Gods of the Inca


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The Inca civilization began as a tribe in the Cuzco area.  The Kingdom of Cusco was founded c.1200 by the first Sapa Inca, Manco Capac. In one legend, his father was Tici Viracocha, whose name was so sacred that commoners were not allowed to speak it. In another legend, he was brought up from the depths of Lake Titicaca by the sun god Inti.  Under the leadership of the descendants of Manco Capac, the state expanded and absorbed other Andean city-states. In 1442, the Incas began a far reaching expansion under the command of Pachacutec, whose name literally meant earth-shaker. He formed the Inca empire (Tawantinsuyu), which would become the largest empire in pre-Columbian America.


The Spanish invaders, led by Francisco Pizarro, were helped by a Inca civil war whose warring leaders were the brothers Huascar and Atahualpa.  The Spanish conquered the Inca territory in 1533.   They subsequently consolidated their power over the whole Andean region and repressed successive Inca rebellions until the establishment of the Viceroyalty of Peru in 1542. Pizarro burned the records of the Inca culture, which had been kept on knotted cords called Quipus.


The final resistance of the Incas collapsed in 1572 at Vilcabamba.  Some Inca traditions remain in ethnic groups such as the Quechuas and Aymaras.


As mentioned elsewhere in these articles, the Romans avoided religious conflict to a large extent by simply incorporating into their own pantheon of gods, the gods of the people they conquered.  The Inca adopted a similar strategy. The following lists some of the principle Inca gods.




Aztlán (land of the herons) - the original home of the Mexica

Mictlan - the underworld

Tlalocan first paradise

Tonatiuhichan highest paradise

Tehuantepec place of the hill of the sacred jaguar

Tlillan-Tlapallan middle realm of the heaven (middle paradise)


Apo or Apu

*   God of mountains



Apocatequil or Apotequil

*   God of lightning and chief priest of the Moon god Coniraya

*   Son of Guamansuri, a legendary mortal who had the dubious distinction of being the very first human to be murdered by his brother-in-law, Guachimines,, he had a twin brother called Piguerao and may have been a partner of Apu-Illapu the God of Thunder.



*   God who assisted in the creation myth



*   God of thunder and lightning



*   Virgin goddess




* Cavillace, the most beautiful of women, was sitting under a tree weaving when Coniraya happened by, dressed as a poor Indian.  He made a play for her but being unsuccessful, unknown to Cavillace he fashioned a fruit from his sperm, a ripe, golden, orange fruit, as he was also a magician as well as being the moon god.   He offered the fruit to Cavillace and she ate the fruit.


*  Cavillace eventually gave birth to a son and she demanded to know who the father was. Everyone dressed in their most splendid clothes hoping to be noticed except for Coniraya who was dressed as a poor Indian.  She reasoned that anyone who could work such powerful magic must be very significant among the gods.  No one owned up so when the baby was a year old and could crawl, she placed the baby on the ground reasoning that he would crawl towards his father.  He crawled towards Coniraya.   when he reached his feet, he looked up and stretched out his arms.


*  Coniraya was a dressed as a lowly Indian and Cavillace was ashamed.  She ran away, not pausing to look behind her.  If she had done she would have seen that Coniraya had transformed his clothes into his finest regalia.  She ran to the coast of Peru, where she changed herself and her son into rocks.






*   Goddess of dawn, twilight, and equivalent to Venus in the Roman pantheon.


*   She protected virgin girls and was fond of fluffy clouds.



Chasca Coyllur

*   Goddess of flowers and young maidens.



Kuka Mama or Mama Kuka

*   Goddess of health and joy

*   She was originally a promiscuous woman who was cut in half by her many lovers. Her body grew into the first coca plant, the leaves of which men were only allowed to chew (to bring health and happiness) after having given a woman an orgasm.




God of the moon

Entranced by Cavillaca but unable to win her favours, he fashioned his sperm into a fruit and offered it to Cavillaca, which she then ate. When she gave birth to a son, she demanded that the father step forward. No one did, so she put the baby on the ground and it crawled towards Coniraya. She was ashamed because of Coniraya's was a dressed as a lowly Indian, and she ran to the coast of Peru, where she transformed herself and her son into rocks.
















*   Lake goddess known for her destructive powers.  Worship of Copacati centred on Tiahuanaco .




*   God of the hearth, plenty and wealth

*   The ancients made dolls that represented him and placed a miniature version of their desires onto the doll; this was believed to caused the user to receive what he wished for the following year.  It is considered bad luck to remove those objects from the doll.


Illapa  or Apu Illapu,

*   Weather god


*   He was said to keep the Milky Way in a jug and use it to create rain. His holiday was observed on July 25th . His earthly appearance was as a man in shining clothes, carrying a club as a weapon and stones. He was the main god of the Collasuyu province of the Inca empire.



*   Sun god


*   The most important god, he was a source of warmth and light and a protector of the people. The Inca Emperors were believed to be the his descendants. He was a patron deity of Tahuantinsuyu, the Spanish name for the Inca empire. He is considered to be the son of Viracocha, the god of civilization (and everything).



*   God of rain and wind that came from the south


*   He was a son of Inti and Mama Quilla.


Mama Allpa

*   Fertility goddess depicted with multiple breasts.


Mama Cocha ("sea mother")

*   Sea and fish goddess, protectress of sailors and fishermen

*   In one legend she mothered Inti and Mama Quilla with Viracocha.


Mama Pacha or Pachamama

*   Wife of Pachacamac and a dragoness fertility deity

*   She presided over planting and harvesting. She caused earthquakes.


Mama Quilla

*   Marriage, festival and moon goddess

*   Daughter of Viracocha and Mama Cocha, as well as wife and sister of Inti. She was the mother of Manco Capac, Pachacamac, Kon and Mama Ocllo.


Mama Zara

*   Goddess of grain

*   She was associated with maize that grew in multiples or were similarly strange. These strange plants were sometimes dressed as dolls of Mama Zara. She was also associated with willow trees.


Pacha Camac

*   Creator god

*   earlier worshiped by the Ichma but later adopted into the creation myth of the Inca.



*   God of water in pre-Inca mythology that was adopted by the Inca.

*   He was a god of rainstorms and a creator-god. He was born a falcon but later became human.



*   God who sent a flood to kill humans who did not respect him adequately

*   Possibly another name for Pachacamac.



*   God of death

*   and ruler of the Uca Pacha as well as a race of demons.



*   God of metals, jewels and other underground items of great value.



*   Deity that watched over animals

*   .

Viracocha was the god of civilisation and the god of everything.

*   In the beginning he was the main god, but when Pachacutec became Inca, he changed this god importance pointing that it was Inti who allowed him to defeated the chancas (Incas' main enemies at that time)


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