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October/November 2010 Volume 65

Welcome to this bi-monthly edition of our newsletter! You will find these columns contained in our October/November issue:

Metaphors for Life
Special Events

I hope you enjoy this issue of Kenosis In-spirations...

Carla Woody, Founder

Metaphors for Life
Many traditions understand the power of teaching through stories. Our minds find a special repository for them. We unconsciously draw from this metaphorical resource bank when we need it most — to guide and nourish us. Here you will find such tales, quotes and prose. As they have come to me, I pass them on to you just as our ancestors have done since the world was young.

...I have always felt that the action most worth watching is not at the center of things but where edges meet. I like shorelines, weather fronts, international borders. There are interesting frictions and incongruities in these place, and often, if you stand at the point of tangency, you can see both sides better than if you were in the middle of either one.

— Anne Fadiman, author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

Life is nothing if not levels of learning, whether we freely enter the Perpetual School or are dragged kicking and screaming into our lessons. We actually have no choice in the matter. In this column, I offer you philosophy, musings and information that you may take with you as they fit into your own lyceum.

Intent and Collaboration:
How a School Was Built in the High Andes of Peru

By Carla Woody

It was July 2008, a beautiful time to be in Peru. We had been sitting in circle for a few hours there at Killarumi, a temple to the moon where few go, near the base of mountains outside Cusco. It had been another beautiful despacho* ceremony with Q’ero friends. Most of them were from Ccochamocco, a small village perched at 17,000 feet, two days’ travel away largely by foot. With chakaruna* Don Américo Yábar being the conduit who brought us together, we’d been meeting like this to share blessings, prayers and friendship for many years.

The ritual completed, the despachos were fed to the fire a short distance away. People were moving around quietly, tamales and fruit shared. Inka Cola, the distinctly Peruvian drink with its bubblegum flavor, was offered by helpers.

Through Don Américo I had asked to have a separate meeting with some of the Q’ero spiritual leaders after the ceremony and we gathered to talk, away from the other travelers. The previous year Kenosis Spirit Keepers had been founded, as the nonprofit arm of Kenosis, with the vision that it would hold ways to give back and help support the Native traditions I had come to find so meaningful in my own life. Board members Oakley Gordon, Darlene Dunning and Ruth Harrison were present, as well as Oscar Panizo, who had acted as translator on these journeys for some years.

In the Andes it’s a custom to practice what the Quechua people call ayni, the closest translation meaning, in its highest sense, a flow of giving and receiving. If one person has knowledge or a resource that another one doesn’t, then it’s incumbent on that person to offer it. In this way the level of function and quality of life for the entire community is elevated. Ayni has to do with the betterment of the whole. At the same time it also affects the individual, but that consideration is secondary to the community, a very different orientation from Western worldview.

Waikis*, you’ve been sharing your teachings for many years and it’s had a strong effect on so many of us,” I said. “Is there something we can now offer in ayni? In a larger way?”

Over the years, Kenosis had given smaller amounts of funds toward community welfare. And travelers I brought had purchased weavings directly, which was a beautiful exchange and helped the weavers’ families. Now that Kenosis Spirit Keepers was formed, we had the nonprofit framework to do something more, if the Q’ero people wanted.

There was a very pregnant pause as the Q’ero leaders looked at each other and said a few words amongst themselves. Finally, they said, “Help us build a school.”

Students in front of school

Students in front of school
Photo credit: Lizbeth Escudero Lopez

It was our turn to look at each other. In shock, shades of “Three Cups of Tea” flashed across my mind, an overwhelming sense of being in over my head took hold. We’d had the idea that perhaps they would want some alpacas or something simple for which we could fundraise.

But a school was definitely what they wanted. The leaders talked excitedly how there was no school in their village and just how far the nearest one was. Consequently, their children didn’t go to school. They told us emphatically that they received no help from the government and no one seemed to care.

