In October of last year, Pope Francesco participated in the Synod for the Amazon, and many symbols used during the opening ceremony created embarrassment among the Vatican bishops, and they surprised many other observers. Even though South America is almost completely Christianized today, Pachamama is still a strong presence in the hearts of the people. In some ways, her popularity is much greater now than in the past, seeing as how the Mother Goddess pertains to everyone now and has spread throughout the world as a symbol of love for the Earth. For this reason, most of the symbols worn by South American priests and followers made reference to her figure. Some observers, ignoring the history of the cult of Pachamama, spoke of idolatry and paganism infiltrating the austere walls of the Vatican gardens through the South American bishops and believers gathered in Rome to meet their Pastor… and the Pope himself as “Bishop of Rome” apologized to those who were offended by the fact that the statues were removed and thrown into the Tiber.

Pachamama – or Pacha Mama – means “mother of space and time”, identified with Mother Earth. She is a generous goddess who presides over fertility and agriculture. She is the mother who gives life, nourishing and comforting her children. She is good and loving, although she calls for respect and can become angry if her children forget to honor her. If that is the case, she becomes truly fearsome and manifests herself through floods and earthquakes.

The cult of Pachamama reached its peak in the era of the Inca civilization, which assumed a precise form in the 12th century, although it had begun a few centuries earlier, when the Quechua people began to settle on the Andean plateaus. The spirituality of Pachamama teaches us that everything is sacred:

the earth, its rhythms, living beings.

Pachamama represents the feminine principle, deeply connected to the vitality of Mother Earth, as opposed to the solar figure of Inti. Inti was venerated by the richer classes, the nobles and warriors, while Pachamama was the protective goddess of those who lived off the earth, of animals, of the gifts of the forest, in close contact with nature and its energies. Her priests were mostly men, but under her protection, all devotees – children, the elderly, the ill – were the object of maternal attention.

The strength of Pachamama – the one who speaks to the rich and the poor, to the citizens of the world and to people who only know their own land – is that of simplicity combined with power. Both are extraordinary, and both are considered a gift of the Universe to the Planet. Aligning ourselves with the frequency of Pachamama puts us in tune with the pure energy of life, prana, and it polishes up the vital code of all human beings by reconnecting us to the force of existence.

Hearing her voice is not difficult. The places where it resounds the loudest are those where nature meets the work of humans: plowed fields, well-tended forests, farms where animal welfare is respected. Recognizing her voice is easy: it is strong and cheerful, inviting people to enjoy life and its manifestations, because this is the best way to honor its value.

Pachamama teaches us that one does not honor Mother Earth by simply not damaging her – which would already be a big step! – but by experiencing her enchantment, knowing her, making her our home and the source of our happiness.

Since Pachamama is everywhere, we can hear her voice, her breath, her rhythmic step on the earth even when we are closed in a house in the city, and we close our eyes and consciously breathe, calling to her with words of gratitude for what she gives to us every day. Pachamama is also a part of you and you are a part of her: the warmth of her presence is a gift from the universe to all of us.