Indigenous Gathering

In the time of the 5th world



By: Jennifer Hayashi


Indigenous leaders from around the world have been gathering together in the past three decades to unite in the new cycle of Pachakuti. Pachakuti, a Quechua word, literarily translates into the return of time or change. It refers to both a cosmic transformation and an overturning in humanity.


The new cycle of time began around 1990 according to the Incan civilization of South America. It was prophesized that ancient cultures from North to South America would begin to physically meet as climate change began to heighten. The Mayan have also spoken about this time and refer to it as the emergence of the sixth sun. The Zuni and Hopi tribes of the Southwest US refer to it as the fifth world. They say there were four major cycles of human existence on our planet that thrived and then ended because of natural disaster, war, climate, ect. Humanity has just recently entered into the fifth cycle.


In 2014 I attended a Pachakuti gathering in Ecuador. There were representatives that traveled from tribes across the continents to meet for the first time. For four days hundreds of people camped together on the equator, at 0 longitude 0 latitude, quite literally on the middle of the world. As both a participant and a journalist I observed one of most interesting events of my life.

It was set at a place called Cochasqui, upon the land were hundreds of pyramids, most of which were still buried underground. To be honest I was unsure what to expect when I first arrived. I saw many fires lit across the grounds and people creating alters made of flowers and seeds. Everyone was dressed in their best elaborate regalia. It seemed like a strange dream or a scene out of a movie. There was a conch shell that blew when the official gathering started to call everyone to the center to begin the opening ceremony.


I underwent a great inner transformation after a long weekend of listening to wise elders and participating in rituals from their respective cultures. I had recently arrived from Southern California and was used to my daily routine in the city. Witnessing these indigenous ceremonies made me feel that there was something much greater beyond my mundane life. Somehow without written record their ancient practices were able to survive generation after generation for thousands of years.


One elder from Bolivia told me that the relationship between parent to child or in other cases between mentor and disciple is what has allowed their rich culture to survive through many years of outside invasion and influence. Growing up through a western educational system I had many teachers and quite frankly I have forgotten almost all of their names.

The current time of Pachakuti is about human connection and returning to a way of being in community. We are living in extraordinary times of technological advancement, yet we are damaging our earth, air, and water like never before. I have begun to question what western society can learn from indigenous cultures that have maintained balance and harmony with the natural world.


Humanity is undergoing a great transformation since we have entered the time of Pachakuti. Since I attended the gathering in Cochasqui I have been to many more gatherings of indigenous wisdom keepers. The elders seem to be speaking about the same topics of importance over and over again. There will simply be two paths; in the first path people who begin to deepen their relationship with the natural world, each other and their communities. In the second path people will continue to act out of foolishness, greed, and anger. Those on the first path will thrive in this time while those on the second path will feel that the world is ending. How do we begin to live in a greater existence and unify in community? The first step is listening to those who have been maintaining a greater relationship with our environment long before we came. A bit of curiosity may just lead you to a gathering of people who are seeking the same thing that you are.

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