Altomesayoq (Al-to-me-sa-yok) Alto means ‘High’ / mesayoq means ‘One who has power’
Maestra Maria Apaza is an Altomesayoq. She is 93 years old. It’s rumoured that there are roughly 10 Altomesayoq alive today spread throughout Peru and Bolivia. Although she only knows of one other who lives in the mountains.
The difficulty in becoming an Altomesayoq is that one needs to be struck by lightning and survive. There’s an initiation process that involved dedicating her life to a path chosen for her by something larger than herself. An Altomesayaq is said to have a special communion with the spirit world. There’s an ability to gain access to places that most people are unaware of.
We were fortunate enough to spend some time with Maestra Maria and hear some of her stories. At 93 years old she is very active and travels a lot. You can’t help but recognise how alert she is for her age. She has a fascinating past filled with supernatural encounters and experiences with a hidden world. Here are a couple of her stories:
Once as a child she stayed with her grandmother in the mountains. Something came to their home at night and started rattling the walls and roof. Her frightened grandmother threw rocks and wood at the walls to try and frighten the entity away. A week later Maria became ill and the illness would return weekly and last for extended periods at a time. When visiting local Paqo for advice, she was told that she was going to become a powerful Paqo. So she started her initiation at a very young age.
Maestra Maria was struck by lightning in her mid twenties while walking alone in the mountains. She saw a white rope in the lightning and a massive hole opened up around her. She said she died there. She woke up later to the smell of burning flesh but with no tissue damage.
She has been visited by little people all throughout her life. They would take her to visit underground cities and pass on their knowledge. She would be gone for days while her family worried about her whereabouts.
She constantly speaks with Mother Earth and the mountains, anything with life. She says that anyone can do this. Today she spends a lot of her time travelling, meeting and helping people.
Unfortunately her knowledge can’t be passed on. You have to be chosen to become an Altomesayoq. The Qero community where she is from is dwindling. The younger generation are being influenced by materialistic desires influenced by mainstream western society.
She is one of the last of her kind.