Legends from South America

South America

Religion is the centre and core of a civilisation. In both Egypt and America the chief gods were the sun-god, the moon-god, a subsidiary rain-god and there was a bird in association, a condor in Peru, the Quetzal in Mexico, the Horus in Egypt. In both regions the insignia of the priest-king was a serpent on the brow. (The God-Kings & the Titans)

The Spanish, despite their imperialism and murderous ferocity in warfare, viewed the Aztecs' preoccupations with death and human sacrifice with abhorrence, and the Aztecs found many aspects of Roman Catholic Christianity both evil and incomprehensible. (Patterns in Prehistory)

The legends of the local tribes say that prior to their existence there was a previous civilization that died away due to a mysterious catastrophe. According to this myth, a comet or asteroid appeared between the constellations of Orion and the Bull around the same time. Rocks have been found that bear depictions of the comet. Many researchers visiting the incredible ruins of Tiahuanaco note that they look as though they were destroyed by some large cataclysmic event. (The Genesis Race)

Garcilasso de la Vega, son of a Spanish conquistador and an Incan princess, asked his uncle, an aging Inca, to tell him the story of his people's origins, including how Lake Titicaca became the source of their civilization. His uncle responded: …all this region which you see was covered with forests and thickets, and people lived like brute beasts without religion nor government, nor towns, nor houses, without cultivating the land nor covering their bodies…[Viracocha] sent a son and daughter to give them precepts and laws by which to live as reasonable and civilized men, and to teach them to dwell in houses and towns, to cultivate maize and other crops, to breed flocks, and to use the fruits of the earth as rational beings…(The Genesis Race)

The Mexican civilizations attributed the arrival of corn to Quetza1coatl and his entourage, who lived with them for a decade. After creating the ancient people from milled corn, he later taught them the arts of cultivation. Similarly, the Peruvians claim that it was Viracocha, a man with the same description as Quetza1coatl, who gave the people the blessings of agriculture at Lake Titicaca through his daughter Mama Oella. The potato was developed at Lake Titicaca, the site of Tiahuanaco, which many people believe was Earth's first city. (The Genesis Race)

The Bible gives no reason for the gods' withdrawal, but accounts from other cultures suggest one. A Patagonian tribal legend states the god El-lal's battles with other gods in his family caused him to decide to leave Earth and let humans look after themselves. Quetzalcoatl was said to have departed in sorrow after a war with or among other gods. (Gods, Genes, and Consciousness)

Before the Incas came to reign in these kingdoms or were known there, these Indians tell a thing that far exceeds all else they say. They state that a long time went by in which they did not see the sun, and that they suffered great hardship from this lack, and that they made great prayers and vows to those they held to be their gods, imploring of them the light that had failed. When things stood like this, there emerged from the island of Titicaca, which lies in the great lake of the Colla, the sun in its splendor, at which all rejoiced. And after this had occurred, they say that out of the regions of the south there came and appeared among them a white man, large of stature, whose air and person aroused great respect and veneration. And this man whom they saw in this guise had great powers, making plains of the hills, and of the plains, high mountains, and bringing forth springs in the living rock. And when they saw his power, they called him the Maker of all things, their Beginning, Father of the Sun, for aside from these, they say he did other even greater things, for he called into being men and animals ... And this man, so the Indians say who told me this which they had heard from their forefathers, who, in turn, had heard it in old songs that had come down to them, took his way to the north, working and doing these wonders, by the route of the uplands, and they never saw him again. (The Incas)

In addition to this they say that after some time had elapsed another man similar to the one described was seen, whose name they do not state, and that they heard for a fact from their forebears that wherever he went he healed the sick and restored their sight to the blind .... And in this manner, working great things with his words, he came to the province of the Canas, where ... the natives rose up without consideration and advanced on him with the intention of stoning him. Suiting their acts to their thought, as they drew near, they saw him kneeling, with his hands raised to heaven as though imploring divine aid against the danger that threatened. These Indians go on to say that at that very moment a great fire appeared in the sky, so that they thought they should all be consumed. Filled with fear and trembling, they crowded toward him whom they wanted to kill, and with loud cries they begged him to have mercy and save them ... then they saw that when he ordered the fire to cease, it went out, but the flames had so scorched and consumed the stones that they served as witnesses that this which has been set down took place...And they further relate that, leaving that place, he went until he came to the shore of the sea, where, spreading his cloak, he moved on it over the waves, and never again appeared nor did they see him. And because of the manner of his departure they gave him the name of Viracocha, which means "foam of the sea."(The Incas)

