Building a Mesa: The 13 Khuyas 2017-12-18T21:43:47+00:00

Building a Mesa: The 13 Sacred Stones


Building a mesa is a beautiful and powerful way to cultivate your relationship to the earth, or Pachamama. It is the heart of the Q’ero Inca mystic’s path.

This outline is meant to be a guide, and as the Q’ero paqos say, this is your medicine. Everything about this path is meant to be experiential. What is your experience with Spirit, with your khuyas, your spiritual allies in concrete form? There is no right or wrong. As you do what you’re inspired to do as you build your mesa you’re building the mindful awareness to walk this path more deeply.

The art of creating a mesa with its sacred stones or khuyas is impossible to keep linear, or precise. You’ll notice over time that everything about this sacred path is multi-dimensional and has many overlapping meanings. The Quechua language itself is rife with this practice of multidimensionality. Although practiced with common Inca forms and symbols, this path is the antithesis of a linear, structured set of rules.

The sacred stones of your mesa, or “khuyas” in Quechua, connect you not only with spiritual energies through your personal experience, they connect you to an ancient lineage of healers who have walked this path and invoked the same energies for millennia. They are connected to a global consciousness that they feed and are fed by, and in this way build energetically in knowledge, wisdom and experience. By working with them, you will evolve this way, too.

In the Andean cosmovision, the earth is a universal meeting place – a great living being – of many different life forms or energies from a variety of dimensions, with the purpose of working together for the greater good. Life and nature are always seeking fullness and wholeness through the cycles of birth, interconnection, death, and rebirth.

In this view, the khuyas in our mesas are our older brothers and sisters, a part of the ancient living being of Pachamama, our mother earth.

To begin building a mesa, use your authentic intent to collect over time stones that are willing to be in a healing relationship with you as a part of your medicine bundle. There is no specific or right way to do this. You may look for stones that seem to stand out as you walk about in nature (or visit a rock shop!) You may collect them on your walks or journeys to sacred sites. Or you may simply get a feeling when considering a particular stone. You may want to pick up a particular stone and see/hear/feel if it is willing to do this sacred work with you.

You’ll keep your stones wrapped and tied in a mestana or altar cloth. Until you have all of the components of your mesa gathered, I suggest keeping the stones on your altar or in some other special place as you consecrate them.

Most followers of this path use mestanas woven by Q’ero women and emblazoned with ancient patterns and symbols that honor the Inca tradition. Inti (the sun), Chaskakuna (the stars), and Inkarri, the last Inca, are common symbols. You’ll find some great information on these patterns here.

You may begin with one stone at a time and build that way, or you may gather three or four at once. One teacher insisted that time was growing short for Pachamama and suggested getting 7 at once. You may even identify the first 12 stones from a large collection you already have. If you’re like me you’ve been picking up special rocks and shiny things since childhood!

Your final stone, the 13th, or Lineage stone is usually received from a teacher in the tradition you’ve committed to following, or consecrated during an initiation. This is a deeply personal decision.

Here is a guideline for identifying and selecting your khuyas:

1. East khuya

Represents Anti Suyo, the East direction
Sun, fire, sacred heat, fire ceremony
Strong vertical, masculine lightning
New beginning, death
The heart
Healing of emotional issues of the heart, dis-identification of the ego
The number 9, a symbol of transforming and integrating energy
Cutting cords
Red, yellow, blue

2. South khuya

Represents Qolla (ko-yo) Suyo, the South direction
Earth, the soil, feminine energy
The mountains, a feminine mountain stone
The flesh and bones of the physical body
The qosqo or navel
Digestion, both the physical and energetic
The cells or “crystals” that make up the body, memory, past lives
The third layer of the earth, the layer of crystals
Dark red, transparent white, silver

3. West khuya

Represents Kunti Suyo, the West direction
Water, and the blood in the physical body
Waterlines, sacred energetic points or vibrations of the element of water
Goddesses of the water, mermaids
Cleansing in general, and the blood specifically
The third chakra or solar plexus
Orange, light blue, gold

