The Inca Empire was a highly developed civilization that ruled much of western South America. The empire extended from Peru to Chile and ruled from the ﬁfteenth century until the Spanish arrived in 1532.
Major deities and mythical places and beings are presented here with the intention of giving storytellers a starting place for further research and telling of Incan tales.
Viracocha was the supreme god of the Inca people. He was the creator of the world and of humankind. His wife, Mama Cocha (Sea Mother), was the goddess of the sea.
Viracocha’s son was Inti, the Inca sun god and ancestor, who was portrayed as a golden sun disk with a human face. With his consort Mama Quilla, Inti sired the legendary ﬁrst Inca Manco Capac I. The ruling Inca was considered to be the representative of Inti on Earth. Mama Quills (Mother Moon or Golden Mother) was the moon goddess. She oversaw marriages, the calendar, and feast days.
Pachacamac was a son of Inti. He was a creator deity that predated Inca religion and was worshipped in the city named for him. Pachacamac is said to have created the ﬁrst man and woman, but he forgot to provide them with food. When the man died, the woman accused Pachacamac of neglect, whereupon he made her fertile, and she bore a son. The god killed the son and cut the corpse in pieces. From these pieces grew the various fruits and vegetables.
A second son, called Vichama, escaped Pachacamac, so the god slew the mother. Vichama avenged his mother’s death by driving Pachacamac into the sea. He took further revenge by turning the humans who had been created by Pachacamac into rocks and islands. Afterward, Vichama hatched three eggs, from which a new race of humans was born.
Another son of Inti was Kon, the rain god and god of the southern wind. He and his brother battled Pachacamac. Whenever Pachacamac drove Kon back to the north, Kon would take the rains along with him and cause drought.
Other Incan deities included Cocomama, or Mama Coca, who was the goddess of the hearth and of joy. She was portrayed as the coca plant. Chasca was the goddess of dawn and twilight, and the protector of virgins and young girls. Mama Allpa was the harvest and earth goddess. She was usually portrayed with many breasts. Zaramama, or Mamazara, was the goddess of grain, said to be incarnated in strangely shaped ears of corn.
Apotequil, or Apocatequil, was the goddess of lightning, while Manco Camac was the sun god and god of ﬁre, and brother of Pachacamac. Supay was the god of death and lord of the Incan underworld.
Places and Things
Ono Pacakoti was the great ﬂood of Incan myth, sent by Viracocha to destroy the race of giants he had created. He saved only two to assist him in re-creating the world and a new race of people. Hanan Pacha (higher world) was the Inca heaven. Only the souls of the just could reach it, crossing over a narrow bridge woven from hair. Uca Pacha was the lower world, the underworld at the center of the earth. A cold, dark place, it housed the eternally hungry souls of the damned.