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Keepers of the Ancient Knowledge: The Mystical World of the Q'ero Indians of Peru Hardcover – 5 Aug 1999

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Element Books; First Edition edition (5 Aug. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1862044929
  • ISBN-13: 978-1862044920
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 496,678 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Author

The most respected mystics of the Andes speak!
"Our clothes may be different, but we are all human beings--with love for each other." So spoke a Q'ero shaman as he began to relate his initiation story to me for my book, Keepers of the Ancient Knowledge. This book is the first in the English language to record the teachings of the Q'ero shamans of Peru in their own words. Known throughout the south-central Andes as the "keepers of the ancient knowledge," the Q'ero are some of the most respected mystics of Peru and are acknowledged by anthropologists as the indigenous population that has most purely preserved the ancient mystical system.

My book is divided into three parts. In part one, I provide an overview of Andean mysticism, introducing you to the world of living energy, the nature spirits, and the shamans' tools and practices. In part two, I reproduce the Q'ero interviews as closely as possible to how they actually happened, so you can hear what it's like to interact directly with the Q'ero masters. The Q'ero relate their initiation stories and discuss their shamanic practices and world view. In part three, I offer exercises by which you can begin to access your own energy body and interact with the world of living energy. You will also learn to work with stones of power, called khuyas, and to manifest dreams and desires using a nature offering called a despacho.

Andeans believe the world is comprised of living energy, and that it is as conscious of us as we are of it. We, too, are energy beings, and we are in continual interchange with the kawsay pacha, the world of animating energy. Our primary energy center is located at our navel area, and is called the qosqo. Through this chakra-like center, we make energy interchanges with nature and each other, and in so doing we determine the very conditions of our lives. If we accumulate heavy energy, instead of light energy, we can manifest its symptoms, which include physical, emotional and pyschological distress or illness. By cleansing ourselves of heavy energy, we can, therefore, improve every aspect of our lives, especially our relationships with other people.

The world of living energy includes many nature spirits, such as Inti, the sun; Mama Killa (pronounced "key-a"), the moon; Pachamama, Mother Earth; and the Apus and Nust'as, the Princes and Princesses of the mountains. (The book contains a glossary of mystical terminology, and more than 20 color photos of the Q'ero and sacred sites.)

For those of you whose only knowledge of Peruvian mysticism comes from fictional works, such as The Celestine Prophecy, my book will provide a glimpse into the real world of Andean mysticism. You will sit in circle with me as I talk with six Q'ero mystics, discovering as I did that talking with and listening to a real shaman is quite a bit different than you might expect, for there is not much of what I call "shamanic razzle-dazzle." In this book you won't hear much about shamanic journeys to other dimensions or leaps between perceptual worlds, as you do when you read Castaneda and other shamanic adventurers. One of my goals in this book is to present the Andean mystical world as it really is--which is very pragmatic and down to earth. I hope to somewhat demystify the Andean mystics. Too many tour operators and workshop leaders hype the Q'ero as mysterious, otherworldly masters. Believe me, they are masters, but they are not otherwordly. They are made of flesh and blood, and they struggle with the same life issues as the rest of us. Yes, they can show us how to access the metaphysical world and can guide us through its often strange encounters, but their more important work and teaching is how we can use energy tools to live with well-being and greater harmony in our day-to-day lives. Unlike Castaneda, we are not seeking to gain power in order to escape from or leap beyond this world, but to live in it, although in a more nurturing and authentic way than we may be at present. What's more, as we cleanse ourselves and our world, we also contribute to the Andean prophecy of the Tariypay Pacha, the "age of meeting ourselves again." This is a nineteen-year period, which we are already in the midst of, during which humankind has the potential to consciously evolve and to manifest a "paradise" on earth. (An entire chapter of the book is devoted to this prophecy.)

If you are wondering how I came to write this book, let me briefly recount my training as an Andean mystic. I began studying the tradition in 1994, and took my first trip to Peru that same year. I walked the "Royal Road of Shamans," the Inca Trail, to Machu Picchu. Two days later I met two Q'ero shamans, one of whom (don Mariano) gave me a power stone from his ritual bundle and predicted that if I worked hard and gained mastery of my energy body, I would "one day bring the word of Q'ero to the world." As he spoke, I thought he was probably suffering from altitude sickness! But over the next four years, I continued studying, returning to Peru every year to work with my mestizo and/or Q'ero teachers. In 1997, I was initiated as a fourth-level Andean "priest," the highest level of the Andean mystical hierarchy. I also received a blessing and the lineage from don Manuel Q'espi, the eldest shaman of Q'ero, during a ceremony at his house in Chua Chua, a Q'ero village. And now, five years after my journey began, the Q'ero do indeed speak to you in their own words. In reality this is not my book, but theirs. Your brothers and sisters of the Andes extend their light filaments, their hearts, and their teachings to you, in the hope that you too may live with greater well-being in the world of living energy.

About the Author

Joan Parisi Wilcox is a writer specialising in science, cosmology, mysticism, shamanism and indigenous cultures. She holds a Master's degree in English and has completed her Ph.D. course work in modern literature. Wilcox has studied Andean mysticism for more than four years and has travelled to Peru four times, where, in 1997, she underwent the Andean initiation ritual to kuraq akulleq, the Hatun Karpay. She has published articles on mysticism, both North American and South American, in such magazines as Shaman's Drum and Magical Blend. She lives in North Carolina.

