Machu Picchu may be a very highly sought after and prominent tourist destination but it is so much more when you consider the spiritual aspect which is often overlooked.
It remained virtually undiscovered and untainted by Spanish influences until it was discovered a hundred years ago by archeologist Hiram Bingham who had never hoped to find it.
It is one of the very few historical sites in Peru you will find that retain the true Inca spirit and do not have colonial influences in the structures.
Significance Of The Spiritual Location
Machu Picchu towers over other Inca sites on the basis of one simple fact: it was meant to be out of the way and unreachable which is why it was never torn down or really even discovered by the Spanish when they invaded.
Some theories point to the obvious geographical element of the site that it is surrounded by mountains of the Andes range namely Machu Picchu Mountain and Huayna Picchu which would have concealed its existence from foreign invaders.
Furthermore, there is continued speculation that the Inca population that resided in this mountainous retreat abandoned it shortly before the Europeans arrived perhaps because of a smallpox epidemic.
The mountains themselves (called Apus) held religious importance for the Incas, and the sacred stones found there were positioned in a certain way so it could align with them perfectly.
Many people who have visited Machu Picchu as one on their list of sacred sites Peru has; can recollect feeling mystic energy which resounds more clearly inside certain structures on the site than others. For purposes of understanding, we have to place this collective experience inside a certain context. The reason for Machu Picchu’s existence and construction was never really proven.
While most of the known Inca sites can be traced to a certain purpose (temple, ritual bathing, and military fortress) Machu Picchu paints a different picture. It lies at too considerable a height to be considered as the first choice for just housing (although there are house and storage structures) and it didn’t serve particular military or administrative purposes either.
Many historians believe that it was built mainly for ceremonial purposes and made purposely at this height so only the high born and the truly pious could access it.
In the present day, however, the same location which gave it so much eminence seems to be in danger due to seismic activity in the region. A belief of Japanese Earth scientists is that the entire city could fall down the mountain in a landslide in the coming decades as the land beneath it is beginning to shift.
Machu Picchu was known to be at a location that the Incas believed was ideal for studying the pattern of the stars and indicating the cycle of the equinoxes. The stone of Intihuatana stands for the sun and its movement and means in literal terms ‘to tie the sun’.
Furthermore, the city has certain pillars which coincide exactly with the sun when it is at its highest point on two days a year (namely 21st September and 21st March). This was used as an indicator for the practice of certain rituals.
The Intihuatana was considered by the Incas to be a magical stone which could allow passage for spiritual visions as well as bestow wisdom to see the future. Even now people that are in the area for a yoga holiday visit Machu Picchu and describe being affected by the energy it radiates.
Incan psychics conceived that if their third eye was placed on the stone for guidance (the third eye being the unseen enlightenment of knowledge), they could connect directly to their Gods. This is why the stone was protected and considered sacred.
Electromagnetic Energy Field
Machu Picchu has over the years been found to possess a strange quality which has been interpreted as electromagnetic and it radiates not just from the Intihuatana rock but also from the sacred rock or La Roca Sagrada.
‘Hayway’ ceremonies were carried out using this rock as the Incas thought it connected them to Mother Earth and the fount of all creation. Forces were thought to reside in Machu Picchu due to its unique location and the Incas evoked their blessings for purification of the soul.
Temple of The Dead
This temple is found in the lower levels of Machu Picchu and was an intensely spiritual place for the Incas because their religion included the belief that spirits could return to the land of the living and there needed to be proper provision for their return.
The temple has stairs which were instrumental in rituals that offered sacrifices to the dead. The dead were not feared by the Incas but instead thought to provide them with strength, guidance, and protection from external elements if they reached out to them.
The Incas applied the same concept to the deaths of their nobles; mummifying them and entombing them in the same premises so they could be called on for guidance.
Historians are at a loss to explain the entire workings of the city of Macchu Picchu but they did discover a hidden temple adjacent to the site which has been given the name of Templo De La Luna meaning quite literally ‘temple of the moon’.
Meeting Place of The Deities
Machu Picchu was where the Incas celebrated, gave offerings to and showed adoration for most of the major deities in their religion which is why this is known as the city of four temples.
The Incan religion was representative of all the elements in the environment with some taking precedence over others like the Sun, Moon and Mother Earth.
Mother Earth or Pachamama was given particular reverence in the city’s structures as the goddess was responsible for fertility in women and the land.
The sun temple in Macchu Picchu is a testament to the Incan glorification of the sun which was thought to be tied to all things especially the survival of human beings. The sun was almost always illustrated with the use of gold to display its supremacy.
The Inca Worlds
Lastly, Machu Picchu represents the Incan beliefs of the human world as well as the alternate universe in which the dead and the Gods reside. They regarded the world of the living (Kay Pacha) as temporary and fleeting and the city was kept small so people would not lose sight of what was important namely the worship of the deities.
The world of the dead (Uku Pacha) was a final abode and that is why mummification was so highly regarded as it could potentially preserve the body for its next stage. Mummies were found in more than one temple on the site with instruments like broken pottery to suggest the Incas believed in rebirth in which one’s belongings would come in useful.
Hanan Pacha or the ‘world above’ was regarded as the abode of the Gods and utterly unreachable for the common people. Machu Picchu has symbolic elements for the understanding of this concept with the Intihuatana representing the glory of the sun and the Temple of the Moon for the power of the night.
There is no denying the spiritual connection that Machu Picchu must have provided for the Incas but this energy still exists today for those that are ready to experience it. If you are planning a Peru holiday, Machu Picchu should definitely be on your list of cherished visits.