Since the times of the Conquistadores’ arrival in the new world, so much indigenous wisdom has been lost. But if we know how to look, and if we look in the right places, there is still a lot that we can learn from the Inca concept of Pachakuti and how it relates to an age-old Andean festival.
The true roots of Qoyllur Rit’i
Quyllur Rit’i (Quechua quyllur – star, rit’i – snow, ”star snow”) or Star Snow Festival is a spiritual and religious celebration held annually in Sinakara Valley in Peru. The Catholic church claims that it’s a Christian event that is meant to honor the Lord of Quyllur Rit’i. In reality, Quyllur Rit’i is just one of many Andean festivals with deep indigenous roots, which have been stolen by the Catholic church.
The solar and lunar cycles guided the Inca throughout the year. However, the moon cycle was of primary importance, for both agricultural activities and for the timing of festivals. In many cases, these celebrations were originally related things such as animal husbandry, sowing seeds, and harvesting of crops. Important festivals such as Quyllur Rit’i, perhaps the most important, given its significance and meaning, are still celebrated during the full moon.
The Quyllur Rit’i festival falls in a period of time when the Pleiades constellation, or Seven Sisters, a 7-star cluster in the Taurus Constellation, disappears and reappears in the Southern Hemisphere. The star movement signals the time of the coming harvest, and therefore a time for abundance. This is why Incan astronomers cleverly named the Pleiades “Qullqa” or storehouse in their native language Runa Simi (“human’s language”) or Quechua as it is also called.
Due to the star’s disappearance from the night sky and reemergence approximately two months later, this time of year was traditionally seen as a time that our planes of existence come into disorder and chaos. It also implies the inevitable return to order.
Qoyuriti and Pachakuti, the Inca prophecy
This outlook coincides with the recent Pachakuti, or the Inca Prophecy. We can literally translate the Quechua word Pachakuti, (pacha, meaning time and space, and kuti, meaning return), to mean the return of time, the time or change, or great societal change or disturbance. This prophecy, therefore, represents a period of upheaval and cosmic transformation. It’s an overturning of the space/time continuum that affects consciousness. It’s a reversal of the world, a cataclysmic event separating eras in time.
Examining the prophesy and meaning of Pachakuti
A Pacha, being a span of 500 years, is a traditional way that the Inca read time. The time of the first arrival of the Spanish to the Americas coincided with one Pachakuti. It’s said that this era recently came to an end with the arrival of another Pachakuti, this time leading way to set the world right-side up and to return to a golden era. It’s said that the Andean people and their native historical culture will see a resurgence, and rise out of the previous period of conquest and oppression and begin to thrive and return to a period of grandeur.
The Pachakuti also speaks of the tumultuous nature of our current world, in particular, the environmental destruction of the earth, transforming and returning to one of balance, harmony, and sustainability. This will happen as we people change their ways of thinking, and become more conscious. Therefore the Pachakuti is representative of the death of an old way of thinking about the world in which we live and an elevation to a higher state of consciousness. In this way, we can describe ourselves not as who we are or were, but who we are becoming.
The prophecy says that we are passing into a new age of transformation
When the Spanish came to the lands of Inca, the Inca were in midst of one of their chaos periods. It was a time of transition time from one era to another, from the rule of one god to another, from one set of values to another, from a world dominated by solar Inti to one under the dominion of chaotic Viracocha.
Numerous Andean messianic movements of the past 450 years have been based on the belief that this period of chaos would come to end and bring about a new order established by Viracocha. Therefore what Spaniards, worshiping a jealous sky god, helped to prolong the high ( in Quechua, hanan) values of sun and light, soon to give way to th lunar world of of the Goddess, values of the low (in Quechua, hurin), moist and ambiguous, beyond dualism. It’s a world where the trickster thrives.
Simple and naive is the division that placed on pedestal so called high morals and absolute good, and pushed wild, Dionysian side of life into realm to be feared and denied, it is already obsolete in practice in the world where leisure, fun and party are everything, and that side will need to be rehabilitated in order to restore balance.
If the Great Change was to be complete, dominator culture , competitive legacy of Bronze Age warriors and Middle Eastern shepherds mentality needs to give way to cooperation and partnership, fixed boundaries to flow, acceptance of change, world vision and morality of desert to ways of the jungle, and book and letter of the Law to intuition, flexibility and direct experience. How soon this might happen remains to be seen, but too many signs point that it is more than wishful thinking. It has been too long, this era.
None of the above is to be taken very seriously. Take it all with a pinch of salt, as much as you want. The truth is lost somewhere, and I my intentions by writing this are to share ancient Andean perspectives about an era of time.\