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Pacha mama - Amazing grace

Pacha mama lyrics/explanations

Original source: Charles Wolff, who had studied Quechua in-depth for many years at Cornell University.
Oldfieldian source: Mary-Carol Lindbloom. Roy Rashbrook.

The lyrics are as follows:

Huaca Pacha Mama
Huaca Saqsaywaman
Huaca Yachaq runa
Huaca Munaq Runa


Temple of the Earth Mother
Temple of the Speckled Hawk
Temple of the Wise One
Temple of the Loving One

Some information about Sacsaywaman, including pictures, here.

Sacsaywaman is the temple-fortress overlooking Cuzco, Peru, which was the capital of the Inka empire (well, at the end, when the two brothers were fighting for control, let's say it was one of the two!). Cuzco was laid out to ressemble a puma, one of the Inkaic dieties, and SSW forms its head, and includes stonework ressembling serrated teeth (normally a good defensive arrangement).

Mike apparently visited SSW during his trip to Peru and was inspired.

It is suspected Mike was even more inspired by Machu Picchu.

Apparently the literal translation of pachamama is "our mother in space-time," and yes, Mother Earth comes closest for us. Pacha is probably the most important word for understanding Inkaic world-view.

Huaca means "sacred place" of sorts. The word is of Quechua origin, though it's in widespread usuage now. The Inkas had an incredibly large pantheon. Their principle dieties were the sun, moon, and certain planets, stars/constellations/asterisms (i.e. the pleiades), but there were also many others such as the rainbow, thunder, and the puma, which Cuzco's overall shape resembled. A diety itself could reside in the huaca - the huaca might BE the diety, e.g. particular rocks, mountains, rivers and lakes.

Huacas, in addition to being naturally occuring, could be human -engineered, constructed with a particular diety in mind. Some might be pillars/markers erected along the horizon to track the movement of the sun, as was the case with some of the huacas surrounding Cuzco. For calendrical purposes, the Inka used the entire city, horizon, and ceques.

If indeed we are hearing yacha, yacha is a Quechua verb meaning "to know."

BTW, probably most persons who hear PM will assume the lyrics are "whata sexy woman."

The way the song begins, so quietly, unabtrusively, is much like the Inka empire began, with the first mythical Quechuas emerging from the cave at Lake Titicaca. From their humble beginnings, they built an empire, just as the song builds, only to rather suddenly come to an end (as does the piece), with the vision of the celestial llama realised in Pizzaro and his men. The Inkas were conquerors, too, and for many of the people under Inkaic rule, the Spanish were seen as just one more. Although the Inkas could be brutal, they usually didn't have to be. They would take the sons and daughters from the various tribes (often of the leaders), teach them Quechua, the official language of the empire, and often take them to Cuzco to be taught various things. They would also worship local gods/goddesses of the other cultures along side of their own.

Created: 18 August, 2004 - Last changed: 2 December, 2005 - Comments (2)