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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.

    paint27.tiff                  GLOSSARY NEVER TO BE SOLD

    qallananchikmanta: (adv) From the beginning. RS

    qallariy: (v) To begin, to start. QP

    qanchay: See, k'anchay.

    qanchis laya, siyti sabiyus: (n) Seven wise, a plant of the Jalca region whose flowers serve to illuminate the mind. Who takes seven wise gets knowledge of seven wise people. Very popular among shamans. To make someone talk in their sleep, place on his head a cross made from the flowers of this plant. RS [Siyti sabiyus may be a Quechua rendition of Spanish siete sabio. - Patt]

    qanchis ñawi: See, chunpi.

    qanra: (adj) Dirty. QP

    qantu, qantuta, cantuta, kantuta, ccantu: (n) A red flower sacred to the Incas which is the national flower of Peru (Cantua buxifolia). ROR Of religious significance to the Inca, it became a symbol of Runa identity in the colonial period and remains so today. Runa often wear it in their hats. CSCR The Inca legend associated with the qantu is the tale of two kings named Illimani and Illampu, and their sons. Both kings were powerful and wealthy rulers of a vast country in the Kollasuyu region, and both had a son held in great esteem. The kings became irritated at each other's prosperity, and eventually one of them attacked the other. During the battle, both kings were mortally wounded by their counterpart; on their death beds, each called his son and had him vow to avenge them. Both sons were opposed to the war in the first place, but bound by their pledge, they led a second war. History repeated, and both sons inflicted a fatal wound to the other. But instead of harsh words, they generously forgave each other, and asked that their servants place them side by side on the green grass of the battlefield. Then appeared Pachamama, who told the young kings before they died that they shouldn't have suffered from their father's unjustified enmity. To punish their dead fathers, their stars fell from the sky, and became the snow covered mountains still named Illimani and Illampu, which are the highest peaks in the region. The rivers of their snow slowly melting are their tears of regret, and fertilized the valleys. The qantu bloomed as a symbol of the people's unity, and bear the two colors of the king's sons (red and yellow), as well as green (standing for hope). WIKI Consecrated to the dead since before the conquest. THLH The uncivilized Indians esteem this shrub as a magical plant in their superstitious practices. REPC


    qaparqachay: (v) To scream. QP

    qaqa: (n) A large rock. DQSee, Lake Titicaca

    qara: (n) Leather, skin. QP

    qaray: (v) To serve food, to feed. QP

    qasa: (n) Ice. QP

    qasay: (v) To freeze. QP

    qasi: (adj) Quiet. RS

    qasi kawsay: (n) Literally, quiet energy. Peace. QP (See, ch'in.)

    qata: (n) Blanket. QP

    qayqa: (adj) Crazy. QP (n) A psychic or energetic knot of energy released through healing, ritual or intiation work, often causing the initiate or patient to choke or dry heave. QNO A psychic or etheric knot or tangle in the energy field (poq'po) or body of a shamanic initiate or patient; in healing, ritual or intiation work, its release often causes the initiate or patient to choke or dry heave. ANON1

    qelqa: See, qillqa.  

    qena: (n) An end-blown flute of pre-Columbian origin, still very popular in the Andes. Most qenas have six fingering holes along the top and one below operated by the thumb. CSCR

    qepi: See, q'epe.  

    qespi, qispi: (n) Crystal, glass. (adj) At liberty, transparent, pristine. QP THIM

    qilla: (adj) Lazy. QP

    qillqa, qelqa, killka, quillca: (n) Letter (both meanings); writing; scripture; sign. RS Hieroglyphs carved by the Inca into the stones of their temples and in the vicinity. Their significance remains unknown to Westerners. THIM A drawing. (v) To draw, to write. AQGD Compare, tukapu.

    qillqakamayuq, qelqakamayoq, qelqakamayoj: (n) Writer. RS

    qillqaku, qelqaku: (n) Writing. RS

    qillqaq, qelqaq: (n) Writer. RS

    qipi: See, q'epe.

    qiru: (n) Ceremonial cup of the Incas. QP

    Qoa: See, Koa.

    qocha: See, cocha.

