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Elisabet Sahtouris, Ph.D.
Suecia 589, Cusco, Peru

For: When Cosmic Cultures Meet Conference
        Washington D.C. May 27-29 1995


Experiences and reports of other-dimensional and other-planetary encounters here on planet Earth are still very strange to most people. So strange, in fact, that many if not most people in industrial cultures do not even believe they occur. But this failure of belief is in turn strange to cultures outside western scientific/ industrial culture, to whom other dimensions are as familiar as the basic four of spacetime.

It is not my intention to try to prove the reality of such encounters, I merely wish to explain why our culture finds them either strange or incredible--i.e. not believable--while other cultures find them normal. For when something is strange, it tends to inspire fear and hostility, and the purpose of this conference is to shift our attitudes away from fear and hostility to a reasonable human warmth and welcome of other-dimensional and other-planetary cultures, not to mention this-planetary human cultures different from our own.

More than four dimensions

What I would like to show is that the universe is composed of ten or more dimensions, known to most cultures, while the western scientific worldview limits itself to four. This limitation necessarily obscures most of the existing universe. When phenomena of other dimensions insistently intrude on the four-dimensional world, they are seen as magical, miraculous, fearful or dangerous or they are denied existence and thus viewed as the fantasies of disturbed minds. Readers familiar with "Flatland," the hypothetical world of two dimensions, will recall how magical the passing of a three-dimensional ball through that world appears: a point appears from nowhere, expands into an ever-growing disk, then shrinks back to nothing and disappears. There is no way in a two-dimensional world to properly perceive or explain a three-dimensional phenomenon. Likewise, fifth-dimensional phenomena (such as Sai Baba's materialization of objects from apparently thin air, for example) are mysterious and inexplicable to those who live in a four-dimensions-only world. And so, if inter-dimensional visitors suddenly appear in our skies and then disappear again, we find it hard to accept them as real. Should we encounter beings who simply "cannot be here," we are likely to encounter them with fear and hostility. This will continue to be the case until we can accept the normalcy of passage in and out of our four dimensions from or by way of others.

What do I mean by "from or by way of other dimensions?" Most people nowadays do believe that there must be other star systems that have planets with intelligent inhabitants. Serious scientists such as Carl Sagan and many others have for some time been engaged in various projects trying to contact them. I share the belief that they exist, but I believe that the only way they can transport themselves about the universe is by entering and exiting other dimensions that have no spacetime limitations. It is simply not possible to travel the distances involved in three-dimensional ships using three-dimensional material fuels. I further believe that the only way they are likely to communicate over interstellar distances is by using other dimensions for that purpose as well. That is, they will communicate telepathically, as is the experience of most contactees, or by some other interdimensional technology, and not by radio telescope, as in our projects still being initiated--the biggest and newest begun in Australia within the past year. Such projects will likely seem very primitive to those we are trying to contact.

To sum up, interdimensional and interplanetary travels and communications are not possible, in my opinion, within a four-dimensional world.

More than one science

Interestingly, we pursue these very expensive technological communications attempts on the assumption that our present-day material technology is far superior to anything so-called "primitive peoples" could have developed. Yet, through my work with indigenous people, I have come to believe that those who have had the longest history of interstellar or cosmic communications and travel are in fact indigenous peoples without any kind of material technology. They have been practicing such communications and travels for thousands of years and to such an extent that they are a normal part of life in many cultures.

It is of the utmost importance, from a number of perspectives, for us to combat our own prejudices in believing western science to be the only, or the most superior, science of all human cultures. For western science is a newcomer on the world scene, and an upstart newcomer to boot. In its immaturity, however brilliant, it has lacked even the wisdom to ensure that the basis of human life is conserved, putting into question whether the destructive technological culture it has spawned can be legitimately considered an intelligent culture. Perhaps extra-terrestrials are studying us to answer this puzzling question: are Earth humans an intelligent species or not?

As a trained western scientist who has become ever more aware of the limitations of my own science, I have looked at length to the sciences of other, much older, cultures, including many indigenous cultures. I now live in the South American Andes, where, for example, the extent of ancient agricultural experiment, ecological understanding and sustainable development exceeds that of any other culture in the history of the world. Most of the world's food today is the product of this Andean science, yet it continues to be unrecognized as such by the dominant scientific culture, to the great disadvantage of all the world, because Andean agricultural science, if practiced by the world at large, might well make the difference between the survival or extinction of our human species over the next few decades.

However, our concern here is with other aspects of such sciences, in particular with their acknowledgement of a more-than-four-dimensional world. But before we can consider whether those sciences or ours are right about this cosmic composition, I would like to give you a glimpse of what it is like to live and work within such non-western sciences and be disrespected by the dominant western scientists.

