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The New Incan Religion
The New Incan Religion
Cuzco was the capital of the Inca society, one of the biggest of the world. A nation, that left complex architectural, artistic and technological wonders, which impress us today and sure to the generations to come.
For several centuries, Cuzco lived in the shadow and the sorrow of that golden age where science, art and philosophy were part of its evolution. And so it remained until the mid twentieth century when some intellectuals of its time wanted to see in one of the tribal groups chosen -the Q’ero, as a group that could serve as an anthropological study, and thus was born as a game and daring the struggle for claim of a group of families settled in the province of Paucartambo in the department of Cuzco, lands at the time belonged to the family nothing but Yabar, descendants of European settlers and a large Catholic baggage.
The first meetings according to the people involved in this scheme began in 1949, and followed these expeditions in 1955 and beyond. In fact it was appropriate for the poor academic research of the time in Cuzco, develop a formula to rescue indigenous and propose a project to condone the existence of anthropological currents which should contribute to the formation of the ethnic history of Peru.
Although the South American indigenous communities and tribes can be counted by hundreds or thousands, scholars in Cuzco tried to show that there would be no survivors, then the argument to propose a tribe as the true and pure became a motivating bold, because in those days was the necessary ingredient for the university administration to approve certain projects and academic justification. The struggle of indigenous claims to the proposed expropriation of land to be returned to some communities would then have greater justification, and wove the emotional ability to contribute to the indigenous dispossessed.
The fighting began as a sort of trouble in families, between the Yabar and the Nunez del Prado, both safely descendants of those Europeans who invaded Peru. Clearly, one of them, the notorious abuses of the Yabar as any “gamonal” settled there, became in bad, and any help for the indigenous settled on his farm in Paucartambo began to have support in the city of Cuzco, and some intellectuals in Lima who were seeking moments for promoting political change in Peru were ready to contribute for the fight.
Expropriate the territory of the Yabar, where they were seated a group of natives called Q'ero, was the plan, this delayed, but finally the same Q'ero with their work and foreign contribution managed not to expropriate, but symbolically buy the land where they lived. This action maturing since 1963 and seeing its completion in 1968, year in which the coup d’etat put in the power to General Juan Velasco Alvarado. Indigenous issues were at their peak, and the peoples who for centuries were enslaved and dispossessed, first saw the hope of independence with the arrival of Velasco Alvarado, who in 1968 gave birth to “The Inca Plan,” which proposed major changes in Peru. The implementation of these plans became difficult and many unrealistic in that nation that was submitted by almost 500 years where corruption and human exploitation by the Europeans and the Catholic Church had taken root in such magnitude that Velasco Alvarado and his plans do not thrive and are truncated when he loses power in 1975.
Peru is a country of contrasts and a rich history and has always attracted researchers and curious of all types, and of course the Inca utopia has a large following, not to mention the mystical currents in recent decades have been exploring new areas or have attempted to uncover the mysteries of people displaced from their historical settings.
The currents on yoga, metaphysics, new age, etc.. seems that grew tired of their own proposals, then explore some unknown and unclear believe or practical linked to Peru that was largely the territory occupied by the Incas, it would be an exploration exotic, mysterious and attractive, which would open new doors and why not new unique and mystical currents.
In the decade of the 80 and 90 arrived in Cuzco, naturally attracted to Machupicchu and other Andean portents, various characters, reviving themes like "El Dorado," the "Holy Grail," the "Secrets of Alchemy with its eternal Youth," etc.. These issues always aroused the curiosity of all audiences and explain the secrets of the Incas was a necessary ingredient to mystify Peru. During those years there were few Peruvians involved in the mystical themes of the Andes, then in Cuzco one of the descendants of the Nunez del Prado became the reference for some of the mystical seekers who came to understand the reasons why they were attracted to this land. The emotional pressure for responses to these seekers strengthened the body for the Inca myth, where any foreigner introduced to a group of natives as the descendants of the Incas, it would be more attractive and compelling to allow time to weave a new wave of worship unknown.
The 80 were developing the new Inca mysticism, in the 90 took shape, and like this “The New Inca Religion” became a reality this new millennium. People who are responsible for proposing in the world this New Inca Religion had the same mentor, the anthropologist Juan Victor Nunez del Prado. Juan Victor's father, who was one of the protagonists in the release of these native families never proposed an Inca Religion, because in his time were other priorities. But in the 90's for Juan Victor the mystical market began to overflow, and urged a mystical formula to satisfy the simplest as the most extravagant seeker, so the excuse that the descendants of the Incas were alive and he was the genuine depositary of this truth will avoid his personal hassle and guarantee in the subconscious of the mystic seeker the faster and easier acceptance of the Inca word.
