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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.


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    falsa cabeza (Span): Literally, false head.  Such heads, some covered with wigs, were known to be attached to mummy bundles that encased members of the Inca elite -- large cocoons that held up to seven individuals and weighed as much as 400 pounds (180 kilograms). Some of the bundles bound adults and children—perhaps entire families—together, wrapped in layers of raw cotton and exquisite textiles. NGEO1 (See, mallquis.)

    Falsa cabeza

    fanged deities: (n) The motif of fanged gods of both genders is very common throughout Central and South America.  The ancient Andean and western coastal cultures imagined these gods in many forms. (See, Aia Paec, image at staff deities.) All of the powers of these gods were nature-based. The motif of fangs was often seen in concert with staffs, such as the image to the right from the pre-Incan Chavin culture of a female deity. MAN No doubt these images were inspired by the jaguar, which is a universal source of mythology in South and Central America.

    fasting (Eng): (n) In Inca terms, fasting did not mean going without food altogether but merely without meat and seasonings. (See, penance.)

    fate (Eng): (n) One's inner nature. WOFW  

    Father Diego: Diego González Holguín. See, Appendix M.

    femanta willana: (n) Article of faith (sp). PSL

    fertility festival (Eng): (n) As described in the old chronicles there was, as one example, the festival of fertility carried out every year when the herds of llamas were brought together for pairing. The act was preceded with magic incantations, prayers and offerings of coca leaves and maize to the gods; and after male and female llamas had been ceremoniously brought together, a human sex orgy followed in a way which scandalized the bigoted representatives of the Western civilization. DYE See, also, Atacaymita.

    fifth level: (n) A level of consciousness characterized by the emergence of people of remarkable healing ability. They must be able to heal every person of every problem or illness, with just one single touch. And they must be able to do it every time. The appearance of such healers will signal the beginning phase of the taripay pacha. IEBJ

    Fifth Sun: (n) This is the age of the Inca, and it came to an end when the Spanish arrived. This age held the belief of the Sixth Sun. MAN

    first attention: (n) (1) A term from nagualismo meaning our consciousness and perception of only the tonal and its objects of attention in space/time. PGO The smallest division of our consciousness, the first attention, or the consciousness that every normal person has developed in order to deal with the daily world, encompasses the awareness of the physical body. TEG (2) That which is known. AVO (See, second attention, third attention.)

    first level of abstraction (Eng): See, level of abstraction.

    First Sun: (n) The Inca first, primitive age was embryonic, a time of primordial, metaphorical darkness. The people living at that time were called the Wari Wiracocharuna. It is unclear in the Spanish chronicles how the First Sun ended. (See, Appendix M.)MAN (See, pachacuti.)

    flor de quinde (Span): Literally, flower of the hummingbird. See, borrachero.

    florecer (Span): (v) Literally, to bloom or to blossom. San Pedro produces beautiful aromatic white flowers that bloom at night, approximately at midnight. The object of a nighttime curing session is to make the mesa, its artifacts -- and by extension the curandero, his assistants, his patients, and his friends -- bloom. WOFW See, florecimiento  below.  

    florecimiento, floreciendo (Span): Literally, blossoming, thriving. A ritual consisting of rubbing the patient with an herb jar (seguro), having him nasally imbibe some herbal liquid, and then spraying him with the potion (kamay). WPH A step in a curandero healing session that follows the curing steps. Floreciendo magically cultivates luck and good fortune by offering sweet-smelling substances to encantos. GOL   For patients whose cures are nearly completed, [the curandero] often conducts a final centering ritual. WPH  

    florida water: See, agua florida.

    floripondio, floripoño: See, datura.

    fourth level (Eng): (n) A level of consciousness characterized by healers who can see, feel, and recognize the sacred energy of people, places or objects. They are able to see through the symbol, beyond it, moving into direct energetic perception. This is the real meaning of being qhawaq. IEBJ This is the level of the kurak akulliq. NND

    Fourth Sun: (n) This was the age of the Awka Runa, literally, the warrior people. In some variations, this age included the beginnings of the Inca Empire, but most versions exclude the Inca. At this time the world was divided into four parts. There was increased warfare and people were forced to live in stone houses and fortified towns (pukara). Technology and standards of living were more advanced and more complex. How this age ended is not specified in the chronicles. MAN (See, pachacuti.)

    four winds (Eng): (n) The four cardinal directions of the compass. See, the four directions individually for significances: North, South, East, West.

    function (Eng): (n) Free from idealities and pseudo-goals, man has only function as his guiding force. Shamans call this impeccability. They derive function from seeing energy directly as it flows in the universe. If energy flows in a certain way, to follow the flow of energy is, for them, being functional. Function is, therefore, the common denominator by means of which shamans face the energetic facts of their cognitive world. TDJ


    ganadero (Span): (n) (1) A herdsman (ganado = livestock); one who wins souls for the Devil (ganar = to win). (2) One name for the left side of a curandero mesa. GOL See, campo ganadero.

    garabatokasha (Amaz): (n) Creeping plant whose roots, bark and sap are used by sorcerers. THIM

    Garcilaso de la Vega: See, Appendix M.

    Gateway of Amaru Muru, Gateway of Aramu Muru: (n) [Both of these spellings are in use and refer to the same thing. The second spelling is very likely a transliteration.] At Lake Titicaca, it is a dimensional portal serving as a connection with the ancient ancestors, the ancient ascended ones. It is carved into red cliff stone in an area traditionally known for its radiating lines of geo-energy.SHC An ancient name was Wilka Uta, meaning House of Divinity. Another name was Altarani, meaning the Place of the Altar. The Spanish called it the Devil's Doorway. IGMP (See, Amaru Muru.)


