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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.

    paint.tiff            GLOSSARY NEVER TO BE SOLD

    nacechiy: (v) To bear, to give birth (sp). PSL

    nacekuy: (v) To be born (sp). PSL

    nacu: A participle used to give a reciprocal or mutual meaning. HOI

    nagual, nahual (Nahuatl): (1) (n) A nagual is a person with a double energy configuration. CCPB A man with an ego is driven by psychological desires. The nagual has none. He receives orders from some ineffable source that cannot be discussed. He cannot be offended, jealous, possessive -- he can't be anything. CCDM A conduit of the spirit. CCPS (2) The nagual is a non-entity. There's a perennial force that exists in the universe, like gravity. It's not a psychological state. It is a confluence of forces ... It is felt when there are no longer any attachments. CCDM The unknown, as opposed to the tonal, which is the known. AVO Excursions into the nagual are personal and private. They cannot be described. The nagual can only be witnessed; it is indescribable. The nagual is where power hovers. For a while after birth we are all nagual. But we sense that the tonal, which is needed in order to function, is missing. This gives us a lingering feeling of incompleteness. Then the tonal begins to develop, eventually becoming so important that it overwhelms the nagual. WOFW (3) One of the two aspects of the shaman's relationship between man and beast. (See, tonal, def. 3). Nagual describes the technique of shapeshifting and the sorcerers who had learned its secrets; such individuals were greatly feared. IAWS (See, jaguar, double, runauturuncu.)

    The tonal of everyone of us is but a reflection of that indescribable
    unknown filled with order; the nagual of every one of us is but a
    reflection of that indescribable void that contains everything.

    nagual axis (Mex-Eng):(n) East-West on a medicine wheel. AVO

    nagualismo (Mex): (n) The practice of nagualism, a way to break the psychological conditioning of the cognitive division that keeps us cut off from our sources. The world, as we perceive it, was formed a priori. It was given to us (the tonal). CCPB (See, nagual.)


    nahual: See, nagual.

    nanachikuy: (v) To regret, to resent. QP

    nanachiy: (v) To make hurt. PSL

    nanay: (v) To hurt. (n) Physical pain. PSL

    nanay thanichiq: (n) Painkillers. QP

    napa: (n) The principle ensign of Inca sovereignty was a sheep of the country [emphasis mine], the color white, with a red body cloth, on the top ear-rings of gold, and on the breast a plate with red badges such as was worn by rich Incas when they went abroad; carried in front of all on a pole with a cross of plumes of feathers. HOI [Other sources give the napa as a white llama, which is probably what was meant above by sheep of the country. Sheep as we know them were introduced, along with horses and cows, by the Spanish.]

    napani: (v) To salute. HOI

    napay: (n) A salutation. RS

    Nasca, Nazca: (n) See, Appendix N.

    naupa, nawpa: See, ñawpa.

    Naymlamp, Nayamlap, Nayamlamp, Naylamp, Ñañlamp, Nano: (n) The name of a legendary figure in the history of the people of the Lambayeque Valley on the north coast of Peru, the leader of primordial sea people that invaded the valley at a time in pre-history. [This is a familiar figure in artwork of the Tawantinsuyu.] MAN Ruler of the Lambayeque culture which flourished from roughly 700 CE to 1300 CE in what is now called Peru. The Lambayeque, sometimes called the Sican culture, would go on to be conquered by the Chimu, who themselves would be taken over by the fearsome Incas. Even through this succession of conquests, which culminated in the Spanish acquisition of the Inca's in the mid-1500s, stories of Naymlap survive today. The legends of Naymlap begin with his arrival on a staggering fleet of balsa wood boats, accompanied by his wife and a harem of concubines, and an idol of pure green stone. Naymlap marked his grand arrival with the building of a vast temple palace to house the idol. During Naymlap's lifetime it is said that his court trumpeters could smash shells with the sounds of their music and that the dust of these shells was scattered beneath every footstep he took by loyal servants. It was a job they more than happy to do for the man who ruled a peaceful, prosperous kingdom. Naymlap, who was viewed as something like a god in his own right, was so popular that servants were said to have hidden his body when he died so the kingdom wouldn't be thrown into turmoil when it was discovered he had succumbed to death. WEC

    The arrival of Naymlamp.

    nayra pacha (AYM): (n) Ancient time. ASD

    necromancy (Eng): (n) Conjuration of the spirits of the dead for purposes of magically revealing the future or influencing the course of events. GOL    

