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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.

    paint14.tiff                      GLOSSARY NEVER TO BE SOLD

    uayror aklla: Alternate spelling of guayrur aklla. See, aklla for definition.

    Ucayali River: (n) The mother of the rivers formed from the body of Yakumama. The Ucayali becomes the Amazon River further downstream. WOFW  

    Ucayali River (in magenta above).

    ucuchacipiy: (n) Spasm. DYE

    uchu sanango: See, sanango.

    uhay, ukyay: (v) To drink. QP

    uhu: (n) A cough. QP

    uhuy: (v) To cough. QP

    ukhu: (adj) Deep inside. QP (n) (1) Inner part; room (as in a house). RS (2) The within, the interior or the depths of both self and cosmos. ANON1

    Ukhupacha, Uhupacha, Ukhu Pacha, Hurin Pacha: (n) Literally, inner world. Primarily thought of as the abode of the overturned order of the past and all things hurin. CSCR The lower world or underworld, the place of intuition, dreams and the subconscious. AVO The underworld which lies in the center of the earth. It is a cold and dark place, where the souls of the damned are eternally hungry. WPO Underworld; underground world; interior world; lower world; unconscious; inside of the planet; the world within, traditionally symbolized by the serpent; Hell (meaning after Christianization). RS In the highlands of Ecuador, the Kaypacha and Ukhupacha are regarded as mirror images. ACES Underworld or inner world of the dead and of seeds, both of which are referred to by the term mallqui. WOFW One must journey here in order for maturity and growth to take place, bringing aspects of the shadow into conscious awareness.  It is the place where (ayni) sacred reciprocity has not yet been realized. PSPM The inner realm, perhaps loosely parallel to the collective unconscious of Jung; the interior, personal realm of one's thoughts, feelings, and emotions; the understanding that one's own inner experience is reflected into a universal realm or the inner experience of us all; the master of the Ukhu Pacha is Amaru, the serpent, who teaches Yachay, the wisdom of having met oneself. ANON1 (See, ukhu, Ayar Ukhu.)

    ukhupi: (adj) Inside, among. QP

    ukuku: (n) (1) A spectacled bear, Tremarctos ornatus. (2) A bear dancer seen at the Festival of Qollor Rit'i. The ukukus are the only people allowed onto the glacier. They are the peacekeepers of the festival and spiritual warriors in training, preparing for the return of the Inca. A mythical bear that has come to be known as Pablo or Pablucha, that participates in the festivities at Q'oyllor Rit'i as a protector or guardian of the festival and as an embodiment of the impeccable spiritual warrior of the Taripaypacha. ANON1 (See, Inkarrí, luminous warrior.)

    Ukuku, def. 1. The only ursine species in South America, the spectacled
    bear is endangered.


    ukyay: See, uhay.

    uliyay: (n) Baptism. QP

    ulluco , ulluku, papalisa, atuqpa ullukun: (n) Ullucus tuberosus. The roots are a common carbohydrate food. An infusion of the whole plant is taken as an expectorant and aid in childbirth. REPC The major appeal of the ulluco is its crisp texture which remains even when cooked. Because of its high water content, the ulloco is not suitable for frying or baking but it can be cooked in many other ways like the potato. In the pickled form, it is added to hot sauces. It is the main ingredient in the classic Peruvian dish "olluquito con charqui." Oblong and thinly shaped, they grow to be only a few inches long. Varying in color, tubers may be orange/yellow in color with red/pink/purple freckles. In Bolivia, they grow to be very colorful and decorative, though with their sweet and unique flavor they are rarely used for decoration. When boiled or broiled they remain moist and the texture and flavor are very similar to the meat of the boiled peanut without the skin but unlike the boiled peanut becoming soft and mushy the ulluco remains firm and almost crunchy. WIKI

    Ullucu tubers. WIKI

    ulluchu: (n) The ulluchu fruit is laden with symbolism, usually appearing in artworks in scenes relating to war and the ritual drinking of a prisoner's blood, a common practice in the Moche culture. One theory suggests that the ulluchu, part of the papaya family with anticoagulant properties, is useful in forestalling blood clotting before a prisoner's blood was consumed. WHR

    droppedImage.pict droppedImage.pict

    Ulluchu Man: (n) A crab deity of Moche culture with the head and legs of a human and the carapace, legs, and claws of a crab, the gilded gold piece is more than two feet tall. This enigmatic figure with raised arms was once mounted on a fabric banner covered with gilded metal plates. (See black an white figure below.) He is called Ulluchu Man, because the banner yielded some of the first graphic samples of this ancient fruit ever discovered. (See, ulluchu.) WHR



    uma: (n) In Quechua, head, top. PSL In Aymara, water. [In both languages] it is the place of origin and return. WOFW

    uma hapik: (n) Memory. DYE

    uma llaqta: (n) Capital city. QP

    uma mastai: (n) Rite of creating a halo around head with your khuyas and communing with them. AVO

