Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wiraqocha: The Creator

In Inca mythology, Apu Qun Tiqsi Wiraqocha, commonly known today as Con-Tici Viracocha or simply Viracocha, was the creator of civilization, and one of the most important deities in the Inca pantheon. Encyclopedia Mythica defines Viracocha as "The supreme Inca god, synthesis of sun-god and storm-god."[1]

In one legend he had one son, Inti, and two daughters, Mama Quilla and Pachamama. In this legend, he destroyed the people around Lake Titicaca with a Great Flood called Unu Pachakuti, saving two to bring civilization to the rest of the world, these two beings are Manco Capac, the son of Inti (sometimes taken as the son of Viracocha), which name means "splendid foundation", and Mama Ocllo, which means "mother fertility". These two founded the Inca civilization carrying a golden staff, called ‘tapac-yauri’. In another legend, he fathered the first eight civilized human beings. In some stories, he has a wife called Mama Cocha.

In another legend [2], Viracocha (The Creator) had two sons - Imaimayna Viracocha and Tocapo Viracocha. After the Great Flood and the Creation, Viracocha sent his sons to visit the tribes to the Northeast and Northwest to determine if they still obeyed his commandments. Viracocha himself traveled North. During their journey, Imaymayna and Tocapo gave names to all the trees, flowers, fruits and herbs. They also taught the tribes which of these were edible, which had medicinal properties, and which were poisonous. Eventually, Viracocha, Tocapo and Imaymayna arrived at Cuzco (in modern day Peru) and the seacoast where they walked across the water until they disappeared. The word "Viracocha" literally means "Sea Foam[3]."

According to one source, legends of the Aymara Indians say that the Creator God Viracocha rose from Lake Titicaca during the time of darkness to bring forth light. Viracocha was a storm god and a sun god who was represented as wearing the sun for a crown, with thunderbolts in his hands, and tears descending from his eyes as rain. He wandered the earth disguised as a beggar and wept when he saw the plight of the creatures he had created. Viracocha made the earth, the stars, the sky and mankind, but his first creation displeased him, so he destroyed it with a flood and made a new, better one, taking to his wanderings as a beggar, teaching his new creations the basics of civilization, as well as working numerous miracles. Viracocha eventually disappeared across the Pacific Ocean (by walking on the water), and never returned. It was thought that Viracocha would re-appear in times of trouble.

For the meaning of Tiqsi Huiracocha, tiqsi means foundation or base in Quechua, huira means fat (which the Inca knew as a source of energy), and cocha means lake, sea, or reservoir. His many epithets include great, all knowing, powerful, etc.

Huiracocha was also the name of an Inca, father of Pachacutec.

Another name for Viracocha is Con-Tici Viracocha[5], and he is identifiable with the Polynesian sun god. The Kon-Tiki took its name from this alternate theonym.

Graham Hancock has speculated that Viracocha was in some way related to Quetzalcoatl[6], a deity of the Mexica (Aztecs). While the mythology of the two deities is quite similar, many respected Aztec historians, archeologists, anthropologists, and other Aztec experts do not agree, mostly due to a lack of orthodox historical evidence.[citation needed]

His role as creator and civilizator is similar to the Colombian myth of Bochica.

It can be speculated that because of Viracocha/Kukulkan mythology the Spanish, arriving in galleons, fitted with muskets, dressed in foreign arrays of shining metal and bright livery, were mistaken for emissaries of their own gods. One such incident was at the famous site of Cholula where the Aztecs welcomed Cortez and the Spanish as demi-gods, preparing a great feast and allowing them to ascend the ziggurat; once inside, the Spanish barred all the doors and systematically slaughtered their hosts inside; a total of six thousand Aztecs died.

There is a striking resemblance to the Staff God image found in Andean archealogical sites; Tiahuanaco being a famous one. A recent discovery of perhaps the oldest image of the Staff God was found near the Supe Valley.[citation needed]

Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa noted that Viracocha was described as "a man of medium height, white and dressed in a white robe like an alb secured round the waist, and that he carried a staff and a book in his hands." [7]

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