Pachakútec

25 Nov

I don’t believe in coincidences. I also don’t believe that you can think of an idea no one has ever thought before. This post is about both these things.

Those of you who have been to my readings, or have been inquisitive on my website, will know that I base my novels on the philosophies of the Q’eros of Perú. The Q’eros are a native tribe living three days away from Cusco by horseback, at 4000 meters above sea level, who are believed to be the last descendants of the Incas. They live according to the traditions and philosophies of their ancestors, upholding the religion of worshiping the sun father Inti and mother earth Pacha Mama. They live in complete isolation in the Andes and most of them don’t, to this day, speak Spanish. They communicate in Quechua, the ancient language of the Incas. Our project manager Rose and I going to try to visit them when we travel to Cusco. It will be a challenge: not everyone knows how to get to the remote villages.

Q'eros Village in 2005

The more I read about the ancient Inca philosophies, the more they fascinate and inspire me. They explain the universe in great poetry and beautiful metaphors, speak of chakras, meditation, and cleansing the soul. So much of this philosophy became the fundament for my novel Qayqa. They were the basis for Damian’s knots and what happens in the end.

The more I read, the more I was astounded to realise that I had been living my life according to these Inca philosophies, without ever knowing or hearing them beforehand. I never identified myself as a Peruvian – due to my upbringing as a Third Culture Kid, I never identified myself as anything. So to discover that I had been living the life of a native Peruvian shook me to the core and made me restructure and re-evaluate many things in my life. I discovered that especially my writing was typical Peruvian. Over the last two years, I have come to slowly understand my Peruvian roots and I try to pass on my knowledge wrapped up in a way Westerners can relate to. Isn’t it ironic that when I finally find my roots, I find it in my writing? It was in me all along. Surprise!

The Q’eros are also keepers of an ancient prophecy, one which is called “the Return of Inkarí”: the Inca. According to this prophecy, we -humanity and Pacha Mama, Mother Earth- are in a state of transition. We are about to enter a new era, a Golden Era, one they call Taripay Pacha, or “the age of meeting ourselves”. The prophecy states that a new Inca will rise and, much like the Buddha, will guide humanity back to a life in balance with nature. Ofcourse there are those who believe the Era will begin when the Maya Calender ends. I believe it’s up to us people to change our ways, and I can already see a great change in the people around me. There is a heightened awareness of spirituality, of the damage we are doing to the Earth, and a general desire to live more “green”. Comparing these changes inWestern society with the prophecy of the Incas was endlessly fascinating. So one year ago I wrote a concept for a documentary based on exactly this.

So imagine my surprise when I walked past the Lichtburg cinema in Ulm two weeks ago and saw a poster for a documentary entitled “Pachakútec”. Pachakútec is a Quechua word meaning “world / time in change”.

I stood before the poster fascinated by the fact that someone I have never met before had a similar idea. It strengthened my belief that we all feel the tide of change. It fascinated me to know that more people feel the tide pull towards South America. I felt confirmed that something really is about to change in the world. A new consciousness is being born.

I was delighted when I heard that the director Anya Schmidt and the documentary’s protagonist, sun priest Ñaupany Puma, would be present at the film screening and would host a discussion round afterwards. I struck a deal with Radio Free FM: I’ll go for them and report later about the evening and about my own journey to Perú in two weeks; including the filming projects and writing plans. Thank you to Fabiano Nitsch for the interview, which you can listen to here: (or visit the Radio Free FM website for more)

Ritti Soncco on the Peruvian film “Pachakútec”

The film “Pachakútec” accompanies the sun priest Ñaupany Puma on his mission to heal the heart of the Earth. Please check out the beautiful trailer on the official website, because my words are no match for the beauty of the Andes! It’s available in either English or German here: http://pachakutec.com/trailer.php

This is the German version on Youtube:

I was very moved by the film. Having read a lot about the Inca philosophies and rituals, it moved me deeply to actually see a sun priest revive holy rituals that were abolished with the death penalty under Spanish rule – holy rituals that have never been filmed before. As he meditated, a condor, holy bird of the Incas, swooped down to sit beside him. As he washed his body in the Lake Titicaca, the holy bird of the lake flew in circles above him. I was terribly excited when he visited the Q’eros (what a coincidence, ey) to perform an ancient healing ritual for the tortured souls of all native Americans. He spoke about love being the greatest healing ritual of all and acknowledged that each and every person has the power to heal the wounds of the Earth and bring on the Golden Era. If you have the chance to see the film, I really recommend you take it! Even if you don’t believe the “shamanism mumbo-jumbo”, you’ll still be swept away by the scenery. If you do go, I’d be delighted to hear your thoughts on it, so just comment the post. 🙂

Find out here if Anya Schmidt and Ñaupany Puma will be at film screening:

Ñaupany Puma & director Anja Schmidt answering questions about the film

Ñaupany Puma is a charismatic, funny man with a surprising booming, joyful laugh. Immediately after the film, the theater lights remained dimmed while Ñaupany Puma drummed and sang as he performed a healing ritual for Pacha Mama in the presence of the audience. I closed my eyes and immersed myself in it. Everyone else seemed very moved to enjoy the rituals exceeding the film and entering their immediate, non-digital lives.

