The most imposing of the sacred mountains on earth, the one that has the most beautiful decoration, is located at Lima’s door, 80 kilometers to the east, amid the peaks of the Andes. More than eighty-five centuries ago, a powerful people, forger of a complete culture, made a reservoir within this mountain from the seasonal rains in order to irrigate the surrounding lands during the dry season. The people converted the plateau into an impregnable fortress and a religious center with four enormous altars. They surrendered their dead to the condors and decorated the three square kilometers with hundreds of marvelous sculptures by which anyone must be impressed. It took so many hours of labor for the building and the decoration of these works, that we are assured that the people must have enjoyed hundreds of years of a flourishing economy.
The lines that are traced by these monuments follow a secret map with only one ending point: the entrance to the subterranean cave that exists in all of the sacred mountains. Many groups of people were saved in these caves during the mythical Noah’s flood. In these same caves many other groups of people will be saved during the next catastrophe.
In 1918, I dedicated to the young people of Peru my first poems, and 60 years later in 1978, I dedicated to them, at my first lecture in Miraflores, the works that I accomplished in Brazil and Mexico, in France and in England, in Romania and Egypt, to prove with them that Markawasi is not merely an isolated plateau, subjected to impossible erosion, but is the most important of all the sacred mountains on earth, and also to give credit to its very real culture and symbolism.
Markawasi is the symbol of a new generation and the cultural foundation that that generation needs to project itself into the future with faith and enthusiasm.
This book is, truly, the mysterious history of a discovery. The account begins in 1905 when we were five years old. That year, Pedro Astete born in 1871, had a dream about Masma in the city of Andahuaylas, and he oriented his life around this dream. He decided to undertake studies about prehistory, first in Buenos Aires, from 1911 to 1923, and then in Lima, until his death in 1940.
In Buenos Aires in 1915, Astete edited a version of his dream, which we reproduced, and an explanation of his prehistorical and historical theories, about which we also give some pages to the reader so that he may form an idea about the basis on which we began our studies. He brought to Buenos Aires his notebooks about the chess symbolism and other symbolic relationships. He had worked for 11 years, and had discovered a very old symbolic system that pertains to the swastica, of which there are representations in all known cultures, but which also pertains to the tower or wheel, a figure that no one before had ever explained. It concerns a system of figures that are presented in a series in a squared cross-section; that is to say, in a two-dimensional space in proportion to the cross, repeated in both directions at equal intervals.
He had also discovered many combinations of these figures that consist of pentacles, and he graphically explains the most important symbols and symbolic systems of mankind, known from time immemorial and which have been saved from being forgotten from generation to generation through fantastic stories, in sacred books and in legends, in spite of various translations and ignorant interpolations.
We became associated with these studies in 1924. In December of that year we discovered the first prehistoric sculptures on the hill of San Cristobal, next to the city of Lima, as we will relate farther on.