    Qochamoqo: (n) Literally, mountain lake. This is the name of one of the highest altitude Q'ero villages. QNO

    qolasiri (AYM): Special doctors who do divination and have additional professional techniques. WOFW  

    qolqe: (n) Silver.

    Qolqe Cruz: (n) The name of one of one of the sacred mountains of the Inca empire [although it could not be the original name because cruz is Spanish].  Its mystical significance is the ability to assimilate different coordinates as we move from pacha to pacha (sp.). JLH

    qolqe chunpi: See, chunpi.

    qolqelazo: (n) Silver-colored threads used in ritual offering (sp.). ROR

    qolqulibro: (n) Silver-colored paper used in ritual offering (sp.). ROR

    Qollas: (n) See, Appendix N.

    qolla, qulla: (adj.) Majestic. RS (See, kolla.)

    qollana, qullana: (n) (1) Authority; director. (2) Excellence. (3) In mystical training, this refers to the student who keeps teachers honest by continually pointing out inconsistencies or contradictions in their teaching. RS QNO (See, kollana.)

    Qollasuyu: See, Kollasuyu.

    qollqa: See, collca.

    qori, quri: (n) Gold in a refined, human-manipulated state (as opposed to raw gold, choque) used to create ceremonial objects throughout the Andes and the coastal deserts of what is now Peru. ANON1  

    Qoricancha, Qori Cancha, Coricancha: (n) Literally, the corral of gold. The Inca Temple of the Sun, located in the Pumaq Chupen (Tail of the Puma) area of Cusco. The most important temple in the Inca empire, dedicated primarily to Wiracocha and Inti, the Qoricancha also had subsidiary shrines to the Moon, Venus, the Pleiades, and various weather deities. Additionally there were a large number of religious icons of conquered peoples which had been brought to Cusco, partly in homage and partly as hostage. Reports by the first Spanish who entered Cusco tell that ceremonies were conducted around the clock at the Qoricancha and that its opulence was fabulous beyond belief. The wonderfully carved granite walls of the temple were covered with more than 700 sheets of pure gold, weighing around two kilograms each; the spacious courtyard was filled with life-size sculptures of animals and a field of corn, all fashioned from pure gold; the floors of the temple were themselves covered in solid gold; and facing the rising sun was a massive golden image of the sun encrusted with emeralds and other precious stones. (All of this golden artwork was quickly stolen and melted down by the Spaniards, who then built a church of Santo Domingo on the foundations of the temple.) The temple was also the centerpiece of a vast astronomical observatory and calendrical device for precisely calculating precessional movement. Emanating from the temple were forty lines called cekes, running arrow-straight for hundreds of miles to significant celestial points on the horizon. Four of these cekes represented the four intercardinal roads to the four quarters of Tawantinsuyu, others pointed to the equinox and solstice points, and still others to the heliacal rise positions of different stars and constellations highly important to the Inca. WMC Once linked together, there are 349 cekes emanating from the Qoricancha throughout the Tawantinsuyu. These cekes connect with various other geomagnetic anchor and transmission points (vortices) (compare, remolino). PSPM (See, cancha.)


    Circular wall of the Qoricancha, The Golden Enclosure,
    which housed the Temple of the Sun,
    is an early example of Inca rectangular masonry.


    qori chunpi: See, chunpi.

    qorilazo: (n) Gold-colored threads used in ritual offering (sp.). ROR

    qorilibro: (n) Gold-colored paper used in ritual offering (sp.). ROR

    Qorimoqo: (n) Literally, Golden Mountain. This is the apu that watches over Hatun Q'eros. QNO

    qosqo, cosco: (n) (1) Qosqo is the ancient name for the Inca capital, meaning navel of the world. (2) Stomach, navel area. (3) The energy center which is the origin of llank'ay; the center through which we push the kawsay. In mystical terms, it refers to the energy center located near the physical navel. It's function is to eat and digest living energy. (See, mikhuy.) QNO RS (4) Dried up lake bed. TLD (See, waynu.)

