Customs, Travel

Dreams and Desires in a Pile of Rocks, the Apachetas of Cuzco

An Apacheta (Photo: Ch'aska)

For many people the piles of rocks found on the sides of Andean highways, especially neat passes of places of significance.  For others, they signify devotion and the placing of dreams and desires into the mounds made from stone on top of stone.  They ae often called apachetas, taking their name from the places they are found and from which they take meaning.

For Andean cultures, these are symbolic offerings.  They are a concrete manifestation of devotion to the Mother Earth as well as to the mountains which they often imitate in their forms.  The symbolism is a profound and transcendent act which is shared in Latin America by all the peoples descended from Tawantinsuyo, the Inca Empire.  They are found in sites where people take time to beg for tiredness to stay away and to thank the mountains as well as ask for a safe and good end to their journeys.

Far beyond all theoretical explications, the apachetas do not quit being a place and a way in which we can let out dreams fly . . . even if, as a result, we become late from taking time to make one.

Apachetas by the side of the road (photo: Ch'aska)
Apachetas by the side of the road (photo: Ch’aska)
Piles of rocks and dreams called Apachetas (photo: Ch'aska)
Piles of rocks and dreams called Apachetas (photo: Ch’aska)

 

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