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Myth / Inca Mythology

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Inti the Sun god. Credit to el-grimlock.

Like their Mesoamerican counterparts, South America's Andean cultures also tend to be poorly understood. Despite that, their beliefs are radically different and actually more in syntony with European sensibilities. The most important part of the myths tend to concern the foundation of the empire and the emperors, who were known as Sapa Inca (Sapa means "Great" in Quechua).

For information on other cultures in the region, see:

One important thing regarding Inca society is that "Inca" is not actually the name that they used to refer to themselves. The actual name of the empire is actually Tawantinsuyu ("The Four Realms") while Inca (Inka) actually refers to the ruling class of the empire.

While the Inca had various deities that they worshipped, the one that tends to be considered to be most important is Inti, the Sun God. The Sapa Inca claimed descent from him.


  • Brother–Sister Incest: Inti (sun god) and Mama Quilla (moon goddess); Manco Cápac (the Founder of the Kingdom) and Mama Occlo (fertility goddess), who are the son and daughter of the first two respectively.
  • Creation Myth
  • Divine Incest: Inti (sun) and his older sister Mama Quilla (moon) are a married Solar and Lunar God Couple.
  • Everybody Hates Hades: Played with. The Spaniards heard about Supay, the god of death, and assumed he was their version of the Devil...because unlike most death gods, he actively does cause death and is known to be extremely greedy. He's fair, though — he takes lives as repayment for taking his property, ore from the Earth, and will give fantastic wealth and success in return for a significant portion of your lifespan.
  • Giant Flyer: The Andean condor, possibly the largest flying bird in the world. Associated mainly with Inti, the sun.
  • The Great Flood: Paricia (sometimes Viracocha) sent a flood to humans who did not respect him.
  • Hot Goddess: Most of the Inca goddesses, but special mention goes to Mama Quilla, the goddess of the moon and patron of womanhood.
  • Jerkass Gods: Pachacamac, one of Inti and Mama Quilla's sons and an earth/fertility god. He created the first two humans, but forgot to make them food to eat, so they starved. When the man starved to death, Pachacamac decided to answer her pleas... by dismembering her dead husband and creating food plants from his remains. This didn't sit right with her or the other gods, so Inti caused the woman to become pregnant, and her son, Wichama, drove Pachacamac into the sea.
  • King Incognito: Viracocha typically shows up on Earth as a beggar, clutching a staff and looking humble. Anyone who gives to him gets a glimpse of his true glory.
  • Manly Tears: Viracocha, the creator god, constantly weeps from the cruelty men commit against each other.
  • Master of Threads: Mama Ocllo was the daughter of the sun god Inti and the moon goddess Mama Killa. She taught women the art of spinning thread.
  • Odd Job Gods: A number, as per usual. Namely, Cocamama, the goddess of the coca leaf. An important medicinal and ritual herb, yes, but given that now the leaf is used to harvest cocaine...
  • The Power of the Sun: Inti.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Snakes were associated with the underworld, and with Supay, the hideous and fearsome death god.
  • Top God: Inti is the king of the Inca deities, though his father, Viracocha, is the creator.
  • Trickster God: Coniraya, a god of moon, fertility, and sorcery, who often was involved with some shenanigans (like impregnating a goddess via a fruit and disguising himself as an ugly beggar when she was interrogating everyone as to who the father was, which caused the goddess to jump into the sea and turn into a rock out of shame).
  • Wise Serpent: In Peruvian mythology (specifically, Incan and Tiwanaku), there's the figure of Amaru. Depending on the recount, Amaru can be a mix of different, Andean animals (such as condors and llamas) but the base is always a winged, giant serpent who is the symbol of wisdom; reason why Research/Knowledge Houses feature Amaru as a carved motif. Additionally, Amaru is of the few deities that can freely traverse the three Pachas (worlds): Hanan (celestial world), Kay (present world), and Uku (Mother Earth) because of the variety of animals that comprise it. Amaru is, however, more heavily associated with the Uku Pacha because of his status as a reptilian — snakes, and therefore Amaru, lurk the closest to the ground, the death, and Mother Earth. Moreover, the key to life is said to be written on Amaru's scales.

Alternative Title(s): Quechua Mythology