    A sorcery package in which a victim's clothing and photograph were intentionally
    wrapped together with human bones in a cemetery. This action is part of the magic
    that binds the victim's soul to that of the ánima, or soul, of the deceased.

    necrophilia (Greek): (n) Necrophilia, also called thanatophilia or necrolagnia, is the sexual attraction to corpses. The word is derived from the Greek words: nekros, dead, and philia, love. Acts of necrophilia are displayed on Moche artifacts. It was reportedly used as a method to communicate with the dead. WIKI From the superficial interpretation of some Mochica vessels which show females in varied amorous scenes with skeletons, one could be led to assume that this race practiced several types of necrophilia. Although the cult of the dead played a paramount role in all ancient Peruvian cultures, and this may have led to sexual excesses of this kind, there is not a single indication that this actually occurred in the many descriptions of their funereal customs found in the old chronicles. DYE See, sexual activity for more information and other links.

    Mochica vase showing an erotic scene of a woman and a skeleton. DYE

    New Sunrise: (See, pachacuti) The beginning of a 500-year cycle. It is very special because the first light is the food for the heart; it brings life force energy, it is the moment when we awaken and remember the essence of who we are, the essence of the creation. In this current cycle of the Sunrise, the huacas and energy vortices are reactivating. IGMP

    nia hituatatha (AYM): (n) After this life. ASD

    nierika, nierica (Huichol): (n) There is a door in our minds that remains hidden until the moment of death. This nierika is an access or cosmic interface between ordinary and non-ordinary realities. (See, conscious death.) AHN A circular object made from stone, clay, wood or yarn and decorated with symbols from personal experience; anything of personal importance. After a nierika is created, it is used as a focal point to center thoughts during intense meditation. This ceremony helps find a solution to a problem or upcoming challenge, as well as clarify the journey through life. Create a new nierika for each ceremony. WNC The hole in the middle is considered a mirror (often a small glass mirror is used). This is the magical eye through which man and God can see each other. The mirror makes the Gods pay attention to the petition, which places a real obligation on the Gods to grant whatever is portrayed on the nierika; but an offering must be made as well. WHC (See, torus, apacheta (def. 4).)


    A yarn nierika of Huichol origin. The Huichol recognize the
    four cardinal directions and the center in these depictions,
    very much like a mandala or other medicine wheel.

    Nighttime Sun: (1) The sun after it has set. (2) A deity worshipped by the Guari lineage ayllu of Cajatambo that was believed to enter a hidden, watery passage into the underworld. (See, Huarochirí Manuscript, Daytime Sun.)

    nina: (n) (1) Fire, match RS Red hot wood embers. PSPM (2) Fire spirit. AYV Sacred fire; a conscious being, understood as the great and powerful transmuter and transformer of all density into light and higher vibration. ANON1

    nina kuru: (n) Firefly. RS (See, ayañawi for picture.)

    nina lawray: (n) Fire, flame. RS

    Ninán Cuyúnchic, Ninan Cuyoche: (n) The chosen heir of Huayna Capac who died along with the Inca ruler, leaving half-brothers Atahualpaand Waskar to divide the country in civil war at the time Pizarro landed. MAN Cuando murió su padre, Tupac Yupanqui, le correspondía el trono a Ninán Cuyúnchic el heredero legitimo según la ley del imperio, pero fue desahuciado, como enfermizo e inútil entonces existió la rivalidad por el imperio entre Huascar y Atahualpa, finalmente fue elegido Atahualpa como Inca o Emperador del Imperio Inca. Su padre le dejo como herencia desde Huamachuci, en el actual Perú hasta el río Angasmayo, en Colombia, el resto del Tahuantinsuyo fue para su hermano Huascar. When his father died, the throne corresponded to Ninán Cuyúnchic the legitimate heir according to the law of the empire, but he was evicted as sickly and useless. Then the rivalry for the empire existed between Wascar and Atahualpa; finally Atahualpa was elected as the Inca or Emperor of the Inca Empire. His father left his inheritance from Huamachuci, in the current Peru, to the river Angasmayo in Colombia, the remainder of the Tawantinsuyu was for his brother Wascar. [Trans. by Litza Arce.] WMGE The Inca was taken ill with a fever, though others say it was small-pox or measles. He felt the disease to be mortal and sent for the orejones, his relations, who asked him to name his successor. His reply was that his son Ninan Cuyoche was to succeed, if the augury of the calpa gave signs that such succession would be auspicious; if not his son Huascar was to succeed. Orders were given to proceed with the ceremony of the calpa, and the chief steward of the Sun, came to perform it. By the first calpa it was found that the succession of Ninan Cuyoche would not be auspicious. Then they opened another lamb and took out the lungs, examining certain veins. The result was that the signs respecting Huascar were also inauspicious. Returning to the Inca, that he might name some one else, they found that he was dead. While the orejones stood in suspense about the succession, Ninan Cuyoche was also dead of the small-pox pestilence. HOI (See, Appendix H.)