I don't think it's extravagant to claim that these two visitors have nothing whatever to do with normal, ordinary Indian myth but that, on the contrary, what we really have here is a kind of protohistory recorded by individuals who had no way whatsoever of understanding what they were recording. What happens next is that this actual, historical visitation begins to undergo a process not so much of "mythification" as mystification, confusion. Viracocha (or Tiki-Viracocha) becomes a god, and temples are built to him. He is incorporated into the Inca pantheon. According to Garcilaso de la Vega, Viracocha wasn't historically Number One in the Inca pantheon. First came a kind of supergod, Pachacamac, invisible, ultimately unknowable. Then came the Sun, and maybe then came Viracocha. (Gods of the Cataclysm)

In Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa's History of the Incas, another sixteenth-century Spanish "source work," there is a very explicit linking of Viracocha and the Flood: It is related that everything was destroyed in the flood called unu paachacuti (literally world-overturned-by-water)...the flood being passed and the land dry, Viracocha determined to people it a second time, and, to make it more perfect, he decided upon creating luminaries to give it light. With this object, he went with his servants to a great lake in the Collao, in which there is an island called Titicaca ... Viracocha went to this island, and presently ordered that the sun, moon, and stars should come forth, and be set in the heavens to give light to the world, and it was so. They say that the moon was created brighter than the sun, which made the sun jealous at the time when they rose into the sky. So the sun threw over the moon's face a handful of ashes, which gave it the shaded colour it now presents. (Gods of the Cataclysm)

I noticed at this point that the frontispiece of Morley's Ancient Maya was that of the young corn-god who has around his neck a necklace made out of a jaguar head and snakes. Not only is this cat-snake motif a commonplace in Amerindian cultures from Chavin and Tiahuanaco in Peru, but it is also connected with various avatars of Siva-and Vishnu. Was the Mayan corn-god an Amerindian version of Siva and/or Vishnu? (Gods of the Cataclysm)

The idea of the jaguar-god as an avatar of Vishnu, however, not only explained the basic religious foundations of Olmec culture, but also suddenly illuminated what had been a puzzle and mystery to me for more than 20 years. This same cat-god was the god of Chavin culture in Peru; it was the god on the so-called "Gate of the Sun" at Tiahuanaco, just outside of what is now La Paz, Bolivia. It is also the chief deity of the Peruvian coastal culture of Paracas, the Nazca. Ferocious-looking felinoid figures were found at San Agustin in Colombia, southeast of Bogota. The headdresses of the felinoids in both Tiahuanaco and Chavin are decorated with snakes. The further north you go, the more exclusively feline-concerned the culture becomes, but obviously the feline motif, the cult of Vishnu, is the basic cultural substratum of all the ancient, South and Central American coastal cultures. And it appears that this motif was carried inland to germinate in cultures like those of La Venta in Mexico or Tiahuanaco in Bolivia. (Gods of the Cataclysm)

Among the Xingu Indians [of Brazil] is a myth about the Lamuricuma women that goes like this: Once upon a time, the lamuricuma women played a flute called the jakui. At night the dance took place inside the tapaim [flute house], so that the men could not see. The flutes were forbidden to the men. When the ceremony was performed during the day, outside the tapaim, the men had to shut themselves indoors. Only the women were allowed outside, playing, singing, and dancing, decking themselves out with necklaces, feather headdresses, armbands, and other ornaments today worn only by the men. If a man by accident saw the jakui the women immediately grabbed him and raped him…(Gods of the Cataclysm)