After we conferred a bit further I managed to get out, “Yes. We would be glad to help you with a school.” All the while, I was already beseeching the unseen powers to put means in front of us that would allow fulfilling this complex promise full of tricky considerations.

School lunch program

School lunch program
Photo credit: Katherine Majzoub

The Q’ero people consider themselves descended from the first Inka, and are thought of as keepers of those traditions in their purest form. I had always been aware of the hazards to their traditions when I brought Westerners to meet with them. Just by virtue of our presence we inserted change. Up until this request, I had stringently sought to keep any cultural footprint made by our work together as insubstantial, and certainly harmless, as possible. Now, it was unavoidable.

But the issue was this. The world would soon be coming to the high altitude villages of the Q’ero Nation. After centuries of pretty much being cut off from the lower elevations, a road was being built. Already, a number of younger people were leaving the villages for the city, a place often unkind to them. While some made the trek to do business and return, most were ill equipped to deal with a modern world. Outside influences also introduced the less savory aspects of Western culture. Their wisdom traditions had been increasingly threatened as never before.

How could the Q’ero of Ccochamocco maintain their traditions and also have access to the basic skills required to operate well in the larger society? What ways would offer the best of both worlds? With those questions framing the school project, we moved forward.

We were quite comfortable with the project when it also contained a component that would seek to preserve their culture. The leaders themselves were adamant that part of the curriculum would include learning how to incorporate their own ancient knowledge — and potentially one of their own would teach it. Over the next year, we began to raise funds. A number of generous donors from around the globe began to support this project, some likely reading these words.

I have always been a strong believer in collaborative practices for purposes of sharing resources and lessons learned. Particularly since we were venturing into unknown territory, albeit having beautiful potential, there was no reason to blaze a new trail. As an organization we began to look for those who had experience with such a project undertaken in a similar geographical location. We found the Heart Walk Foundation based in St. George, Utah who work with the Hapu Q’eros, a different sect at the lower elevations, and built a heartfelt relationship with Penelope and Tim Eicher. Creating an alliance, we based our project on their experiences and used their in-country contacts to ease the logistical difficulties in communicating and fielding materials to such a remote locale.

With this groundwork in place and some funds in hand, we returned to Cusco in the summer of 2009 to engage with the Q’ero leaders again and begin providing the needed support in the way of materials unavailable to them from the land. Over the next few months, they carried the supplies up to their village. The only transport available once taken to the last road many miles from their final destination was by animal and mostly their own backs, a situation unimaginable to most of us. The building process ensued — a community focus. The exterior finished, desks, chairs, all that was needed to furnish the school made its way up the mountain trail.

Milton wants to be a teacher when he grows up

Milton wants to be a teacher when he grows up
Photo credit: Lizbeth Escudero Lopez

The Ccochamocco leaders had such strong intent for the future of their children. They continued to ask for help and see who would listen and follow through. So many had promised but not delivered, something they were well used to in their lives. In the course of our work with them, we discovered other organizations, and indeed individuals having no affiliations, had heard them and stepped forward.

Katherine Majzoub of Andean Education Alliance, through their Peruvian-based fiscal agent Pachamama's Path, was a major on-the-ground contributor to ensure the project came together. The Alliance began to take on the primary role and was able to obtain a much needed grant. Kenosis Spirit Keepers worked through them, consolidating efforts and funds being the logical choice.

A captivating story is that of Xavier Saer, a Peruvian musician living in South Africa, who, having heard of the need for funds, flew to Lima. There he gave a benefit concert and then undertook an odyssey to find Ccochamocca, with no knowledge of how to get there, to put the funds directly into the hands of Fredy Flores Machacca whom he'd never met. Fredy is now the director of the school.

Kusi Quyllur meaning "Happy Morningstar" as the Ccochamocco community named their school, has been in operation since March 2010. The Q’ero leaders have now formed supportive relationships in-country with NGOs like Kusi Kawsay in Pisac, Willka T'ika in Urubamba, Asociación Andes and Qespina in Cusco, as well as the local office of Peruvian Ministry.

