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Glossary of Terminology
of the Shamanic & Ceremonial Traditions
of the Inca Medicine Lineage

as Practiced in the United States

CAUTION: The inclusion of herbs, symptomatology and treatments for disease within this glossary
is not meant for diagnosis of, nor prescription for treatment of, any medical condition.
This information is included for anthropological and historical study only.



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Ch, Ch' & Chh
F & G
K' & Kh
N & Ñ
P', Ph
Q', Qh
T' & Th


    Use the Firefox browser with the CoolPreview add on. CoolPreview will give a magnifying glass icon at every link when you put your cursor on the link. Click on the icon and it will open a separate, smaller window with the definition of the term in it. You can either lock the window by clicking the padlock icon in the top bar of the little window, or move your cursor off the window and it will automatically close. This is almost as good as mouseovers.

    paint30.tiff                         GLOSSARY NEVER TO BE SOLD

    Lady of Candelaria: See, Mama Igneos.

    Lady of the Three Fires: See, Mama Igneos.

    lagarto ronsapa: (n) The lizard bee, a mariri used in marupa sorcery as well as by healers to convey messages. AYV

    laica: See, layca.

    Lake Titicaca: (n) Considered the Womb of Pachamama, the seat of the feminine polarity of the planet. The masculine polarity is in Tibet. IGMP Located on the Bolivian/Peruvian border, the lake is central to the Inca creation stories. From it sprang the sun and the moon, Inkari and Collari. The waters of the lake are said to be the tears of the Creator. A narrow strait, Tiquina, separates the lake into two bodies of water. The smaller, in the southeast, is called Lake Huiñaymarca in Bolivia and Lake Pequeño in Peru; the larger, in the northwest, is called Lake Chucuito in Bolivia and Lake Grande in Peru. More than 25 rivers empty their waters into Titicaca. One small river drains the lake at its southern end. This single outlet empties only 5 percent of the lake's excess water; the rest is lost by evaporation under the fierce sun and strong winds of the dry Altiplano. WBC (See, Appendix B and Titicaca.)

    LANDSAT shot of Lake Titicaca.

    lanla: (n) (1) A type of sorcery characterized as trickster, using confusion and misdirection.
    (2) Earth elemental that eats hucha.

    lanlaku: (n) Bad ghost.

    lanti: (n) Idol, graven image. PSL

    lantin: (n) Radiant wrapping. CHAM

    laqhayay: (v) To get dark. PSL

    Lanzón (Span): (n) The Lanzón is the colloquial name for the most important statue of the central deity of the ancient Chavin culture of the central highlands of Peru. The Chavín religion was the first major religious and cultural movement in the Andes mountains, flourishing between 900 and 200 BCE. The Lanzón takes its name from the Spanish word for "lance," an allusion to the shape of the sculpture. See, wanka.


                         Lanzón detail done with laser scan. WIKI                       The Lanzón in situ.

    The Lanzón is housed in the central cruciform chamber of a labyrinthine
    series of underground passages in the Old Temple of the ceremonial and religious center of Chavín de Huántar. Devotees would be led into the maze of pitch-black tunnels, eventually coming face to face with the sculpture's
    snarling mouth and upturned eyes. The worshipers' disorientation, in addition
    to the hallucinogenic effects of the San Pedro cactus they were given before entering, only heightened the visual and psychological impact of the sculpture. The central image of the Lanzón functions as axis mundi, or pivot linking the heavens, earth and underworld. Position within the building also suggests centrality of image. The television show Ghost Hunters International recently (2012) made a trip to Chavín and the Lanzón and recorded odd heartbeat-like sounds coming from the stone on a piezoelectric microphone.

