LGAS S. 1 E. 9: Peru and How It Impacted My Spirituality

Listen to the episode here:

In previous posts, I have talked about spirituality being a journey, and today I am going to talk about a specific part of my journey that changes it all for me. A year ago, I took a trip to Peru. While we were there our tour guide educated us on so many parts of Peruvian culture and one of the things that I took with me was how they have infused Incan beliefs into their life. After this trip, how I viewed my spirituality changed dramatically and I owe where I am now spiritually to that trip. 

Today I am going to talk about this journey for a few reasons:

1) As a reminder that you can find yourself in anything and learn from anything you do as long as you are open to it

2) Every spiritual journey has breakthroughs (there will be many throughout your journey) and they really help guide you to where you should be

3) Maybe what I learned will open your eyes to your own breakthrough and

4) This is a bit more personal and a way for you to know me just a little bit more.
We toured a lot of Peru (here’s the post all about it) and once we got to Cusco, that’s where everything changed. This part of the trip was where our tour guide talked more and more about Incan beliefs because that was the center of the Incan empire.

The basis of the Incan belief system came in threes: three laws, three realms, three sacred animals representing those realms, and a three-tiered cross (chakana). The Incas also placed great importance on astronomy (You see where I’m going with this?). 

Let’s break this down piece by piece. Let’s talk about three, a very important part of Incan culture. The three Incan laws are simple but make a lot of sense: don’t steal, don’t lie, and don’t be lazy. While they are simple, they are important to apply in day to day life. These did not really impact my spiritual journey, I simply learned them and now I carry them with me. The three realms made an incredible impact. There are three realms: Uku Pacha (lower world), Kay Pacha (the world we live in), and Hanan Pacha (the higher world) and the three sacred animals represent these realms: the condor, the puma, and the snake. The Hanan Pacha represents the heavens and celestial bodies and the condor is its sacred animal representing the messenger of the heavens and carrying the dead into the afterlife. The Kay Pacha is where human life resides and its sacred animal is the cougar which symbolizes life on Earth, power, and strength. The Uku Pacha is the underworld/location of the afterlife and symbolized by the snake, which does not have the typical belief that snakes are evil. In this case, snakes are believed to be the symbol of new life, wisdom, and knowledge. Now combine all of this information and add on the idea that a lot of their religion connected to astrology and they worshipped the sun and moon as gods as well as other gods with an earthly connection. You can conclude that they had a strong connection with mother nature, also known as Pachamama. 

Now, this is where the chakana comes in. If you look at the picture, you would notice that the whole cross is symmetric and looks like the Southern Cross (which means the chakana is also a symbol of North, South, East, and West), a constellation only found in the Southern Hemisphere (side note: I lost my mind when we saw it). Here is where EVERYTHING is in threes. I am not going to go through what all of this means, but check out this link to learn more. Take a look at the chakana, the top right tiers symbolize the three realms and the bottom right tiers symbolize the three sacred animals. You can also look at the chakana split horizontally into two. The top symbolizes God and the bottom symbolizes Pachamama. The overall symbol represents the entirety of the Incan belief system. The center, or hole, represents the center of the Incan Empire: Cusco. 

In regards to astronomy, it was heavily relied on for agriculture and also used the constellations to connect to their day to day life. Their relationship with the sky, specifically the stars, shows that they believed that EVERYTHING was connected, which is where I dive into how all of this knowledge impacted my personal spiritual growth.

The idea that everything is connected spoke to me, it is what connected me to my higher power. Sometimes I say my higher power is the Universe and other times I say my higher power is Earth/Mother Earth/Pachamama. In Peru, I bought a chakana on a chain to wear it as a necklace. It is made of silver and other beautiful stones harvested in Peru, placed in the pattern of a rainbow. I bought it for a couple of reasons 1) I wanted it to be a thing I brought back from Peru as a keepsake, and 2) I felt drawn to the need of having a connection to this new knowledge which would later become a symbol for my spirituality. I used everything I learned from that trip and created a connection with the Earth. I dove into astrology to start understanding how the sky and the placement of celestial beings impact my life. I started giving back to Earth a lot more. Our tour guide said that they believe they shouldn’t overwork Pachamama because she gives so much to them (food, livestock, etc) so we need to take care of her and give her a break so she can keep giving to us. This guided me in finding ways to live more sustainably so I could ease the amount of work Mother Nature does to keep us alive, but I also turned that knowledge into keeping a connection with Mother Nature. This meant spending time in nature, respecting it, and using it in my spiritual journey. Earth itself does not connect a whole lot to my spirituality, but it connects more to the idea of balance. The chakana is balanced by its symmetry, when your life has balance you feel more at ease, if our yin/yang, masculine/feminine, and/or chakral energies are not balanced, we are not balanced, and if Earth is not balanced then everything is a mess. 

At the end of the day, my spiritual journey is driven by wanting balance, finding balance, and achieving balance, and learning about Incan beliefs drew me a step closer to finding that balance and making connections that would allow me to connect more with my higher power.r

I hope you learned a thing or two from this. Have you had any spiritual breakthroughs? Let me know. Don’t forget to stay vibin!

Here are links to where I found information about everything I talked about if you want to learn more:

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