Vilca, Willca, Huilca

The Tranformative Bridge between Life, Death, and Rebirth of ancient South America

A Visionary Catalyst for Healing and Higher Consciousness

a historical and anthropological discussion of Vilca cultural practices.

Western society has a negative view of entheogenic plants and the experiences that they produce. Such plants are generally perceived in contemporary western culture as lacking medicinal value and inherently dangerous to the individual and society.  In reality, entheogenic plants have been used as for purposes of holistic healing, higher consciousness and sorcery for thousands of years. 
One of the most culturally influential of these plants in South America is Vilca, also known as 'Willca', and 'Huilca' (Anadenanthera colubrina). The second species in the genus is Anadenanthera peregrina.  Both contain the tryptamine alkaloids bufotenine, dimethyltryptamine, and 5-meo-dimethyltryptamine though in different ratios.

Vilca is an ancient visionary snuff prepared from the seeds from the Vilca tree (Anadenanthera colubrina) of South America.  The psychoactive components are the tryptamine alkaloids bufotenine, dimethyltryptamine, and 5-meo-dimethyltryptamine

Vilca (which means ‘sacred’ in Quechua)  was regarded as the supreme visionary bridge between life and death in ancient times.  It was used by many cultures in South America dating back to before 2,500 BC.  It was partaken within huachuma mesada ceremonies in the Chavin temple as part of the supreme initiation there, and later by the Moche, Wari, Nazca, and Inca in largely 'inner sanctum' ceremonies administered only to the shaman priest elite. 

Vilca is, in its classic moment, an extraordinarily transformative experience of reunion and counsel with the ancestors to realize one’s life mission and purpose.  The masterful blending of Huachuma and Vilca is the most advanced ancient sacred plant technology, producing a whole greater than the parts exceeding even Ayahuasca in spiritual profundity.  It was the catalyst for the great pulse of consciousness at Chavin which became the cradle of Andean civilization over 3,500 years ago. 

The legal statutes and the societal taboo against researching the effects of visionary and entheogenic plants is an example of the general attitude toward plants with psychoactive effects. These laws and opinions are crippling mostly to those who want to preserve traditional knowledge about beneficial plants. These laws and attitudes have come about because of misinformation about the psychedelics as well as widespread misuse of them.

Shamans all over the world and in different cultures have traditionally used psychoactive plants for guidance, decision making, healing, spiritual awakening, and restoring harmony and balance with the energy of nature and cosmos. 

To understand the nature of Vilca one must understand some of the basic tenants of South American shamanism which is fundamentally animistic:

    1. Belief in spirit guides, guardians, healers and teachers.
    2. A realization that special sacred places are endowed with supernatural power.
   3. The concept of metaphysical combat with negative energy and/or entities.
   4. The integral association of entheogenic plants with spiritual power, healing, and enlightenment.
    5. Belief in spiritual or supernatural forces or energy as principal causes of illness.
The healing role is performed by the shaman or curandero. Those who have mastered the fine art of the sacred plants over years of disciplined practice are called maestros.  There are many apprentices but very few true maestros.  The shamanic world view is central to the meaning and function of the healing ritual. To the curandero, the existence of opposite forces does not mean splitting the world in two or establishing a rigid dichotomy between 'this' world of matter and the 'other' world of spirit. On the contrary, the curandero seeks to reconcile duality and unify the complimentary forces of feminine and masculine, positive and negative, and good and evil  through the attainment of 'vision'. Such a view of the world is very flexible and adaptable; it leaves room for the acceptance of new symbols and ideas and allows competing elements to enter into one's structuring of reality and the behavior determined by such structuring.

The accomplished maestro finds no contradiction between modern medicine and traditional curing. Nor does he see modern medicine as a threat. Instead he seeks to integrate scientific knowledge and techniques with time-honored pre-columbian healing knowledge and technology.

A Bibliography of Huachuma, San Pedro and Peruvian Mesa Practice  

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