    uma muyu: (n) Confusion. QP

    uma muyuy: (v) To be confused; to be dizzy. PSL

    uma nanay: (n) Headache. QP Headache. From uma (head) and nanay (ache). DYE

    uma pacha: (n) The original time and place. The dead return here. WOFW  

    uma t'ojpisqa: (adj) Crazy. PSL

    umachakuy: (v) To understand. PSL

    umay-chhectaricuk: (n) Serious and intense headache; a splitting headache. From uma (head) and chectaricuk (splitting). DYE

    umayman hapini: (v) To learn by memory. DYE  

    umayoq, umayok, umayoj: (adj) Intelligent. PSL Intelligent, capable. DYE

    umbilical cord (Eng): (n) Once the baby was delivered they severed the umbilical cord leaving it one finger-length long. For this they used a small knife, or, if this was not available, they crushed the cord between two stones. Then the cord would dry off and fall, but in it remained some magical powers which they held in high esteem. In fact, they kept the dry umbilical cord with great care and gave it to the child to suck every time it was ill. It had to be the baby's own, otherwise it had no effect. DYE

    Umiña: The Goddess of Health in the northern part of the Tawantinsuyu. The deity was a gigantic emerald which value was equal to the treasure of all the temples of the empire put together, and which was exquisitely polished in the form of a human head. To this sanctuary came pilgrims from all over the known world in search of health, and they were met by a host of priests who administered medical help and officiated sacrifices to the goddess. DYE


    umu, umuq, omo: (n) Wizard, diviner. HOI Incan priest. QP Witch; priest (pagan), brujo. RS A diviner the people came to ask about stolen or lost things, events yet to happen and what was happening in far off places. IRC A class of Inca shamans who claimed to speak directly with the spirits at night and were consulted to find lost or stolen articles or to learn what was happening at a distance. Some of these shamans were reported to mix wilca with chicha to induce trance. WOFW  

    unai: See, unay.

    unancha: (n) A flag. QNO (See, wiphala, unanchasqa.)

    unanchasqa: (n) One who is given a sign of power from a divine being; i.e., a saint. KOAK

    unay, unai: (adv) In that time; long time ago; once upon a time; formerly; since; lengthy amount of time. (n) A delay, a slowing down; long time (real or imagined); time; duration. RS Mythic time-space, provides a rich cosmographic source of contemporary and ancient knowledge. WCE (v) To hesitate; to last; to take long; to slow down; to delay. RS

    underwater world (Eng): (n) See, text box, below:

    The world of the water seems to be especially important. It is the home of the yacuruna and the sirenas, who at times adopt human bodies and come out of the water, quite often for the purpose of copulating with humans or of stealing a partner to be taken to their underwater world. The yacuruna are very often associated and even identified with the bufeos (freshwater dolphins, considered malignant beings) and the mermaids also with anacondas (water boas). [There is] an enormous repertoire of stories telling about one or another episode in which a woman or man was stolen and taken into the water, or about women who became boas during the night, thus revealing their true identity. MSIN  

    unaccount: (v) See, descuenta.

    unkhu, unku: (n) Traditional black ceremonial poncho woven of alpaca or vicuña wool with the left hand (to counter-act witchcraft or evil spirits' presence) containing a single, red seam; the term may have historically referred to the tunic worn by the Sapa or other Inka nobles and priests (also sometimes unkhuña). ANON1 Traditional black Inca ceremonial shirt with a red seam made of alpaca and woven left-handed for spiritual power. NND


    unkhuña, unkuña: (n) A small woven cloth used to hold coca. ROR A special white alpaca skin upon which a despacho is built. WOFW Ceremonial cloth; the sacred ground upon which the mesa items are placed. PSPM (See, ch'uspa.)

    unqurawi: See, hunguráhui.  

    unquy: See, onqoy.

    untu : (n) Pure fat from the chest of an alpaca or llama used in offerings (despacho, conopa). ROR JLH AVO Llama or alpaca fat used as a very important offering when placed in a conopa. ANON1

    uñallamacha: (n) Suckling baby llama. The Yana Phuyu constellation of the llama fetus. ACES

    uñu, unu: (n) Water. PSL RS

    uñu kawsay: (n) The living energy or spirit of water. NND

    Uñu Pachacuti, Ono Pacakoti: (n) A great flood, of Inca legend, created by Wiracocha to kill a race of pre-human giants, saving two to help repopulate the globe. HOI EFD Wiracocha made humankind in his own image, first creating a generation of giants to inhabit the newly established world. But the giants displeased him, and he punished some by turning them to stone. The rest were swept away in the deluge that inundated the earth. IAWS (See, Pacaritambo, pachacuti.)

    upa: (adj) Mute, deaf. QP Foolish; mute. An inability to speak due to mental limitations. DYE  

    upichiya: (n) Sweet dove of my heart. JLH

    Ura Cocha: (n) The Pacific Ocean. AWE

    uraña wayra: (n) A terrible wind believed to cause stomach pain, vomiting and terror. ROR

    Urcaguary: (n) Inca god of metals, jewels and other underground items of great value. WIC (See, Supay, Muki.)

