On the walls of the Labyrinth inside the Temples of Humankind, Pillan is represented with an intense expression, and he holds a fire in his hands with the same naturalness with which we would hold a book or a smartphone. The fire makes light and slight shadows on his face, and it accentuates the lines and highlights his facial features. Pillan comes from an area of the southern Andes between Chile and western Argentina, the land of the Mapuche people. The Mapuche are known for their pride and indomitable spirit, which led them to resist first the Incas and then the Spanish who tried to colonize them. In the mid 1500s Alonso de Ercilla, a noble poet and soldier who fought the Mapuche in Chile, wrote an epic poem dedicated to them entitled La Araucana, which is still considered one of the great Spanish historical poems. Arucanas is Spanish name for the Mapuche, but it is not a term that they like very much. Today, the Mapuche language is spoken by over 300,000 people, and many words of Mapuche origin are used in the Spanish spoken in Chile and Argentina.

The Mapuche cosmology is based on few figures and on the cult of mother earth and of ancestors. The name Pillan takes on different meanings depending on the context, and it can indicate both a well-defined figure – as represented by the images of Damanhurian artists – and a class of ancestors. This double identification confirms a characteristic of religiosity in Latin America, that of mixing different images and meanings and having them coexist in the imagination of the people. Even though it is a completely Christianized area today, in the land of the Mapuche it is a common occurrence that the “maci,” the shamans, perform ceremonies to drive out evil and to ask for rain, and their medicinal herbs are also commonly used among the urban population. The presence of ancient and powerful forces, which exist in parallel or mixed with more recent ones, recalls the cult of Pachamama, the mother earth according to the Incan population, which we spoke of in March 2020.

In the Labyrinth of the Temples of Humankind, Pillan is represented in his role as the god of thunder and death, who gives fire to human beings. Pillan gathers together the souls of heroes fallen in battle and leads them to the dimension of the afterlife. He is the “Lord of humans” and the “Lord of the Earth.” He is the god of creation and destruction who presides over all natural phenomena. He created the Mapuche territory by putting an end to the fight between the two serpents, Cai Cai and Ten Ten, who had created floods and volcanic eruptions. He is also the god of disease and bad luck. The fire element, the one which most identifies him, is very effective in embodying his double nature: fire warms, illuminates, purifies, and transforms, but if we are not able to control it, it can destroy, cancel, and make anything sterile. To present yourself to Pillan, you need to have an indomitable spirit and the ability to control your fear and drives.

To enter into Pillan’s frequency and hear his voice, we can light a candle and focus on the flame with presence and full attention in order to understand what he has to tell us.

Pillan reminds us that everything we create has great positive power and potential destructive power. Today more than ever, when humanity is confused and frightened on the one hand, and on the other hand enthusiastic about the changes we feel are coming, we need to understand, meditate, and choose. Everything is in our hands, just as fire is in the hands of the Mapuche divinity. Today, technology can help us to become more free, or it can make us more enslaved. The information that surrounds us can frighten and confuse us, or it can give signals about the great Awakening that is taking place. Traveling can offer us the chance to meet new worlds or to escape from ours. Science can help us to heal from disease, or it can transform us to the point of forgetting that we are one with nature and life.

Pillan’s concentrated but serene expression reminds us that exercising our capacity for discernment allows us to acquire strength and serenity, in connection with the spiritual fire within us. The great challenges of today bring us to reconsider the reality that we as humanity have collectively created. They call for courage, the ability to connect with others, new ways of thinking and living. So, they are also creative and stimulating challenges that can foster new discoveries and new trust within us.

This is why Pillan, with his concentration, with his warning to be more aware of our choices, shows his serene face and looks us straight in the eye. The Lord of humans knows that we can overcome these challenges, and most of all, turn them into opportunities to express the best of ourselves.