The culture of Peru is very rich in historical details and traditions. One of its most incredible parts is the Inca mythology and which gods made it up. The Inca gods and their qualities were recognized for their classic representation of the natural environment and astrological background. So the religious pantheon of the Incas was made up of different deities. And the Inca Empire was a fairly religious civilization, where the vast majority of daily aspects were related to the gods. From its architecture, its daily ceremonies, and its ways of seeing life. Therefore, together with the Machu Travel Peru team, we want to tell you everything about this wonderful place. Know in-depth the different Inca gods and their main attributes.
Everything you need to know about the Inca Gods
The different civilizations that lived in the Peruvian Andes were quite religious. Even before joining or being conquered by the Inca Empire. And much of the Inca mythology was composed of deities that were related to nature or the vision of the heavens. Everything the Incas did had great religious connotations. And religion was directly related to everyday life. Everything the Incas did had great religious significance.
But the most outstanding qualities of the Inca gods were concentrated in the presentation and worship of the natural world that surrounded them. Each aspect and natural element was motivated by different spirits or ancestors that extended the sacred plane. And the Inca gods lived both on earth and in the heavens. Each of them had a specific goal that influenced many aspects of daily life. And the hierarchy of the gods was established by the importance of the different purposes of the gods.
Also, many Inca gods used to be related to elements of nature or inanimate objects. For example, rivers, mountains, plants, rain, and lightning were part of the Inca pantheon. Even the moon, the sun, and other deities in the form of jaguars, condors, and other animals. Also, the Inca gods were not perfect, they had patterns of human behavior. So they could feel human emotions like hate and love. But, did the Inca have major gods? Yes, Viracocha was the greatest creator god. Together with Inti, they were the most worshiped gods within the Inca Empire.
HISTORY OF RELIGION
The Incas were an Empire that conquered great civilizations previously settled there. So during the years of conquest, the Incas integrated the different civilizations and peoples around. This largely caused the Inca culture to come into contact with various religious beliefs. And from this contact arose a kind of fusion of beliefs and customs. And in the many civilizations that the Incas conquered, beliefs about the creation of man and the world abounded. So the Inca mythology placed a lot of emphasis on the stories and considered these to be of real importance. And a great majority of these peoples and cultures transmitted their stories orally since none of the civilizations of the Andes developed an official writing system. Although there were other ways of transmitting the mythology of the Inca gods. If you are looking to enjoy tourism in Peru, you should not miss the different deities.
HOW THE WORLD WAS MADE UP FOR THE INCAS
The Inca Trilogy, also known as the Andean Trilogy, was one of the ways of conceiving the Inca mythology. This was divided into the Hanan Pacha, which represents the heavens and was where the gods resided. Then followed the Kay Pacha, that is, the land, where humans live. And finally, there was the Uku Pacha, that is to say, the underworld, or the world of the dead. Each of these parts of the Inca Trilogy was the way to classify the world and the world of the gods.
Hanan Pacha translates to “world of heaven” and was largely represented by a Condor. The Condor was sacred to the Incas and they believed that it communicated the upper world with the earthly world. That is, the Hanan Pacha with the Kay Pacha. While Kay Pacha translates as the “world of life”, and is represented by a Puma. This symbolizes courage, strength, intelligence, and freedom. If you were looking to visit Machu Picchu, you will find that there are temples in honor of the Inca gods.
Uku Pacha translates to “underworld” and was represented by a serpent. It lived underground, in caves at the bottom of rivers and lakes. The serpent symbolizes the world below and symbolizes wisdom and cunning.
The Inca Empire had a true pantheon of different gods. So, how many gods did Inca have? It could be considered that there were more than 15 Inca gods. All of these had a different function that determined their position in the hierarchy. Anthropomorphic deities were believed to have human characteristics and feelings. So the natural phenomena that we see today were caused by the Inca gods. In addition, these Inca gods had places of worship or temples known as “Huacas”. These places were where the Incas offered and made sacrifices and offerings to the gods.
Furthermore, life after death was fervently believed. So civilizations mummified the bodies of those who died. Mummies were believed to offer protection, so sacrifices were made in their honor. But, Who were the 3 main gods of Inca? Viracocha, Inti and Mama Quilla. Although Pacha Mama could also be considered among the top three. An ideal way to know the mysteries of Machu Picchu is to know a little about the history of the Inca Gods.
Among the different Inca gods, Viracocha was the most important Inca god of all. Viracocha is possibly a deity that has belonged to the nomadic peoples of Peru. This deity was venerated by numerous cultures that inhabited the Peruvian Andes. But over time his belief spread to numerous other regions of the country.
Viracocha or Wiracocha is the creator god of everything. And that is why he is considered one of the first divinities and one of the most important. His cult was reserved for the Inca nobility. According to oral tradition, it is believed that Wiracocha arose from the waters to later create heaven and earth. Among the different gods, Viracocha was one of the most important in the hierarchy.
