Online Introduction to Ka Ta See


Hello and Welcome to  this online presentation of “Ancient Wisdom from the Ka Ta See people of the Eastern Andes of Peru.”  I’ve studied the Ka Ta See tradition since 1996 and my work in the world is based in this tradition.

I’m asking you to take time to read and experience these ceremonies in hopes that it brings a rich interplay of perspectives to our work together that create newness in your life.

The Ka Ta See people have been around for a very very long time – at least 30,000 years.

They have a very deep respect for all of life. To me their perspective helps me step out of cultural teachings in ways that creates clarity about  the choices we have about our health, creating social values and how we relate to ourselves, others and the environment.

To them everything is alive and has consciousness and is capable of communication. They believe we, people in our culture, have within us the ability to communicate with all of life as well.

Over time, The Ka Ta See people have purposefully separated themselves from the “civilized world” as a way to protect the accuracy and the clarity of their teachings and ceremonies. They of course interact with the people that are their neighbors. They are not a warring people so they have moved away from neighbors that war.

In the 1970s they sent pairs of Shaman into the broader world to share their teachings on how to wake up, thrive, to continue as a species and to continue as a planet.

My teacher, Kay Cordell Whitaker, was taught by Chea and Domano Hetaka – one of the pairs of Shaman.

Ka Ta See means: setting the world in balance, all of us working together to set the world in balance. The Ka Ta See People have a 1) long lineage of deep respect and relationship with Earth, 2) an commitment for their individual and social decisions to be made in a way that secures the thriving of those currently alive and the generations to come, and 3) intent to not think, act or act at the expense of self, others or Earth.

Living according to Ka Ta See teachings creates kinder, more equal relationships and institutions, and a society based on win-win-win concepts.

In this process you will have a chance to explore your identity as you understand it, to participate in experiences that will allow you to learn about yourself and your world from their point of view, and to gain some knowledge about their view of how we choose to identity ourselves and the effects on our health, sustainability and thriving.

The experiential work that follows is considered ceremony in the Ka Ta See tradition. You’ll have the opportunity to participate in: 1)  a ceremony of preparation (smudging), 2) a time of exploring your identity and 3) then you’ll be guided through the first ceremony they teach their children about who and what they are.

From the Ka Ta See point of view true knowledge comes from experience. The ceremonies given in this course allow you to experience a glimpse of yourself and your world from their point of view.

The Ka Ta See People consider ceremonies to be sacred. Two elements that are used to create and maintain the intentions of the ceremonies are:  the expression of gratitude and invitation to the Spirits and the use of geometric form and the directions of the flow of energy. Other elements are often used to help maintain focus and to clean the ceremonial space. Examples of this would be the use of vibration and sound, and the use of herbs and food. The use of these elements comes from thousands of years of experience about how each of these help hold a space for gaining knowledge and healing for the participants.

SMUDGING (the use of herbs and the calling in of the Spirits)

Smudging is a practice that is used in various parts of the world by many groups of people. Specific herbs are bundled, dried and then used in rituals or ceremonies. The smoke from the herbs or plants has the gift of cleaning and purifying the space from thoughts and energies that are not wanted as a part of a ritual or ceremony.

The Ka Ta See people traditionally use tobacco for purification. Some plants from the South Western part of the United Sates that are used for smudging are herbs such as white sage, osha, sweet grass or resins from local trees. Sage, tobacco and sweet grass is also used in North Carolina.

When you smudge, it is appropriate to begin by expressing gratitude to the plant nation that you’ve chosen—to honor its gifts of purification. Then light the smudge stick, blow the flames out and send the smoke out into the  space you are cleaning with your hand or a feather in a counter clock-wise direction. Counter clock-wise is the direction that takes things apart. Clock-wise direction has a building energy.  After the smoke cleans the space, that’s an appropriate time to invite in your personal Spirit Guides, the nature Beings, and/or the ancestors. Use your intent to fill your space with these your personal Guides. In the Ka Ta See tradition we call in Unconditional Love, the Life Energies of the Earth, Sun and Galaxy, and Creator and state the intent for healing for all who participating in the ceremonies. You may want to decide on your intent and speak it to the help you have invited to be with you.

Stop now and clean your space with your smudge stick or you can clean your space with your intention.


In many Native American traditions from South America, 100% dark chocolate is considered to be a gift to the Spirits. When we ingest this food or place it in the ceremonial space, we invite the spirits to come close.