In the discussion afterwards, the audience expressed how much the film had touched them, and were very interested in finding out if they could participate in healing rituals with Ñaupany Puma in the future. Anya Schmidt said that they were indeed planning on organising that for next year and these would be published on their website.

After the discussion round, everyone swarmed around Ñaupany Puma just to hear him speak. It was as though they simply wanted to be near him, to stand in his aura and inhale everything it gave them. It must have taken him half an hour to just get up the stairs, and another half hour to actually get out of the cinema. It was like watching Buddhists gather around Buddha. I was amazed to see that so many non-South Americans were so open for the film’s message, and should afterwards feel the wish to stand beside him and hear him speak. It speaks highly of his charisma and aura. And he was so kind everyone, embracing everyone who came to speak to him. But it was never weird or pseudo-hippie. It was sincere. He was exactly how I had imagine a priest to be.

Ñaupany Puma spoke about the prophecies concerning the Maya Calender and the assumed end of the world in 2012. He passionately denied the existence of the Maya Calender, saying that it was a misconception born under the Spanish Colonial rule. “I’ll tell you one thing about the year 2012. It will be the year of the women. We are moving away from the patriarchal system. We are moving towards a balance between the masculine and the feminine. So it is a good thing that the year 2012 will be the year of the women.”

Ñaupany Puma speaking about the year 2012

When I spoke to Ñaupany Puma, I told him of my plans to visit the Q’eros when I go to Perú in two weeks. He looked at me and said, “You will not find the answers you seek there. Sometimes we hold onto ideas so strongly, we become blind to everything else. Do you understand what I mean? There is so much for you in Perú. Travel first. Let Perú show herself so that you can see in what direction to walk in.”

As he spoke to me, I felt so small. I felt completely exposed, seen right through. How did he know to say those things? At home, I sat down and thought about what he had said. I can be so very stubborn. I can get all knotted up. So I held my ideas in the wind of my mind and thinking – “Your story will reveal itself, whether it’s the Q’eros or something else” – I let go and watched them flutter away. Suddenly I was surrounded by open space. I love open spaces. Enough earth to RUN.

I was afraid of going to Perú without a concept, without some form of preparation. Perú is such a spiritual land, I don’t think I can miss it. I’ll watch it unravel before me and let it inspire me in any way it chooses.

“You know what I liked best?” Mark said as we walked home. “You could tell that their motivation for making the film was to spread the message of healing the heart of the earth. All they want to do is spread the message. It’s their sincerity that makes the film so unique and beautiful.”

Here is a brilliant picture of us cheesing:

Ritti Soncco Ñaupany Puma Anya Schmidt cheesing

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3 Responses to “Pachakútec”

  1. Gerhard December 7, 2011 at 2:12 am #

    I`m so glad that you take the time to discover more deeply the country of Perú than you have ever done it before. Your`re half Peruvian and half German where you normally would compare the colour of your hair and skin, the preferences for different kinds of food or the habits in behaving to find out if you`re more like your father or your mother, i.e. to be more German or more Peruvian. But maybe you haven`t seen this for many years in you because you`ve grown up in Nigeria where childhood formed and inspired you in an “african” way.
    You do of your search in a more spiritual way by reading and studying a lot about the ancient Inca philosophies. Over the years you slowly understand that this is the source of inspiration and spirit that you are looking for.
    I love your sentence: “when I finally find my roots, I find it in my writing”. That must have been such a strong experience for you. At this documentary it was almost like a confirmation of the road you`ve taken so far. The spiritual sense of the Q’eros and their relationship to nature is so much in line with Qayqa where you tell us smart stories about mother earth and human beings in beautiful metaphors. Thank you for that. That you show us the link to the inca philosophy makes it even more fascinating.
    I can only encourage you in going to the Q’eros and being among them. Tell them about what you did in writing so far and how you translate this into western lifestyle with all your different projects, especially film making. Even when you don`t have a concrete concept; you don`t need it when you go there. It`s not like an scientist who wants to discover a native tribe. He would have a totally different approach because he writes an article for his magazine and it`s his job. When you go there it`s the yearning of being closer to your roots and to get in touch with your sisters and brothers in mind. I`m looking forward to your upcoming posts in your blog.
    All the best for you in the sacred mountains of Perù and munay sonco
    Gerhard

    p.s. You`ll leave us in winter mood with the snow flakes in your blog while you travel into summer and (worshiping) the sun. Not a bad deal.

  2. purple Harem January 17, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

    This film is one I want to see! have you read this book:
    The Andean Codex: Adventures and Initiations among the Peruvian Shamans
    J. E. Williams
    I feel like you might have already or maybe its the Q’ero soul in you! you shine the world with your light and empathy. I can’t wait to see your next film! :))

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. A Note on the Golden Era « Rit'i Sonq'o: The Life of a Writer - November 25, 2012

    […] If you’re in Ulm, you can buy the DVD in the Bücherei Eichhorn. You can order it on Amazon here, and you can read my blog post of the film here. […]

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