    qosqo ñawi: See, chunpi

    Qoya: (n) Queen; wife of a Sapa or high noble; a female shaman-priestess of the sixth level of ancestral Andean initiation. ANON1Queen, the sister-wife of the Inca.  Female manifestation of the sixth level of consciousness.  KOAK Regarded as the manifestation of the moon (Killa) on earth and in that capacity oversaw the tempo of rituals in keeping with the lunar cycle.  The mallquis of the Qoyas were brought out on lunar festivals and honored. MAN

    qoyllur, quyllur, kollyor: (n) Star(s). ROR RS

    qoyllur ch'aska: See, Illari Ch'aska
    Qoyllur Rit'i, Q'ollorit'i: (n) The annual sacred festival held on a glacial range in the high Andes; probably the most important festival of the year. The mystical significance is about retrieving your highest destiny, adaptation, vision. JLH Often translated as Snow Star, Juan Nuñez del Prado says this is a mistranslation because of a confusion between the Quechua words q'ollo (pure white) and q'oyllur (star). Rit'i is the word for “snow.” SD Resplendent snow, the festival likely started out hundreds of years ago as a rite to the apus, according to Jean-Jacques Decoster, who teaches precolonial history at the University of Cuzco. WPG A festival that combines masses in a Catholic church with a solemn moonlit trek up to a dangerous glacier, to pay homage to the Apus, the mountain gods of the Incas. Many are asking him for earthly blessings, houses, jobs, cure of an illness. Many want redress in some personal grievance; Christ is a god of Justice in the Andean version of Christianity. The main ceremony is held at the foot of Mount Ausangate, at 4,600 meters (15,090 ft), where temperatures often plunge below freezing. WSC3 An ancient festival in the high Andes attended by more than eighty-thousand indigenous people. Literally, white as snow  or purity. QNO (See, Apu Sinak'ara.)


    qonopa: See, conopa.
    quantum entanglement (Eng): (n)  A quantum mechanical phenomenon in which the quantum states of two or more objects have to be described with reference to each other, even though the individual objects may be spatially separated. Measurements performed on one system seem to be instantaneously influencing other systems entangled with it. SDC
    quea: (n) Pus. DYE
    Quechua, Quichua: (n) (1) From Quechua word kkechuwa. The language is now often called Runasimi. (2) Inhabitants of the temperate valleys of the Andean mountain range, well adapted to the marked variations of temperature which characterize these areas, and to the physical strain connected with its variegated terrain. They were well suited biologically to withstand the high altitudes and, like the yunkas (def. 2), they probably developed a hereditary immunity to the diseases common to the area. DYE See, climatology and colla.
    quechua, qheshwa: (n) The name of a region in the Andes between 8400 and 10,500 feet above sea level. IGMP Land that is between 2,200-3,900 meters above sea level. RDP Temperate valley. TLD (See, puna, suni.)
    quena: (n) An Incaic flute. AYV


    Quero: See, Q'ero.

    Quiancalla: The name of a hill with two pillars that were the ninth shrine of the sixth ceke of Chinchaysuyu. AEAA

    quicuchicuy, quicuchico: (n) A celebration when a girl reaches puberty (maturity). HOI Literally, comb ceremony. A coming of age ritual at which the teenage female attained adulthood and was given her permanent name. ACA For the girls there was the gallant ceremony of the quicuchicuy carried out at the time of the first menstruation. The young maiden was carefully groomed, her hair combed into long tresses and tied behind her head to signify that, from then on, she was eligible for marriage. Then she was made to fast for seven days, not being permitted to eat more than a small amount of raw, tender corn every day and to drink carefully rationed water. Then she was tied by the thumbs and kept in solitary confinement for another short period. If the girl belonged to the nobility this was done at the Aucay Pata square in Cusco. Then the girl would be free to go to her relatives who would gather around her while the elders of her family would sternly but lovingly give her advice and moral support. DYE See, also, other important childhood rites: ayuscay, rutuchicuy, huarachicuy.

