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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.

    paint59.tiff                         GLOSSARY NEVER TO BE SOLD

    east, the (Eng): (n) One of the four cardinal directions representing the four winds. (See, level of abstraction, def. 2.) The east is a “positive” or “safe” direction because the sun rises in the east, giving birth to light and a new day. WOFW (See, also, west, north, south.)  

    echo stone (Eng): (n) A small replica of one of the apus. PKC

    ecstasy (Eng): (n) An emotional or religious frenzy or trancelike state, originally one involving an experience of mystic self-transcendence. WODO During this state there occurs the passage from consciousness by means of the unconscious toward a far superior state. Ecstasy occurs in a very tenuous, simple fashion and almost instantaneously. Ecstasy serves to predispose the spirit for flight. The conscious field becomes more alive. The ecstasy prepares one for flight. One passes through ecstasy before the flight. WOFW

    ecstatic flight (Eng): (n) Another term for the shamanic journey (see).

    ehupi (AYM): (n) Honor. ASD

    Ekkeko, Ekeko: (1) A god of wealth. EFD A Bolivian god of plenty and wealth. According to an ancient legend, when you place a miniature object in or on a doll representing the god, you will receive what you wish for the following year. It is considered bad luck to remove those objects from the doll. WPO (2) (lower case, ekkeko) An elemental of the mountain; a benefactor who provides the fruits of Pachamama. JLH


    El Brujo: (n) An archaeological site located north of Trujillo, Peru. At the El Brujo archaeological site are three huacas: Huaca Cao Viejo, Huaca El Brujo, and Huaca Prieta. These structures were built by the Moche people, who lived there between the years A.D. 100 and 700. The people who now live near the El Brujo site tell us that the Huaca Cao Viejo (or White Huaca) is a temple with positive energy, which is represented by a man, the earth or the sun. The Huaca Partida is a temple with negative energy, which is represented by a woman, the sea or the moon. At Huaca Partida, shamans perform ritual mesas (def. 2). Excavations at the El Brujo complex have revealed evidence of human sacrifice, most probably made to Aia-Paec. WRIC

    Artist's rendering of an important ceremonial precinct within
    Huaca Cao Viejo. It was most likely used for religious rituals. Its two walls
    are decorated with small high-relief iconographic designs (image below).

    Mural representation of the warrior narrative (depicted in the
    artist's rendering above, far right, center.

    A spiral well discovered at El Brujo. WIKI

    El Dorado (Span): (n) Literally, the gilded man. The fabled city of gold. The term originally referred to the Chibcha ceremony in which a chief coated with a vegetable gum and sprayed with gold dust jumped into a lagoon from a raft in order to offer the gold on his body to the gods. The theme of this ritual act seems to have been a symbolic shedding of the skin or metamorphosis. WOFW  

    empacho (Span): Literally, embarassment. Illness related with disharmony of the solar plexus energy. WAN

    encantado (Span): (adj) Bewitched, enchanted. SEES See, encantos, below.

    encantero (Span): (n) A curandero specialized in working with the encantos. EMM

    encanto (Span): (n) Literally, enchantment, charm. A special stone with healing properties. Encantos can have different colours -- black, white, aqua, red, emerald -- with each colour corresponding to a specific use in curing an illness. EMM The stones can be of a peculiar shape, resembling, e.g., a snake or jaguar claw. The spirit of the stone protects and gives special dreams to the owner of the stone. Vegetalistas claim that the true nature of these stones is seen under the effects of ayahuasca, when one is able to see the powerful spirits that live inside them. They are used for healing -- for instance, by rubbing the patient with an encanto in the place where illness is located -- or as a defense by invoking the spirits. AYV A great power source for a curandero, such as a sacred mountain. WOFW Spirit entities. Duality and separability of spirit-essence and physical manifestations permeates the natural world as well [as the human being's ability to separate spirit from body]. The spiritual essence of caves, springs, mountains and highland lagoons is understood in two ways. First, it may be an inherent feature of the particular place. Second, it may be the accumulated spiritual essence of humans who lived and died at that place -- on the mountain, in the cave, or at the lakeshore -- in previous eras. Both definitions of this spiritual essence are referred to generically as the encanto of the place. GOL (See, rumi, khuya.)


    enema (Eng): See. willcachina.

    energy (Eng): See, subtle energy.

    energy center: (Eng) A reference to yachay, munay or llank'ay, also encompassing the chakras of the Hindu system of life energy.

