A little llama. A wise old man. A country steeped in Andes mysticism. And the eternal question of “Who am I?” These are the ingredients of Lua the Llama and the Mountain of Joy released December 2017. It seems many who journey to Peru cannot help but be moved by the spiritual connections they feel and the inspiration they receive. Such was the case for the author, Alison Birks, who received the seeds of this story while doing pilgrimage to the Ancient Land of the Incas.
Big Questions, Big Love
Like Muppet cartoons, which can be enjoyed by adults and children alike, Lua and the Mountain of Joy is a story for any age and for all ages. Who doesn’t ask themselves at some point in their lives “Who am I? What am I supposed to be doing? What will I be when I grow up?” These are the big questions of life, and the story is told with a young girl llama asking the questions and seeking the answers.
As sometimes happens in real life, the young llama’s seeking was prompted by a dream showing her the possibility of becoming a Rainbow Llama. This actually mirrored Birks’s own experience of receiving dreams which would eventually guide her through different Peruvian shamanic traditions, and ultimately to Peru where she formed a deep connection to the titular Mountain of Joy or Putukusay.
Apu as Guide
While the Apus, or mountain spirits, at Machu Picchu are mostly associated with masculine energy, the Mountain of Joy is known for its feminine energy and is also called the Flowering Mountain. Spelled variously as Phutu Cusi, or Phutuq K’usi, Flowering Joy, the only female mountain at Machu Picchu, it is she who called to Birks. This nusta, or mountain goddess, an amazing, loving aspect of the divine feminine in nature, touched Birks leaving an aura of pink light visible in photos of her at that place.
Lesson for All
The Wise One teaches the llama-child the Andean way to pray and the basic tenets of
Munay, Love; Ayni. Reciprocity; Yachay, Wisdom; and Yanchay, Service. In much the same way did Birks come to learn the same and acknowledge the divinity in all of creation and nature. And in much the same way a llama is revered as a sacred service animal, Birks is doing her service as an authentic author of Andean ways.