    nina runa: (n) Fire people who live inside volcanos. MAN A spirit being who rides horses of fire. She is called upon by shamans as a powerful defense. AYV (See, hark'ana.)

    nitimushcanpoma (Amaz): (n) Literally, crushing tigers. Jaguars with human heads and hair made of snakes. (See, dismemberment). AYV

    crushing tiger

    A nitimushcanpoma, the crushing tiger that dismembers the vegetalista,
    in this detail from a painting by Pablo Amaringo.

    non-ordinary reality: See, nagual.

    north, the (Eng): (n) One of the four cardinal directions representing the four winds. (See, level of abstraction, def. 2.) The north is the direction of strong magnetism and power because of the location of the equator and the North Pole. WOFW (See, also, west, east and south.)  

    novicio (Span.): (n) A shaman in training, an apprentice. JLH

    nucnu huasca: See, ayahuasca.

    nuka sunquipy causanqui: (expression) You will always have a place in my heart.

    nuna: (n) (1) The principle that everything is spirit. One of the major organizing principles. JLH (2) The spirit; the essential aspect of the individual. JLH Soul, an individual's (or object's or group's) inalterable essence, underlying all levels of body, mind, and spirit. ANON1 (See, saiwa, munay, chekak, yuya, ch'ulla, kallari, kawsay.)

    nuna illariy: (n) Soul awakening, or the first ray of dawn of the soul; a term used to describe shamanic journey, a conscious out-of-body experience along a ray of light or straight path; the flight of the soul along a ray of dawning. ANON1


    Ñacachus: (n) Offshoot of the Dominicans; members hold Black Mass and steal the energy of others. JLH

    ñakay: (v) To suffer. QP

    ñak'arichiy: (v) To cause pain, to make suffer. PSL

    ñak'ariy, ñakariy: (v) To suffer, to hurt. PSL QP

    ñan: (n) Road, path. QP RS The Inca road system was the most extensive and advanced transportation system in pre-Columbian South America. The network was based on two north-south roads with numerous branches. Part of the road network was built by cultures that precede the Inca Empire [Tawantinsuyu], notably the Wari culture. During the Spanish colonial era, parts of the road system were given the status of Camino Real [Royal road]. The eastern route ran high in the puna grasslands and mountain valleys from Quito, Ecuador to Mendoza, Argentina. The western route followed the coastal plain not including in coastal deserts where it hugged the foothills. More than twenty routes ran over the western mountains, while others traversed the eastern cordillera in the mountains and lowlands. Some of these roads reach heights of over 5,000 metres (16,000 ft) above sea level. The trails connected the regions of the empire from the northern provincial capital in Quito past the modern city of Santiago, Chile in the south. The Inca road system linked together about 40,000 kilometres (25,000 mi) of roadway and provided access to over 3,000,000 square kilometres (1,200,000 sq mi) of territory. Situated between 500 to 800 metres (1,600 to 2,600 ft) above sea level, this monumental road, which could reach 20 metres (66 ft) in width, connected populated areas, administrative centres, agricultural and mining zones as well as ceremonial centres and sacred spaces. These roads provided easy, reliable and quick routes for the empire's civilian and military communications, personnel movement, and logistical support. The prime users were imperial soldiers, porters and llama caravans, along with the nobility and individuals on official duty. Permission was required before others could walk along the roads, and tolls were charged at some bridges. Although the Inca roads varied greatly in scale, construction, and appearance, for the most part they varied between about 1 to 4 metres (3.3 to 13 ft) in width. The Incas developed techniques to overcome the difficult territory of the Andes. On steep slopes they built stone steps resembling giant flights of stairs. In desert areas near the coast they built low walls to keep the sand from drifting over the road. [See, hatun ñan for photo of a ramp.] Various means were used to bridge water courses. Rafts were used to cross wide meandering rivers. Bridges built of stone or floating reeds were used in marshy highlands. Rope bridges provided access across narrow valleys. A bridge across the Apurímac River, west of Cuzco, spanned a distance of 45 metres. Ravines were sometimes crossed by hanging baskets, or oroya, which could span distances of over 50 metres. Bridges were sometimes built in pairs. [See, chaca for more info and links.] WIKI