In the Introduction to Carlos Milla Villena's book, Genesis de la Cultura Andina (Fondo Editorial C.A.P. Coleccion Bienal, Lima 1983), Salvador Palomino and Javier Lajo write, as I have translated it into English, the following passage:

Does Andean science exist? It has always been considered in the circles that manage Western culture that other cultures either have not had any scientific development or that their systematized knowledge has been so poor that it was easily assimilated into the hegemonous world culture. Thus it is in America, particularly in the Andean region which in ancient times was based in Tawantinsuyo [the name of the Inka nation, meaning 'four directions or parts.'].

Among the principle causes of this undervaluation of the non-Western, we can identify ignorance of other cultures, but there also exists, without a shadow of a doubt, an accumulation of prejudices which, as principles or dogmas, the West uses to preserve its senile hegemony. Principles that when applied to the study of occidental reality explain it objectively, but when applied to non-Western realities degenerate into norms or molds whose narrow frameworks attempt vainly to repress objective phenomena or knowledge that escape the rationality and the methods of the West. What these principles cannot make simple, is denied, silenced, or disqualified as obscurantism, esotericism, charlatanism or witchcraft.

...As is logical and customary, with the publication of this book we expect, without disdain, the proud reaction of the ordinary Western person... we hope for a positive reaction, a calm and high dialogue, as is suited to their own high station, with the priests of the northern sciences.

If we can put ourselves into the position of people who practice a science vastly older than our own, which has long known things western scientists are just beginning to discover and are claiming as though they were not known before, then we should be able to sympathize with the nature and tone of this critique.

Western science limits not only its own reality or worldview, but presumes to limit science itself, as a human endeavor, to its own practitioners. In other words, it acknowledges no other science as valid or even possible. It should not surprise us that this attitude is seen as intolerably arrogant by the scientists of other cultures. In recognition of the importance of this issue--of whether science is unique to the "west" or whether different sciences exist legitimately--let us look briefly at the west's own definitions of science.

Science is defined by Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (10th edition, 1993) as "the state of knowing" or "a department of systematized knowledge as an object of study." This definition certainly includes the knowledge of most indigenous cultures as well as the more urban knowledge of non-western cultures around the world, past and present (all of which we intend by "non-western cultures" from here on).

The American Heritage Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language (3rd edition, 1992) defines science as "the observation, identification, description, experimental investigation and theoretical explanation of phenomena." A bit more precise, yet a good description of what non-western cultures have done that is appropriately dignified with the label "science." As defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, science is "the state of knowing", or "knowledge as opposed to belief or opinion," knowledge, that is, "acquired by study." The OED continues explaining that science is "in a more restricted sense: a branch of study which is concerned either with a connected body of demonstrated truths or with observed facts systematically classified and more or less colligated by being brought under general laws, and which include trustworthy methods for the discovery of new truth within its own domain."

Detailed as this definition is, there is nothing in it to exclude indigenous and other non-western sciences. So let us proceed to discuss other cultures with due respect for their sciences and greater impartiality in judging which cultures' sciences have the best explanatory power for describing human experience. If we are to encounter other-planetary and other-dimensional cultures with respect and good will, let us practice encountering those of our own own Earth which differ from our cultures with the same respect and good will.

How many dimensions?

As far as I know, no culture has ever recognized fewer than three physical dimensions extended by motion into a fourth we call 'time.' That puts western culture at the minimalist end of the scale. At the other end of the scale, some cultures may posit an infinite number of cosmic dimensions, but the usual range is from seven to less than twenty.

The exact number of dimensions beyond the familiar four is not important to this discussion, but the existence, as reality, of other dimensions is critical, since the Cosmic Cultures we are here discussing necessarily exist, as we have said, in these other dimensions or pass through them in order to move about the cosmos from one three-dimensional location to another. Again, if other dimensions do not exist, I know of no reasonable way that there could be sophisticated interplanetary communications and other forms of encounter between different star systems.

Now I will propose that such communication and encounter in or via other dimensions is essential to a living Cosmos, which I believe our universe to be. In light of this, it is worth trying to understand the normalcy of the multi-dimensional universe in other cultures and the reluctance of western science to accept a multi-dimensional universe.


The method of western science is the analysis of natural phenomena by isolating them from their context (that is, into laboratories whenever possible) and dissecting them into their component parts. Parts are everything to western science. No wonder then that the west sees the natural world as an assembly of parts into a kind of giant three-dimensional mechanism with moving parts, and our constructed human society as an assembly of parts, such as politics, economics, science, art, industry, agriculture, education, etc. etc.

