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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.



    k'aja onqoy: (n) Fever. PSL

    k'anchariy: (n) Splendor. RS

    k'anchay, kanchay, kanchai, qanchay, q'anchay: (n) (a) Light energy analogous to celestial energy or electromagnetism in physics. It is the highest form of spiritual energy used by the curanderos of Peru. It is effective because it accesses the timeless realms of spirit, allowing the person in need of healing to step out of time and experience a sense of infinity. The healer experiences k'anchay energy as a subtle, laser-like pulsation or very rapid vibration. K'anchay helps maintain the necessary balance between the influx of spirit and the grounding energies of the Earth, which are necessary to sustain a natural equilibrium between one's physical and luminous bodies; (b) Clarity, clearness; (c) Light; glory. PSPM (v) To give light. PSL To shine. RS

    k'anchaykuriy, q'anchaykuriy: (v) To arouse interest. RS

    k'anchaykuy, q'anchaykuy: (v) To brighten; to light. RS

    k'anchayllu, kanchayllu,q'anchayllu: (n) Torch; flare. RS

    k'anchaypacha: (n) The element of light; it must have time and space (pacha) to take place. JLH

    k'anchaypa runa kurkun: See, runa kurku k'anchay.

    k'aray: (v) To sting, to hurt (pain like alcohol on a wound). PSL

    k'aykaska: (phrase) Hit by the evil winds, places where ayni is out, places that make you dizzy, sick to your stomach, unable to concentrate. JLH

    k'intu, k'intui: (n) A little fan of three cocoa leaves representing the three worlds brought together in prayer for offerings; a bouquet. Used to exchange energies with others. RS KOAK In curanderismo, the k'intu represents (a) the three worlds: hanaqpacha, kaypacha and ukhupacha; (b) the three attributes humans have come into this world to bring into balance: llank'ay, yachay and munay; and the three fields of the curandero mesa: campo ganadera, campo justiciero, and campo medio. The k'intu is a symbol of the integration of body, mind, and heart working in ayni within the center. Often offered to the sacred mountains (apukuna) and various sacred sites (huacas) and places of energetic import. PSPM Quality, not quantity, of the offering is important. Leaves are carefully sorted to select the most perfectly shaped and the largest. ACAI Three coca leaves joined together as an offering; the three leaves represent the three worlds or realms (kaypacha, hanaqpacha, and ukhupacha), the three divine attributes of human equilibrium (llank'ay, munay, and yachay), and the three primary curative energies (kawsay, sami, and k'anchay) ANON1


    k'iri: (n) Injury, wound. QP Lump, knot from a wound. PSL

    k'irikuy: (v) To injure or wound. QP

    k'ita: (adj) Wild, untamed. PSL

    K'owa: See, Koa.

    k'umuykuy: (v) To kneel, to bow. PSL

    k'uychi, k'uyuchiy, k'uycha, Coichi, Cuichu: (n) Rainbow. CHAM ROR The pachatira called Mach'acuay (serpent) is said to dominate the night sky during the rainy season; thus, during the rainy season, these multicolored serpents are visible during the day and the black one at night. Rainbow serpents are said to have two heads, emerging from a spring, arcing across the sky, and returning in to the earth or into another spring. After a rainbow stretches across the sky, it does not always remain and can move willfully along the earth for many reasons, most of them malevolent: in order to steal from men or to enter the abdomen of women through the vagina causing severe pain. Rainbows that arise from subterranean waters cause intense pains of the stomach and head, vomiting and sickness in general. Both sexes are prohibited from urinating in the presence of a rainbow because that can cause it to move and enter the person via the urine, causing severe stomach pain. They are the manifestation, in reptilian form, of the forces of procreation and fecundity which lie within the earth. ACES The mountain people think rainbows are dangerously evil. One story told is that when people see a rainbow they must keep their mouths closed or a spirit-cat [Koa] will run down the rainbow and jump into their mouth and kill them. Another story is that rainbows are ways for lake serpents to travel to visit other serpents in other lakes. Again it is very dangerous for a person nearby because the snakes may bite them, unless they keep very, very quiet. [Internet source lost.] Leaving this place [Tambo Toco] they [Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo] came to a hill at a distance of two leagues, a little more or less, from Cuzco. Ascending the hill they saw a rainbow, which the natives call huanacauri. Holding it to be a fortunate sign, Manco Ccapac said: "Take this for a sign that the world will not be destroyed by water [See, Uñu Pachacuti]." HOI They fear the rainbow that pursues and violates the young girls; especially do they avoid waterfalls, because there a rainbow is always found. TAV Some Amazon tribes have similar beliefs and proscriptions. One explains that the rainbow takes the energy from water up to the clouds and to bathe in such water is to suffer a deadly loss of vital force. The rainbow that Sach'amama can send from her mouth represents her power over the elements. AYV The rainbow god, the deity that fertilizes and gives color to the earth and all living things. WOFW (Capitalized) Inca god of the rainbow. MAN Rainbow; in some Andean folklore, there is a “good” or auspicious rainbow, which is a broad band with a full spectrum of colors, and an “evil” rainbow which is a rarer narrow band sometimes missing a few of the colors. ANON1 (See, huana cauri, urkuchinantin, wankar k'uychi, sinchi amarun.)

    The banner of the Inca (and of the Tawantinsuyu), who was the intermediary
    between the Hanaqpacha and the Kaypacha, the human and the divine.
    The Inca's means of communication was the rainbow, represented on
    the royal banner.
    WOFW [image WIKI] See, Yakumama, Sach'amama.

    k'uychi chaka: (n) The rainbow bridge connecting the hanaqpacha to the kaypacha. ANON1


    kharka: (adj) Dirty. QP

    khipu: See, quipu.

    khochqa (AYM): (n) An amulet or talisman. Power objects, mostly of alabaster or soapstone. Also known as waqanqui. [Might derive from huaca.] WOFW  

    khumpa: (n) Friend. QP

    Khuno: (n) Inca god of high altitude weather.  DRB

    khuya, cuya: (n) (1) Sacred initiation stone of the shaman's mesa. RS Healing stones, usually rounded, that are placed directly on a person's body or placed in a cloth and passed around the body or through the energy field. IGMP The stones are like representations of the places of the universe, the world, the earth. WOFW A stone of caring. PSPM (2) Term of endearment. (3) Amulet. (4) Impassioned love. RS (See, rumi, encanto.)

    Throughout pre-Columbian Peru, stone was venerated as an embodiment of the first ancestors. On the coast, sacred stones regarded as sons of the sun were referred to as deities in stone. WOFW

    khuyakuq: (adj) Kind, nice. QP

    khuya rumi: (n) Gift stone of teacher to disciple. (See, illa, khuya and rumi.)

    khuyay: (v) To love. QP

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First Edition (c) 2007 Patt O'Neill. All rights reserved. This site was originally published 6-13-07
Second Edition (c) 2008 Patt O'Neill. All rights reserved. Published Jan. 2008.
Third Edition (c) 2014 Patt O'Neill. All rights reserved. Published April 2014
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