In the same way they made the Inca myth of our times, other foreign even more daring, gave shape to these Andean themes and create a new current, which becomes the modality religion advocate that indigenous rituals that evolved in the last century with a Catholic ingredient was what the Incas practiced or believed.
Supported by the partial and guided things of what was shown in Peru to Elizabeth Jenkins, Joan Parisi Wilcox and Alberto Villoldo disciples of Juan Victor Nunez del Prado, glimpses the possibility of creating a new dogma, where everyone not only imagine, but thanks to the popularity of their books are creating their own schools founded in the same model, the Q'ero tribe supposedly descendants of the Incas. Among the various trends of these Westerners, which has taken more popularity is that of Alberto Villoldo, who has certainly surpassed what his mentor vision about the Inca myth, and today has recreated his school with a new mode called "Munayki" attributing its origin to the Q'ero tribe and of course directly to the Incas, as was the convenient conclusion proposed by Nunez del Prado family.
The tribes of the Q'ero, like any other indigenous group invaded for centuries by different cultures and especially by the Catholic religion, simply lost most of their identity and completely lost their ancestral culture. In the more of one thousand members of the Q'ero tribes, many families are part of various religious groups, from evangelicals to Catholics, and were easily absorbed by these religions for being survivors of this time and for their weak ideology among the Incas. If it will be true, claiming that they preserve ancestral wisdom of the builders of Machupicchu, is to belittle these builders, because Machupicchu is an example of what was created by a great society, where the community spirit made great social and technological advance competing with any great society of the ancient world.
The Q'ero descendants today and those of 1955 when Oscar Nunez del Prado and his companions visited, certainly continue living in the same ways, and whether there are changes these should be few, because they continue to survive in miserable conditions, experience not to be by no means the Inca practice. We understand that for us Westerners, poverty is part of the surprise and fascination that many times we confuse with authenticity, and we justify as to be the way how ancestors lived, this is due to our ignorance of the history. We will be surprise to know that most of our mother societies are miserable if we will compare to what the Inca society was.
Cuzco anthropologists have managed very cleverly to introduce the Q’ero tribes as the Inca descendants, pretending to have a specialty or a difference with other Peruvian natives, technically this is a sham and a hoax, since in Peru the majority of tribes or communities have something in common. On the argument of the religiosity of the Q'ero, this is very close to the Catholic worship where religious festivals like the church does and its rituals involving objects that the church uses, they also use. The Nunez del Prado family as Catholics, sold in a clever way the image that the church and what must be the practice and spirituality of the Incas are almost the same thing, and of course the foreign who lives apart from the survivor culture of Peru, who is not a specialist in Inca history can simply be bamboozled with these arguments to the point that current New Inca Religion created by Elizabeth Jenkins, Joan Parisi Wilcox and Alberto Villoldo justify the Q’ero paraphernalia as to be genuine and real from the ancient time. The Westerners are dazzled by the supposed purity of these rites which mixes objects, expressions, and Catholic ceremonies and has the naivety to accept this as being the continuation of what the Incas practiced.
There is an underlying romanticism for us Westerners who want to see in each indigenous to its genuine representative of ancestry, but this is wrong for wanting to force something emotionally lacking; we can understand this as seeing the Egyptian people today, who has nothing to do with remote builders of the pyramids, or want to see in the contemporary Mexican inhabitant the builder of Aztec and Maya monuments. Every year in the main square of Cuzco, in the religious festival of Easter, Corpus Christi or Christmas, you see a large number of people devoutly celebrating together with the church, and many of these fellows are from the Q’ero families, who are contributing with the church that destroyed them, and the church under not circumstances is an institution of light. You have the right to believe what you want, but do not sell the idea that religious belief of the Q'ero and the Inca history is the same or its continuity.
In the Andes, in any tribe or community religious rites are performed, this is not exclusive to anyone, and objects used in the various paraphernalia are affected by what imposed the church and contemporary society. Of course this is different of what we Westerners use or know, and for being different has a flavor, and is bundled in a cloak of mystery and fascination, and having already a glare for the Inca, the participant is predisposed to accept this new form of worship as a continuum and genuineness of the ancestral.