Let me sidetrack for just a moment to illustrate this. Last year, here in Washington DC, the President's Council on Sustainable Development met and discussed whether or not economics should be part of their discussion. No one doubts that ecology is essential to a discussion of sustainable human life, but highly educated and well-positioned members of this eminent group were seriously asking what has economics got to do with ecology? As a Greek, I could only respond that ecology literally means the organization of the world "household" (from logos, organization and oikos, household) while economics literally means the law of the household (from nomos, law and oikos household). Clearly one cannot separate the law of a "household" from its organization. Imagine, for example, trying to understand the laws by which your body functions without understanding how your body is organized, or vice versa.

What I'm trying to do is clarify the difference between a culture that works at understanding the world mechanically, that is by separating it into parts, and cultures that work at understanding the world organically, that is through its inseparable interrelationships. As my Tewa friend Dr. Greg Cahete from the Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico, author of Look to the Mountain: an Ecology of Indigenous Education, (Kivaki Press, Durango, CO 1994), has put it, the white man isolates parts of nature in laboratories to study them because he wants to control them, while the native person goes out into nature to study it because he wants to integrate himself harmoniously with it. Only out in nature, where the phenomena under study are not torn from their contexts, is it possible to understand the vital interrelationships of parts or aspects of nature.

Because I, even as a western scientist, have come to understand the Earth and all the Cosmos to be alive, which means among other things that no part of it can live without the rest, I, too, want to integrate myself harmoniously with the rest of nature and want to see the rest of my human species do likewise so that we can all survive harmoniously within it.

Earth Life

I will not go into great detail to show that the Earth is a living planet within a self-creating living Cosmos, as I have done that in my book GAIA: the Human Journey from Chaos to Cosmos (Simon & Schuster Pocketbooks, NY 1989), now difficult to find in English except for an expanded version called Earthdance: Living Systems in Evolution, available free of charge through LifeWeb, my WWW homepage, but let me give the essence of the argument quickly:

Teachers of biology used to teach a list of properties of living things to distinguish them from non-living things, because it simply had no basic definition of life. This list included such properties as irritability (reactivity), mobility, growth and reproduction. A few decades ago, two Chilean biologists, Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, gave us our first basic definition of life as autopoiesis, a Greek word meaning "self creation." The definition that goes by this name is as follows: A living entity is one that continually creates its own parts. Note that this basic definition says nothing about growth or reproduction, which may or may not be properties of a living system. Some of you may be happy to know that you can be alive whether you reproduce or not. In any case, this definition seems to apply admirably well to our planet Earth, which scientists used to think of not as a living entity, but as a non-living geological ball upon the surface of which, by some miracle, life sprang from non-life.

Now we can see that the Earth constantly creates itself from the inside out, lava erupting from its molten insides to form new rock, while old rock is eroded, carried to the oceans and remelted at the subduction zones of tectonic plates, where the edge of one slides beneath the edge of another. This great recycling system of magma to rock to magma is joined by those of Earth's waters and atmosphere as the sources of endless creativity, endless supplies of materials to be incorporated into microbes, plants and animals. The entire planet regulates its temperature like a warm-blooded creature, which indeed it can be see to be, as well as regulating the delicate chemical balance in the composition of its atmosphere, seas and soils, further evidence that it is a great living cell or body. Note well that it can function as such only because all its parts are in constant communication and because of the ceaseless planetwide flow of its energy and materials. Life will never evolve naturally on one part of a planet; planets either come to life as wholes or do not come to life at all.

The statement that the Earth is alive is, to me, not a hypothesis or theory, as in the case of the Gaia Hypothesis of James Lovelock. Rather it is a conceptualization to replace the conceptualization of the Earth as a non-living mechanism. By the autopoiesis definition of life, the Earth is indeed alive, and not a machine or collection of machines.

Cosmic Life

If the Earth is alive, can we not assume that other planets as well have come alive? Our known four-dimensional Solar system was born from the scattered gaseous materials of a Supernova some five billion years ago. Only one of its planets came alive and remained alive from this four-dimensional perspective (leaving open the possibility of life in other dimensions associated with the other planets). I like to think that the Cosmos scatters planets like star seed, much as plants and animals here below scatter their seed. In both cases, only few seeds in this prolific venture of life actually come to life themselves--those that land in the right conditions to support life. And so it makes sense that only a few of many planets can come to life--"a few" meaning untold billions given the scope of the universe.

What about the stars that give birth to these planets? A star is a self-organizing entity, keeping itself alive by drawing in new material and sloughing off old, with a series of life stages often ending in its explosive reproduction as a new star system including planets. And what about entities larger than stars? A protogalactic cloud itself is a huge whirlpool of gaseous matter. Now a whirlpool, whether in a river or in outer space, is an entity that takes in matter, holds it in a more-or-less constant form, and ejects matter no longer needed. In other words, it is the simplest form of a living entity that constantly creates itself! A galaxy is a protogalactic cloud that has elaborated itself into a more complex living entity. At every level of the four-dimensional universe, then, we see living entities, and so it makes sense to propose that the entire universe is and always has been a living, self-creating entity. One of the great advantages of doing so is that we need no longer pursue that endlessly confusing search of western science to determine how life can come from non-life.

