More about the Munay-ki

More About the Rites

The Nine Rites are broken up into three categories:

  • Foundation Rites
  • Lineage Rites
  • Rites to Come
The Foundation Rites are:

1. Healer Rite

2. Bands of Power Rite

3. Harmony Rite

4. Seer Rite

The Lineage Rites are:

5. Daykeeper Rite

6. Wisdomkeeper Rite

7. Earthkeeper Rite

The Rites to Come are:

8. Starkeeper Rite

9. Creator Rite

About Each Rite

(1) Healer Rite connects you to a lineage of shamans from the past who come and assist you in your personal healing, offering you tremendous spiritual assistance. These luminous beings work on you during your meditation and sleep time to heal the wounds of the past and of your ancestors.

(2) Bands of Power consist of five energetic bands representing earth, water, fire, air, and pure light. These bands are activated in your luminous energy field, and act as filters, breaking down into one of the five elements any heavy energy that comes your way so that this energy can feed you instead of making you toxic or ill. Once activated, the Bands of Power are always ‘on’. In a world filled with fear, the bands provide essential protection.

(3) Harmony Rite plants seven archetypes into your chakras:

  • In the first chakra, you receive the archetype of serpent.
  • In the second chakra you receive the archetype of the jaguar/puma.
  • In the third chakra you receive the archetype of the hummingbird
  • In the fourth chakra you receive the archetype of the eagle/condor.

Then, three “guardians” go into your upper three chakras.

  • In the fifth chakra you receive the archetype of Huascar, the keeper of the lower world, the unconscious.
  • In the sixth chakra you receive the archetype of Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent, keeper of the middle world (our waking world)
  • In the seventh chakra you receive the archetype of Pachakuti, the protector of the upper world (our super-conscious).

These archetypes are transmitted into your chakras as seeds. These seeds germinate with fire, and you have to perform a number of fire meditations to awaken them and help them grow. Afterward, they help transmute the psychic sludge that has built up in your light body, so your chakras can shine with their original light.

(4) Seer Rite installs filaments of light extending from your visual cortex in the back of your head to your third eye and heart center. This installation awakens your ability to perceive the invisible world, to see and know with your heart and your intuition.

(5) Daykeeper Rite is an energetic transmission that connects you to a lineage of shaman from the past. The Daykeepers were the masters of the ancient stone altars found in sacred places throughout the world, from Stonehenge to Machu Picchu. The Daykeeper is able to call on the power of these ancient altars to heal and bring balance to the world.

According to lore, the Daykeepers called on the sun to rise each morning and set each evening, made sure humans were in harmony with Mother Earth (Pachamama), and honored the ways of the feminine. The Daykeepers were the midwives who attended births and deaths, as well as being herbalists, and traditional healers. They were generally women, and were knowledgeable about the ways of the feminine earth. This initiation begins the process of healing your inner feminine, and helps you to step beyond fear and practice peace.

(6) Wisdomkeeper Rite helps you to step outside of time and taste infinity. The legends say the ancient wisdom resides in the high mountains. The ice-covered peaks were revered as places of power, just as other mountains around the world, from Mt. Sinai to Mt. Fuji to Mt. Olympus, have been honored as places where humans meet the divine. The lineage of Wisdomkeepers consists of medicine men and women from the past who defeated death and stepped outside of time.

(7) Earthkeeper Rite connects you to a lineage of archangels that are guardians of our galaxy. They’re reputed to have human form and to be as tall as trees. The Earthkeepers, who are stewards of all life on the Earth, come under the direct protection of these archangels and can summon their power when they need to in order to bring healing and balance to any situation. The Rite of the Earthkeeper helps you learn the ways of the seer, and to dream the world into being.

(8) Starkeeper Rite anchors you safely to the time after the great change that is said will occur around the year 2012. According to lore, when you receive this Rite, your physical body begins to evolve into that of “homo luminous”. The aging process is slowed down, and you become resistant to diseases to which you were once vulnerable. After receiving this Rite, you may notice you no longer process events occurring in your life primarily at the physical level but rather, at the Spirit level. When you receive these Rites, you acquire stewardship of the time to come and for future generations.