    Quilla: See, Killa.

    Quillarumiyoc: See, Killarumiyoc.

    Quilliscacha: Also known as Illescas, Quilliscacha was a Quito prince, son of Huayna Capac and Paccha Duchicela, and therefore the legitimate brother of Atahualpa. After the assassination of Atahualpa he returned to Quito were he was deceived by Rumiñahui, who ordered that he be tightly tied to a column, and one by one, in his presence, had all the members of the royal family beheaded. Finally, by command of Rumiñahui, he too was murdered, EEC He was captured and killed by Rumiñahui, who made a drum from his skin (see, runa tinya). Further, his bones were made into panpipes, and his teeth were strung into a necklace. SIH Shortly before his death Atahualpa sent his brother Quilliscacha to Quito to fetch his young sons, but Rumiñahui refused to release the boys. After Atahualpa was executed at Cajamarca, a native force descended on the city to destroy it in a show of frustrated vengeance. They exhumed the body of the dead Inca and transported it for reburial at Quito. When the funeral cortege reached its destination, Rumiñawi held a great drinking ceremony -- heavy drinking is still a feature of any Andean wake -- at which he made Quilliscacha and his followers insensate on alcohol and then murdered them. Quilliscacha had probably been proposed as Inca or as regent for Atahualpa's sons. After nine months of power, Rumiñawi refused to submit to this higher authority. To flaunt his defiance of Atahualpa's government, Rumiñawi desecrated Quilliscacha's body. He extracted all the bones through a certain part leaving the skin intact, and made him into a drum. The shoulders formed one end of the drum and the abdomen the other, so that, with the head, feet and hands embalmed, he was preserved intact like an executed criminal -- but transformed into a kettle drum. COI See, Appendix L for Poma's depiction of Quilliscacha's death (fourth picture down).

    Quiliscacha, brother of Atahualpa and
    Wascar, was also known as Illescas.

    quina, quinona, quinine: See, cinchona.

    quinoa, quinua: (n) It was one of the three staple foods, along with corn and potatoes, of the Inca civilization. Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain; an average of 16.2  percent, compared with 7.5 percent for rice, 9.9 percent for millet, and 14 percent for wheat. Some varieties of quinoa are more than 20 percent protein. WQN

    Workers harvesting quinoa.

    quinoquino: (n) Myroxylon peruiferum. A pomade of the fruits prepared in powder form together with the bark mixed with tallow or resins is applied as a poultice to reduce headaches. The crushed fresh leaves are said to heal new wounds; the same properties are claimed for the resin and the bark, for both are renowned as admirable balsamic and vulnerary [wound-healing] agents. An oil called quinaquina is prepared from the fruits. A balm, reputedly very effective for ulcers of the chest, is prepared from four ounces of the fruit bruised and infused in a pint of wine for 24 hours; this is then cooked over a slow heat with a pound and a half of ordinary oil, until it is dry. Then one pound of turpentine and once ounce and a half of incense and an equal amount of myrrh are added. This preparation is said to agglutinate and heal open sores. REPC

    Quinoquino. WIKI

    quipi: See, q'epe.

    quipu, khipu, kipu: (n) (1) A knot. (2) A system by which the Incas kept records of various things with knots made in string. PSL A complicated seven-bit binary recording device (perhaps akin to written language) consisting of complicated knots and interwoven strands of cloth. One interesting linguistic mystery is that the indigenous Hawaiian word for a knotting method is kipu'u. ANON1 (See, Appendix C for images and fuller description of the quipu and how it was made and read.)

    quipucamayo: (n) A bundle or string of knotted strings. Quipocamayos are sacred regalia AWE (See, Appendix C.)

    quipucamayoq: (n) Keeper of oral history. (See, Appendix C.)

