Aharaigichi is in the mythology of the Abipone Indians of South America, a principal god, identified with the Pleiades. Martin Dobrizhoffer, a Jesuit priest in the 18th century, spent 18 years as a missionary in Paraguay. He wrote of the beliefs of the Abipone in his book History of the Abipones, which both praises and condemns the Indians.

I said that the Abipones were commendable for their wit and strength of mind, but ashamed of my too hasty praise, I retract my words and pronounce them fools, idiots, and madmen. Lo! this is the proof of their insanity! They are unacquainted with God, and with the very name of God, yet they affectionately salute the evil spirit, whom they call Aharaigichi, or Queevet, with the title of grandfather, Groaperikie. Him they declare to be their grandfather, and that of the Spaniards, but with this difference, that to the latter he gives gold and silver and fine clothes, but to them he transmits valour.

Dobrizhoffer then goes on to inform his readers that the constellation Pleiades is believed to be closely connected with Aharaigichi, and when it “disappears at certain periods from the sky of South America . . . they [the Indians] suppose that their grandfather is sick” and is going to die. When the stars return again in May, the Indians “with joyful shouts, and the festive sound of pipes and trumpets,” congratulate him on the “recovery of his health.”


Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow– Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante

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