One of the intriguing aspects of Peru’s culture today is the way in which modern advances are being applied to ancient traditions in order to help the latter thrive. At Threads of Peru, we work with the weaving communities of the high Andes using online marketing tools and techniques to empower artisans to continue their traditional way of life. That is to say, we use advanced technologies in order to support the endurance of an ancient lifestyle exactly as it is, as untainted as possible by extraneous influences.
|Photo courtesy Luis Figueroa
There’s an ancient legend told in both the Andes and the Amazon of Peru that predicts the coming of an era when bridge-building between two apparently opposed systems will become necessary for life to continue on Earth. It refers to a time when the Earth teeters on the brink of annihilation. The legend speaks of a chance for balance to be restored by combining the most fruitful elements from two seemingly irreconcilable life paths. This legend is known as the prophecy of the Eagle and the Condor.
The prophecy of the Eagle and the Condor speaks of two ways of being, that of the Eagle, far-seeing, rational, linear, and structured; and that of the Condor, earth-connected, intuitive, wise and receptive.
|Bald Eagle With Fish by US Fish and Wildlife Service licensed under CC BY 2.0
|Condor by Pablo licensed under CC BY 2.0
The origin of the legend is difficult to trace, but it is found across many indigenous cultures including the Shipibo of the Peruvian Amazon, the Quechua of the Peruvian Andes, the Hopi of New Mexico, the Shuar of Ecuador, and the Mayan of Mexico, among others.
One telling of the legend from the Peruvian Quechua shaman Lauro Hinostroza states that the 500 years beginning around the 16th century would be a period in which the Eagle way of life would dominate the world. The Condor People, those who embodied intuitive and receptive wisdom, would be almost wiped out. History bears witness to this with the decimation of indigenous peoples, the devaluation of their ways of life, and the severe damage wrought upon the Earth’s ecosystems over the past 500 years.
The legend additionally states that at the end of the cycle, which corresponds roughly to 1990, a chance would emerge for these two types to co-exist and cooperate, moving forward into a future that would honor both approaches to living, and bring the earth back into balance.
This possibility for a sane future can be witnessed with the re-emergence of interest in native beliefs and the return to earth-based knowledge on the part of many from the Eagle culture. Indeed, there is a need for the creative synthesis of these two seemingly irreconcilable paths, if we are to address the pressing issues of the times, including climate change, destruction of habitat and loss of biodiversity on a massive scale. We will need both our love and compassion for the Earth and its creatures, and the foresight and technology necessary to save them. Only when the Eagle people and the Condor people learn to work together, and balance is restored, can they then fly together and recreate the world as it should be.
We believe that the Eagle and the Condor legend is not merely a pretty story, but a moral blueprint that, through metaphor, points to what is needed to create a future were all life is respected and held sacred. Without this marriage of worldviews, there may be no future at all.
One way to bring this legend to life is to find innovative ways of applying technologies to restore and preserve the life ways of indigenous communities.
|Photo Courtesy Megan Revell
Threads of Peru actively works with indigenous women weavers to bring their textiles to Western markets. In this way, we are doing our small part to create a new paradigm whereby Western technology and Indigenous Ancient Arts combine to the mutual enrichment of both. This is our way of bringing the Eagle and the Condor together to restore balance within our sphere of influence.
It is our sincere hope at Threads of Peru that our work will contribute to a future in which the Eagle and the Condor soar together to new heights, creating an era of health and sustainability for this, and succeeding, generations.
|Ultima Esperanza El Condor by Reurinkjan licensed under CC BY 2.0