small, red candle in the South, and a bowl of spring water in the West.
Small trowel/spade for digging
Offering to “feed” Pachamama (corn, flour, cakes, libations...)
Small object to symbolize intent -place next to the black candle. I chose an Ourobouros (serpent swallowing its tail) as a symbol of eternity.
Several small pebbles
Incense- Basil (sacred to Dragons) and Sage (immortality, wisdom)
Cleanse in a bath sprinkled with Basil and Sage.
Light the Red candle and Cast the circle.
As you light the Black candle, place within it the thoughts and fears that keep you from your Path.
Call on the four directions, guardians or angels.
Face the South, this direction is sacred to Pachamama
Invocation to Pachamama
Queen of the Universe
Mother to the Stars
You birthed time in Your great Womb
Enlighten me with Your secrets
That I may know myself better
Guide me as I seek truths within and without
Teach me to overcome my fears
Nurture my growth as I seek the unknown
Encourage me to face challenges
I wish to share Your knowledge
I am ready to learn without fear
Mother, your Daughter is here
Meditate on what eternity means to you. Spend some time connecting to Pachamama in the vastness of Space-Time. Sense your own connection to the Universe. When you are ready, hold the object to the four directions and say “I place within this object my intention to learn the secrets I have kept from myself. I ask Pachamama to guide me in my quest to seek the truths that lay beyond and within.” With the trowel, dig a small hole in the Earth. Place the object of your intent in the apacheta along with the ritual foods. Cover the well with pebbles. To maintain your connection to Pachamama, you may want to place pebbles on the apacheta on the First Friday of every month.
Give Thanks, Open the Circle and Ground.
Many of the websites I used were originally in Spanish. My thanks to Google interpreter for some of the English translations. It is my sincere hope that I was able to reinterpret the passages in such a way as to maintain the integrity of the original text.
6) Farmer, Steven Animal Spirit Guides www.hayhouse.com
7) Ted Andrews Animal Speak http://www.llewellyn.com/
Puma Altar– Temple of the Sun- Machu Picchu Photo by Lila
Pachamama birthed the God Pachacamac and He became Her consort. Together they created the Stars, Sun, Moon and Planets. They lived on an island in the centre of a lake atop White Mountain (Nevado de Cachi). The island is inhabited by a bull with golden horns who bellows like thunder. 1) Pachamama bore twins, a boy and a girl. Soon after, Pachacamac disappeared. The Widowed Goddess, alone with Her Children, lived in darkness and solitude. One night, they saw a bright flame in the distance and began to follow it. The trio faced fearsome monsters as they made their way to the light. They finally reached a cave and met Wakon, the Brother of Pachacamac.
Wakon asked the children to fetch water to boil potatoes and while they were gone, He tried to seduce Pachamama. When She refused His advances, He killed and devoured part of Her and kept the remainder in a pot on the fire. The Twins returned and asked about their Mother. Wakon told Them, She would return shortly but days passed and She did not return.
The Children befriended a bird who knew what Wakon and done. He informed the Children of Their Mother’s fate and that They too were in danger. The Children were advised to enter the cave where Wakon slept and to tie a large rock to His long hair. They then escaped from the cave and fled. They met Fox and explained what had happened. Fox offered to hide the Children in his den.
Meanwhile, Wakon awoke and was so angered that the Twins had fled, He did not notice the boulder in His hair. He went in search of the Children, meeting Cougar, Condor and Snake. The animals loved Pachamama and refused to tell Wakon where the Twins were. Wakon met Fox who shrewdly suggested He climb the highest peak and mimic the voice of Pachamama calling for Her Children. Wakon did so and as He peered over the steep mountain to seek Them, the stone in His hair dislodged, tumbling into the abyss below and Wakon, still entangled, followed the stone. His death caused a violent Earthquake.
The Twins lived with Fox for a time but They missed their Mother. The Girl had a dream about finding a doll, broken in pieces. She related the dream to Her Brother and while doing so, She threw Her hat into the air where it began to spin. As the Children gazed in wonder, a rope emerged from the sky. They decided to climb it and reached the Heavens where They were reunited with Their Father, Pachacamac. The Boy was transformed into the Sun and the Girl became the Moon. As for Pachamama, She remained forever on the mountain in the form of an imposing snowy peak. To this day, the Mountain is known as The Widow. 5)