Then the Sun and the Moon come into the picture. They see these flute-playing women playing their matriarchal game, and the Sun gets angry, turns to the Moon, and says, "Let's make a hori-hori [bull-roarer] to frighten the women away." So the Sun comes in and whirls this giant bull-roarer over the head of the women and scares them. They run away, the men grab the jukui, and …the men began to play and dance instead of the women. One of the women, who had left something in the middle of the village, asked them from inside her house to bring it to her. When the Moon saw this he said, "From now on it will always be like this. This is the right way. Women should stay inside, not men. They will be shut away when the men dance the jakui. They may not go out, they may not look. Women may not see the bull-roarer either, because it is the companion of the jakui."(Gods of the Cataclysm)

It was a beautifully concise description of the switchover from a matriarchal, female-dominated world to a patriarchal, male-dominated one. And the elements were all classical Mediterranean ones. Like the detail about the bull-roarer. The bull-roarer is a piece of wood attached to a string which, when whirled about, produces whirring sounds. It is historically connected with male initiation rites/cults and is still in use among male cultists in West Africa and Australia…and among Brazilian Indians. (Gods of the Cataclysm)

I listened to the Xingu Indians some more. What else did they have to say about these lamuricuma women? They are nomads, they went around from village to village robbing men, they always sang when they walked, and "they use bows and arrows and do not have a right breast, so they can pull back their bowstrings more easily." I reread the last line… In the sixteenth century, two different missionaries in Abyssinia (Ethiopia) had written similar reports about a matriarchal African society in which the women burned off their right breasts so they could have full martial use of their right arms…(Gods of the Cataclysm)

Certainly no New World legends (including those of the Incas) adequately account for the construction of Tiahuanaco and the "flavor" of its daily life. The temples themselves are large, and for miles around there are Tiahuanaco-related structures. It was a huge, flourishing civilization, not just a few stones in the middle of a high-altitude desert. (Gods of the Cataclysm)

The reputation Quetzalcuatl, the plumed water-serpent, left behind him was of a teacher who taught that no living thing was to be harmed and that sacrifices were to be made, not of human beings, but of birds and butterflies. His teachings, as stated above, were essentially civilised and the impression gained from the tales of Peru and Mexico is one of an early, enlightened morality at the start of their civilisation, which faded as the civilised centres were overthrown by less instructed tribes from outside. Ultimately the Aztecs dominated at a time of great moral decadence. (The God-Kings & the Titans)

\ In all the ages-old traditions of the Peruvian races, it is related that white men came from the 'Sunrise across the water' (the Lake) and erected temples and statues on the island of the Sun and on the mainland near the lake. Also that a second lot of white men arrived and called themselves the 'Stone People' and that the leader of these stone people (the symbol of King Menes) was accompanied by his Governor, his servants and many men, women and children. According to these same traditions the first of these white strangers transformed men to stone to serve as statues, and as proxies to guard his newly acquired land after he left. As the natives regarded these strange white men as deities it seemed perfectly reasonable that they should be able to do this. (The God-Kings & the Titans)

When the conquistadors reached Peru, they too found beside the Inca's palace an orchard with golden fruit tied to the trees, flowers, birds and deer in gold and silver. (The God-Kings & the Titans)

The god representing the sky is called Uranus, which I suggest means the sky-worshipping people, Ana being the sky-god of Ur. The Indian tribe living next to Lake Titicaca bears the same name to this day. (The God-Kings & the Titans)

In the remote west, too, was the fabled Gorgon, who had snakes for her hair and who turned people to stone. Poseidon loved her. Perseus, the Mykenaean Greek, who later became king of Tiryns, killed her with the aid of Athena and escaped. In Ovid he is said to have turned Atlas into stone with the Gorgon's head. Now we know that one particular group to arrive in Peru, perhaps because of their skill in carving, were known as the stone-people, and were reputed by the Indians of America to be able to turn people into stone and stones back into people. The snake on the head was the insignia worn by the Peruvian ruling class. (The God-Kings & the Titans)