    The Inca road system. WIKI

    ñaña: (n) Girlfriend of a female, woman's sister. QP

    ñanta riqsichiq: (n) A guide. QP

    ñañaptaatha (AYM): (tr.v) To cure from illness. ASD

    ñañaptatha (AYM): (intr.v) To emerge from illness. ASD

    ñauca: (n) A totally blind person. DYE

    ñaucayani: (n) Progressive blindness. DYE

    ñaupa, ñawpan: See, ñawpa.

    ñawi, ñawin: (n) (1) Eye. (2) The five ñawi are roughly equivalent to the chakras of the Hindu system and each is associated with one of the chunpis. Kulli ñawi is the two physical eyes and the third eye. Sonqo ñawi is at the heart, kunka ñawi at the throat, qosqo ñawi at the navel, and siki ñawi at the base of the spine. KOAK (3) The face.  Also, ñavi (in Ecuador). (See, chawpi.)


    ñawi mayllay: (n) Literally, washing the face. The sponsors at a wedding in Ecuador take a little water in a basin, sprinkle flower petals in it and, with the groom, wash the face, arms and legs of the bride, all the while advising her to be a good wife. The water is then changed, re-flowered, and the bride joins in doing the same to the groom, all exhorting him to be a good husband. TAV

    ñawin aqha: (n) Eye of the chicha, which is the first cup of chicha from a vessel which is offered to deities. ROR

    ñawinchay: (v) To read. QP

    ñawpa, ñaupa, ñawpan: (adj) Ancient. QP Old; former. RS

    ñawpa ayllu: (n) Ancestors. QP

    ñawpa llaqta: (n) Ruins. QP

    ñawpa machu: (n) Literally, ancient old. Ancient times of darkness on the earth. KVI

    ñawpa pacha: (n) The transparent beings who lived in the ñawpa machu. KVI

    ñawpaq: (adv) Ahead, past. (adj) Ancient. QP

    ñawpaq kaq: (adj) First. QP

    ñawpaqta: (adv) Before in time. QP

    ñawsa: (adj) Blind. QP

    ñopo, cohoba, yopo, paricá (Amaz): (n) A kind of snuff prepared by the natives of Venezuela from the roasted seeds of a leguminous tree (Piptadenia peregrina), thence called niopo tree. FOD A powerful hallucinogenic snuff made from the seeds of a tropical American tree (Piptadenia peregrina) and used by Indians of the Caribbean and South America at the time of early Spanish explorations. DMT and bufotenine are thought to have been the active principles. Cohoba was inhaled deeply by means of special bilateral tubes. WBC Natives used to hold meetings during which the chief inhaled powder made from the seeds. These meetings took place when matters of special importance to the tribe had to be discussed. UNDC The island of cuba was apparently named after cohoba. A decoction of the bark is used to treat dysentery and gonorrhea. The variety falcata is used to treat pneumonia. EPP


    Ñopo.                                                  A device for sniffing ñopo powder
                                                                          as used by the Guajibo Indians of the Upper Orinoco. EPP

    ñoqa: (pron) I (the one speaking). PSPM

    ñoqanchis: (pron) We (including the one to whom we are speaking). PSPM

    ñoqayku: (pron) We (excluding the one to whom we are speaking). PSPM

    ñucchu: (n) (Salvia splendens) (1) A flower that is a central part of the Taytacha Temblores celebration, used to weave a crown for the Lord of the Earthquakes. Before the Conquest, it was used as an offering to the ancient gods Con and Wiracocha. SIP (2) Tea made from this flower which is used to cleanse imprints. JLH


    ñust'a: (n) (1) country woman; girl, (2) Inca princess, (3) Female nature spirit, princess of the mountain; goddess; feminine counterpart of the apu. (4) Female of fifth level. RS JLH KOAK

    ñutco, ñotco: (n) The brain of man or beast. DYE

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