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An image of the main Incan god, Viracocha

October – Week 2 – Incan Gods

This week I finally got to dive deep into the mythology of the Incan Empire. I learned that it involves a lot of gods, discovered the various different Incan origin stories, and finally got to read some Incan myths. All in all, it was a fascinating week.

First up was understanding how the Incas viewed the world with regards to the concept of pacha. Pacha means cosmos, and it encompasses the entirety of time and space. The Incan pacha is divided into three levels. One, hanan pacha, or the upper world of the sun, moon, stars, and lightning. Two, kay pacha, or the living world of humans, animals, mountains, rivers, and plants. And three, ukhu pacha, or the inner spiritual world and the afterlife. All three levels constantly interact with each other, and they all contain elements of good and evil.

They also contain gods, of which there are a lot in Incan mythology. However, the four most common are Viracocha, Inti, Mama Killa, and Pachamama. Viracocha is the creator god, who rose out of Lake Titicaca to create the world. It is said that his first creation was a dark world inhabited by giants that held no good. So Viracocha sent a flood to rid the world of his creations, before starting over by creating humans out of clay. He then traveled the world, bringing knowledge and civilization to the people, before walking out into the Pacific Ocean and leaving the world to his children. Apparently Viracocha was so sacred, his name was rarely said out loud, and he was mostly worshipped by the nobility.

He was also the father of all of the other gods, most notably Inti, the sun god, and his sister wife, Mamma Killa, the goddess of the moon. Inti was the most important of the Incan gods, because the sun brought the warmth needed for agriculture in the unforgiving environment of the Andes. It was also said that the very first Incan king, Manco Capac, was the son of Inti, and therefore the Incan kings could all claim a direct lineage to the gods. However, while Inti may have been considered the most important god, the most endearing was Pachamama, or the earth mother. Pachamama is still revered among the indigenous peoples of the Andes Mountains to this day.

I finished the week by finally getting to read some Incan myths. I read about the origins of the Incan Empire, and how Manco Capac was gifted a golden staff by his father Inti. It was said that this staff would sink into the ground where Manco should found his Empire. After travelling for some time, the staff finally sunk into the ground where the city of Cusco is now located. Cusco was the capital city of the Incan Empire for centuries. I also read a myth called The Legend of the Shepherd and the Daughter of the Sun, which was a wild ride, let me tell you.

All in all, I loved this past week. I love reading mythology, and Andean mythology so far has been fascinating. I’m very much looking forward to reading more stories and myths in these final couple of weeks.

Happy Sunday all!

Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!