Note that all these arguments have been made within the four-dimensional worldview of western science. This self-creating universe or Cosmos seems quite logically to have begun with unity that gradually diversified, with simple cosmic whirlpools in which smaller whirlpools become stars, which in turn generate new stars and ultimately star systems including planets, some of which in their own turn self-create as extremely complex material beings.

Cosmic Interactions

If I am right that this cosmic evolutionary process has always been "of a piece," in other words, the natural evolution of a single great living entity, then it follows that the parts of the cosmos are essentially inseparable--note that I do not say interconnected, as is usual, but inseparable--in the same sense that the parts of your body are inseparable, no one of them capable of living on its own. And just as in your body the parts communicate with one another constantly--how else would the complex organization of all parts be possible?--so all parts of the Earth and of the entire Cosmos are necessarily in communication with one another. "As below, so above,"so to speak. The next question we face, then, is, "How can this constant communication take place?" One requirement is intelligence, the prerequisite for coherent information exchange; another is the means, the channels, by which such exchange can occur. Let us take these one at a time.

Cosmic Intelligence in Western Science

With this model or conceptualization of the entire cosmos as a living entity containing the smaller living entities it continually creates, ideas of an intelligent universe begin to make much more sense than within the old mechanical model of a non-living universe, where the obvious intelligence of the universe could only be explained by proposing a Deus ex-machina, or God outside the great mechanism, God its inventor, or as Descartes called him, "the Grand Engineer"--a God whose existence western science denied, while keeping the idea of His machinery, which led to an illogical science, since machinery by definition cannot exist without an inventor.

Now certain leading western scientists have been talking about the universal intelligence of the material world for some time, despite the "official" view that such notions are heretical. To wit, Nobel laureate George Wald, the Harvard biologist, in his foreword to L.J. Henderson's The Fitness of the Environment, has written that "A physicist is the atom's way of knowing about atoms." Quoting this in his article Life and Mind in the Universe, he continues, arguing that:

The stuff of this universe is ultimately mind-stuff. What we recognize as the material universe, the universe of space and time and elementary particles and energies, is then an avatar, the materialization of primal mind. In that sense, there is no waiting for conscious ness to arise. It is there always.

Wald points out that Eddington said "the stuff of the world is mind-stuff" in 1928, Wolfgang Pauli suggesting in 1952 that "physis and psyche (i.e. matter and mind) could be seen as complementary aspects of the same reality" and von Weizacker in 1971 adding that "consciousness and matter are different aspects of the same reality."

Note that these statements on the part of highly respected western scientists show the clear link between the notion of an intelligent universe and the existence of other dimensions, for the "mind-stuff" of the universe is clearly not locatable in the basic four dimensions of space extended in time. For that matter, neither is any thought you have at any time, including your dreamtime, showing that all of us live in more than four dimensions night and day!

New Dimensions in Western Science

In 1994 the theoretical physicist Michio Kaku's book Hyperspace (Oxford University Press, 1994) made waves with its proclamation that the deeply ingrained prejudice that our world consists only of three spatial dimensions and one of time is "about to succumb to the progress of science." Eloquently and at length he explains that the laws of nature, when expressed mathematically under the assumption of a four-dimensional world are crude and unwieldy, while the elegance with which they can be expressed and united under the assumption of ten dimensions is extremely strong evidence for the existence of these other dimensions.

Unfortunately, to this western scientist, the mathematical "existence" of these other dimensions is puzzling in that they appear very tightly curled, to the point of impenetrability, or inaccessibility. Physicists are actually suggesting we may have to blast our way into them, though that would require, they say, more power than we can presently generate on Earth. My friend Tanai Starr, a chemical engineer who learned nuclear physics from ETs claims this strange mathematical view of higher dimensions is due to the simple error of limiting the speed of light in higher dimensions as it is in fact limited in our familiar four. Whatever proves to be the case, western science is at least on the edge of acknowledging what other cultures have always taken as reality.

Old Dimensions in Other Cultures

Adnan Sarhan, a Sufi Master with whom I studied, says that "the universe, space and nature are the sources of intelligence and if you do not communicate with them, you cut yourself from the source of intelligence."

