Cosmovivencias nutridas en las fuentes ancestrales 

Por Sofía Chipana Quispe

Para muchos pueblos andinos el pasado tiene que ver con el amuyu, que es la comprensión de la vida, desde la que leemos nuestras historias transgresoras que buscaron una y otra vez, la sanación de los territorios tierras y los territorios cuerpos, pues comprendieron que sus cuerpos violentados por la imposición del sistema colonial tenían la posibilidad de incorporarse, invocando a las fuerzas vitales que hacen posible el restablecimiento del equilibrio y armonía en la Pacha, cosmos. 

Buscando hacer la conexión con la fuerza de la espiral como principio de vida, en estos tiempos se entretejen las espiritualidades con los hilos rotos y quemados, pues implica el despojo de lo impuesto y asumido de la religión colonizante. Aunque, se plantea la transformación religiosa en Los Andes, y desde las miradas sociales y religiosas son asignadas como parte de un proceso sincrético. Sin embargo, será pertinente considerar que tanto la extirpación y la sustitución que fueron métodos usados en la evangelización, “yuxtapuso una imagen sobre otra y se revirtieron los significados de la creencia de participación en la cosmología de origen”[i], por lo tanto, no se trata de un sincretismo como tal, pues mucho de lo que se considera como sincrético responde a prácticas religiosas del catolicismo popular. 

Por ello, más que formular la vigencia de religiones andinas y sincretismos, en diversas organizaciones de pueblos andinos se plantean el camino de las espiritualidades, haciendo la diferencia entre religión y espiritualidad, a fin de salir del tutelaje cristiano. Esos recorridos implican, como diría Gustavo Gutiérrez beber del propio pozo, que son las sabidurías ancestrales que aún se cultivan en los diversos pueblos andinos, como se evoca en la invitación profunda de un quipu (escrito inka basado en nudos): 

Cuando naces, eres una cuerda sin anudar,

eres Pacha (cosmos), totalidad tiempo y espacio,

el gran vacío se va llenando

de pequeños amarres

que van creciendo con tus palabras,

y tus faenas

y cada cierto tiempo debes realizar un Kuti (vuelta)

un enlace dentro de ti mismo

solamente así podrás volver a ser

el mismo que naciste[ii].

El fragmento de las palabras sabias anudadas por el kipukamoy (el que elabora y hace hablar los kipus), reconoce que, para estar en pleno vínculo con la ancestralidad, implica hacer un kuti, un retorno, hacía al taypi, el tiempo de la armonización donde la vida empieza a germinar, reconectándonos con la qamasa, la fuerza vital, para seguir siendo cosmos. 

Para muchos pueblos, el tiempo del Kuti, es “la inversión, la vuelta, regreso, restitución, retorno, revolución o transformación”[iii], por lo tanto, es la vuelta a un tiempo de pleno vínculo con el cosmos (Pacha), lo que para la cosmogonía Maya el 2012 ha sido el fin del quinto mundo, y el inicio de un ciclo nuevo que trae sus propias transformaciones, del mismo modo los pueblos andinos se sostienen en las narrativas de los fines y nacimiento de mundos, a fin de que la comunidad humana desate los nudos heredados en las relaciones desiguales y de dominación que se extienden hacía las otras comunidades de vivientes, provocando el desequilibrio en el cosmos. 

Se trata de un tiempo de sanación que procura restablecer el equilibrio y la armonía en el cosmos habitado, para seguir despertando a los diversos saberes y sabidurías desde la conciencia cósmica, pues hay realidades y situaciones que no se comprenden sólo desde los sentipensares humanos/as, se requiere la relación de mutualidad, de escucha y observación del ritmo de las otras y otros seres del Ayllu, como serán las montañas, cumbres nevadas, los ríos, los bosques, las lagunas, las semillas; o de los seres vinculadas a las fuentes vitales como el cóndor, el puma, la serpiente, la llama.

Sabidurías evocadas a su vez, en las resistencias que implicaron sublevaciones, en la que los/as líderes fueron vinculadas a las serpientes, denominadas como amarus o kataris, asociadas a las fuerzas telúricas, por lo que sus cuerpos desmembrados buscan reconstituirse en la organización y luchas de los pueblos andinos. 

Por otra parte, no se puede obviar las resistencias cultivadas por las mujeres, que incluso estando fuera de sus territorios de origen, se han negado a dejar sus identidades desde la recreación de los ropajes impuestos, conservando los idiomas, la alimentación, los tejidos, los rituales, el cuido de la vida, el vínculo con los territorios de origen, y que, desde el acuerpamiento con otras mujeres, sostienen los sentidos de su vida, de sus familias y sus comunidades. 


Sofía Chipana Quispe

Principal voz de la teología indígena en Abya Yala, valora la vida digna y sagrada con la tierra y el respeto por todas las formas de vida. Ha trabajado con redes dedicadas a la reflexión teológica y la articulación de saberes, sabidurías y espiritualidades. Es miembro de la Comunidad de Sabias y Teólogas Indígenas de Abya Yala y de la Comunidad Teológica Andina que fomenta el diálogo entre los pueblos andinos. 

Abya Yala Theology

Decolonizing the Christian message from a native perspective

By Yenny Delgado and Claudio Ramirez

Abya Yala theology assumes a contextual, historical, and ancestral reflection, which is the axis of our theological proposal. The name comes from the Guna language and means “land in full maturity and land of vital blood.” The Guna people inhabit the meeting points of the north and south geographically, to represent the connectivity of the lands. In the 1970s, the term Abya Yala was adopted by many activists, historians, politicians, and theologians as the unified name instead of using North America (primarily English speakers) and Latin America (primarily Spanish and Portuguese speakers)  that perpetuate colonial divisions.

