Vijali's second Earth Mandala:
Welcome to Achilly Pachacamac, a unique stone sculpture which expresses the spirit of the indigenous Andean peoples. Achilly Pachacamac is the pre-Incan name for the supreme God, the life force which encompasses all other.
The gigantic volcanic boulder containing the sculpture landed in Peguche, Ecuador over 12,000 years ago after the last eruption of Volcano Imbabura, which towers 16,000 ft. above the Otavalo Valley. Legends tell us that many spirits dwell within this stone, and within the mountains and streams that surround Achilly Pachacamac. Powerful spirits, Chusalungos, also inhabit the local volcanoes Imbabura and Mojanda. Otavalenos describe a great battle in which the Chusalungos of Imbabura and Mojanda fought to win the love of a third volcano, Cotacatchi. Each Chusalungo hurled a gigantic stone across the valley. Infamous as a womanizer, the Chusalungo of Imbabura had been weakened by his amorous exploits. Thus the stone he hurled barely reached the valley floor, in the village of Peguche.
From within this immense stone emerges a single face - that of Pachacamac, representing the integration of male and female essential qualities. The sculpture reflects ancient roots of indigenous Andean culture. The portrayal of Pachacamac also expresses hope for the Millennium: that men and women live in harmony and equality. A rising sun shines forth from the stone, heralding a vision of peace for the 21st century. A crescent moon and the rising sun together further echo the harmony of male and female energies in the universe. An immense ear of corn, ancient Andean symbol, rises up from rich soil at the base of the sculpture, symbolizing nourishment for Mother Earth's children. On the South face of the sculpture a spiral encircles a Quichua Poem written by Music Healer Jose Quimbo:Tucui Shunguhuan Yuyacpica
Cai Rumi Yayapash Rimangami
Cai Yucu Mamapash Jambingami
If you look at the stone with eyes of your heart
You will understand that stones speak
And water heals, giving you life.
Beneath the stone flows a sacred spring which offers cleansing waters in a crescent moon shaped well.
The sculpture of Pachacamac, with its clearly indigenous features, looks east towards its source - the Volcano Imbabura. Pachacama is blowing a gigantic conch shell , the "churo" which in earlier times brought together the whole community. The entire work sends forth a resounding call to indigenous peoples everywhere, echoing humanity's urgent need to live in harmony with all creatures and the earth. Such a return to indigenous values opens a pathway for global peace.
The project's sponsoring group is Earth Mandala, a U.S. based non-profit organization, founded and directed by Vijali Hamilton. During the last 15 years Vijali, also the sculptor of Aichilly Pachacamac, has worked with indigenous communities to express a vision of world family and peace. Through Vijali's vision, Earth Mandala creates an actual circle, or mandala linking 12 countries around the world with artistic works and community projects.
Vijali received the Earth Mandala vision in a dream, 20 years ago. Peguche, Ecuador, is the first site of the current Earth Mandala, dedicated to the children of the world, future custodians of the earth. Musician Edie Hartshorne, founder of Global Women's Vision assists sculptor Vijali in translations and community outreach.
The community of Peguche wholeheartedly responded to the vision of Earth Mandala. Each day during the six weeks of work on the stone, members of the community worked along with Vijali and Edie offering their dreams as guidance. The community also has enhanced the sacred site with several sparkling natural pools and an outdoor stone amphitheater. The entire environment surrounding the sculpture reflects Peguche's commitment to creating an Andean Cultural Center, a result of the collaborative efforts between Vijali, Edie and the community. The inauguration of the sculpture and park took place at the annual Festival of the Sun and harvest celebration, Inti Raimi, on June 22, 1999.
The sculpture and its natural environment with shaded green pasture land, dramatic views of snow-dusted volcanoes, flowing streams and pools offers a unique example of the organic relationship between art and nature. Future pathways along the stream with its natural hot springs and healing mineral waters will lead the visitor to Peguche's Andean Cultural Center and Museum, and then to the sacred Peguche Waterfalls.
