Under the Southern Cross and Ranrapalca in Cordillera Blanca, Peru

Published:January 05, 2023DOI:
      After completing an alpine rescue exercise in June 2022, participants of the Diploma in Mountain Medicine of the Andes descended the slopes of the Ishinca Glacier in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru. In the background, the massive Mount Ranrapalca (6162 m) is guarded from the sky by the Southern Cross. Although the Southern Cross has held importance in many cultures, it is a potent symbol of the Andean culture. The staggered Andean cross of the Incas, “Chakana,” represents the Southern Cross.
      Here, the 3 worlds of the Inca belief system coexist: Uqhu Pacha (underworld), represented by a snake; Kay Pacha (middle world), represented by the puma; and finally, Hanan Pacha (upperworld), represented by the condor. The center of the cross represents the center of the universe.
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      1. Timmer H. The Cosmos Whispers Its Names. La Chakana. 1st ed. Aksant, The Netherlands2005