    enferme Dios: (n) A God-given illness that is a catalyst for regaining a connection to Spirit or to reveal a specific teaching otherwise impossible to learn without the condition. It is the shaman's responsibility to carefully discern the intention of Spirit and to mediate change accordingly. PSPM

    enguyanchero: (n) A maker of love spells. WOFW  

    enqa, inca, enqha: (n) The vital generating principle. It is the fount and origin of happiness, well-being, and abundance. Enqa is a special gift which permits good fortune to accompany the family, preserving the herds which support it. WOFW A black hole, or one who can absorb all the living energies. RS QNO Inca [enqa] is the original model of all things; probably this is the fundamental meaning: archetype. CSCR Talisman, a magical character, a sacred item used as the container of health, abundance, and safety. PSPM Talisman or medicine object used as a container for health, well-being, and abundance; most likely the origin of the word Inka, enqa refers to a repository of collective energy, a black hole, or a person who can absorb all forms of energy. ANON1 Life force contained in an enqaychu. ROR Origin of Inca; health, balance, well-being.  JLH See, conopa

    enqaychu, incayichu, incaychu: (n) (1) The graphic manifestation of enqa (see, above). WOFW. A small stone, natural or carved, that resembles an animal, human or object, considered to contain life force and the power to bring good things to one's life. Also called an illa. ROR (2) In the Cusco area, the term used for conopa. The enqaychu is is said to contain the animo or life-force of the livestock. WOFW (3) The principle of abundance and fertility. UNK

    enredo (Span): (n) An entanglement of the spirit caused by witchcraft (a love spell). From enredar, to entangle in a net. WOFW SEES WPH The artificial manipulation of human sentiment is a type of sorcery that illustrates the relationship among the etiology of illness, the constraining ideologies of machismo and marianismo, and the precarious nature of relations of dependence. Love magic has been used as a sorcery technique since at least the early colonial period. This form of daño is directed toward a specific victim because of envy, jealousy, or revenge. Intended to manipulate or dominate another's will, love magic is known by many terms, including pisada and atada. Like other forms of daño, the effects of love magic occur because the victims soul has been called away from the body and commended to another. Instead of commending the soul to an encanto (see, above) or an ánima, the soul is turned over to the perpetrator so the victim will feel irresistibly drawn toward him or her. This unnatural binding of two souls occurs when the victim absorbs the prepared potion or powder, either directly (by ingestion) or indirection (through airborne means). Drinking menstrual blood that has been surreptitiously mixed in hot chocolate, or donning underpants that have been worked with the hex are two common examples. Or sympathetic magic may be employed, as when the intended's photograph is placed in the perpetrator's shoe and the pisada occurs with every footstep taken. GOL    

    enterrado (Span): (adj) Literally, buried. Referring to something that was magically worked by a brujo to effect the daño and then buried or thrown into the sea. GOL      

    entheogenic (Greek): (n) The word entheogen is a modern term derived from two Ancient Greek words, entheos and genesthai. Entheos means literally in God, more freely translated inspired. Genesthai means to cause to be. So an entheogen is that which causes (a person) to be in God. In its strictest sense the term refers to a psychoactive substance (most often some plant matter) that occasions enlightening spiritual or mystical experience. In a broader sense, the word refers to artificial as well as natural substances that induce alterations of consciousness similar to those documented for ritual ingestion of traditional shamanic inebriants, even if it is used in a secular context. EWO

    entrega (Span): (n) From entregar, to deliver, hand over. SEES A surrender; a giving over. Relinquishment of control. GOL    

    entropy (Eng): (n) In thermodynamics, a measure of the amount of energy not available for work during a natural process. RHCD

    Epunamun: (n) Inca god of mercenary war. DRB

    espiritisto / espiritista (Span): (n) (1) A spiritist, male or female, who works with the spirits of her ancestors to help diagnose and cure sorcery-related illnesses. GOL (2) Espiritista: vegetalista who works solely with spirits. [Note use of fem. endings.] MSIN    

    espiritu (Span): (n) Spirit, ghost. PSL

    espiritu pacha: (n) Spirit world (sp.). PSL

    Espiritu Pampa: (n) The plain of the spirits, located some 170 km northwest of Cusco, was discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911, just a few weeks after his discovery of Machu Picchu. This is considered to be Vilcabamba, the lost city of the Inca (sp). HDP


    estimular el canto (Span): Literally, to stimulate the singing.  Ayahuasca sessions are noted for visual and auditory (even olfactory) hallucinations of spirits dancing and singing and playing instruments. Guardian spirits bring icaros to the vegetalista. AYV

    estrella: (n) (Span) The star or spirit of an apu. The summoning of the paq'o by a physical manifestation of the estrella. May take the form of bulls, condors, hummingbirds or pumas, or come in a dream as a glowing human figure in a white robe. Sacred lagoons may also send estrellas. KOAK

    ewanqelio: See, iwanqiliu.

    evil air: See, mal aire.

    Extirpation of Idolotry (Eng): (n) The title given to the colonial religious office in the archbishopric of Lima, established in 1610, charged with the eradication the Andean religions. IBCN Jesuit missionaries were impressed upon that their very first duty, upon entering a village, was to get their hands on the lineage huaca and destroy it. If the paqarina could be located and destroyed or defaced, so much the better. SIMA

    extraction (Eng): (n) The process by which a shaman removes blockages, objects imprinted in the energy field, or even heavy energy by sucking, brushing or sweeping, using a sacred object or the hands. That which is extracted must be disposed of properly by putting it in the ground or in running water. It can also be disposed of with hucha mikhuy. PGO PSPM See, also, sucking.

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First Edition (c) 2007 Patt O'Neill. All rights reserved. This site was originally published 6-13-07
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