top of page
  • Writer's pictureSecond Opinion Magazine

Andean Shamanism: A Sacred Journey to the Self

by Holly Gray Schuck

Andean Shamanism is an experiential, flexible, and inclusive system. It has structure but no dogma or rigid rules. Nothing is obligatory. The only rule or law is the sacred art of AINY—the principal of reciprocity, which includes respect for every living thing.

Incas believed in sharing and integrating the knowledge, including spiritual knowledge, of all the peoples they either conquered or incorporated—their preferred method of colonization. The Inca Empire stretched from Ecuador to Chile, encompassing 12 million people and twenty different languages.

The Andean understanding of the cosmos has three distinct levels, or planes, of existence. Each has its own energetic qualities. The first plane is the hana pacha, the superior world, which is inhabited by extremely refined spiritual energies, including ascended masters such as Jesus and Mother Mary. The second level is the kay pacha (pacha means time or earth), our middle world, which we inhabit (our three-dimensional reality), including all material things. It includes both refined energies (sami) and heavy energies (houcha). In the Andean world, there is no concept of good or evil, only of heavy or light energies. The third plane of existence is the uhku pacha, the interior or underworld—similar to the collective unconscious—which resides in the underworld or the interior world in each person.

Andean shamans/priests have never been taught to think as we do in our culture. They still live in the dreamtime. They are not focused on cars, houses or material objects. They are more concerned with energy—the infinite varieties of living energies called the kausay pacha. Every material object has a spirit or an energetic aspect. Mountains, trees, rocks, plants, animals, lakes, cities and homes all have an energetic consciousness, a bubble of living energy that surrounds and interpenetrates everything in the material world. All of life is made up of sound or frequencies. Every material object has a song that can be sung, a note that can be toned, a frequency of sound and matter. Andean shamanism teaches how to communicate and interact directly with this world of living energies. The Andean Mystery Teachings invite us into a delightful and seemingly magical world of mystical experiences.

North Americans tend to be very skeptical, believing in things such as the stock market, which one cannot touch or feel, yet they dismiss the world of spirit, often citing the fact that it is a world one cannot touch or feel. Both worlds, however, are made up of a collective energy of beliefs and thoughts. Yet it is the world of nature or Earth Mother—Pachamama, that gives us everything—our material universe that we can taste, touch, smell, and feel. Andean shamanism teaches us about the collective belief system and the power of nature. We deepen our relationship to the Mother that feeds us and provides our clothing and homes. In the shamanic world, imagination, daydreaming, intuition, receptivity and special perceptual abilities and sensitivities—the female side of our nature—is honored and honed. This allows things to happen that cannot occur within a patriarchal mind-set and worldview.

There is a love relationship between our bodies and Pachamama. We belong to the land we stand upon, and there is a natural and obvious relationship to nature. We have a grounding chord, an invisible line of energy from our bodies to the Earth. Yet if you look at the malls, or an airport, where large numbers of Western people congregate, you can see that there are no lines of energy going from them or their bodies to the Earth. When you look at indigenous peoples, or farmers who work the land, they look like they belong on the Earth and feel rooted there. Most people remain severed from our Mother the Earth.

According to Inca prophesy, 1993 marked the end and the beginning of a cycle of time, much akin to the Mayan calendar. This turning over of time, or pacha-couti (the turning over of time or Mother), is the first phase of the emergence of a fifth level of consciousness among groups of healers/shamans/priests, as the general populous of the world begins to attain four-dimensional consciousness. The second phase lasts until the return of the Sapa Inka, a sixth level priest, or enlightened being of sixth dimensional consciousness, who was to emerge around the year 2012.

Those who enjoy working with the Earth, living in harmony, or AINY, with nature are participating in a birthing of a new consciousness on Earth, the birth of a new kind of world. Those who desire to co-create a new kind of world and witness the birth of this new consciousness can learn from the high shamanism of the Andes, as this worldview includes practical skills to enhance one’s life and a wonderful belief that as we evolve as humans to a higher level of consciousness, we learn to leave behind fear and share our cultural gifts and achievements with one another as we care for Earth and for each other.

The best way for an Andean shaman/priest to advance along the path is to teach.

I must teach all that I know and transmit the initiations of light to others. This is the principle of AINY. In doing so, I honor all of my teachers and Pachamama as well.

Holly Gray Schuck is an initiated fourth level shaman/priest in the Andean tradition who now transmits the rites of passage called the munay-ki. She has trained, since 1989, with South American teachers such as Don Manuel Quispe, Alberto Villoldo, Americo Yabar, and Juan Nunez del Prado of Peru, and for sixteen years with Luzclara of Chile, after ten years training with her North American native teachers.

For more information contact Holly at or

3 views0 comments


bottom of page