Ayni, The Incan Philosophy of Reciprocity

Alison JamesArticles

In our daily lives we function within a worldwide system of exchange.  Every time you purchase something in a store, visit the doctor or fill the gas tank in your car, you are operating on a material level of reciprocity; you give money and you receive goods and services in return. Since man first learned how to count and push beads across an abacus or, like the Incas, place knots in a cord (a quipu), we automatically function within this system as it exists within the earth plane of consciousness. Reciprocity, or ayni, is moreover a universal physical law, “as a man soweth, so shall he reap”.

I was blessed in May, 2013 to be able to spend a week with the father and son team of paqos (Andean shamanic teachers), Juan and Ivan Nuñez del Prado, attending a revelatory and powerful Andean Mystic Workshop. The Incan heritage today functions as a “living history”, this civilization having followed the Sumerians 5,300 years ago. The Incan prophecies speak of the return of the Inca, most of their history having been handed down orally and not written:

“When the Eagle of the North flies with the Condor of the South, The Spirit of the Land, She will Reawaken.”

Juan and Ivan are bringing forth the ancient Peruvian consciousness today for humanity and taking it out around the world. Through their lineage, this father and son team are revealing much of the traceable Incan history that comes to us from the 10th to 16th centuries, imbued with stories and energies from the ancient Peruvian Indians. Miraculously, the Incan philosophy and traditions have survived and, chronologically speaking, appeared after the demise of the Mayan civilization.  I see this as especially significantly, as the Peruvian philosophy now offers a further piece of the anthropological puzzle of man’s history and destiny on Mother Earth.

For the Inca and the indigenous Peruvian Indians of today, and also for a growing number of people around the world, the philosophy of ayni is a true understanding of how man may live on Earth in harmony with all that surrounds him: his body, his spirit, his thinking, the elements, his fellow man, community, global relationships, nature, the animal kingdom and all life forms, even the cosmos itself. This is achieved through his own “bubble”. Through ayni, all men are considered equal. The Peruvian Indians understand and work consciously to maintain a balanced and harmonious reciprocity of relationship beyond the physical, with spirits and universal energies as well. Through various exercises, the paqos teach us how to clear and merge our energies with all that surrounds us, merging our bubble with other bubbles in the environment and Mother Earth.

Living oftentimes in poverty and with limited resources, the Peruvians today still practice ayni with the apus (spirits) of the mountains, lakes and towns, as well as with each other.  One of their most sacred rituals is the preparation of despachos (offerings), giving something of value in the hope of receiving an answer to a question, a healing energy, or assistance in their lives. This practice is largely forgotten or ignored In western civilization, yet how great are our expectations to receive. We must ask ourselves, how much are we prepared to give? With an applied consciousness of ayni, we too may participate in the universal flow of abundance. Like other Incan concepts, the concept of ayni is practical, uncomplicated and so beneficial. It requires no great scientific understanding; it is simply performed and applied. It is a living practice of the paqos.

While many of humankind have lost a sense of oneness with Mother Nature, this is not irreversible. Man is regaining and laying greater importance upon the quality and vibration of his environment, his food and all that pertains to his daily life and hereto the Incan consciousness is playing a timely and important role. Learning to honor and perform ayni with all life forms brings with it a greater sense of wanting to take care of the planet, its resources, produce and the animals. When man takes an animal’s life for food, the animal is giving its life — no small gift — but how often is the animal honored or even killed humanely? Mother Earth could eclipse all matter in a wink, but she is sustaining us, all life forms, the oceans and her atmosphere. Isn’t it time for us to honor her with ayni?

The Inca may be widely remembered as lords of gold and glory, but their teachings are very earthbound, combining “Father Cosmos” and Pachamama (Mother Earth). Ruined palaces, temples and carved terraces, built with great skill and artistry, remain from their heyday and most beautifully at Machu Picchu where the buildings were sculpted to harmonize with the natural landscape. The ancient Inca capital of Cuzco, when viewed from overhead, was designed in the shape of a Puma, symbolizing strength and power.

In our workshop, Juan and Ivan blessed us with Hatun Karpay, the Great Incan Initiation and we became 4th Level Initiates. No matter what level you hold, the seed of All There Is is awakened in the recipient, connecting us to the Divine Presence of everything. Hatun Karpay and the training that Juan and Ivan provide, enables one to see all phases and layers of life and to become a paqo, moving through increasing levels of Andean mysticism. There is much more ancient Incan wisdom being spread before those who would choose this path. Much is laid up in store for us individually and collectively as a result of this great and emerging work, with ayni offering us ways to reciprocate with each other.

May 20, 2013