    Gateway of the Sun: (n) This massive carved gate at Tiwanako focuses on the central figure of the staff deity, probably Wiracocha. It is also called the Weeping God and is flanked by sunkasapa, described as running angels. MAN The principal deity on the Gateway of the Sun could be a depiction of an ancient incarnation of the Aymara weather god, Thunapa. TAI


    genio (Span): (n) Guardian spirits of an animal or plant. EMM

    gentiles (Span): (n) Pronounced hen-teel-ess. Literally, gentile, heathen. [This word as a noun is translated Spanish to English. Taking English back to Spanish, as an adjective rather than a noun, we get Christian, genteel, elegant, courteous, excellent- Patt.] SEES (1) One of three kinds of tutelary spirits that are used by the Andean shamans. (See, koa, awki and apu.) (2) The name given to the ancient inhabitants of the area who now reside in the Ukhupacha and cause a large number of the diseases that attack the Indians. These evil spirits must be combatted to overcome illness. WOFW Our ancestors, all humans, who have not fulfilled their ayni. JLH  

    gigantón: See, huachuma.

    gnomos (Span): (n) A type of elemental. They are the guardians of subterranean treasure. AYV

    Golden Disc: (n) According to legend, a golden disc that held the record of many ancient civilizations was brought from Lemuria by Amaru Muru. It was kept at Tiwanako, Pucara and Cusco. It was said to be made of special gold and to have a particular vibration that could activate inherent powers. The physical Golden Disc represents another disc from Lemuria that usually vibrates and manifests in a higher dimension and can be experienced when you expand your consciousness. (See, Road of Wiracocha, ceke, Hatun Inti.) When the Spanish arrived, it was taken from Cusco to the Monastery of the Seven Rays and later hidden in a crystal city in the depths of Lake Titicaca. IGMP

    Gonzáles, Diego Holguín: Diego González Holguín (AKA Father Diego). See, Appenix M.

    grow corn and potatoes with it, (alt.) grow corn with it: (phrase) Andean expression meaning to bring form to teachings, dreams, or thoughts. PSPM JLH

    Guaca Bilca: See, Huaca Wilka.

    guaco: See. huaco.

    guanaco, huanaco: (n) A camelid. We are more familiar with the other name used for this animal: the llama. However, the llama is a domesticated guanaco. The alpaca is another domesticated guanaco bred specifically for its wool, and it is thus much hairier than its llama kin. WAZ

    The guanaco, a wild camelid. WAZ

    Guari: See, Wari.

    guayrur aklla: (n) The mama kuna. (See, aklla.)

    guayusa, huayusa: (n) (Ilex guayusa) Used principally for energy, stopping bleeding, as a diuretic, purgative, and for diarrhea, indigestion and a calmative. Because it has the effect of calming while at the same time energizing you, it gives lucid dreams. The plant is also known as the "watchman's plant," as even when sleeping you are aware of the outer physical surroundings. It is considered a great plant teacher. SCU


    guinea pig: See, quwi.

    guacacue: (n) The Incas had some doctors or philosophical diviners called guacacue who went around naked in isolated gloomy places of the region. Walking alone in the deserts without rest or tranquility they dedicated themselves to divination or philosophy. From sunrise to sunset they looked at the solar disk with great firmness, no matter how fiery it was, without moving their eyes. They said that in that splendid fiery disk they saw and attained great secrets. All day they stood on the burning sands without feeling pain; and they also suffered with patience the cold and snow [of the altiplano]. They lived  a very pure, simple way of life, not wanting anything beyond what reason and nature demanded, eating wild roots and herbs, nothing cultivated. They carried with them their mesa de manjares and as a result among them there were no ailments or diverse sicknesses, rather they had perfect health and died at a very old age. WOFW  Medicine men or divine philosophers called guacacue, who would wander in the nude through the most isolated and abandoned places of this land… and walking in solitude in the wilderness, without rest or relaxation, they indulged in divination and philosophy. From sunrise to sunset they looked fixedly at the disc of the sun without moving their eyes and said that in that resplendent sphere they could see and learn great secrets; and during a whole day they would stand on one foot over the hot, scalding sands of the desert and they felt no pain; and they also endured with unyielding patience the simple and pure life and never procured for themselves any pleasures; and there was nothing they coveted more than the reasons of nature... HGP [Guaca is an early Spanish spelling of huaca. -- Patt]

    guaoqui: See, wayqi.

    guaraná (Amaz): (n) An herb used as a nerve tonic. WOFW Paullinia cupana is a climbing plant in the maple family native to the Amazon basin. Guaraná features large leaves and clusters of flowers, and is best known for its fruit, which is about the size of a coffee bean. As a dietary supplement, guaraná is an effective stimulant: its seeds contain about twice the concentration of caffeine found in coffee beans (about 2–4.5% caffeine in guaraná seeds compared to 1–2% for coffee beans). WIKI

    Guaraná beans.

    guayo colorado, bollén, colorado de Chile, guayo chileno, huayo, huayu: (n) Kageneckia oblonga. In traditional medicine it is used as emetic and laxative. WIKI An infusion is considered a cure for the sickness known as verrugas (Carrion's disease). REPC

    Maturing fruits of guayo colorado.

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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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