    Urcuchillay: (n) The shepherds worshiped and sacrificed to a star they call Urcuchillay, which they say is a llama of many colors, which is concerned with the conservation of livestock, and it is understood to be the one that [astronomers] call Lyra. AEAA (See, Chocachinchay and Ancochinchay.)

    urin: (n) See, hurin.  

    urkuchinantin: (n) (adj) Denotes androgynous characteristics of a unit, either male/female or female with male child. (n) Female urkuchinantin rainbows are red, male ones are blue. These colors refer to the dominant color in a rainbow or as the only colors seen. All red rainbows can only be seen moments before and a few minutes after sunset and are female because they are thought to survive into the night and the time of the moon. These are especially dangerous to women because they can move across the earth and enter the abdomen through the vagina, causing severe pain or death. ACES (See, k'uychi.)

    Uros: (n) (1) A group of about 40 floating islets located in Lake Titicaca off Puno, Peru. (2) The pre-Inca people who fashioned and live on these islands. People have been living on these islands for many centuries. IGMP The Uros originally created these artificial islands to escape the Inca, who dominated the mainland at the time. Around 3,000 descendants of the Uros are alive today, although only a few hundred still live on and maintain the islands; most have moved to the mainland, where their children go to school. The Uros also bury their dead on the mainland. The islets are made of totora reeds, which grow in the lake. The dense roots that the plants develop support the islands. They are anchored with ropes attached to sticks driven into the bottom of the lake (see far right of picture below). The reeds at the bottoms of the islands rot away fairly quickly, so new reeds are added to the top to compensate. The islands last about 30 years. Food is cooked with fires placed on piles of stones. To relieve themselves, tiny 'outhouse' islands are near the main islands. The waste is dried in the sun to avoid polluting the water. WEAD

    Uros villagers maintaining their floating island home.

    Urpihua-Chac, Urpihuachac: (n) Inca goddess of fish and fishery. DRB The wife of Pachacamac. She had thrown the first fishes into the Ocean. RTZ1 <

    Urubamba River: See, Willkamayu.

    Uru Saiwa: (n) One of the sacred mountains. Its mystical significance expresses the use of the saiwas, philosophical maps; medicine practiced in total alignment so instinct is the power, not ego. JLH

    usko: (adj) Spiritual. AYV

    usnu, ushnu: (n) High platform in the public plazas from which rulers or chiefs used to talk to their people. RS Used as a throne, altar and observatory. A seat or axis of symbolic order. CSCR Throne or sacred center. Solar axis. PSPM An altar. Machu Picchu has three, each dedicated to one of the three worlds [see photos below]. DYE A raised altar or ceremonial space used in Andean temples for the highest offerings; the top space of a temple, pyramid, or altar; any high altar; for example, the high, flat ceremonial space at Choqek'iraw; the yanantin of the pusnu, forming half of an Andean cross; can also mean throne. ANON1

    The inti watana at Machu Picchu is an example of
    an usnu dedicated to the hanaqpacha.

    The Torreon of the Temple of the Sun at Machu Picchu
    is an usnu dedicated to the kaypacha. DYE It contains a
    sacred rock, which was partially destroyed by fire.
    [caption only, photo credit, see image sources page]

    Inside the Royal Tomb below the Temple of the Sun.
    At the tomb is an usnu dedicated to the ukhupacha. DYE
    [caption credit only; for photo credit, see image sources page]

    usqhaq: (adj) Speedy. QP

    usqhay: (adv) Quickly (motion). QP

    usqhaypaq: (adj) Urgent. QP

    usqhayta: (adv) Immediately, ASAP.

    ususi: (n) Daughter (of father). QP

    uta , anti-onccoy, andongo, huccuc-uncuy, espundia, jacuya, huscu-ussu: (n) A type of American lehismaniasis, is a very old Peruvian disease, found practically only in the area of the Inca Empire. It produces corroding ulcers about the nose and lips which are very difficult to heal and which, if cured, leave the most mutilating sequelae, comparable to leprosy. There was no cure, although there are some remedies to alleviate it. The Spanish called it “cancer of the Andes.” It was also called anti-onccoy because it was a disease of the Antisuyu. It was renamed decades after the Conquest by Gonzales Holguin who called it huccuc-uncuy DYE All these [different names] are probably one and the same disease to which the different aborigines gave distinct names. According to the opinion of the physicians who best know these regions . . . they are all nothing else but phagademic ulcer of hot countries. [Apparently this was quite a controversial diagnosis because it was not specific enough to suit the doctors of the era (1910). Breaking the word down into its two Greek roots, we get phage, something that eats, demic, from demos, people. From the roots of the word and the picture, it does seem to be some kind of flesh-eating infection. -- Patt]. AJD

    An individual with uta. DYE

    utek: (adj) Crazy, lunatic. DYE

    utekhina: (adj) Raving, delerious. DYE

    utek-piña: (adj)  Mad, crazy, furiously mad. DYE

    utictucusca: (adj) Extravagent, nonsensical. DYE

    uturunqu: See, otorongo. RS

    uya: (n) The face. QP

    uyakuy: (v) To agree to. QP

    uyariy: (v) To listen, hear, understand. QP

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