In Brazil, I spent time with Sapain, a pajay or medicine man of the Amazon Xingu nation to whom I gave a gift of sage from my island in Greece. He indicated to me that he wanted to sleep with, to dream with this plant. The following morning he came to me very excited, saying, "Your plant and my plant are so happy--they came so far to be together. They've been talking all night and still aren't finished." I asked him whether the trees in the Amazon talked with each other. "Of course," he said, "all the time!" When I asked what they talked about, he said, "They plot survival strategies." "And will enough of them survive?" I asked. "Yes," he said, though sadly, clearly feeling their painful struggle.

Macsuara Kajiwel, another Amazon friend with whom I traveled, told me that all natural beings, the trees, the herbs, the birds and animals are in constant dialogue and that humans need only be quiet and listen to understand what is being said. Don Faustino, a ninety-year-old Andean elder showed me how rich the Q'eswa language is in the sounds of nature (what we call onomatopoiea) because it was given to runakuna (people) by the beings of nature whose language it first was.

These are various examples of how indigenous cultures see their natural world as an intelligent, intricately interconnected web of beings in constant communication with each other and with humans. They are the kind of examples often used by anthropologists to describe people considered to be less sophisticated than our "scientific" and technologically "advanced" society. They are the kind of examples used to identify "primitive animism," a worldview considered to be inferior and backwards. But these cultures, unbeknownst to most of us, look very seriously at us in turn and wonder about our backwardness, as in the following quote from Nicolas Aguilar Sayritupac's prologue to Genesis de la Cultura Andina, reprinted in full at the end of this article.

I know a little of the customs of the men who come from the place where the Sun puts itself down, and their mentality is as confused as a tangled ball of yarn as day by day they become more entangled without relief... The human being of the West has abandoned being human and has turned himself into an individual: man, woman, child, elder, separate; community has died in them, the "ayllu"--the essential unity of humanity. The existence of Western people and society has been destroyed by their egoism.

Please note this view of community as human and individualism as non-human. The failure of community in the west is seen as the failure of human society as a living, loving interdependent system.

In the Andean culture, an example of the role other dimensions play in the daily life of ordinary communities lies in the all-pervasive coca ceremony, which is an integral part of everyday life, of basic social amenities. (Note that the WHO--the World Health Organization of the United Nations--has clearly stated the health benefits of coca chewing to the Andean peoples and pointed out the danger to them of making it illegal; coca leaf should no more be confused with cocaine than should rye bread be confused with rye whiskey.) Catherine Allen, an anthropologist at George Washington University who has studied the Andean social role of coca intensively, points out in her book The Hold Life Has, that the social interaction of the coca ceremony includes not only the persons present but "entities immanent in the living Earth as well: Mother Earth, the Mountain Lords, the ancient dead. Understanding the nature of this communicative bond, forged by coca chewing, means exploring an attitude in which land is experienced as animate, powerful, and imbued with consciousness--a parallel society of Earth Persons with whom one is in constant interaction." (p. 25)

When you blow on coca leaves, performing phukuy, you blow their animating essence, their sami, into the Earth Mother, the Pacha Mama, or to the Apus, the mountain Lords, directing the sami to them by calling their names. In the same way, the sami of alcoholic beverages passes into the ground as you pour libations. Sami is also the animating, creative essence found in humans. In the Earth it is manifested physically as water and light. This animating essence sami is known in many cultures by many names, such as prana in India. In the Andes, as Allen describes, it is consciously directed by humans to other parts of nature in recognition that humans have received it and must circulate it. Thus we have a clear example of other-dimensional communications channels used consciously by humans.

When Amazon healers use the hallucinogen known widely as ayahuasca in the diagnosis of illnesses, they are facilitating their ability to see the other-dimensional aspects of the human body, also known as subtle bodies or auric, mental, psychic, etc. bodies in other cultures. Many cultures understand that illnesses begin in these other-dimensional bodies and can be cured there before they even manifest physically, and that curing illnesses in the physical body alone does not prevent their recurrence. The Brazilian/Peruvian healer, or curandero, Manual Cordova, whose biography has been written by Bruce Lamb (Rio Tigre and Beyond: The Amazon Jungle Medicine of Manuel Cordova. North Atlantic Books: Berkeley) worked in this way and was offered a chair in the Medical School at the University of Lima for his abilities to cure diseases incurable by western medicine, including that of the Chairman of the Medical School itself!

I could give innumerable other examples, as no doubt my readers can do as well; the point being that other-dimensional communications channels clearly exist among our various physical and subtle bodies, as well as between ourselves and the rest of nature, and these are no doubt similar, at least in principal, to the communications channels that exist throughout the cosmos.

