A MESSAGE FROM ELIZABETH B. JENKINS
The Wiraqocha Foundation (WF) was unofficially “founded” in 1992 when I first returned to the States from Peru and started to teach the Andean Path. Motivated by my experiences in Peru my students wanted more, they aspired to become initiated in the Inka tradition. They wanted to go to Peru and they wanted me to take them. From 1992-1999, seven transformative years, I found myself traversing between the United States and Peru – shepherding along with Juan Nuñez Del Prado one to six groups per year of eager PAQO initiates to undergo the Hatun Qarpay – The Great Initiation in Peru. The schedule was demanding, exquisite, but nonetheless grueling.
Upon my return I also began writing my first book while simultaneously visioning the Wiraqocha Foundation (WF). It was in fact, during a conversation with Waimea Canyon on the Island of Kauai that I received the vision for WF. Little did I know how significant this was or how much influence Hawaii would come to have on me, my family, our future, and ultimately, the foundation.
In February 1996, my MFT Supervisor (Kirby Ann Gleeson) at Catholic Charities of Marin helped the Wiraqocha Foundation become an official organization, under the auspices of Ecumenical Services of Marin (ECSM). ECSM generously helped us get started so that we could receive funds and offer tax deductible donations with contributions directed to aid the Q’ero. While the mission of promoting the philosophy of Human Harmony with Nature was important, Q’ero children did not have a school, and worse, mothers and babies were dying because of dirty water. Therefore Juan and I, together with Dr. Oscar Liendo and the Andean Institute of Health sent a team of medical personnel to assess the health needs of the Q’ero. We found a 60% infant mortality rate due to bad water. The results of the assessment informed the initial strategic plan for the foundation.
Shortly after the foundation was established, my first book was published. In 1997, I wrote INITIATION: A Woman's Spiritual Adventure in the Heart of the Andes (Putnam, 1997), which I later republished under my original title, The Return of the Inka. The conversation with the publishers about the concept of AYNI – the law of sacred reciprocity — nearly became a deal breaker. I asked, what they were going to give back to the people of Peru for the privilege of publishing a book about their tradition. “What was their “AYNI” going to be”? They responded that they did not have the policies in place to give back. Without missing a beat, I said “No AYNI, No Book”. The publishers soon agreed to the concept of AYNI, and even felt good about themselves after committing to the “Alpaca Clause” in the contract, wherein they agreed to contribute a percentage of the book's profits back to the Q’ero. The foundation became the vehicle to receive Putnam’s AYNI, but as it never earned back it’s US advance there was no contribution. Therefore, I contributed 20% of my advance to begin Wiraqocha programming. Luckily my book was very popular in Europe and with my continued 20% contribution, WF has continued making a small but noticeable difference.
At the same time that I was still integrating the lessons of the Path into my own life, I was also, along with Juan and Mother Nature, making PAQOS. In the beginning, the initiations were physically challenging – we stayed in cheap hotels and were transported by the local train, which often broke down. Cuzco’s nearly two mile high altitude is a system shocker and the climate is intensely variable: hot in the day and very cold at night. The Hatun Qarpay Initiation is a conversation with Nature in her most powerful state, within the sacred Inka geography. In the early days much of Peru lacked the conveniences and built in comfort to which many initiates were accustomed. Both Juan and I observed that for many the corporeal journey distracted from the purpose of the trip, and we adjusted accordingly, keeping the character and meaning of the trip while making it a bit more comfortable for travelers.
By the year 2003, under Juan’s urging, I began to lead the Hatun Qarpay myself. I teamed up with Quechua to English translator and guide extraordinaire, Mr. Fredy Conde Huallpa. Fredy grew up in the Andean village of Lares, a place very similar to Q’eros. His first language was Quechua, and he was trained in the tradition by his Grandfather from the tender age of ten. Fredy is the very first official mystical tour guide of Cuzco, authorized by the Peruvian Tourism Authority. Part of Fredy's job is to train other tours guides in the authentic traditions of his land. Fredy and I have now worked together for over 10 years. We found that individuals have a much deeper experience when they are prepared through our six day introductory course, which teaches not only the Andean worldview but the original Inka practices.Since those early times we have learned much. Every initiate, every initiation teaches us how to be better and more effective. As a result the Hatun Qarpay facilitated by the Wiraqocha Foundation has now evolved into something quite refined. Still pure to the intention, still true to the origin, precise in its results, the Great Initiation is spiritually arduous, physically rugged, just not quite so uncomfortable.
Now everybody comes...everybody who is hearing the Call of Mother Nature: Doctors, nurses, social workers, farmers, engineers, housewives, healers, yoga practitioners, computer geeks, chefs, even lawyers. People come from Hawaii, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, New York, Kansas, California, Peru, Texas, Georgia, Alaska, Mexico, Spain, Turkey, Australia, Brazil, England, Costa Rica, and quite a few places I am forgetting. They come from all over Pachamama to partake in an experience that belongs to all humanity; an authentic experience of connection in the sacred pilgrimage places of this ancient original culture. They come to spend 6 six days with the Q'ero. They learn trust, love, integrity, generosity, collaboration...original Inka values. From day one we practice AYNI--sacred reciprocity. We give and we receive. We practice the wisdom of the Inka Prophecy, to exchange our cultural gifts for the enhancement of all.
I am proud of what we are able to offer seekers of the Fourth Level – whether it is a book, lecture, seminar, retreat, or the authentic and spiritually powerful sacred ten-day Inka initiation experience in Peru. I am proud of the work WF has done during the last twenty-five years to help support the people of Q'ero with our Clean Water Project in collaboration with Living Bridges, building Munay T'ika School, one of the first schools in Q'eros, donating tools to build trails between Q'ero villages, or taking 20 Q'ero kids on their FIRST EVER tour of Machu Pikchu in their Mother tongue. To offer appropriate and desired aid to the Q'ero without destroying their cultural pattern is a SUPREME challenge. The foundation has served as a force for the preservation and promotion of the Inka path, has been instrumental in helping to raise awareness of the spiritual principles and wisdom of the Q’ero, and pragmatically saved lives and helped children.
I cordially invite YOU to help us continue our work.