The greater the percentage of sugar in the chocolate the less strong is the pureness and strength of its gifts. To receive the aid of the gifts of the chocolate its best to use 85%-100% dark chocolate. Now is a time to eat a couple of pieces of the chocolate if your wish.


Traditional drumming or other rhymes and alpha producing music is often used in the Ka Ta See ceremonies.


Unconditional Love is one of the basic concepts of the Ka Ta See tradition.

I will use one of their understandings of Unconditional Love to describe the suggested guidelines for your participation in these teachings. These are guidelines about how to relate to your self and the others that you read about.

One way the Ka Ta See tradition defines unconditional love is by using what we affectionately call the NO NOs.

No is usually a word that suggests limitations. Used with diligence, these NO NOs are the doorways to freedom.

Here they are: no assumptions, no blind beliefs, no expectations, no jumping to conclusions, no judgments and no arrogance or unworthiness.

These bury our joy, exuberance, delight, curiosity and our accurate observation and expression.

Pay close attention to your thoughts, emotions and beliefs about yourself and the comments you read of others. Be curious about what others have to say. Leave behind your expectations about what is about to happen or what is supposed to happen.

Leave behind your assumptions about other people and your assumptions about yourself. My teacher says that assumptions are a lazy form of arrogance. This is when we grab on tight to some one else’s ideas or thinking instead of listening, communicating and deciding about the topic at hand. Be willing to learn and perceive beyond your assumptions.

When we jump to conclusions we jump quickly and irrationally from the present moment to into the far away land of make believe. We are sure we know what motivates the people around us and what they are thinking and doing and why.  And what we make up is fantasy.  This isolates us from others and the truth of their experience.


The Ka Ta See people understand judging as a learned behavior. And we are taught to make judgments about everything. It does not have to be that way. Judgments of ourselves or others are held up by unworthiness and arrogance. We can make a decision about whether things are effective and efficient without criticism or judgment. The Hetakas talked about discernment and careful and accurate observations.

Arrogance is when we are so full of our own point of view that we have no room for new points of view.  We are sure that our perspective is correct. We believe that our value comes from perceiving ourselves as better than others. We  can take a general attitude toward the world of arrogance or we can feel arrogant about specific areas of our lives. Arrogance is the flip side of low self-esteem.

Blind Beliefs are beliefs that we’ve been taught but have never tested out.  We’ve never questioned whether they support our gifts and the deep desires we have to contribute and receive fully in life. We haven’t explored if they support our own thriving, that of others or the world we live in. We haven’t considered if our blind beliefs are accurate, correct, or real.  The blind beliefs hold up the other NO NOs.

Often we act on these beliefs.  Mostly they are buried and it takes careful examination to find what drives our thinking, feeling and behaviors.

Blind beliefs and inaccurate information create the NO NOs: our assumptions, expectations, jumping to conclusions, judgments and criticisms, arrogance and unworthiness.

The NO NOs create a pretty narrow and unrealistic perception of the world. Its amazing what’s possible and what we can perceive when we choose to live outside the NO NOs.

What’s real is so much bigger than what we see through the No Nos. So give yourself permission to break outside the box of the way you’ve been taught to look at the world as you participate and listen to yourself and others through their comments.

It is important for this process you are about to go through to be a safe, nonjudgmental space for you and the people you read about. Honor your and their responses and exploration of self.

Make sure you are in a space where you won’t be interrupted as you go through these teaching and ceremonies. I encourage you to take time to answer and read about others with care.  The answers of others that I have posted for you are abbreviated.  Please take your time to write as long an answer as you wish for each question. 

I am going to ask you a series of questions. I’ll ask one question and provide responses from other students to the same question. Then move on to the next question. There are five questions.

Answering these questions is for you. For your own learning and self discovery. There is no right or wrong answer to the questions I’ll give you. The answers aren’t for impressing other people.

These questions are for you alone.  And the answers are either honest or dishonest. Only you know. They are for you. I encourage you to be honest with yourself. There are no right or wrong answers.

Before you begin to answer the following questions, close your eyes for  moment and quite your mind and your heart rate, relax your body.  Breath deep and slow.

Breathe deeply, take your time.

Allow yourself to reach inside for your answers. There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. There are five questions.

Question 1:   How do you hide? (following the link below will take you to the rest of the Questions and responses of others.)

Others’ responses to Questions 1:

To gain the most out of these identity questions it good to keep an Identity Questions notebook.  A 3-hole loose leaf journal is best.  Its a tremendous growth process to answer these questions over and over again and see them impact of how you answer there questions effects your life.


