Every once and a while we are confronted by our purpose, our pivotal role in the grand design of things; in cosmic symphony.
In the Incan perspective, when Father Inti made a person, he must have created one for a special job, and that he gave one the greatest abilities so that one is able to do this job well. One is able to perform his special role in the grand scheme of things and define meaning and purpose to his existence.
Being a birdman, for example, gives the greatest joy of all to one who connects to this purpose. The special job has something to do with flying which literally gets one closer to a heavenly sphere while fulfilling the role of delivering messages from village to village.
If one birdman were to chisel an epitaph for himself, he would have stated that one once held the noblest job in the world: that of being a birdman. It is a job an Incan community held high in respect, although not many parents were quite that enthusiastic in sending their children to birdman training.
A birdman read the winds by the way the clouds floated by. From the looks of a cloud from the northeast blown steady, a birdman determines this is the best wind possible when one wishes to fly south.
Flying to fulfill a job makes one happiest. It is said that a man who is happy in his work has found the job Inti made for him.
There seems to be some unwritten law that no matter how good things might be, there would be at least one grouch around to spoil things.
Indigenous civilizations bowed to conquests of more powerful countries or empires.
A book on this might tell you that, indeed, many things in life are not fair!
Peace is honored but there will always be that grouch to spoil peace, or grouches after grouches. When one gets a taste of combat, and while it wasn’t to his liking, he knew sometimes there was no other recourse but to take up arms and fight. Thus, combat becomes an instrument to regain peace.
During and after the struggle to ward off the conquerors, a warrior realizes he can’t just assume the role of a defender but must be more of a healer as well.
For example, he must have the credibility to identify the marvelous abilities of plants to draw poisons out of a wound the way laughter takes over a weary heart, allowing pains of sorts to heal naturally.
No matter how severe a wound may be, it will heal very fast. It will form no scabs and when the skin grows from the outer edges to the center, it will leave no scar behind, or if the wound is great enough, it will leave the smallest scar possible.
One must assume these communal roles honorably in the world of flesh to be worthier of the other world of spirits.
Some people are quick to pick up wings, take a running leap, get airborne naturally, quickly. These people are deeply interested in anything that flies such as gulls, terns, occasional albatrosses, and the mighty eagles which make excellent birdmen in the days of the Incans.
However, there were parents who disapproved of their children becoming birdmen even if birdmen were essential in the indigenous system of delivering messages from village to village.
The birdmen equipped with words to console mothers, especially, would say: The world is dangerous no matter what task one pursues. Hunters face greater danger as they have the tendency to vanish without a trace. Even women could die in childbirth. People could be bitten by snakes and poisonous insects. Natural disasters could kill many every year so that being a birdman is no different.
Birdmen took flying as their greatest love and anything else must always come second. A distant second at that!
As a young fledgling in training, they learned how to bank left, bank right, and rise above as high as they could reach and all but skimmed the ground. Their faces go aglow at the experience like a pilgrim seeing the Holy Land for the first time. They learned proper landing techniques by raising the head and lowering the feet, the body moving in synchrony to aerodynamics. The ability to fly was believed both a skill and a favor granted by the Great Inti, sun god.
The possibility of flying flawlessly like an eagle fascinates man time and again.
Honing birdmen among Incans, for example, was believed an earnest goal, having the need for messengers, though disapproved by some. Thus, not only were the Incas some of the earliest conservationists of birds, but they also revered eagles for their power and speed, for being high flyers, and the manner they nurtured their younglings.
Birdmen were believed trained on their tenth birth year for this was the age when children were expected to take part in family affairs. So they begin to understand the theory of flight, the lift, the drag, the thrust; of descending like an eagle, of swooping down as smoothly and as gracefully — not spilling a drop.
With the use of improvised wings, every aspiring birdman must learn to control his wings and do a perfect job of it. The birdman is to master the textbook-perfect approach to the landing area, to glide in just above stall speed; and then at the last moment, lean back sharply, bringing the wing’s beak up.
The birdman learns to fly as naturally as the eagle it revers. For example, he turns left by dropping his left wing like so. But not much or he will fall out of his wings or lose control. The trainer is bound to carefully and patiently explain the movements to the aspiring birdmen until it is sure every birdman knows what to do precisely.#
Some books are personal picks. Some books are required readings. Some plots stick. Some are fleeting. But every once in a while, there is always that book which swallows a reader whole. It strikes like talons of descending eagles. Its messages are sharper than untamed claws of eagles tearing skin and flesh.
For readers who adore indigenous wisdom, such as the imprints of Incan civilization of Peru, books on tribal wisdom sow a renewed faith in humanity, in old systems that exalt the value and dignity of family, community, respect for nature and nature-worship, deities and divinity – tradition.
Its story grips like talons of eagles striking into every reader, leaving welts in the heart: impressions of a lifetime!
For example, knowledge is given to all so that it might be shared for all, not kept to one. Every person who values this teaching will pass it on to their children. Thus, knowledge takes on the pattern of infinity, that which can’t be broken down. Instead, it’s passed on in various forms with varied levels of intensity and impact to the receiver.
As a tribe, people thrive through a nurturing nature. No problem is ever so bad that hugs and pats would not cure. This is another example of valuable indigenous teaching.
When governance systems, flight or transport, or even writing doesn’t work, Incan wisdom underscores. If it doesn’t work, all we have lost is time but even that isn’t wasted if we have learned something.