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David J. Porter on 15 July 2010
Format: Hardcover
The author is an expert on this form of 'shamanism'. She must be, as she went to Peru a staggering FOUR times for a few weeks each, to take part in workshops with the Q'ero, who told her she is 'special' and is now one of them. The workshops she went to were full of similarly 'special' errr... backpackers, 'doing' the Inca trail. Get your wallet out and you too can become just like them! Come on people, books like this one are 'two a penny'. Now the author is a shaman, she can do stuff like not get uptight in traffic jams, etc, which you too can learn to do in the section of Q'ero self-help exercises at the back of the book! Get in tune with nature (without lowering your consumption or changing your way of life at all). The Q'ero really did change her life (perhaps for a fee, since they're rather poor people); now she can write cliche'd books about her experiences and run 'spiritual' workshops for cash, I'll bet. Bet they saw her coming... If you want to get in tune with nature and effect a change over the world, just don't go jetting around the globe looking for gurus. Kill your car, toss your TV and be as green as you can. Cut-and-paste ritual/cultural theft doesn't work. This book is typical plastic shamanism and armchair wizardry. Thankfully, I found my copy in the library and will save my cash for something better (like a donation to Survival International, for example). By the way, look up this word on the Interwebs: Brichero.
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By A. Dennis on 14 Jan. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
the book arrived in good condition and on time I have just stared reading and I am not disappointed it is brilliant
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 12 reviews
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
An unfortunate case of not doing ones homework 30 July 2004
By Robin gVL - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I was disturbed but unsurprised to see the average customer review at 5 stars. My review is not meant to put down the author or the book in question, rather, to express my deep interest in a factual portrayal of friends of mine, their lifestyle and spiritual traditions. I have lived in Cusco, Peru for over two years and have become close friends with a dozen or so paqos-- shaman-mystics-- from Qeros. I speak Spanish and Quechua. I am the godfather of a six month old boy from Qeros. My house has become the place of lodging for five Qero shamans when they are visiting Cusco. I share these statements as a reality check.

The author --apparently-- speaks neither Spanish nor Quechua, and has as her primary source of information, translation, and spiritual guidance two shamans who are decidedly Non-Qeros, these being Ñunez del Prado and Yabar. Rather than state my bias towards these two purveyors of Andean shamanism-mysticism, I would simply use this space to state the obvious-- that the author presents an unresearched and uninformed portrait of the Qero through the eyes of her mestizo teachers. It should come as no surprise, then, that when interviewing her Qero informants, she often realizes that they have no idea what she is talking about. Her statement of the westernized so-called Andean traditions lacks true Andean character. See, for one shocking example, the supposed Quechua names for the chakras-- these are Inventions of Ñunez del Prado!!

There are parts that save face for both the author and her westernized teachers, like the biographical interviews she conducts. Even so, I was generally saddened to find yet another book written from the point of view of a relatively ignorant foreigner who has decided to share an idiosyncratic, romanticized and westernized image of the Andean spiritual universe. In my experience, when we strip the Qero tradition and other autoctonous traditions of comparative mysticism, or of our western cosmovision, we do ourselves a tremendous favor.

If you want to learn about the Qero or Andean mysticism, come to Peru. If you want to learn about one North American woman and her (mis)conceptions about these people, read this book.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
An excellent book written about the Q'ero of Peru. 12 May 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book gives the reader a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with the Q'ero, who are the direct descendants of the Inca people. The author takes the reader on a journey in which the Q'ero share their stories, prophecies and ancient wisdom. Joan Parisi Wilcox provides information which is easy to read and understand. Exercises are provided so that the reader can apply spiritual practices which will be healing to the reader and to the earth. I could not put the book down! This author has given us a great gift from her heart.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
An Honest Account of the Way Things Really Are 16 Feb. 2000
By Diane - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I have been searching for a book such as this ever since my pilgrimage to Peru and Bolivia. I could not put this book down. It gives one a greater understanding of the traditions of these widsom keepers, and explains honestly what I experienced there, but could not fully understand because of the language barrier. Written with great integrity, and without a "western twist". A must read for anyone travelling to Peru. Much gratitude to the author for this gift.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Opens the doors of perception to ancient knowledge 11 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Keepers of the Ancient Knowledge opens the doors of perception allowing readers an opportunity to experience the mundane and mystical world of the Q'ero. The unique writing format the author designed provides the reader with a grounded understanding of how the Q'ero integrate their knowledge and practices into their daily lives. This insightful approach sets this book apart from others of its genre because the reader is shown the practical application of the practices. The format of the exercises is easy to understand and allows the reader to begin experiencing direct connections with this work.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Keepers of the Ancient (Mystical) Knowledge 22 Feb. 2003
By Neil Sperling - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I have been a student on the path of mystical knowledge for over 20 years. This is one of the most detailed and enlightening books I have read. The knowledge for true seekers is what this world needs and Joan has not only done a remarkable job at reseaching the subject, her clear and detailed explanations are right on.
This is one book that any true seeker will gain from. The exercises included, when performed, bring lasting and enlightening results.
Any seeker on the path of truth will tell you there is a lot of "shallow" materal on the market today. This book is anything but shallow. Joan's depth takes you places few have journeyed and I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend it. Make sure you "DO THE EXERSICES". Do not just read them, and I am certain you will be recomending this book to others too. Great job Joan.
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