Let’s review some of the distinctions between the Ka Ta See teachings and the ideas in Western Society. In the Ka Ta See language there is no word for judgment, condemnation or hierarchy. Their teachings ask us to look for what is effective and efficient without demeaning or diminishing what is ineffective or inefficient.  To look at new ways to see these distinctions.

Chea Hetaka in Kay’s first book The Reluctant Shaman says there are basically two motives: desire and fear. Desire for creating, communication, knowledge, pleasure, challenge and giving and receiving love. None of these with the intention of being at the expense of others, self or Earth. These are Song-filled motives.

Then there is the motive of Fear. Fear of the unknown or change, powerlessness, pain, loss and failure. It is fear that generates hate and stress, distrust, guilt, and so forth. Each fear is a form of the other.  And

they are all a form of the fear of death. These are mask-filled motives.

Some beliefs, thoughts and emotions that fall under the category of Song Motives: 

  1. To look for win-win-win solutions
  2. Not to think or act in ways that are at the expense of self, others, or Earth
  3. To work with nature and not against nature
  4. Accurate expression – no more lies and pretense
  5. Having deep respect and relationship with nature beings, Earth, Sun, and Galaxy
  6. To be honest with ourselves and to take responsibility for each thought, emotion and action.

Song-filled thoughtforms are full of the energy of unconditional love. Unconditional love thoughtforms feed and nourish our Song.

Mask based motives:

Many of our societal values are built on mask-based motives.

So I’m going to spend more time on them to help you distinguish our culture from theirs.

Thoughtforms that fall under the category of mask-based motives have to do with conditional love: 

  1. Blaming and Shaming. Blaming and shaming is a form of judgment: It’s easy when we are blaming and shaming others to overlook our own involvement in a situation, to assume we know what motivates other people or what they are thinking. This blocks information that would give us an accurate assessment of the situation. Sometimes we are so busy blaming and shaming that we fail to notice the power we have to act creatively towards win-win-win solutions.
  1. Getting our sense of identity from comparing ourselves to others: This includes looking for opportunities to see ourselves as better than others, being afraid of being less than, and playing the role of less than. These are examples of doing something at the expense of another person or of ourselves. When we consider ourselves better than another we are— in our mind or out loud —defining them less than us so that we can feel good or better about ourselves. When we consider ourselves less than or agree to play that role, we act at our own expense. In our minds or through our words or actions we agree to accept ourselves as less than in attempt to make the other(s) feel better than.
  1. Seeking approval: Another way we learn to value ourselves is by who we think likes/loves us and who doesn’t. We let Whether we sense ourselves as lovable depend on who’s around and what kind of mood they are in or what thoughts we are carrying about ourselves at the moment. Sometimes if another person likes what we are doing – they let us know we are lovable – that they approve of us, if not – love and friendship, and attention are withheld. And so we learn to arrange our behavior to try to win approval. That can led to thinking, feeling  and behaving at our own expense by not speaking our truth or developing our gifts for the sake of trying to maintain approval from a person, institution, group, or culture. Or we can withhold our love and acceptance from people who are not doing what we think they should be doing. Most often, obedience is about gaining approval.
  1. The true identity of all things is their Song. People, rocks, the soil, the waters, the air, trees, plants, each and every star has a Song. And the energy that permeates Song is unconditional love. When we deny another’s Song, we ignore the truth about them, their gifts, their consciousness. Most wars, slavery and making decisions that work against nature and not along side nature are examples of this. For instance the unhealthy and cruel way that animals are treated in the production of food in much of the world today.
  1. Making decisions that don’t consider the generations to come. The short-sightedness of businesses and governments and individuals – the desire for immediate gain are actions that are at the expense of the generations to come and is not sustainable. Unconditional love chooses decision and behaviors that support the thriving of those currently alive and to thriving for the generations to come.

Conditional love thoughtforms are based on fear as are our masks. Some common fears at the base of our conditioning are fear of isolation, of being cast out, of feeling shame, fears of expressing our truth, fear of scarcity. Underneath all fears is the fear of death.

Questions for you to consider:

What ways would your life change if you identified with your Song… that feeling of clarity, calm, vastness, excitement for being alive?

What might change in your life if you were committed to using the No Nos: No assumptions, No blind beliefs, no judgements, no jumping to conclusions, no arrogance or unworthiness?