Ccochamocco community leaders

Ccochamocco community leaders
Photo credit: Fredy Flores Machacca

It seems that the unrealized dream of the Ccochamocco people, backed by strong intent, became a global collaboration beyond what any of us originally envisioned. Separate threads were woven together each offering support where they could. Through the Andean Education Alliance the work now continues. Another school building is being constructed for the younger children coming along. Additional teachers will be brought. A greenhouse has been built to provide fresh vegetables.

Somewhere along the way, my initial concerns of “how in the world will we do this” and challenges of cultural differences melted. In their place, gratitude played — for the opportunity to be a part of such abject realization of will and illustration of what happens when people with heart, from divergent backgrounds and cultures, band together to get something done that shapes a future.


*Quechua terms defined below.

Despachos are blessing bundles containing sacred items created during ceremony and ritually offered typically to the Apus (mountains), Pachamama (Mother Earth) and Nustas (feminine spirit of the mountains.

Chakaruna is someone taking on the sacred role of emissary of the ancient and living traditions, acting as a bridge, straddling both worlds, uniting cultures.

Waiki is a term of endearment meaning cherished friend.


To read more about the involvement of Kenosis Spirit Keepers and to view additional photos see the Community-Building Projects and Project Updates pages.

To read the full account of Xavier Saer's story, download his e-book Finding Fredy (3.3 MB) archived here with permission.

© 2010 Carla Woody. All rights reserved.

Special Events
For more information call Kenosis at (928) 778-1058 or e-mail to request a flyer. If you are interested in sponsoring a book signing or a workshop with Carla Woody, please contact us.

October 4   One World Wisdom documentary screening and talk with Carla Woody at Yavapai College, Sociology Department. Held Prescott, AZ.

October 29-31   NLP World Health Conference sponsored by the Institute for the Advanced Studies of Health (IASH). Theme: Modeling Healthy Systems — The Spirit of NLP. Screening of documentary film One World Wisdom written by Carla Woody and co-produced with Bradley Burak.Conference workshop Stoking the Fire: Indigenous Wisdom and NLP with Carla Woody. Many other presenters. Held San Francisco, CA. For more information, email

November 6-7   Spirit Keepers Series event featuring Charlene and Harold Joseph, traditional Hopi Wisdom Keepers of Hopiland in Northern Arizona. Sponsored by Kenosis Spirit Keepers, the nonprofit arm of Kenosis, for Saturday evening talk and Sunday circle. Held Prescott, Arizona. For complete information, go to the Spirit Keepers Series page.

November 18   Inclusion and the Seed of Compassion. Special evening event with Carla Woody and Harold Joseph. Includes screening of documentary film One World Wisdom. Sponsored by Nine Gates Mystery School. Private gathering closed to the public. Held San Rafael, CA

November 19-21   5th Annual International Conference on Engaging the Other co-sponsored by Common Bond Institute, International Humanistic Psychology Assn and Sonoma State University Psychology Dept. Conference workshop Inclusion: The Role of Ceremony and Compassion in Preserving Indigenous Wisdom Traditions with Carla Woody and Harold Joseph. Includes screening of documentary film One World Wisdom. Keynote: Huston Smith. Many other presenters. Held Rohnert Park, CA at Sonoma University. For more information, see the conference website.

November 27   Inclusion and the Seed of Compassion. Presentation by Carla Woody. Includes screening of documentary film One World Wisdom. Co-sponsored by the Dayton International Peace Museum and the Dayton Mediation Center . Held 11 AM-1 PM at SunWatch Indian Village in Dayton, OH. For more information, call (937) 227-3223.

