Inca Creation Myths

Inca Creation Myths

The Incan account of creation is known based on what was recorded by priests, from the iconography on Incan pottery and architecture, and the myths and legends which survived amongst the native peoples. According to these accounts, in the most ancient of times the earth was covered in darkness.

Then, out of a lake called Collasuyu (modern Titicaca), the god Con Tiqui Viracocha emerged, bringing some human beings with him. Then Con Tiqui created the sun (Inti), the moon and the stars to light the world. It is from Inti that the Sapa Inca, emperor of Tawantin Suyu, is descended. Out of great rocks Con Tiqui fashioned more human beings, including women who were already pregnant.

Then he sent these people off into every corner of the world. He kept a male and female with him at Cusco, the “navel of the world.”

Con, the Creator; was in the form of a man without bones. He filled the earth with good things to supply the needs of the first humans.

The people, however, forgot Con’s goodness to them and rebelled. So he punished them by stopping the rainfall. The miserable people were forced to work hard, drawing what little water they could find from stinking, drying riverbeds.

Then a new god, Pachacamac, came and drove Con out, changing his people into monkeys. Pachacamac then took earth and made the ancestors of human beings.

The founder of the first dynasty of the kingdom of Cuzco was Manco Capac.

In one legend he was brought up from the depths of Lake Titicaca by the sun god Inti. In another he was the son of Tici Viracocha.

However commoners were not allowed to speak the name of Viracocha, which is possibly an explanation for the need for two foundation legends.In one myth Manco Capac was the brother of Pachacamac, both were sons of the sun god Inti who is also known as Apu Punchau.

Manco Capac himself was worshiped as a fire and sun god. According to the Inti legend, Manco Capac and his siblings were sent up to the earth by the sun god and emerged from the cave of Pacaritambo carrying a golden staff, called ‘tapac-yauri’.

They were instructed to create a Temple of the Sun in the spot where the staff sank into the earth, they traveled to Cusco via underground caves, and built a temple in honor of the sun god Inti, their father. During the journey to Cuzco, one of Manco’s brothers, and possibly one of his sisters, were turned to stone (huaca).

In another version of this legend, instead of emerging from a cave in Cuzco, the siblings instead emerged from the waters of Lake Titicaca.

In the Tici Virachocha legend, Manco Capac was the son of Tici Viracocha of Pacari-Tampu (today Pacaritambo, 25 km south of Cuzco).

He and his brothers (Ayar Anca, Ayar Cachi and Ayar Uchu) and sisters (Mama Ocllo, Mama Huaco, Mama Raua and Mama Cura) lived near Cuzco at Paccari-Tampu, and united their people and ten ayllu they encountered in their travels to conquer the tribes of the Cuzco Valley.

This legend also incorporates the golden staff, which is thought to have been given to Manco Capac by his father. Accounts vary, but according to some versions of the legend, the young Manco jealously betrayed his older brothers, killed them, and became the sole ruler of Cuzco

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