In last week’s blog I discussed the second practice in The Way of the Seer. You may remember how it entailed recognizing the impact each action you take has on future generations—as well as how many Native Americans believe it impacts seven generations into the future. I wanted to share an example of this, and how the necessary action of hiding The Way of the Luminous Warrior by the Laika created a rippling impact for generations to come.
When the Inka Empire was at the height of its glory 500 years ago, the imperial astronomers noted that the heavens foretold the arrival of men who would covet their gold and destroy their people. The Inka kingdom was the mightiest empire in the Americas but had become increasingly warlike. Neighbors who had lived peacefully for centuries began to covet each other’s land. The Inka had a standing army, well trained and ready to go to battle on short notice, something unheard of in the days of Inkari.
Soldiers had officers who had commanders who had generals who reported to a king—making society stratified and hierarchical. Men trained in the art of killing became the new heroes. The Laika, the explorers of the visible and invisible worlds, became second-class citizens. The armies were draining the resources of the outlying villages and the people were being taxed to exhaustion. The Inka legions had to engage in continual military campaigns lest they become restless and revolt. And even some of the Laika had begun to abuse their knowledge to accumulate power and wealth at the expense of others.
As the collective dream of the Inka started to become a nightmare riddled with violence and conquest, the Laika decided to hide the wisdom they had inherited. They concealed their knowledge of the Primordial Light. They realized that the best place to hide a wisdom such as theirs was in plain sight—in the future. The keys that would unlock the secrets of time were in the quipus, the “talking knots” made from colored threads spun from llama wool. The quipus were rings made of these fine wool threads with many strands hanging from them, and knots could be used to represent numbers—if you were an accountant—or stories, if you were a Laika. In these mnemonic devices the Laika knotted maps to treasures that could only be “read” by someone initiated into the art.
The Laika abandoned their homes in the fertile valley of Cusco and fled to ice-capped peaks 16,000 feet in altitude. They disappeared from the town squares, and the annual festivities of the Inti Raymi—the feast of the sun—were instead led by Inka priests. They exchanged their red and black ponchos with the designs of the Royal House for plain vanilla garments that showed no sign of their provenance or stature. When they traveled to the markets in the lowlands, they did not reveal the location of their villages in the heights. From their high and holy peaks, they witnessed the world they had helped dream into being now being ravaged by the conquistadores.
The void left by the Laika was then taken over by the Casters of Spells, who convinced people that the daydream they were living was not only real but was actually true. They hawked their services to the gullible, telling them that only potent spells could help their families, or heal their sick, or improve their lot in life. Since humans are by nature superstitious, people started to believe that they could not become the authors of their own destiny, that they needed the help of the Casters of Spells to find them a better dream. As they became trapped inside the daydream, their reality ceased to be a fluid story kept alive by the telling of it around the fire. It instead became fixed and immutable. This new story woven by the Casters of Spells and the conquistadores became history, and dreams slowly turned into nightmares because they were not renewed in the retelling.
The history of the Inka Empire holds a great example of actions and their impact on future generations. It is a singular case where the collective dream and sacred dream were affected by conscious action (the Laika) and unconscious action (the Inka, conquistadores and perhaps the Casters of Spells) and how if we look closely we can still see how those decisions impact us today.
If you would like to hear more stories about The Way of the Luminous Warrior and the Laika, you can find them in my newest book, The Heart of the Shaman: Stories and Practices of the Luminous Warrior.