January 12-24, 2011   Entering the Maya Mysterieswith Carla Woody, Alonso Mendez and Carol Karasik. Spiritual travel to Mexico visiting hidden sacred places and engaging in nearly extinct ancient ceremonies with Don Antonio Martinez, the last Spirit Keeper of the Lacandón Maya. Group size limited. A Spirit Keepers Journey co-sponsored by Kenosis and Kenosis Spirit Keepers. Limited number partial young adult sponsorships available. Early registration until October 22: $2595. After October 22: $2695. Registration costs include automatic donation (tax-deductible for U.S. taxpayers) of $295 toward Kenosis Spirit Keepers programs. For more information, contact Kenosis at 928-778-1058 or

Note: Private groups may be arranged. If you have a group of 8-15, contact us for more information.

This is an adventure of the spirit!

February 26-27, 2011   Spirit Keepers Series event featuring Mona Polacca, Hopi/Havasupai/Tewa elder and member of the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. Sponsored by Kenosis Spirit Keepers, the nonprofit arm of Kenosis, for Saturday evening talk and Sunday circle. Held Prescott, Arizona. For complete information, go to the Spirit Keepers Series page.

May 30-June 12, 2011   The Heart of the Andes. Spiritual travel to Peru working with internationally renowned mystic Don Américo Yábar, Gayle Yábar, Carla Woody, as well as Q'ero shamans and other healers. A Spirit Keepers Journey co-sponsored by Kenosis and Kenosis Spirit Keepers bringing Hopi Spirit Keepers from the US Southwest to share traditions with their Quechua cousins.Early registration by April 1: $2995. Late registration after April 1: $3095. Registration costs include automatic donation (tax-deductible for U.S. taxpayers) of $495 toward Kenosis Spirit Keepers programs. For more information, contact Kenosis at 928-778-1058 or Very limited group size.

Ongoing   Private Consultation is available with Carla Woody in-person in Prescott, AZ or via telephone. Addressing life direction, relationship, spiritual emergence and whole health. Integrating NLP, subtle energy work and sacred world traditions to make a lasting positive difference.

Contact Kenosis at 928-778-1058 or

More often than not, the publications or music you will find reviewed here will not be new or "bestsellers." Websites or organizations may not be well known. But all are spotlighted by virtue of their impact and value.

The Gargoyle
By Andrew Davidson
ISBN 0385524943

An absolutely engrossing and complex novel about a man living a depraved lifestyle until a serious car accident intervenes. Burnt over most of his body and horribly deformed, he undergoes the process of healing forced upon him by medical science. He wants nothing more than to end his life and sets out planning the suicide he would undertake once released from the care unit. In the course of treatments he meets Marianne, a beautiful sculptor who had slipped out of the psychiatric ward and showed up in his room. She claims they were lovers in medieval Germany when she was a nun scribe at the famed Engelthal Abbey and he was a soldier who suffered a similar injury as he had in present times. Through her ministering, not only his body, but also his soul began to heal. The story weaves back and forth between present-day to the Middle Ages, Los Angeles, Germany and elsewhere building a powerful tale of love and intrigue.

Would that the story could end there. But Marianne had word from beyond the veil that her work was nearly done in the present. She was in a frenzied countdown to finish twenty-seven more gargoyles before leaving this plane. Overlay that with the main character’s struggle with the enticements of drug addiction. The reader will vacillate between hope and dread, the outcome being unpredictable.

For people fascinated with questions relating to the sometime blurred line between mysticism and mental illness, reincarnation, the process of healing and resiliency of the soul, I’m betting you will find The Gargoyle as compelling as I did. Points of medieval life and the mystics of Engelthal Abbey are well researched, an additional plus. Be forewarned that the description of burn treatment and healing is quite detailed, and unless you’re in the medical profession may be too graphic for you. If you can get through it, as I did, then you’ll find yourself much more educated on the subject and holding even more compassion for anyone who has to go through such suffering.

This is Davidson’s debut novel and he has well proven himself already. I am very much awaiting his next work.

— Carla Woody

© 2010 Kenosis LLC. All rights reserved.
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