The foreword to Robert Graves' work on Greek mythology ends with the following two paragraphs, which suggest that there may be more to follow, He writes: I have myself eaten the hallucinogenic mushroom, Psilocybe, a divine ambrosia in immemorial use among the Masatec Indians of Oaxaca Province, Mexico; heard the priestess invoke Tlaloc, the Mushroom-god, and seen transcendental visions. Thus I whole­heartedly agree with R. Gordon Wasson, the American discoverer of this ancient rite, that Europeans' ideas of heaven and hell may well have derived from similar mysteries. Tlaloc was engendered by lightning; so was Dionysus; and in Greek folklore, as in Masatec, so are all mushrooms proverbially called 'food of the gods' in both languages. Tlaloc wore a serpent crown; so did Dionysus. Tlaloc had an underwater retreat; so had Dionysus. The Maenads' savage custom of tearing off their victims' heads may refer allegorically to tearing off the sacred mushroom's head - since in Mexico its stalk is never eaten. We read that Perseus, a sacred king of Argos, converted to Dionysus worship, named Mycenae after a toad-stool which he found growing on the site, and which gave forth a stream of water. Tlaloc's emblem was a toad, so was that of Argos; and from the mouth of Tlaloc's toad in the Tepentitla fresco issued a stream of water. Yet at what epoch were the European and Central American cultures in contact? (The God-Kings & the Titans)

The Polynesians remembered that the man-god Tiki had first created his fellow-men at the Great, Sacred Sea. The Peruvians placed the creative activities of their Tici - both parties used the same name - on the salty inland sea, Titicaca. (The God-Kings & the Titans)

De la Vega says: The first Inca Manco Capac had expressly ordered all the kings who descended from him never to permit bloodshed in any conquest they might make unless it was absolutely necessary and always to attract the Indians with benefits and blandishments, so that they should be loved by the subjects they had conquered with love, and not perpetually hated by those reduced by force of arms. ...the Inca kings and their amautas, who were the philosophers, perceived by the light of nature the true supreme God our Lord, the maker of heaven and earth, as we shall see from the arguments and phrases some of them applied to the Divine Majesty, whom they called Pachacamac. The word is composed of pacha, the world, the universe, and camac, present participle of the verb cama, to animate, derived from the noun cama, the soul. Pachacamac means 'him who gives life to the universe', and in its fullest sense means 'him who does to the universe what the soul does to the body'. Inwardly they regarded the Pachacamac with much greater veneration than the Sun, for, as I have mentioned, they did not dare to utter his name and the Sun, they alluded to on every occasion. If asked who was the Pachacamac, they would say 'he who gave life to the universe and sustained it', but they did not know him because they had never seen him, so they did not make temples to him or offer him sacrifices, but adored him in their hearts - that is, mentally - and held him to be the unknown god. (The God-Kings & the Titans)

De la Vega bears out some of our former contentions. He refers to the Incas as gods and contrasts them with humans, who are those Indians who are not Incas. 'They reasoned that the Sun would have children and that they must not be bastards with a mixture of human with their divine blood.' He refers to the whiteness of some of the Incas, including Inca Viracocha's wife, called Mama Runtu, which means mother egg. She was nicknamed this because she was as white as an egg. (The God-Kings & the Titans)

Yet for me the most convincing story is that preserved by the Yurucare of Bolivia. They remember a time: "When, long ago, the demon Aymasune destroyed plants, animals and man, by causing fire to fall from heaven, one man, who had foreseen the catastrophe, had richly victualled a cave to which he withdrew when the fire-hail started. To see if the fire was still raging he now and then held a long rod out of the mouth of the cave. Twice he found it charred, but the third time it was cool. He waited another four days before he left his shelter."(From the Ashes of Angels)

INCA: And said Huracan, Tepeu, and Gucumatz when they spoke to the soothsayer, to the Maker, who are the diviners: "You must work together and find the means so that man, whom we shall make, man, whom we are going to make, will nourish and sustain us, invoke and remember us. "Enter, then, into council, grandmother, grandfather, our grandmother, our grandfather, Xpiyacoc, Xmucane, make light, make dawn, have us invoked, have us adored, have us remembered by created man, by made man, by mortal man. Thus be it done. (Primal Myths)