(9) Creator Rite connects you to the light within yourself – the Divine Source within – so you can co-create your life. It awakens your God-nature and brings the cellular realization that Spirit is not only acting through you, but IS you, ineffable Pure Consciousness. This Rite was not available before 2006 on the planet. Although there were individuals who attained this level of initiation, and awakened their Christ or Buddha consciousness, it was not possible to transmit this Rite from one person to another, until now.

The Origins of the Munay-ki

There has been a lot of discussion about the origins and authenticity of the Munay-Ki. I would like to express my feelings about “authenticity” in relation to the Andean spiritual tradition as well as the Munay-Ki.

The Andean spiritual tradition is not an organization. It is ancient practices that serve people by keeping us in harmony and balance, both within ourselves and with each other. These ancient practices assist us to tap into the laws of nature and creation so we can flow with these natural currents of life without having to manage our lives on a purely physical or practical level. The practices and initiations awaken our own inner knowledge and expand our consciousness to see and know things in remarkably new ways.

This tradition has no institutional facilities, nor hierarchy of leaders who tell people how they must behave. Rather it is a tradition that works on the mystical and energetic levels. It understands we are part of a larger whole. The sun that rises everyday gives us life. The seeds we plant give us sustenance. It is a tradition that knows we reap that which we sow. It is a tradition that knows the importance of ayni, reciprocity – the principle that what we give, we receive and what we receive we give. This is the law of nature, the created order of things. It’s about living in right relation with ourselves, others and all of creation.

The Andean tradition reminds us we are intimately connected with everything and everyone around us. If we are in balance, then we are in rhythm with the natural flow of things. Life then requires much less effort to accomplish so much more.

Yes, the Andean tradition has indigenous practices local mountain people have done for hundreds even thousands of years, working with plants, coca leaves and elements of nature. There are ceremonies, rites and rituals used to heal and assist members of the community. A key element to keeping these practices and teachings alive includes initiation rites ( karpays , energy transmissions) that are passed from master to apprentice if someone in the community is called to leadership in the tradition.

This is the area around which much of the discussions about authenticity are focused. This tradition, up to recently, has been an oral tradition, passed down through initiation rites as well as an apprenticeship system where people learned the practices and rituals as part of their experience in the communities. Since many high altitude communities were not very easily reached, the Spanish had difficulty converting these indigenous practitioners to the Catholic religion. Many shamans who are alive today, who became Catholic over the years, still practice their ancient traditions, not as a religion but as a way of life. For them, there is no conflict.

All this is to say that like any evolving social, practical, spiritual system, many ways and varieties of practices exist harmoniously within this tradition. No one is more authentic than the other. They continue to thrive because they work.

There are many people who have learned these ancient practices from indigenous mountain shamans in Peru and shared the teachings with people around the world who resonated strongly with these practices because they touched something in their core. I first heard about this tradition when Alberto came to Johannesburg. He had been visiting Peru and studying with shamans there for more than 20 years at that point.

During my first trip to Peru six months later, I met several other people who were teaching the Andean tradition, including Regis and Sergio who became my teachers by responding to my request to teach a workshop in Johannesburg, where I was then living. I am extremely grateful to them for all they taught me. In addition to Alberto, Regis and Sergio, I have met other Peruvian teachers, well educated and professional, who learned the tradition from indigenous shamans– Juan Nunez Del Prado, Jose Luis Herrera, Oscar Miro Quesada, to name just a few. Then there are former students of these teachers who also teach.

They all have their own way of teaching the tradition. Thankfully there is no ultimate authority to say one is more “correct” than the other, although there are certainly people who have tried. Each of them has their own organization which orders how and when and where they pass on this tradition to others, both in Peru and around the world.

For example, I learned the method codified by Regis and Sergio. They called their organization The Order of Inkari. When it was time for me to leave their organization, I continued to teach many of the things they taught me – like the work with the four elements. I have also developed my own form and style of teaching I feel reflects the main principles of the tradition, even though it may differ somewhat from the things I learned from my teachers. For most teachers and students who become teachers, I imagine this is true and, in my opinion, as it should be.

I was reluctant at first to fully embrace the Munay-Ki Initiation Rites because I hadn’t studied with Alberto and knew (as much as an outsider can know these things) that Alberto’s way of teaching the tradition had different aspects from the way I had learned it. But after learning the Munay-Ki, and even more so after teaching it to others, I realized the energy of these Rites is profound and powerful. The form and substance of the Rites had been codified by Alberto but the energy and purpose of the Munay-Ki is connected to an ancient tradition that reminds us of who we really are, beyond culture and country.