Abya Yala theology rescues our ancestors’ traditions, reflections, and actions in a continent that continues to resist the ravages of a colonizing process. Abya Yala theology does not propose a return to ancestral life before colonization. However, we aim to respect and embrace indigenous practices and keep our native languages, traditional culture, ancestral knowledge, and spiritual practices alive.

As a prophetic theology, it comes from the subjectivities of women and men, whose mouths no longer pronounce fluently the language of our ancestors, where our bodies no longer move freely to the rhythm of the ancestral drums, and where our prayer no longer rises to the same mountains. But our ancestral memories as native descendants continue to tie us to living wisdom and spirituality in their depth.

The development of Abya Yala Theology is reframing the Christian message grounded in the people and not power, grounded in ancestry, not acclaim, and grounded in historical context, not in silence. The main component of Abya Yala theology is Christian thought analyzed through a decolonizing lens and embracing a multicultural and multiethnic continent, from which God speaks and liberates all from colonized oppression.

Abya Yala Theology is decolonizing the Christian message from a native perspective. We propose interrelated and interpretive categories that help us see a new way of thinking of God from Abya Yala. The first category is motherland and identity, the process of ethnic identity for native people, and its theological scope to recognize our connection with the land where we live today. The second is the reflection of the descent through the history of invisibility, forced assimilation, and division between inventing borders where the native’s and descendants’ resistance is latent.

Identity and the resurrection of the motherland

Inextricably linked with colonial and settler thinking is the vision of land and nature as a resource that exists only for extractive purposes. However, understanding Abya Theology is reimagining the harmonious relationship between the land, their children, and all creation. Abya Yala refers to land as alive and of vital blood and maturity. This terminology implies two things that can be interpreted; it is a land maturity of our motherland that grows and produces food for their children; at the same time, native peoples maintain the ways of understanding the world in holistic ways. On the other hand, the land of vital blood means it is a connection between the native peoples; it implies that the descendants who suffer colonization struggle to assimilate to the European culture established to erase all ways to connect with our ancestors.

The theological implications of this conception of Abya Yala lead us to reflect on where we are, from our geographical location, and our historical context. In this way, Abya Yala must be understood as a motherland that has been the victim of a  hegemonic , patriarchal and colonialist historical process that violated and divided the land into pieces, separating the children into strangers.

For this reason, ethnic identity is essential because it makes visible what was hidden. The denial of our ancestry as the children of Abya Yala is a source of pain and confusion. However, taking seriously the liberating process of a Christian message of God who heals all wounds, restores, and who, above all, after the crucifixion, resurrects – provides hope. Here we are the native people and descendants have been crucified for centuries under colonization, control, oppression, and genocide; today, we, as a believer of the message, witness the resurrection of the motherland and all their children.

The Jesuit and priest Jon Sobrino provide some insight on this when speaking about the resurrection, bringing hope for the crucified, which is a new interpretation for us. “If what has been said so far is taken seriously, it follows, not from a fundamentalist reading of the texts, but from a profound honesty towards them, that the resurrection of Jesus is hope in the first place for the crucified. God raised a crucified, and since then, there is hope for the crucified of history.” Sobrino leaves us a message that needs to be adapted to respond to our context and confirm that natives and their descendants in Abya Yala received God’s protection and hope. It is the one who resurrects and liberates us from a long process of colonization and oppression.

Decolonizing the Christian message

Christianity arrived in Abya Yala over five centuries ago; European soldiers, settlers, and missionaries brought the cross and sword to rule and order our land. The implications of colonization and Christianity on the native population led to a sizable reduction of people and loss of languages and cultures in efforts to assimilate into a normative European Christianity. This reductionist teaching removed any aspects of the liberating message inherent in the message of Christ. In this way, the Christian faith has become synonymous with oppression and colonization. However, the attempts to forget the colonization atrocities of Abya Yala, slavery, genocide, and stolen land have made us remain silent.

It is clear then that all theological reflection in Abya Yala must go through an honest and historical review to respond and give a liberating and hopeful message to the original population that is still in resistance. In a story similar to magical realism, in recent years, the attempts to forget this past have been even more painful and oppressive for the descendant who still has this whole process alive in our ancestral memory.

The genocide has caused a massive gap in identity and recognition without understanding our ethnic and identity self-identification. We still carry colonizing practices from political and religious activities; any attempt at self-affirmation is now the subject of biased analysis. The native population and their descendants face enormous challenges in keeping their ancestral culture, language, and spiritualities alive at this time, for which a theology from and as Abya Yala is more necessary.

What role should Abya Yala theology play in this context? Abya Yala theology decolonizes the Christian message from a native perspective. We reclaim our full humanity in our land, which is the sacred and living space of our motherland.

___________

Yenny Delgado– Psychologist and Theologian. Director of Publica Theology and convener of Mujeres Doing Theology in Abya Yala. She writes about the intersections between ancestral memory, decolonization, and public faith. Currently, she is a doctoral student in Social Science of Religion at the University of Lausanne.

Claudio Ramirez -Theologian with a master’s degree in Dogmatic Theology from the Catholic University of Córdoba, Argentina. Founder of Ñawi intercultural dialogue. He writes about eco-theology, indigenous spirituality, and liberation. Currently, he is a professor of theology at the Catholic University of Salta.