4. North khuya

Represents Chincha Suyo, the North direction
Wind, Mama Huayra, the specific symbol of the wind, the Pi stone
The lungs, breath, the 5th layer of the earth, the layer of vibrations, sound, sacred oxygen
The throat, inspiring the flow of communication
Dark blue, black, purple

5. Second lightening khuya, khaqa kuya

Soft, horizontal, feminine lightning
The top of the head, crown chakra
Acceleration of healing, transforming of issues

6. Apu khuya

Mountain energy
Your own mountain, or place of birth
Masculine energy
The heart

7. Lloq’y (yo-kwee) Nusta khuya

The first four *Nustas, or Inca goddesses: Mama Ocllo, doña Mujia, Mama Simona, doña Theresa
Goddesses of support
The left hand
Red, orange, yellow, green

8. Pachamama khuya

Pachamama, Mother Earth, the great cosmic mother
Feminine energy in general
Sacred places
The navel

9. Panya (second) Nusta khuya

The upper three Inca goddesses or *Nustas: Maria Sakapana, Huana Huaman Tiklla, Tomasa Huaman Tiklla
Goddesses of guidance
The right hand
Light blue, dark blue, purple

10. Payala khuya

Ancient feminine wisdom, your spiritual ancestral lineage
The left side
All the colors of the rainbow

11. Machula khuya

Ancient masculine wisdom, your spiritual ancestral lineage
Right side

12. Phiero khuya

A neutral energy or spirit coming from the earth
Cleansing and protecting your mesa
Between the feet
Dark stone – brown, dark red, black is best

13. The lineage stone, Pacha Estrella

Your source, inner star, origins
Your shamanic tradition, the ancestors
The four elements in yourself
The seven layers of all three levels: Hanaq Pacha, the upper world; Kawsay Pacha, this middle world, and Ukhu (oo-koo) Pacha, the underworld.
Connection to your spiritual guides
Your deep center, grounds and balances you
Personal support, healing and guidance
The deepest commitment to your soul’s path

It’s important to note that the mesa is a living, evolving creation. Once created, you’ll charge it with elements to keep it spiritually active.

You can, of course, use any cloth that speaks to you as the mestana, or wrapping for your mesa. Using a handwoven Q’ero cloth from the high Andes mountains aligns you in tradition with mesa carriers around the world. I’m proud to be a very active supporter of Heartwalk Foundation. This organization sells Q’ero mestana cloths which fund much needed food, education, and healthcare projects in the indigent high mountain villages of Peru. Purchasing your mesa cloth from HWF provides a direct link in gratitude or “ayni” to the people who have safeguarded this ancient path for centuries. I usually have some of their cloths on hand for those who want to give back this way and save on shipping. Each comes with a photo and the name of the individual weaver.

You may be inspired to open your mesa to the sun one afternoon, to cleanse it after an intense period of healing. Or perhaps you’ll enfold grains of rice for sustenance, dried herbs from a healing, or bits of palo santo incense for cleansing into it. Your khuyas can also be spiritually cleansed with a spritzing of holy water or Florida water but never washed or soaked.

There also may come a time that you’re led to discard one of your khuyas. You might do this by returning it to the earth or to water, or even gifting it to another person. I was once directed to bury one of my most beloved khuyas in the ground on sacred native land near the neighborhood where I had been looking unsuccessfully for a new home. Of course, a few days later it appeared. Yet when I returned 2 weeks later as I thought I should, it was gone, never to be found again, the area completely covered with vegetation. Pachamama obviously wanted it! 

The point is that as you learn to discern the whispers of your khuyas and your spiritual guidance, you’ll find what works for you.

Using your mesa, your 13 stones, and the rites and initiations you’ll receive as a paqo or Andean earth keeper, you’ll learn to cultivate a deep relationship with the earth, become a maestro of your own energy, and make your life a living, breathing work of art.


iPhone Photo:: I regularly take my mesa to sit on the banks of Barton Creek, a site once used by native Americans.