Alberto offered the Munay-Ki outside of his own organization, setting it free to spread as far and wide as it has within only a few years. The world-wide interest in these rites is evidence they are awakening people to wisdom and knowledge held for many years by only a few, mostly in remote areas. Some indigenous people in other parts of the world have guarded carefully their ancient teachings and practices. But the shamans in the Andes of Peru have welcomed the interest of Peruvians and foreigners alike. They believe the time has come to share these rites to assist humanity to manifest the new golden age of their prophecies. Alberto shared this belief which is why he allowed the Munay-Ki to spread without seeking to control it or profit from it. Everyone who teaches it is invited to do the same. There is no way to control the Munay-Ki because it is shared freely for people to benefit from it or not.

So the issue of authenticity for me becomes moot. This is the moment of history where all humans are invited to recognize our connection with one another. With each interchange both foreigner and indigenous become altered. We effect change in one another. This is the reality. When the Dalai Lama visited Cusco in 2005 he said it is important for his people in Tibet to preserve the essence of their ancient teachings but also to learn how to live in the modern world and benefit from the new technologies. How to navigate this mix of culture and tradition, antiquity and modernity is what we are all learning how to do, indigenous and foreign alike.

We live in a time when we each can learn from one another how to become our best selves. I choose to practice and teach the Andean tradition because it empowers me and the ones I teach it to. I delight in the fact the tradition has no fixed organization nor hierarchy of leaders, no dogma of beliefs and no one to tell you if you are bad or good. No one to kick you out if you don’t do as the people in power say.

The time of hierarchy, ego-power and control is over. What is special for me about the Nine Munay-Ki Rites is that anyone who wants them can receive them. After learning how to give them, you can share them with as many people as you’d like and teach others how to do the same. People are drawn to them because they change lives in a positive way. People are free to participate or not, to grow the seeds or not. No ultimate authority is needed to control the movement of the rites. There exists the trust and belief that through these rites we are connecting to a higher source, to become co-creators of the world we are dreaming into being.

The Archetypes

Here are some descriptions of the archetypes you might find helpful in your work with them. In addition, recipients are invited to develop their own relationship with the archetypes, from their own experience.

•  Serpent – This archetype is given into the first or root chakra. The Serpent is the Mother of the Waters and has been the archetype of the healer throughout many cultures. The staff of medicine, or caduceus, is formed by two serpents intertwined around a rod. The Serpent teaches us to shed our personal past the way she sheds her skin. This archetype is the primary life force, the one who dives deep inside and knows the way into the deepest places inside ourselves.

Serpent walks with beauty on the belly of the Mother and knows the way back to the Garden, the place of innocence. She symbolizes knowledge, sexuality and healing. Serpent represents the primeval connection to the feminine and thus is a symbol of fertility. She symbolizes the essential life force that seeks union and creation. We can summon the creative principle by calling on this archetype of Serpent.

There is an Andean legend that tells the story of two mythical beings, Yacumama and Sachamama, represented by two big snakes that leave the underworld and ascend to the world of the here and now. Yacumama slithers along the earth becoming a great river and Sachamama walks erect with the appearance of an aged tree. She has two heads, the upper one feeds on birds and the lower one attracts the animals living on the surface of the earth.

These two snakes, when moving to the upper world, transform Yacumama into the lightning and Sachamama into the rainbow. This symbolizes the fertility and productivity of humanity and the earth. The three worlds unite through these two serpents that represent the energy of water and fertility.

•  Jaguar/Puma – This archetype is given into the second chakra (abdominal area). This archetype is the Mother-Sister Jaguar who knows the way across the rainbow bridge to the world of mystery. She is the one who swallows the dying sun, teaching us to step beyond fear, violence and death. The archetypal connection to the life force of the jungle, she is the steward of the life force, a Luminous Warrior who has no enemies in this world or the next. This archetype represents the Life/Death principle and renewal.

Jaguar/Puma helps us navigate the changes we go through on a regular basis. In order for something new to grow, we need to release the old, creating space for the new to unfold. This archetype teaches us how to be present with each moment of our process, knowing when to be still and when to move. The Jaguar/Puma is fully present, fully grounded and sure footed. She has a deep inner knowing and a sense of what her next step should be. She then proceeds with it fearlessly.