Letter from Vijali
Yes, I have fallen in-love with Ecuador. Edie Hartshorne, my friend who uses her music for peace activism and performs with me often in the States, joined me shortly after I decided on living in an indigenous village outside of Otavalo in the Andes. Here in the village Peguche, every morning we get up at 5 AM to walk in the shadow of the 15,048 feet high Taita Imbabura, to the sacred stone for the indigenous villages of this area, Hilton Rumi. As the morning light touches the two volcanoes whose presence is always felt, we check to see if she, Mama Cotacachi, at 16,200 feet, has been dusted with snow from the night. We join in the local folklore and merriment of acknowledging that the volcanoes made love in the night and are now resting in contentment.
As we walk through the village passing cornfields, Otavalenans dressed in their traditional clothes, men in white ankle length loose pants and hat, with their hair braided in one long braid, the women in dark folded skirts with crisp white ruffled blouses, strings and strings of gold bead around their necks, their long black hair tied with a colorful band in a pony tail, and their scarves folded in many creative ways around their heads taking their cows out to pasture, pigs poking their noses through fences greeting us with their humorous grunts, everyone smiling, "Buenos dias" as we pass. We feel, yes, this is the way we want to live.
The process of getting permission to carve this sacred stone, which was suggested by one of our new Otavalenan friends, has been fascinating. We have talked with elders, the leaders of the community, land owners, families, young people, curanderos and are amazed to see how the community decides with consensus. The whole village has become involved, adding their own visions and desire to bring the village and especially their children back to the roots of their own pre-Christian culture, which, this particular stone and the images I have chosen to carve, represent to them. Edie has been a tremendous asset in translating, because my Spanish is very limited, and bringing her continual enthusiasm and sunny spirit. We have been living in the home of an indigenous woman, Matico Lema, her daughter and elder Mamasita. We are a happy household.
Matico has started a women's group, Huarmi Maqui, and I am using some of the Flow Fund Circle funds to help the women get started in their handicraft business, weaving, embroidery, jewelry. Edie and I will be bringing these items to the States when we return. We are also playing music with the local musicians and are developing an interesting combination of Andean-American music. We now wear the Otavalenan clothes that the women wear, which was one factor in the people here opening their hearts to us. They have already won our hearts with their beautiful faces and generosity in sharing their lives.
Nine people are helping me to excavate the enormous igneous rock which is now about 30 feet high and 50 feet long, making a level area around it for dancing at the upcoming ceremony. Because the stone is very hard and slow work, four of these people are helping me carve as I teach them how to sculpt. Edie and I are now known in the village as the sweethearts of Chosalunga (the viral spirit of the Stone). We have made a commitment to have it completed for the ceremony "Inti Raimi," an ancient sun ceremony on June 22 and 23.
When I first arrived in Ecuador, I traveled to the rainforest with two friends from the EarthWays Foundation, Andrew Beath and Cherise Miller. EarthWays is a nonprofit organization that is an umbrella for projects like my own Earth Mandala for global peace. They are interested in social activism, and at this moment, in finding a way to help preserve the Ecuadorian rainforest. If there has been any problem since I have been here, it is that I have fallen in-love with two places; the rainforest and the Andes.
Our destination was Panacocha on the Rio Napo. We visited two Quichua communities in La Selva, the forest. There we were taken by our new Quichua friends through the forest, and in their dugout canoes, onto the narrow rivers incising the jungle to their incredibly beautiful lagoons. There we swam with a sweet water dauphin. To walk among the chattering monkeys and songs of birds I have never heard before and the incredible creations of nature in the form of insects under the canopy of ancient trees woven together by giant flowering vines&3133;what can I say I want to go back.
I am hoping to find a way to return to the rainforest of Ecuador before I go on to Brazil, the next site of the Earth Mandala, and support an indigenous women's group that has been started. And yes, be nourished by my other love, the Rainforest. There are many problems here with the destruction of forest and the lives of the indigenous. The oil companies have made roads into the forest, leaving pollution and destruction of not only the forest, which is so necessary for the survival of our planet, but the way of life for the indigenous peoples. I feel we so need the example of these people who are still living in harmony with their environment and in community, as much as we need the trees and medicinal plants, etc., etc., of the forest. If I am able to return, I have in mind a project with one of the Quichua communities that I have already befriended. I would like to connect my efforts with EarthWays, who is in the process of leasing part of the Rainforest for ecotourism as a way to protect the rainforest from oil development and to support and protect the rainforest communities and culture.
I send you all much love, Vijali
For more information and photos, Visit Vijali's website