Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Pachamama, Inca Goddess of the Earth
Pachamama was honored as an Earth Mother Goddess by the Inca people. She was worshiped in the Andes Mountains in an area that stretched from Colombia to Argentina which also includes Peru, Bolivia and Chile. She was seen as a dragon woman who lived in the mountains and when she moved she created earthquakes. She was also viewed as the universe itself and the Great Creatrix. Her name translates to mean "World Mother".
Pachamama is also honored as a goddess of planting and harvesting and as such was honored at harvest festivals. Often referred to as the "Good Mother", Pachamama is said to be the mother of the sun and moon. Her consort in myth is Pacha Camac although some sources say that it is Inti, the sun god. Pachamama and Inti were both worshiped as benevolent deities and were both seen as extremely important deities in the Inca pantheon.
The month of August was especially sacred to Pachamama as this was the coldest month of the winter for the Inca people. Illness was more prevalent during this time so families performed cleansing rituals in their homes in order to scare off evil entities. On the eve of August 1, families would cook a lavish meal in honor of Pachamama. Before anyone was allowed to eat they first had to give a plate of food to Pachamama. Holes were dug in the ground and if the soil was in good condition it signified a bountiful year. If not it was a bad omen for the coming year.
Pachamama was also honored throughout the year in many other festivities. Before every festivity people would make a toast in her honor by spilling some chicha, a fermented drink, on the floor and then drinking the rest. This toast is known as challa and it's said to be made almost everyday. Also sacred to Pachamama is "Challa's Tuesday" where people would bury food and burn incense in her honor. During these festivals people would sacrifice llama's to the goddess for good luck. The most important ritual in honor of Pachamama was said to be the Challaco. During this ritual families were said to cook a special food and take it to a nearby pond to give to Pachamama as on offering. They would then give a series of different offerings to Pachamama that consisted of drink, food, coca leaves and cigars.
Pachamama's sacred animals are the puma and the snake. The dragon is also sacred to her as she herself is viewed as a dragoness. The puma was also seen as a sacred animal to the Inca people in general. Pachamama represents the fertile earth and the mountains as well as the sun, moon and stars. She is the Great Creatrix of the universe and she is the universe itself. Pachamama teaches us to care for her fertile world and if we do she will be bountiful.
Picture courtesy of Hrana Janto
Posted by Tara at 9:58 AM