    Las Huaringas: The most important sacred lagoons to curanderos, located above the town of Huancabamba, near the Peru-Ecuador border. Many curanderos have been initiated at Las Huaringas and make periodic pilgrimages to the area to collect herbs. Initiation and curing rituals here involve a midday bath in a lagoon, during which one “sows” one's soul in its waters. When one works with or bathes in the lagoon, the herbs themselves “call” one. If the curandero is for good, the good herbs are attracted to him and come near; and the bad herbs come to him who is for evil. All this is according to the affinity of the herbs, according to their function and their application. The word huaringas is formed from the word Huari, meaning “god of force” or “thick water.” The other root of huaringas is the colonial Spanish version of the word “Incas” (Ingas, meaning “lords,” or “kings.”) Thus, Las Huaringas means something akin to “place of the archetypal lords of life force and water.”  WOFW  

    Curandero at Laguna Shimbre, one of the Las Huaringas lagoons.

    lausahacha, yerba de San Martín, verbena: (n) Hyptis verticillata Jacq. The Indians employ this plant medicinally for many purposes, especially to treat fatigue and chest ailments and pains. REPC


    layca, layqa, laica, laiqa, laika (AYM): (n) The term is understood as a negative magician who practices black magic. That might be a concept that the Spaniards gave and would like to imprint to the native healers in order to give a bad connotation and be able to accuse them to the Inquisition in order to destroy them. TP A paq'o who is a sorcerer. A black magician. WOFW  The word is a loan from Aymara. In a contemporary context, the word carries a malevolent connotation. The term umu can sometimes be used interchangeably with layca. FPRA Sorcerer or sorceress. VLA Female sorcerer and healer. ACAI Wizard; witch; sorcerer, brujo. RS ASD Female sorcerer and healer. ACAI  See vtucani layca.

    laycachatha vmochatha (AYM): (v) Bind with spells. ASD

    layqa: See, layca.

    layqay: (v) To practice witchcraft. PSL

    leche caspi, leche huayo, sorva, cow tree: (n)  Couma macrocarpa is a species of tropical plant native to tropical, humid Central and South America. In the Peruvian Amazon, it is cultivated for its sap. The sticky white latex is eaten for treating diarrhea and skin ailments. It is used for patching and sealing and to waterproof canoes. The latex has been harvested for use in plastics and rubber. The fruits are chewy, milky, and sweet-tasting and attract monkeys. WIKI


    The latex of leche caspi running from the trunk. WIKI                                Leche caspi tree.

    lechuza (Span): (n) An owl, considered to be the alter-ego [nagual] of a curandera. WOFW  See, therianthropy. See, also, huachuma for another picture.

    A Moche period owl pottery vessel showing a woman-owl,

    the alter-ego of female curanderas. WOFW  

    levantada (Span): From levantar (to raise). SEES A ritual step in a curandero session requiring nasal ingestion of the tabaco by patient and/or healer or assistants so as to pull out the evil from deep within the patient's body and to strengthen the person or object being raised. Generally, the tabaco which has been macerated in alcohol, is nasally imbibed through first the left and then the right nostril. If healer and/or assistants are raising the patient, they do so from his feet to his head. The patient is instructed to shake out the evil after the raising (see, limpia). Sometimes the healer employs strong language or instructs the patient to shout profanities during the levantada or while shaking out so as to counteract the influence of the evil in his life. GOL  Bringing the dormant energy of the mesa, or a khuya, sepka, etc., to an animated state. PSPM

    levantar la mesa (Span): (phrase) Literally, raise the mesa. The subjects performing a curing session snuff through the nostrils (a mixture of cane alcohol, scented water, and jasmine perfume. This procedure is believed to purify the mesa (def. 2) and protect it from evil influences. WOFW Compare, raise the staff. See, perla.

    level of abstraction (Eng): (n) In the curandero's mesa, objects are arranged according to two levels of abstraction existing in the same space/time: (1) the psychological level of the campos is linear mediation or balance (the dialectic of good and evil); and (2) the cosmological level of the four winds and the four roads seen as four triangles whose points converge in the center of the mesa forming a cross representing cyclical regeneration (death and rebirth) and metamorphosis. This crucifix is the junction of the four roads that lead to the four winds. Despite the contrast, this second level is an extension and refinement of the dualism of the first level which is implicit in the strategic grouping of power objects of the mesa. Together the levels of abstraction mediate the tension between opposites symbolized by power objects and rituals. [See, Tawantinsuyu, Appendix D (for map of the four roads), Inca medicine wheel]. WOFW

    The three campos, or fields, of the first level of abstraction of the curandero mesa.

