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Paul Devereux - Inca paths

Identifier

006605

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

There are 25,000 miles of Inca roads all physical pathways, some paved, some marked out by lines of stones, cairns, and shrines along the route. Roads are ‘unerringly straight’ but do go round obstacles. Some are believed to be based on even older sections of pre Inca tracks or ‘ceques’ which are also straight. The Inca empire was known as TAHUANTINSUYU – the Land of the Four Quarters. Cuzco was the ‘centre’. The quartering was based on inter cardinal rather than cardinal points.

A description of the experience

Paul Devereux – Sacred Sites

This was not a simple x pattern because the south-east boundary was splayed at an odd angle, making the south west segment wider than the south east section. The four roads at the hub of the Inca road system left Cuzco from the present day Plaza de Armas – which is a reduced version of the original Inca great plaza they called Huaycaypata – and went out into their respective quarters. The centre of the ceque system, however, was some hundreds of metres away, at the Coricancha, which the conquering Spanish called the Temple of the Sun. The temple where the Inca would sit on state and ceremonial occasions was the major centre of ancestor worship and was related as much to the underworld as it was to the heavens.

Spanish historians wrote that radiating out from the place were 41 lines or ceques. Three of Cuzco’s quarters or suyas contained 9 of these each, conceptually grouped in 3 sets of 3, but the fourth, the wider southwestern quarter, had 14 ceques.

What exactly were ceques? The simplest definition is that they were alignments of sacred places or huacas. A huaca could be a standing stone or a natural boulder or outcrop, a waterfall or spring, a bend in the river, a temple or shrine, a holy hill or cave, a sacred tree, a topographical feature, or even a bridge or battlefield site. There were apparently between 3 and 13 huacas along each ceque …. Groups had care of each set of ceque.

Ceques are always totally straight. Huacas were often placed where water was to be found. Only about a quarter of ceques has astronomical connections. Towers were used to mark the sun’s position in an interlinking star burst pattern. Ceques were ‘conceptual’ in the sense that they aligned sacred sites, but infra red photography, shows them up as straight dark lines against the surrounding vegetation. 

The source of the experience

Incas

Concepts, symbols and science items

Activities and commonsteps

Activities

Overloads

Visit sacred sites

Commonsteps

References