Viracocha was the creator god of both the Incas and the pre-Inca peoples. He was in charge of creating the earth, humans, and animals. And he had a huge list of different titles. He was known as Elder, Elder of Heaven, and Lord Instructor of the World. Besides, he is even credited with being the creator of the Tiwanaku civilization. From which the Incas inherited much of their culture. As for the form of him, Viracocha had numerous transfigurations.
His story tells that after emerging from the waters and embarking on a long journey. He decided to create heaven and earth, therefore he is the god in charge of creating everything. But on his travels, he was accompanied by Inti, another of the Inca gods. This one was in the shape of a magical bird that knew what had happened and what will happen. And for this reason, the Inca emperors adorned their crowns with large feathers to simulate that they belonged to the Inti. This gave them the “knowledge” necessary to reign.
The Inca civilization worshiped the sun, and the Sun was one of the most important Inca gods in the pantheon. The God Inti as he was known, was the god of agriculture. Inti was represented and symbolized as a disk of the sun with rays and a human face in its center. And even though the chosen priests, nobles, and women served all the Inca gods, the Sun was one of the most powerful and worshiped deities. Furthermore, he was Viracocha’s traveling companion. He always offered him offerings and tributes of gold, silver, and precious stones. Furthermore, gold was considered the tears of the god Inti. So it is assumed that his cult was strictly reserved for the Inca nobility. In addition to being the father of the first Inca, his cult was reserved for the ethnic family of the Sapa Inca.
Inti was the father of Sapa Inca, the first Inca, and the founder of the Empire. He was chosen to be represented by him and his sacred character. One of the most important festivities to celebrate the god Inti was the Inti Raymi. This took place every June 24 during the winter solstice. To honor the god Inti, numerous and incredible temples were built in the main administrative centers of the Empire.
The wife of the Sun god Inti was known as Mama Quilla or Mama Kilya. Mama Quilla translates to Mother Moon. And she was in charge of regulating women’s menstrual cycles. It is believed that the different lunar cycles were used to calculate the monthly cycles. From which the time periods for other Inca festivities were established. Unlike gold, silver was considered the tears of the Moon. Within the Machu Picchu tours, you will be able to know more about the different Inca gods.
This is another of the Inca gods that we cannot ignore. Illapu or Illapa was in charge of giving rain. He was the god of thunder, rain, and war. If you were wondering who was the Inca war god? This is your answer. Illapa was the god of weather and war as well as being the god of rain. He was also an agricultural deity to whom the common Inca addressed his prayers for rain. The temples in honor of Illapu used to be found in high places. And in some of the most popular tourist destinations in Peru, you can find temples in honor of this deity.
Besides, in times of drought pilgrimages were made to the temples. Furthermore, the prayers were accompanied by sacrifices, which were often human. People believed that the shadow of Illapu was in the Milky Way, where the water that was poured into our land was drawn.
Pacha Mama is Mother Nature. She was one of the Inca gods in charge of being the sustenance of nature in general. She is Mother Earth and the goddess of fertility, crops, and much more. Offerings to Mother Earth had to be generous to be large enough. Otherwise, the crops could not be important enough. Many of the Peruvian souvenirs come with themes of the different gods.
Pachacamac is one of the Inca gods that can be a bit confusing. For some cultures, he was the same god as Viracocha. But for other cultures he was known as the god of tremors. He was also considered the creator of the world, which is why he is largely associated with Viracocha. He is recognized for being an unscrupulous god, going so far as to kill his own wife and one of his children. His dead wife was sent to the earth cut into small pieces thus fertilizing the whole earth. He was dethroned by Wichama, one of his sons.
Among the different deities, Mama Cocha was the goddess of the Sea. She was entrusted by the fishermen so that the waters were calm. In addition, she was asked to fish in abundance. She represented everything feminine, and also calmed the waters, and helped good fishing. She was highly revered among the women of the Empire. Since she was a goddess related to the entire female world.
There was a great variety of Inca gods that were no less important. Just like Supay, the god of death and the lord of evil spirits. Today, in certain Andean lands the Devil is known and named as Supay. Mama Sara is the goddess of corn and food in general. The most essential foods for the Incas were potatoes, corn, and coca. Coyllur was the Inca goddess of the stars. And there were also other deities but their worship depended on the situation and the needs of the culture.
The Apus were also considered important deities. For the Incas, the mountains had life and were part of the spiritual plane. Much influence was attributed to them to provide protection to the inhabitants who lived in their surroundings. And despite the fact that the Inca Empire disappeared hundreds of years ago, today there are many peoples in the Andes that preserve the tradition and worship of the Apus. Even Machu Picchu is located in the heights, surrounded by important Apus.
“A SENSE OF CONTINUITY WITH THE REST OF CREATION IS A FORM OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE ESSENTIAL TO SANITY”
As you will see, there are numerous Inca gods. And many of them are still somewhat valid within the Andean culture. We hope that our article has been useful for you to know what our ancient Inca culture left us. Machu Travel Peru is delighted to help you get to know part of our history and culture. And if you want to know more, we recommend that you get to know our country. For this, you can consult with our team of qualified advisers. They will be happy to help you fulfill the trip of your dreams. Do not miss it!