On Identity

Our identity as a people has been changed irreversibly, no matter how hard our government or the media try to convey a return to some pre-cultural moment when our way of life, our values and convictions seemed to carry the moral weight they no longer have. The fact is that our image has been tarnishing for a long time, yet we were incapable of seeing that simple fact.

On Divination and Power

Throughout history, peoples have sought the intervention of divine power to understand their fate and resolve problems. The term divination describes efforts to foretell future events or to discover hidden knowledge by supernatural means. As the term implies, divination is closely associated with cultivation of the spirit or supernatural realm, often understood in the form of deities, spirits of place, or ancestral relations. It can be said that the degree of success of the diviner is closely related to the quality of her or his relationship with these powers.

On War and Peace

Peace is a manifestation of Love, and because Love in the physical realm is derived from our relationship to the earth, it also includes other earth-based energies such as community, relationships and nurture. War destroys these manifestations of the human spirit, and replaces them with ideologies and dogma. Indigenous peoples agree that war, particularly the kind of war that is waged against the laws of nature, is a manifestation of a lack of Power, a disconnect from true self, true belonging.

On Initiation

When our daughter Adriana turned 12 years old, my wife and I realized that we were approaching a turning point and that it was time to prepare her for her entry into the adult world. An initiation was in order. We knew from sociological research and from our own experience that uninitiated youth tend to experience greater difficulties as adults. Neither of us, however, had been raised with a formal initiation, yet we felt strongly the need to provide to her with the strength and wisdom we knew could be found in this process.

On Gratitude

I was born in Peru, of a middle class family, but even though we had enough of everything, I still remember my mother admonishing us when we wasted food or left our meals uneaten. “Every seed”, she used to say, “can grow into a full plant and feed a family for many generations”. She had learnt this wisdom as a young child; she had seen hunger first hand and still remembered the faces of the needy who came to plead for grain from her father, a successful farmer. No caller ever left empty handed, even though that meant that her family would have to do without.