    The converging triangles of the second level of abstraction of the curandero mesa.

    The four winds are the four cardinal directions of the compass, and the four roads
    are the diagonals that run from the central crucifix. WOFW

    (See, magnetismo and transistoriality.)  

    ley line: See, ceke

    light body: See, luminous body.

    Limacpampa: See, Rimacpampa.

    limanda: (n) A portable sacred object representing a pledge to the ayllu -- taken home and displayed in the home by the pledger -- as a reminder of the debt and of the pledger's membership in the ayllu. When the donor pays the pledge, s/he returns the limanda. (Origin of word unknown.) AWE


    limpia (Span): (n) From Spanish limpiar (to clean). A therapeutic act performed in a curandero session. Cleansings with staffs and artes from the mesa help draw out the daño and also help the healer see the cause of affliction. In the picture below, the limpia is done not only by the healer's assistants, but also by other patients and family members. Limpias involve the vigorous rubbing of the patient's body in an up-to-down motion with various artes, especially staffs and swords. After each limpia, the patient is instructed to shake him or herself vigorously by jumping and fully extending the arms and legs so that elbow and knee joints pop. This action helps to disengage the evil from the patient's body. Meanwhile, the healer and/or assistant, using their mouths, kamay the patient and/or the arte with cane alcohol, rubbing alcohol, or another liquid appropriate to the particular healer's ritual, so as to send the evil from the patient's body. GOL

    Limpia performed on a patient in a curandero session. GOL

    limpia con quwi: Literally, cleansing with guinea pig. The use of a guinea pig in divining disease (sp). On suspicion of witchcraft (generally expected with an illness), the patient is rubbed with a live guinea pig which is vivisected and the entrails divined, since the sensitive guinea pig is believed to take on the body “humors” and ailments of the patient. If a patient has an organic disorder, the corresponding organ of the guinea pig is believed to become spotted or to turn black. In a case involving witchcraft, the spine of the animal is broken, indicated that a hex removal is necessary. WOFW Compare, soba con quwi at kacuni, which is a different, yet similar, procedure.

    Eduardo Calderon performing limpia con quwi on a woman who dropped by his house for a diagnosis. She brought her own guinea pig and perfumed spray. The animal's back was not broken (see definition above). Vivisection of it revealed that woman had a medical problem with her liver. ETH

    lineage: (n) Lineal descent from an ancestor or predecessor. RHCD The shamans of one's tradition who have gone before and those who are yet to come; the accumulated akashic knowledge of this lineage. PGO

    [T]he awakening of the ancient memories ... is not you, the individual, remembering, because you will only remember the events of your life. It is, rather, stepping through the crack between the worlds and taking your place among the twice born, all those who have conquered death. They are those who have done battle with the archetypes and the forces of nature to become the persons of knowledge. They are our ancestors, the trustees of the Earth. They are the ones who have come before us and who will follow. Become them and allow them to become you, and their memories will grow in you, for they are who you are becoming.
    -- Alberto Villoldo, Dance of the Four Winds

    Little Pachamama: (n) A spirit chosen by a community around Lake Titicaca. In colonial times, each community was encouraged to pick a saint or a Madonna as a protective spirit. IGMP  

    liutu, Peruvian lily, lily of the Incas: (n) Alstroemia ligtu. The Chileans extract a white starch from the roots which provides a soft food for babies and the elederly and those suffering from stomach ailments. This flour is very easily digested. REPC

