I first encountered and understood the Ñust’as as female nature beings during the Hatun Qarpay, meaning ‘Great Initiation’ of the Inka. This ten-day Initiation Ceremony recovered by Peruvian anthropologist Juan Nuñez del Prado (the veritable Joseph Campbell of the Andes) is an authentic Inka Initiation rite covering the sacred Inkan geography from the lower elevations of Macchu Pikchu, through the Sacred Valley of the Inkas, to the highest and largest temple complex of Wiraqocha Inka at Raqchi.
In 1992 I was personally introduced to the Ñusta’s at the Pachamama cave in the Macchu Pikchu archaeological complex. We were informed that the famous ‘niches,’ found everywhere in Inkan organic architecture, are actually receptors for specific living energies of Nature. The five niches located at the entrance to the Pachamama Cave behind Wayna Pikchu, house the four primary or Teqse level of Ñust’as. They are the envoys or healing forces of Mother Water, Mother Earth, Father Sun, Mother Wind/Moon/Stars). These top level Ñust’as are known as the Black (Willka), Red (Puka), Gold (Qori) & Silver (Qolqe) Ñust’as and they imbue these niches with the finest feminine energies of Water, Earth, Sun and Wind/Moon/Stars respectively.
During the ritual, the Paqo establishes a relationship with each of these Ñust’as by entering their niche and exchanging personal power with them one by one. Next, the Paqo releases their heavy energy, gathers into themselves the combined power of all four niches and then offers this to the fifth and final niche…that of the Green Ñust’a. The importance of the ritual lies in each one’s personal experience with each of the Ñust’as.
Only recently, in December 2008, did we stumble upon a further elucidation of the term Ñust`a that opened a Pandora’s box of depth, meaning and of course, further questions. In a private ten-day session with a small group of students and an excellent translator, we sat with two of the most famous and internationally known Q’ero healers, Don Humberto Sonqo Q’espi and Doña Bernardina Apaza Flores, from the Q’ero communities of Charqapata and Qolpa Kucho respectively. Both Pampamesayoqs were initiated to work as a sacred healing couple from the tender ages of 14 and 15 years old. Together they have performed healings for more than half a century.
“The Ñust’a is one,” Doña Bernardina told us, holding up an arthritic index finger to signal her meaning, “but has its male and female part.”
“Please… what are Ñust’as?” asked a relatively new student.
“The Ñusta’s are the healing forces of Nature,” Don Humberto intoned, looking at us askance for asking such an obvious question.
For the Q’ero, knowledge is not in any way abstract, it is highly intimate, up close and personal, and it is based upon direct perception of the living energy world. It is very odd to them that we would ask another person to explain what we can know ourselves through our own direct experience.
“Look out at this hillside here,” Don Humberto continued, “you can see thousands of ñusta’s. They make the trees grow and the flowers bloom. Look how they are working!” He gestured again out the window at the flowering macadamia nut trees, proving his point to us beyond a shadow of a doubt, “We must never forget to thank them.”
There are many different levels of Ñust’as, from the top Teqse level that are global because everyone on earth has access to Water, Earth, Sun and Wind, down to the Suyu, Llaqta, and Allyu levels who are the smallest local Ñust’as that belong to your home landscape (i.e., the Ñust’as of the macadamia nut trees at my farm in Hawaii). The Q’ero often invoke the “Ñust’a of the fifth granary” as she is local to their villages and knows everyone and all about what goes on in their village. Now is the time for us to begin the conversation with our own local Ñust’as.
According to Doña Bernardina, the Ñusta’s come in complementary pairs of male and female—following the Andean concept of Yanantin which means harmony between complements—as does all of Nature including sacred Mountain and River beings.
“If you meet a beautiful sexy man in your dreams…that is a Ñust’a. But if you are a man you will see a very nice lady.” Doña Bernardina explained with a wink.
Further, the Q’ero believe our parentage is fourfold and that we descend from a pair of human beings from whom we receive our physical body, as well as a pair of Nature Beings, the male and female Nature spirits at the precise geographic location of our birth. Our Paqarina (Nature Mother) and Itu Apu (Nature Father) hold the wisdom as well as the energetic support required to achieve our destiny. Don Humberto told us in no uncertain terms: “without the connection to your Paqarina and Itu Apu your power as a healer is almost nothing.”
From his point of view the primary ability of the healer is as a channel through which the forces of Nature, like the Ñusta’s, can flow to accomplish the healing. It is through our connection and right relationship with Nature that all healing is accomplished. Don Humberto told us that in the thousands of healings he and Doña Bernardina have performed across the US and Europe, he consistently finds patients suffering a severe depletion of living energy due to their missing connection with their own Paqarina and Itu Apu. He also says that if we want to have an abundant life we must be communicating well with our Ñust’as.
“When your relationship with Mother Earth is not in harmony…you get sick,” Don Humberto told us. Luckily the Andean teachings provide us with numerous tools that we can use to restore that harmonious relationship!
Don Humberto left us pondering (at least) one final mystery. “The Ñusta’s come from five sources,” he proclaimed, removing his broad-brimmed hat as a sign that what he would say next was sacred. “They come from Mother Earth, from the Inti kuna (a curious use of the Quechua plural meaning “the suns”), the Quillya kuna, meaning “the moons,” the Ch’aska kuna, meaning the stars, and from MISKAYANI.
The first time I had ever heard about Miskayani was in 1996 at the 25th International Transpersonal Association conference in Manaus, Brazil where Juan and I were honored to escort Don Manuel Q’espi, one of the last great Q’ero masters, as keynote presenter. Upon our arrival to the conference I invited Don Manuel to come and greet the Rio Negro as the conference was held at the Hotel Tropical, bounded by its mighty banks. Juan and I observed stupefied, as Don Manuel made his traditional coca leaf offering to this magnificent river and his bubble grew and grew, expanding exponentially as he spoke his prayers. He gasped and then turned to face us, his bubble rich with river nectar, and a thousand-watt smile spread across his features as he made this enigmatic comment: “There are hundreds of Ñust’as here, they are so beautiful. We must be very close to the borders of Miskayani for there to be SO many!”
The Ñust’as, as Juan explained, appeared to Don Manuel as very sexy, young and nubile females — thus the big smile. The myth of Miskayani was discovered only in Q’eros by Juan’s father Oscar Nuñez del Prado, recorded during the expedition of 1955. Miskayani is said to be a mystical sacred city of highly evolved female Priestesses that are very beautiful and very sexy. Like Shambhalla of the Tibetans, the city is said to exist somewhere between the Earth plane and the higher spiritual dimensions and prophecy states that it is now becoming more accessible than ever to our world. The Q’ero say that only the pure of heart are allowed to enter Miskayani. Some of the older generations of Paqos, the most powerful, were said to have had mothers who came from Miskayani.
In my twenty-eight years of work across the globe, traversing numerous cultural and language boundaries, I have observed that the Q’ero way of knowing, the direct perception of living energy, can indeed be taught and learned by people of the West and that it is very useful! But what compels me most is the collective spiritual work made possible by the wisdom of this ancient Andean Art, and that collective wisdom is found in the female center of Miskayani.
Miskayani is the female counterpart to Paititi or ‘El Dorado’ the mysterious lost city of Inka gold. Over the last 500 years since the time of the Spanish Conquest, thousands of Spanish soldiers and dozens of modern-day adventurers have lost their lives searching for Paititi in the jungle, lured by the idea of a city filled with gold. Miskayani however, remains a mystery, and the search for her treasures has barely begun.
Will you join us?