Where Serpent represents the power of healing, which is gradual and incremental; Jaguar stands for sudden transformation, fire and death. It might seem odd to us the transforming force in the Universe is also associated with death. That which endured was always changing and renewing itself; that which remained unchanging, perished. The Ancient Americans recognized chaos and order, expansion and contraction, as the natural cycle of life.

We can transform our bodies so they heal more rapidly and age more elegantly by embodying the forces represented by Jaguar/Puma. Like a cat with many lives, we need to release the old life in order to leap into the new one. Otherwise, we can spend years patching and fixing an old self we have outgrown.

The Puma represents courage, bravery, cunning, shrewdness, perseverance and clear judgment. Physically, she is agile and strong, able to jump off a tree in two steps and swim across a large river against the current!

This archetype is a magical, mythical feline connected to the darkness of the night. Her eyes shine in the night, representing ‘the one who sees in the dark, who can see the invisible, unveiling what hides in the shadows’.

She brings us to a point where we face our own death, leaving all fears and worries behind. Working with this archetype we take a conscious leap from the material to the spiritual world. Puma connects us to the path beyond death, guiding us to walk with courage, bravery, daring and tenderness, all at the same time.

•  Hummingbird – This archetype is given into the third chakra (belly). This archetype connects us with the Ancient Ones, the ancestors, Grandmothers and Grandfathers, ancient memories and ancient wisdom. Working with the Hummingbird, we can step outside of Time to remember the ancient ways.

The hummingbird is the smallest bird in the world, a beautiful, unique bird, with feathers in all the colors of the rainbow. It only weighs between 2 grams (the Bee Hummingbird) and 20 grams (the Royal Hummingbird). It has a long, narrow beak and a tongue shaped like a trumpet. Siwar Qenti , the Royal Hummingbird, lives between 2000 and 4000m above sea level and although it lives in a community, it is able to retain its independence. Thus it is individualistic and collective by nature, quite similar to humans.

The Hummingbird drinks directly from the nectar of life, feeding from many flowers, learning from nature . Interestingly, it is most attracted to red flowers, and red is the color of the spirit of life. We can emulate the hummingbird and “drink” from the teachings of many teachers, the environment and from life itself.

The Andean people recognize the hummingbird as the wise being who knows how to drink from Life’s nectars in the most audacious and conscious way. From this quick, light and beautiful bird, we can learn to think fast and foresee the future in order to create the most appropriate surroundings for our evolution. Each day we can strive for a lighter and swifter flight to reach the highest realities which are also our deepest inner realities. The hummingbird teaches us to recognize the beauty in everything and use it to bring freedom to our existence.

Even though Hummingbird was not built for flight, it undertakes and accomplishes the impossible journey. It flies thousands of kilometers from Canada through Mexico and Brazil to reach Peru in its yearly migration. It never tires, stops or loses direction. This bird embodies perseverance and exudes a sense of adventure. The hummingbird has no need to doubt its strength or wonder where the next meal is coming from, because it doesn’t stop to think and worry. It just follows its heart.

Hummingbird is driven by love and light, to drink the sweet nectar of life itself. It takes us to the language of the soul, carries us into the realm of dreams, of poetry, of the arts, of images, of beauty, of truth and wisdom. Then we are able to embark on our inner journey. It is from the space of the hummingbird that we can see our experiences as part of our own Sacred Journey into Being. Hummingbird teaches us to live life fully.

•  Condor/ Eagle – This archetype is transmitted into the fourth chakra (heart-center). It is the great archetype of the East, the place of the rising Sun, the place of our Becoming. It embodies the principle of seeing from a high perspective. It brings vision, clarity, and foresight. The great wings of the condor hold the heart and teach us to see with the eyes of the heart. The Condor/Eagle energy pushes us out of the nest to spread our own wings so we may always fly wing to wing with the Great Spirit.

Condor/Eagle perceives the entire panorama of life without becoming bogged down in its details. This archetypical energy helps us find the guiding vision of our lives. The eyes of the Condor see into the past and the future, helping us to know where we come from, and who we are becoming. Eagle allows us to rise above the mundane battles that occupy our lives and consume our energy and attention. They give us wings to soar above trivial day-to-day struggles into the high peaks close to Heaven. Condor/Eagle represents the self-transcending principle in nature.