    Liutu, or lily of the Incas.WIKI

    loa (Span): (n) The praisemaker of an Ecuadorian festival. He rides around the town on a horse, praising the patron of the festival and others. He is pelted with candy and sugar by yumbos, who try to draw blood. His only defense is to duck his head and ride quickly. TAV


    lo andino (Span): (n) A culture complex that has survived the colonial period and the technological changes of the modern world -- a complex that has at its cultural ecological core an agropastoralism that takes advantage of environmental diversity to minimize risk and foster self sufficiency. It is the most profound meaning of the Andes and comes not from a physical description, but from the cultural outcome of 10 millennia of knowing, using and transforming the varied environments of western South America. NCA The timeless Andean way of doing things. Rituals are an integral part of daily activities and there is no clear delineation between the sacred and the profane. One enduring belief is in the circulation of life-giving forces throughout the world. JAR The Inca and pre-Inca did not think of the physical and metaphysical as being different realities. IGMP (See, ayni and Appendices H and N for some info on pre-Inca cultures.)

    loco(a) (Span): (adj) Crazy; amoral. GOL  

    love magic: See, enredo.

    lucero ayahuasca: (n) Literally, star ayahuasca. Also called cielo ayahuasca. EMM

    lucid dream (Eng): (n) A dream wherein you are aware that you are dreaming and can direct the dream. Ludic dreaming is taught as a higher cognitive/psychospiritual skill on many seemingly different paths, i.e., nagualismo and Bön (Tibetan shamanism). Also called dream yoga, it is considered that skill with lucid dreaming will lead to a better conscious death experience. PGO

    luluwen (Mapuche): (n) Subtle or material entity affecting those who sleep. CHAM

    luminous awareness: (n) See, zero point.

    luminous body (Eng), runa kurku k'anchay : (n) A cocoon that only [qhawaqs] can perceive, a cocoon that gives us the appearance of giant luminous eggs. TEG Runa kurku k'anchay differs subtly in meaning from poq'po (human energy bubble) in that it refers to a light body that is juxtaposed with the physical body, whereas poq'po refers to the living energy fields that are intimately tied into and connected with the human body. ANON1


    luminous warrior , warrior of light (Eng): (n) The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse. The self-confidence of the warrior is not the self-confidence of the average man. The average man seeks certainty in the eyes of the onlooker and calls that self-confidence. The warrior seeks impeccability in his own eyes and calls that humbleness. The average man is hooked to his fellow men, while the warrior is hooked only to infinity. The average man acts only if there is a chance for profit; warriors say they act not for profit but for the spirit. The art of being a warrior is to balance the wonder and the terror of being alive. CCVW Character is a muscle that must be developed and exercised. The character of the Luminous Warrior consists of integrity (a self-created code of honor and conduct), impeccability in the practice of this code, the use of intelligence and compassion in lieu of force, quantum consciousness, courage and a healthy frequent connection to a spiritual practice that helps the Luminous Warrior achieve and maintain enlightenment. PGO The Luminous Warrior has faced her fears and stepped into the power and freedom that comes from confronting and embracing her own death. She has conquered her anger and the violence within, transmuting them to compassionate action; she has no enemies. She is adept at sending her consciousness into other dimensions. AVO See, intention, personal power, puma runa, impeccability.

    A [luminous] warrior is not just a person who has learned some moves, is able to kick at 90 miles per hour or who has won the world championships at kick-boxing. A warrior must earn his title, . . . who knows things that go far deeper than just self defense, he is someone who walks into a room full of people and an immediate calm falls upon that room, he is a person who can touch a person's head, or arm, or hand and cause an inner stillness and peace to fall upon that person. We know the warrior by his presence and the healing he automatically gives to everyone he meets. His energy is touching you, you don't feel anything physical, but rather the internal effect of this touching, and peace is with you. The warrior looks upon the earth in a different way than those who are not warriors, everything, from the smallest insect to the largest mammal, and the most insignificant rock or tree is important and has life, the grass he walks upon he thanks for softening the rough path, the trees he thanks for giving him shade and oxygen. Everything has importance because it was put there by mother earth for some reason. EMTW

    lupitha: (v) Sunny (make sun). ASD

    lupuna colorada: See, puka-lupuna, palero.

    luratapa (AYM): (n) Creature of God. ASD

    lurin: See, hurin.

    luylu: (adj) Clean. QP

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