There are people daring to combine several different modalities of ethnic groups in Peru and have released a special product, calling them as "Mesa Carriers," "Mesa Pachakuti," "Despacho," etc.. arbitrary names used to endorse Peruvian practices as if this was extremely widespread as part of the tradition of Peru, and of course even if the natives called "Table" or "Despacho" to a special type of object or practice, these are only for consumption of the persons identified for that purpose, and is not an issue where the Peruvian society is involved therefore is not a popular or traditional practice as intended to sell.
The last thing created by Alberto Villoldo, is the rite "Munayki" awarded to the Q'ero, where Villoldo is the only one who knows and as was revealed to him -the truth dies with him. This bold proposal with the justification that is what the Incas practiced, surely guarantee a captive audience to be captured. The strange thing is that when you walk in Cusco, which is the capital of the ancient history where any topic about the Inca supposedly should at least be known by a significant number of people, and if you ask about "Munayki" as a rite, simply nobody knows; clearly, all the ones related to the ancestral language will understand that Munayki in Quechua means "I love you," but this has nothing to do with what invented Alberto Villoldo. This person should act with more dignity and honesty and without fear indicates that he has invented a method with a strange name for abroad and has been called "Munayki." Taking his work professionally would allow to Villoldo to not interfere negatively with Peruvian history, more when using the shield "Inca" that already weighs its importance in history. This person is already famous in certain circles, it is time to walk by himself and not hide behind the Inca to continue selling his products. It would be important if his argument is true, to share it with the Peruvian community through lectures and public speeches, but just in Cusco nobody knows him unless the artisan vendors who follow him, and some of the poor Q'ero that annually meet him for a few Dollars.
With the new trends in the world in innovative areas of mysticism, the Peruvian is taking certain scenarios especially in the United States of America, a nation with great economic and cultural power, where they invent creeds and religions to send out them in the world. Over the years this practice from the church and the Q’ero misunderstanding product supported by Jenkins, Parisi, Villoldo and others will be strengthened and concretize "The New Inca Religion," inevitable process as simplistic mystical supportive positions will allow. Later Peruvian generations will make these mystic books and proposals as real, and will happen what we have done to the Maya, where we have interfered much with their history, to the point that we have done responsible of the end of the world on December 21, 2012. We're in this fateful year of the scary mysticism and despite of its more followers followers will see the months pass and reach a new year, and once again will have been wrong, but the damage is done and the Mayans will take generations to repair the simplicity and desire that our business has generated. And be careful, Villoldo claimed that the Inca prophecies also announced the end in December 21st 2012. Sorry mister Villoldo, but do not exist Inca prophecies.
The Andean culture with their ancestral creators -the Incas is much more than the little seen by the anthropological myopia, which from the mental point of view has tried to understand this history. Machupicchu still keeps its secrets, and while ground you a "New Inca Religion" is impossible for the pilgrim to see the essentials.
I have walked many times in Peru visiting towns and communities and have seen how many people with even simple and naive heart as the Q'ero have been over the years manipulated and abused. We Westerners have planted in their precarious homes the seeds of individualism and this will eventually disappear them in the same way that many other indigenous groups have suffered and are losing their spirit and integrity to finally go. Definitely the Q'ero families and other ethnic groups of Peru have a noble heart, then, do not contribute to pollute them more. Their image has been sold for more than 30 years and if you would pilgrim to those isolated spaces in the mountains would see the misery in which they live, while Villoldo, Parisi, Jenkins and others continue enlarging its coffers at the expense of the ignorance of these natives. The Incas did not know the misery and will never accept, let the Q'ero follow their own evolution.
For me, with a Polish origin and similar history, and for any Peruvian, I'm sure it would be an honor to live with the Incas still alive, and if this is a feeling that I'm sure many share, we must ask why the Nunez del Prado, Jenkins, Parisi, Villoldo and others do not live with them, for sure that they are with big doubt of what they sell, and is best used in the distance and inaccessibility, because as more and more remote the Q’ero are no one can compare between discourse and practice as these tribes live. Oscar Nunez del Prado said, "If the science of man does not improve the living conditions of the concrete man, not useless! But badly can be improved what we previously understood not to."
About the author:
I am a seeker of the ancient cultures, love nature and history.