Don Alberto Taxo crossed into spirit on the cross-quarter, February 1, 2022. That’s the moment each year when the Sun crosses the point in time and space that dwells halfway between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox.
In passing Taxo left a legacy of kindness, respect, and spiritual intelligence. He also left illustrious teachings for all of The Americas.
To acknowledge Maestro Taxo’s death, and to honor him for all he gave to the world through his years of life, I offer a story.
It’s the story of the day that Taxo walked upon on the great plaza that sprawls before the entrance to the House of Mica (United Nations Headquarters) on the island of Manhattan. A man of respect, gratitude, and natural grace, don Alberto generously helped bring those qualities forward through an important ceremonial day.
It was Wednesday, August 9, 1995. I remember it vividly. It was the 48th day of the Sunbow 5 Walk for the Earth, a dedicated band of travelers on foot from the Atlantic toward the Pacific. I was among a small group of those Sunbow pilgrims that day. We journeyed to the UN specifically for ceremonies marking the first annual occasion where member nations of the UN would—at least on paper—formally recognize and honor the indigenous peoples of the world.
As the ceremony began mid-day, the murky Manhattan sky above the gleaming facade of the House of Mica, brought forth a sunbow, the rare, natural phenomenon of a circular rainbow hoop around the Sun. The whirling rainbow held its form and presence in the sky for over 90 minutes, the entire duration of the ceremony.
Altogether about 250 human beings—representing all nations, all ways—gathered on the UN’s plaza. But note: not one official from any of the world’s incorporated, industrialized nation states showed up to acknowledge, to listen, to engage.
Chief Oren Lyons, Onondaga Faithkeeper and professor at the State University of New York-Buffalo, served as master of ceremonies. He offered a gracious welcome. “For many hundreds of years,” Chief Lyons remarked, “it has been a daily struggle for the indigenous peoples of the Earth to survive. So we are happy to be here. We are happy to have survived.”
Delphine Red Shirt, Lakota, Chairperson of the NGO Committee on the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People, led a moving pipe ceremony. As she stood on the plaza before the UN and under the rainbow hoop around the Sun, she lifted her pipe high to honor everything, all relations, the sacred hoop of life.
Then Maestro Alberto Taxo came forward. He was a middle-aged then, about 40, hailing from the Andes Mountains of South America, a master Iachak of the Atis (Kichwa) people in the Cotopaxi region of Ecuador. An Iachak is someone who embodies and shares the wisdom of his tradition for the benefit of others, a leader for the community.
On the broad UN plaza, singing in Spanish, Taxo lifted a lilting, enchanting song honoring all Creation. As his final notes faded, everything became deeply still, a moment of grace.
Then Taxo began a brief oration. He spoke of the condor of the south and the eagle of the north, a reference to the widely-known teaching that one day the great sacred birds of both North and South America would fly together, cooperate, and establish a healthy, sustainable future that merges high intelligence with full, open hearts.
Often it is said, “when the eagle flies with the condor a lasting peace will reign in the Americas. It will spread throughout the world to unite humanity.”
As author Michelle Adam notes on her blog, “…like many native elders, he (Taxo) carried a 500-year-old teaching of his indigenous ancestors to prepare for an immense change for the earth and humanity, a ‘Pachacuti,’ that would occur at this time in history.”
The eagle and the condor would unite, some elders say, through the agency of the ethereally beautiful Central American quetzal bird. “Those of the center will unite the north and the south,” Mayan elder don Alejandro Cirilo Perez has proclaimed for decades. He also has worked to make this particular vision real.
The teaching foretells the coming together of two great powers: Eagle (the power of the mind as exemplified in the industrialized nations of the North) and Condor (the power of the heart, and connection with nature as expressed in indigenous ways of the South). Heart and mind.
Standing before the House of Mica in August 1995, don Alberto said the condor and the eagle have already met. The time for the fulfillment of this teaching is now.
He said the eagles of the north cannot be fully realized without the condors of the south, nor can the condors ascend without the eagles.
Taxo commented directly on the relationship between the technology-based cultures of the world (yang, or masculine, eagle in character), and the earth-based, or native, cultures (yin, or feminine, condor in character).
As he succinctly explained, profound social, political, and spiritual currents are at work in indigenous nations all around the globe. These dynamic currents parallel the vividly obvious dynamic currents in the technology-based cultures. The currents parallel, but do not generally intersect.
Mass, corporate media shuns this knowledge and these parallels, don Alberto said. Consequently, the public remains deprived of information about these crucial parallel developments, and thus the two sacred cultural currents of North and South America (eagle and condor) have difficulty finding each other to fly together.
But, Taxo said, they will find each other. In time eagle and condor will fly together in cooperation and peace.
A few weeks before Taxo’s death, in concert with natural rhythms on the Winter Solstice of December 2021, anthropologist Shirley Blancke published her book, The Way of Abundance and Joy: The Shamanic Teachings of don Alberto Taxo (Destiny Books).
In her new book Blancke writes, “The Condor gift that don Alberto (brought) to the lands of the Eagle is Sumak Kausay, which means Abundant Life in Kichwa. It is the indigenous Andes’ basic principle of living. It requires a kind of awareness, a living in the moment that entails a deep ability to feel connected to what is around us and appreciate the gifts nature and life bestow on us constantly.”
We all have that ability, Taxo taught. We need not behave automatically, like robots.
Kaypimi kani, kaypimi kanchik, elder Taxo taught: here I am, here we are. Fully present. Fully awake. Fully connected.
Through the example of his life, through circles and books, and through Shaman’s Portal and other communication vehicles, Maestro Alberto Taxo shared his teachings for many years. He encouraged all people, all nations, all spiritual pathways to cultivate a high level of awareness, respect, and gratitude. He taught that what is necessary for now and for our future is an authentic and graceful connection with the whole, the great hoop of which we all are part.
Now don Alberto Taxo has crossed to spirit. He rests. Descansa en paz. May he rest in peace.