Multi-dimensional Timespace in the Andes

If you imagine a woven fabric of a very complex pattern in ten colors, and then imagine that everything woven in six of the ten colors disappears, would you not miss most of the pattern? Western science, by limiting itself to acknowledging and exploring only four dimensions of a multi-dimensional reality, has been unable to perceive most of the universal pattern with its rich interconnections, while the older Indian, Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Mayan, Inka and other Indigenous sciences of the world had and still have a broader understanding of the multi-dimensional cosmos and thus were and are able to explore and use higher dimensions for many purposes, including those just cited. Yet the difference between the worldviews of western culture and others is far more than a question of the number of dimensions acknowledged.

For example, even within four dimensions, there is the question of how they are related. While western science has been working very hard to integrate them, other cultures have never separated them. In the Q'eswa (Quechua) language of the Andes, for example, there is but a single word for time, space, Earth and cosmos: pacha. This is not a matter of linguistic poverty, for Q'eswa is as rich, detailed and expressive as any other language. It is a matter of direct experience of nature, of the observation that timespace is of a piece and that it is everything observable: the timespace events of all the Earth and all the Cosmos. You yourself cannot perceive any event in which time is separate from space, as all spatial events occur over time if they occur at all. It is the separation of time and space that is abnormal in human experience, an abstraction from reality, not reality itself.

In our western culture, we make this abstracted time into a line, while far more cultures, including the Andean cultures, perceive time in terms of cyclic, or spiraling events that take place spatially. Thus cycles of events such as daily dawn-sunset-dawn cycles and annual ones marked by such spatial events as the disappearance and reappearance of the Pleiades from the Southern skies, are superimposed on the thousand-year Great Solar Years of the Andes, and their half -length 500 year cycles, marked by huge upheavals such as earthquakes, floods, etc. These catastrophic transitional events, called pachacutis, punctuate the cycles but do not destroy them. Past cycles do not disappear completely, but exist beneath or behind or within present reality such that they can powerfully influence it, as can future events not yet realized but also near everyday surface reality. Think of a spiraling model of timespace in which from any single point considered as the present, the past and future loops of the spiral lie close enough to affect each other.

Another Andean example of timespace interconnection is in the belief that the new, like the Sun always comes from the east, which is the past, and moves toward the west, which is future. East Andean paqos or spiritual practitioner/healers are thus sent to the selva, the Amazon which lies to the east and below the mountains, to study for a year in order to bring up fertility and new growth. Robert Randall (Qoyllur Rit'i, An Inca Fiesta of the Pleiades, Bull. Inst. Francais des Etudes Andines. XI, No. 1-2, pp 37-81) has pointed out that the Creator God Wiracocha, comes from the past in Lake Titicaca and moves into the future of the Pacific Ocean, again an east to west timeline. He also mentions that high places overlooking the east, the Amazon, are for seeing into the past; those that look west, over the ocean look to the future, as in the 16th century play in which the Inca Atahualpa's seer-prophet and high priest, Huaylla Huisa sees the Spanish as bearded men in iron ships coming from the future out of the Pacific. Alejandro Ortiz Rescaniere (De Adaneva a Inkarri, Lima 1973) reports that in Inca tradition mountains can see into the future--for example, to the return of the Inca (Incarri)--because of their height.

As Above, So Below

Qosqo, modern Cusco, the center of the Inca nation, was divided or ordered into a complex system of radiating lines called ceques, an organization of space intended to control time--the unknown past and future worlds, according to Tom Zuidema (Bureaucracy and Systematic Knowledge in Andean Civilization, MS, Urbana 1978), who also draws attention to the Inca search for the true Axis Mundi to connect the Earth with other Cosmic levels. This theme is pursued as well by Palomino and Lajo, cited above, in the same introduction to Carlos Milla Villena's book Genesis de la Cultura Andina, where they quote John Earls The Organization and Production of Ancient Tawantinsuyo, (Lima 1977):

"To connect the cycles of the social system as tightly as possible to the astronomic cycles, major control was exercised over the incremental social entropy. In the hypothetical case (impossible to suppose) in which it succeeds: The Incas have succeeded in unifying social science with astronomy in a single science. Or, they have wanted to create a society in the image of the celestial universe."

and then continue:

To conclude, we will say that we are in agreement with Earls when he indicates that it was impossible for the Incas to succeed in creating a society in the image of the entire celestial universe, but, and herein lies the importance of the book here presented, everything seems to indicate that they did succeeded in creating a society in the image of and like the Southern celestial universe.

The town of Ollantaytambo, in the Sacred Valley northwest of Cusco, where I happen to be writing this, is laid out in the form of a tree that represents the same shape seen as a black or empty space in the Milky Way just below the Southern Cross, which is directly overhead at this moment, so it is easy for me to identify with the reality of Andean integrations of timespace above (pacha as Cosmos) and below (pacha as Earth). This constant awareness of human connections to the Cosmos--as above, so below--is truly something missing entirely from northern industrial culture.

