Integration of History and Traditions

Categories: Inspiration

Vista parcial de la Catedral de Cuzco

By maria almestar (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

I remember standing in the cool quiet of the Cusco Cathedral of Santo Domingo, despite the number of visitors to one of Peru’s most famous landmarks. Our guide, Camila, whose enthusiastic English made you love Peru immediately because she loved Peru, led us around various chapels noting the ancient Inca stones at the foundations of the church and particularly the many paintings which make up part of the Cuzco School of Art style: classic European influences of the 15th and 16th centuries combined with the native artisan’s animistic view of the world. Large portraits of the Virgin Mary as pachamama (a mountain) with her massive triangular mountain-shaped dresses. Llamas dotting the pastoral landscape, instead of the camels of the Middle east. The famous Last Supper with the national dish of Peru—a guinea pig—squarely in the middle of the table as Jesus and the disciples prepared to dine. I remember her sharing with us about the modern Peruvian’s integration of the Catholic faith with their own shamanistic rituals and beliefs. You would just as likely call your shaman as you would your priest, to help you with healings or questions of the divine. Not either/or, but and. And this made me think of the beautiful weavers, using roots, berries and rocks to make their dyes. All of the whole of a life woven together. Your history, your story, your losses and your joys. That makes a whole life.








Libby Wagner
Author: Libby Wagner

Libby makes her home in a lovely West Seattle neighborhood in a house with turquoise walls and an amazing view of the Puget sound and Olympic mountains. A former Air Force “brat”, she continues to bounce from one corner of the world to the other, working with Fortune 500 clients, hopeful artists and authors, and aspiring entrepreneurs. She has a Master’s in Fine Arts and Poetry from Eastern Washington University where she also began working in the Writers in the Prison program.