Mother Earth and Andean Religion
The offering is a symbolic way in which men and women can give back to Pachamama what he or she has taken from it. The primary purpose is the restoration of an exchange between human beings and nature.
The Pachamama is a “deity” that represents the “Mother Earth”, who is a protector, provider, and source of life and fertility
Ceremonies, offering, and rituals
The primary purpose is the restoration of reciprocity between human beings and nature. With the offering or payment, the peasant asks for permission from the Pachamama to be able return some of the resources provided by Pachamama in a symbolic way. These rituals are also destined for the “Apu” or spirit of the mountain. The APU is the masculine aspect of nature, and the Pachamama is the feminine aspect. The APU protects the animals, and the men. The APU also fertilizes the Pachamama. The offering is an act of cosmic trade. It is the realization of the universal and cosmic justice or the fulfillment of a mutual duty. The belief is that if the Andean people ceased to practice these customs, there would be a breakdown in the equilibrium in the natural, social and religious systems. For the Andean people, the offerings are a way to reconcile with the spiritual forces in order to avoid misfortunes. They also represent rites of passage. These offering rituals are overseen by specialists of the Andean religion who have been educated in the ways of the ceremonies, and have a high level of expertise regarding the offerings and the entire process. They can be classified in different hierarchies or levels of priesthood. Advancing to a higher level is a long and complex process. The first level is the Pampamisayoq, which means “the one that has its table of work in the Pampa”. The Altomisayoq or HATUNMISAYOQ is considered within the range of priests. Their work is considered prophetic, charismatic and mystical. It is said that the priests have the power of to communicate with entities or spiritual beings of the religious world. In order to reach this rank, one goes through a test called “Karpay” and after that is devoted to the service of an assigned APU. This is temporary, and can be terminated in some cases such as a misuse of power, collection of money for self-enrichment or reprehensible sexual behavior. There is an even higher rank in the Andean priesthood that is the Kuraq Akulleq, who has the ability to have an intense connection with higher spirits. The Andean priests know how to make the ceremonial blanket, and they have to know how to pick and order the coca leaves for the K’intus (three coca leaves that are used for the ceremony). They must also know about all the other elements that are involved, such as seashells, seeds, and huayruros. They can also cure ailments with medicinal plants, divinations and magical diagnoses. The have the ability to read the coca leaves, and see bad or good luck. They can provide amulets, talismans and the like.