Viracocha: An Andean Creation Myth

January 7th, 2010

In the beginning, Lord Con Ticci Viracocha, prince and creator of all things, emerged from the void and created the earth and the heavens. He rose from Lake Titicaca at the dawn of life…

By Cantaré

Then he created animals and a race of giants (who lived in eternal darkness as he had neglected to create a source of light). These beings enraged the Lord, and he turned them into stone. Then he flooded the earth till all was under water, and all life extinguished. In a new start, he created the sun, moon, and stars.



Then he created new birds and animals. Again he decided to form human beings: these he fashioned from stone. Some he painted with long hair, some with short hair; some women he painted as pregnant, some as caring for the babies fashioned beside them; and on each figure he painted the clothes they would continue to wear. Finally he divided the stone figures into groups, giving each group its own language, its own food to grow, and its own songs to sing. Then he buried all the figures in the earth to await his command that would bring them to life.

Viracocha then summoned his helpers and told them to go forth on the earth in different directions to prepare places for the new humans to occupy.

Viracocha then traveled the land, calling each group into life as he passed the land they were to populate, whereupon he taught them how to live on the land selected for them.

When they were finished with their teachings, Viracocha and his companions bade farewell to the people and walked away on the waves of the ocean to disappear toward the setting sun.

When he came to a province of Cacha, Viracocha called the Indians in this area to emerge. But these people came out armed, and, as they did not know who Viracocha was when they saw him, they rushed to Viracocha with their weapons raised ready to kill him.

When Viracocha saw them coming, he realized their malicious intentions and instantly caused fire to fall from heaven, burning the mountains nearest to the people. When they saw the volcano the people realized the power of Viracocha and feared that they would die in the fire. Throwing their weapons to the ground, they went straight to Viracocha and kneeled themselves before him.

When Viracocha saw this he took a staff in his hand and went to where the volcano was. He gave it two or three blows with his staff, which put it out forever, and then he told the Indians that he was their maker.

To remember their origins, and the miraculous activities of Viracocha, the Canas Indians built a majestic huaca, which means a shrine or idol, at the place where Viracocha stood when he called the fire from heaven and from which he went to put it out.

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