Science and the Sacred/ Fact and Fiction

Mechanical linear logic, like linear time, seems impoverished beside the cyclic organic logic and time of other cultures, which have developed all sciences except mechanical technology--biology, astronomy, medicine, physics, agriculture, architecture, and social sciences--without separating any of them from concepts of the sacred.

Cultures that know the Earth and all the Cosmos as alive and intelligent, recognize all this as sacred. Western science, on the other hand, has regarded nature as a vast resource to be exploited for human benefit, and has relegated the concept of the sacred to religion, which has firmly been separated from, and is not to be confused with, science. In fact, from a western scientific perspective, science is about facts, while religion--and all the world's vital teaching "mythology"--is considered a great fiction.

Traditionally, anthropologists separated the myths, religious beliefs, dreams, etc. of cultures they studied from their objectively observable artifacts and behaviors, because that is how the world of human experience is divided in western culture--a division into fact and fiction, real and unreal, the obvious and the mysterious. One of the so-called Andean "shamans" (a title unknown in native communities there before anthropologists introduced it), a man who is also a university-trained anthropologist, told an interviewer here in the North that in the Andean world "Yoqe" and "Panya" realities are what we would call "ordinary" and "non-ordinary"or "mysterious" realities. No one I have met in Andean communities uses such language. I have been told, on the contrary, that lloq'e and panya are more like "left" and "right" in the same sense as hanan is "up" and urin "down," without any implications of mystery.

The Andean world is divided into hanan pacha, which we can now understand to mean literally "upper world," represented by the condor or intelligence, kay pacha, the middle or surface world, represented by the puma or balance, and uhu pacha, the lower or inside world represented by the serpent or wisdom. This inner world is not only inner to the individual but represents the inner Earth, from whence Andean people are said to originate and where ancestors continue to dwell. There is nothing mysterious about this concept, or about that of the upper world; these other dimensions of experience are simply accepted as part of everyday reality, as is the existence of the Apus, the living Andean gods or lords associated with the mountain peaks of the same names. In other words, other-dimensional realities are perceived as no less real than our familiar four dimensions. In this Andean culture no one seems to be very surprised--though some people admit to being impressed--when they encounter UFOs, known in Spanish as OVNIs.

The obsession of western culture with distinguishing between fact and fiction, as well as between science and religion, is unique to it and is considered by it to be one of its marks of superiority over other cultures. In fact it may prove to be the downfall of this culture while others survive. For the exclusion of everything not measurable in four dimensions from factual human experience has cut western culture off from the very life of the universe as we have been describing it, and such isolation of a part of a living systems leads to its death.

Zuidema, cited earlier, has pointed out that "mythstory," as opposed to "history," may contain contradictions and inconsistencies which should not be interpreted as lies. There is a big difference between intentional distortions of history, such as when white conquerors wrote Native American history in this country, and the mythstories of cultures that make them for teaching purposes, where the strict observation of what we call fact matters less than the message conveyed. This message may have far more historical cultural value than the "facts" with which the west is so obsessed.


Fortunately, western scientists are slowly coming to conclusions that have long been obvious to the cultures they view as "primitive" or less advanced. Unfortunately, these conclusions are being presented as something new, as important discoveries of western science itself, rather than being acknowledged as acceptance of matters known earlier in other cultures. This prevents western scientists from learning more rapidly the rich integration of science, myth and ethics that is so vital to healthy human survival, as was well known by the Inkas and other advanced world cultures in ancient times.

As a western scientist, I find that western science, while brash and brilliant in some ways, is extremely illogical and immature in other ways. For this reason I have sought better understanding and greater wisdom in the sciences of other cultures, indigenous and ancient. I now understand the universe as having multiple dimensions beyond our familiar four and being essentially spiritual, in the sense that intelligence is a fundamental characteristic of the universe in both its material and non-material or other-dimensional expressions. Trees and rivers and mountains appear to me now as more intelligent than my own kind; in turn those of my own kind who do not know and experience

Today's indigenous peoples, as well as the adepts of ancient cultures such as the Andean, Indian and Tibetan, have traveled in and mapped other dimensions for as long as we know anything about their beliefs, sciences and practices. But what they say about the other dimensions has been classified by western science as religion, imagination, sorcery, childishness, non-reality or utter nonsense, as in the quotes given earlier. In the Andes, pre-Inka cultures from the Chimu and Mochica of the north to very ancient Tihuanaco in the south, as well as the Inkas themselves, seem to have worked closely with extra-terrestrial and other-dimensional beings, some of whom, such as the Apus, are still around.

