The Chakana is the sacred cross of the Andean Tradition. The Chakana symbolises, through its design, balance harmony and wholeness in all areas of life. Firstly, it represents all 5 elements, in the north is air, in the south is water, the east is fire and the west is earth. The top arm of the Chakana is held in the East with the fire. In the centre is the 5th element, which in the Andean Tradition is the active force of love which emanates from the void. In the steps the 3 worlds are represented, the bottom level is the Uju Pacha which is the underworld (sub conscious) and the animal symbol for the underworld is the snake. Then the middle section is the Kay Pacha which is the present world (normal consciousness) and the animal symbol for the present world is the puma.The top section is the Hanag Pacha which is the upper world (super conscious) and the animal symbol for the upper world is the condor.It holds, within the steps, the principles of the tradition. They are Yachay, Llankay and Munay.
Yachay means knowledge in its basic expression, but its higher expression is wisdom. It is knowledge, which has been integrated through experience and is externalized as wisdom. We must live what we know and master it in our daily lives. Llankay (pronounced ylang kai) Llankay relates to work, labour and productivity. It is to work in an honest way and to be honest in your work. It is to work for the betterment and greater good of yourself and your family, your community and humanity (your greater family). Munay is a word that simply means love and is the principle present in all others. It is not simply the love between a man and a woman, a mother and a child, although these interactions can contain the infinite expressions of Munay. It is the expression of unconditional love. It contains a deep- seated compassion for all livings things and their suffering.
The Chakana teaches us love of self, love of humanity and love of Ille Tisci Wiracocha (our Creator). It contains many teaching and was also used for practical purposes, for example it contains the lunar and solar calendars, which were vital in their agriculture.