The Eagle is a very beautiful and powerful bird. Eagle is strong with powerful claws and extremely sharp, clear vision, allowing him to see minute details from vast distances. Some eagles have two focal points in their eyes, one for frontal vision and one for lateral distant vision.

Condor, the largest bird on the planet, can have a wing-span of between 2.70 and 3.30 meters (between 9- 11 feet). It can fly at altitudes between 3,000 and 7,000 meters, where it glides for hundreds of kilometers with virtually no movement of its wings, thus expending very little energy. It has its habitat high in the Andes. In Incan times, the Condor was believed to be immortal.

The Condor symbolizes force, intelligence and exaltation. According to myth, when the Condor feels it has reached old age and its life force is running out, it settles on a high peak in the mountains, folds its wings, and picks up its feet, and plummets to the depths below, thus ending its reign. Then the Condor returns to its nesting place and is reborn into a new cycle of life.

This archetype assists us with clarity and discernment in our lives. These lend purpose and meaning to our existence, allowing us to live and see situations and people from a higher perspective.

•  Keeper of the Lower World/Huascar – This archetype is transmitted into the fifth chakra (throat). Historically, Huascar was one of two sons of the last Inka. He was the keeper of the medicine teachings and was killed by his brother, Atahualpa, who then banded together with the Spanish. This archetype is the harmonizing principle of the Lower World – the chaotic dark place of all creative potential.

Huascar, a frightening figure with a heart of gold, calls us to meet our fear and step out of our darkness into the light. He stands ready to assist us. The gift of Huascar is to harmonize our relationship with our Shadow.

There is a lake just outside Cusco called Huacarpay. A mythical story says the spirit of Huascar resides in that lake. The story says when he was killed, the Spanish cut off his limbs and put them in the four corners of the Empire to assure the Inka royal line would never rule again. His heart is in that lake, they say, and when the world is once again in harmony, he will rise from the waters to assist in the dawning of the new golden age of peace and unity.

•  Keeper of the Middle World/Quetzalcoatl – This archetype is transmitted into the sixth chakra (third eye). This archetype from Mayan mythology is the Lord of the Dawn, the Day Bringer, the Morning Star. Quetzalcoatl brings harmony and order. Quetzal is a beautiful jungle bird and coatl is a serpent. A feathered, winged serpent that has acquired flight is the organizer of the material world. Quetzalcoatl is said to have brought irrigation, medicine plants and stonework to the Americas. He brought stability, music, dance, flutes and drums. Though this mystical creature has been lost in our culture, we can call on its animistic knowledge of the ways of the Earth to organize our relationship with the practical material world. When you come into relationship with Quetzalcoatl, you no longer have to micromanage your life.

The attributes of Quetzalcoatl are very similar to those of Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo in the Inka tradition. As children of the Sun, they were given the task of founding the Inca Empire. They were also mythical characters, said to rise out of the waters of Lake Titicaca. They were taught agricultural as well as all the necessary skills for life on this earth plane. Taytay Inti (Father Sun) then gave his children a golden rod and told them that wherever the rod sank with one thrust into ground as soft and fertile as the human navel would be the center of the Empire. The rod stood upright in Cusco, whose name means “navel” in Quechua. Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo won the local people over by teaching them a more advanced form of civilization.

•  Protector of the Upper World/Pachakuti – This archetype is transmitted into the seventh chakra (crown). This archetype is connected with the time to come, the keeper of possibilities, the organizing principle of the Upper World. It embodies the concept of circular time, or stepping outside of linear time. This archetype can make time stand still, bringing heavenly order to Earth. By coming into relationship with Pachakuti, we recognize what can be changed and change it before it is born.

Pachakuti is the guardian of the gates to the Hanaq Pacha (upper world) and will accompany and support us in our journey through this realm. This is the realm where we experience everything in a space beyond linear time, the place of possibilities and creation. Here we can change our energy vibration and access more expanded aspects of our selves. Working with this archetype, we move beyond our physical body to experience ourselves as pure energy to meet the evolved person we are becoming.

Special thanks to Alberto Villoldo and my South African friend Heather Morgan for much of the information about the archetypes.