The point is that there is really only one reality, which has many dimensions. Those sciences which recognize them all are aware that the universe is fundamentally sacred, that the highest dimensions contain non-material beings of light, of very fine vibrations, of cosmic sound, of pure love, and thus in such knowledge systems, science is not separated from the sacred, nor are any aspects of human and non-human experience separated from one another. We are all related, as the Lakota and many others say, and our relatively dense material dimensions are simply part of a vastly great universal whole.

I believe that Earth, in all its human conflict, reflects the conflicts of the greater living Cosmos. Yet I find it interesting that extra-terrestrial visitors in this western culture are so often perceived as hostile while I have heard of no hostile encounters in the Andes. I believe the Earth has been visited and experimented with for thousands of years, yet that most of our visitors, as well as our own ancestral spirits, are benign and loving--call them angels, ETs or spirit grandmas--and that many are here explicitly to guard against nuclear accidents and to help us learn to walk in love and service to others, the secret of happiness for us all.

Let me conclude with the response given my by an Andean friend whom I asked about experiences with ETs. She told me that in the remote village where she grew up, there were people in white who came whenever a truck (the only vehicles in most of the Andes) had broken down or a person was ill. After they fixed the vehicle or the person, they went back to their base in the mountains where no one disturbed them. They were known by the villagers simply as "the doctors"and they were well loved.

I believe such experiences of indigenous peoples, who have long lived with other-dimensional beings and welcomed extra-terrestrials can help us newcomers to these experiences encounter Cosmic Cultures intelligently and peacefully as they enter our familiar dimensions.

Genesis de la Cultura Andina

by Carlos Milla Villena

Fondo Editorial C.A.P. Coleccion Bienal, Lima 1983

Prologue: (translated from Aymara/Quechua, then from Spanish by Elisabet)

From Chucuito, my village, at the edge of the sacred lake, the nights of May are beautiful and dazzling. As it has always been, our elders showed us the Southern Cross, with its two guiding starts, as four small suns that guide our community and our thought through the black nights and passages in which our happiness and faith sometimes fall. I am old now and too tired to walk strange roads. Many times I have lost tranquillity and hope when so often I saw my community and my culture crushed and destroyed.

How many times have I also wept at the bitterness of death and have seen in these stars my only consolation and my faith. To ask why these images and emotions are fixed in my most inner self would be to ask why the stars are fixed in the firmament. The odor of wool and of rain is our peace and the voice of the mother in this image of the Cross of May.

Since reading and seeing the figures of our brother Carlos Milla's book, an infinity of ideas have occurred to me; dreams and thoughts flower like a new dawn. I know a little of the customs of the men who come from the place where the Sun puts itself down, and their mentality is as confused as a tangled ball of yarn as day by day they become more entangled without relief. What will they think of the things in this book? There is abundantly clear evidence, such as they cannot negate, that our indigenous people made it all and made it well and that what they made was made badly.

Our Andean culture attained its complete development with nothing lacking. We knew this long ago, because we felt it, but now we know it definitely. The Amautas will remain, caring for our people, firstly so we can survive physically, secondly so our spirit and culture do not die. Today our indigenous people grow large and, yes...yes! it is time for all the knowledge of the Haqes and Runas to come out of their caves where they have been hidden so they would not disappear.

In the hearts of the Westerners there are no feelings that can resolve their conflicts; their hearts go in one direction and their minds in another. It follows that men, women, children, and old people do not work together collectively. On the contrary, that which man cannot see, alone can help him to see the woman, the child and the old one, maybe most important is that we see them all together. The human being of the West has abandoned being human and has turned himself into an individual; man, woman, child, elder, separate; community has died in them, the "ayllu"--the essential unity of humanity. The existence of Western people and society has been destroyed by their egoism.

On the contrary, we Indians have things well in our heads, our feelings in order, determined to do what we can; it is for this reason that we do not go away much from our home and family, for this reason that we have kept ourselves away from the equivocal ideas of the men who find themselves in the place where the Sun hides itself. When our feelings are confused, when we are attracted by strange lights, more brilliant than they are, let us go toward this light, but let us go together.

We cannot, in the universe of ideas, distance ourselves alone for our story, we must divide the light of wisdom, and to do it Western writing is not a good road. Our brother Carlos Milla with his book has opened a new road for recording our knowledge, work, life...all.

Since having read this book it seems to me I have slept many years and have dreamed a black nightmare in which the stars of the night collided with each other, in which there was no hope for light in the obscurity, in which everything was a black and turbid river of pain and sadness. I was desperate and I came back to see in May, and in all the nights of the year, the four beautiful brilliant stars and their two star guides, as when in the nights many years ago, my father, looking with his good eyes, said to me: Look at the "Chacana"... now be certain that if the West wants to totally destroy our community and our culture it will first have to destroy the Cross of May in the heavens.

The Aymaras are eternal people.    
-Nicolas Aguilar Sayritupac          

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