    Quipucamayoq with a quipu, drawing by
    Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala.

    quirao: (n) A baby's first cradle given to him at the ayuscay ceremony. This cradle was a very sacred object and its construction and inauguration played a major magic role in the future life of the child. There were craftsmen who specialized in its manufacture and, when the cradle was to be inaugurated, all the relatives of the child would meet with the artisan. After a period of fasting, the builder of the quirao would take the wood and reed used in its manufacture and, piece by piece, he would dip it in holy chicha, reciting magic incantations, calling on the gods and praying for the health of the baby. Then he painted or carved on the cradle the image of the gods to whom the child was to be commended. Usually made of light wood and reeds adorned with ribbons and tassels of different colors, it was carried on the back of the mother or left on the ground where it rested on three of its four legs. One of the legs was somewhat shorter than the others and the cradle could be easily rocked. The child was wrapped in diapers and tied to the cradle so that the whole bundle could be handled with ease. DYE

    quiruma-supay: (n) A tree stump spirit who always comes out late at night in silent places. Sorcerers kidnap people with the help of these aquatic spirits; they take victims to the bottom of the river where the black yakurunas live and it is difficult to be rescued. AYV (See, supay.)

    Quiruma-supay. Detail from a
    painting by Pablo Amaringo,
    a vegetalista.AYV

    Quispiguanca: (n) Encircled by parkland, fields, and gardens, Quispiguanca was an Inca version of Camp David, a retreat from the world, a place for a warrior-king to unwind after military campaigning. Here Huayna Capac entertained guests in the great halls and gambled with courtiers and other favorites, while his queen gardened and tended doves. The grounds boasted a secluded lodge and a forest reserved for hunting deer and other game. In the fields hundreds of workers cleared irrigation channels, raised and mended terrace walls, and sowed corn and a host of exotic crops. These provided Huayna Capac with bountiful harvests and enough corn beer to entertain his subjects royally during Cusco's annual festivals. Quispiguanca was not the only spectacular estate. Inca kings inherited little more than their titles, so each new sovereign built a city palace and country home for himself and his lineage shortly after assuming power. To date archaeologists and historians have located ruins of roughly a dozen royal estates built by at least six Inca kings. Situated on the outskirts of the modern town of Urubamba, Quispiguanca basks in one of the warmest and sunniest microclimates in the region, which provided the Inca royal family a welcome escape from the cold of Cusco. The estate's gatehouses now look out on a field of pungent cilantro, and its surviving walls enclose a royal compound that once sprawled over an area equivalent to some seven soccer fields. NGEO8

    Even after these kings died, they remained the powers behind the throne. "The ancestors were a key element of Andean life," says Sonia Guillén, director of Peru's Museo Leymebamba. [See, cult of the dead.] When Huayna Capac perished of a mysterious disease in Ecuador around 1527, retainers mummified his body and carried it back to Cusco. Members of the royal family frequently visited the deceased monarch, asking his advice on vital matters and heeding the replies given by an oracle sitting at his side. Years after his death, Huayna Capac remained the owner of Quispiguanca and the surrounding estate. Indeed, royal tradition dictated that its harvest keep his mummy, servants, wives, and descendants in style for eternity. NGEO8

    Reconstruction drawing of Quispiguanca, exterior view, from the southeast. SIH

    qullana: See, qollana.

    qunqay: (v) To forget. QP

    qura: (n) Herb, plant. QP

    qurawan qampiq: (n) Herbalist. QP (See, hampiq.)

    quri: See, qori.

    quwi:  (n) The guinea pig. It is a rodent native to South America used in shamanic practice, as well as for food (picture below). WOFW  See, limpia con quwi for a screen shot of shamanic use, and quwiricuc below.

    A meal of quwi

    quwiricuc, cuyricuc: (n) A healer who preceded cures with a sacrifice of a quwi (see def. above). The healer would first kill the animal by choking or drowning and then, using only his overgrown thumb nail, he would split the quwi in the abdomen and would interpret the way in which the blood would flow or how the entrails moved. DYE

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