And instantly the figures were made of wood. They looked like men, talked like men, and populated the surface of the earth. They existed and multiplied; they had daughters, they had sons, these wooden figures; but they did not have souls, nor minds, they did not remember their Creator, their Maker; they walked on all fours, aimlessly. They no longer remembered the Heart of Heaven and therefore they fell out of favor. It was merely a trial, an attempt at man. At first they spoke, but their face was without expression; their feet and hands had no strength; they had no blood, nor substance, nor moisture, nor flesh; their cheeks were dry, their feet and hands were dry, and their flesh was yellow. (Primal Myths)

Immediately the wooden figures were annihilated, destroyed, broken up, and killed. A flood was brought about by the Heart of Heaven; a great flood was formed which fell on the heads of the wooden creatures. And it is said that their descenants are the monkeys which now live in the forests; these are all that remain of them because their flesh was made only of wood by the Creator and the Maker. And therefore the monkey looks like man, and is an example of a generation of men which were created and made but were only wooden figures. . . And thus they found the food, and this was what went into the flesh of created man, the made man; this was his blood; of this the blood of man was made. So the corn entered [into the formation of man] by the work of the Forefathers. (Primal Myths)

After that they began to talk about the creation and the making of our first mother and father; of yellow corn and of white corn they made their flesh; of corn-meal dough they made the arms and the legs of man. Only dough of corn meal went into the flesh of our first fathers, the four men, who were created. (Primal Myths)

At one time, all the land you see about you was nothing but mountains and desolate cliffs. The people lived like wild beasts, with neither order nor religion, neither villages nor houses, neither fields nor clothing, for they had no knowledge of their wool or cotton. Brought together haphazardly in groups of two and three, they lived in grottoes and caves and, like wild game, fed upon grass and roots, wild fruits, and even human flesh. They covered their nakedness with the bark and leaves of trees, or with the skins of animals. Some even went unclothed. And as for women, they possessed none who were recognized as their very own. (Primal Myths)

Seeing the condition they were in, our father the Sun was ashamed for them, and he decided to send one of his sons and one of his daughters from heaven to earth, in order that they might teach men to adore him and acknowledge him as their god; to obey his laws and precepts as every reasonable creature must do; to build houses and assemble together in villages; to till the soil, sow the seed, raise cattle, and enjoy the fruits of their labors like human beings. (Primal Myths)

Viracocha was always depicted uncompromisingly as a male by the peoples of the Andes. That much about him is known for certain. No historian, however, is able to say how ancient was the cult of this deity before the Spanish arrived to put a stop to it. This is because the cult seemed always to have been around; indeed, long before the Incas incorporated him into their cosmogony and built a magnificent temple for him at Cuzco, the evidence suggests that the high god Viracocha had been worshipped by all the civilizations that had ever existed in the long history of Peru. Other accounts of Viracocha likened his appearance to that of the Saint Thomas. I examined a number of illustrated ecclesiastical manuscripts in which these two saints appeared; both were routinely depicted as lean, bearded white men, past middle age, wearing sandals and dressed in long, flowing cloaks. As we shall see, the records confirmed this was exactly the appearance ascribed to Viracocha by those who worshipped him. Whoever he was, therefore, he could not have been an American Indian: they are relatively dark-skinned people with sparse facial hair. (Fingerprints of the Gods)

And though he was known by many different names in many different places he was always recognizably the same figure: Viracocha, Foam of the Sea, a master of science and magic who wielded terrible weapons and who came in a time of chaos to set the world to rights. The same basic story was shared in many variants by all the peoples of the Andean region. It began with a vivid description of a terrifying period when the earth had been inundated by a great flood and plunged into darkness by the disappearance of the sun. Society had fallen into disorder, and the people suffered much hardship. Then there suddenly appeared, coming from the south, a white man of large stature and authoritative demeanour. This man had such great power that he changed the hills into valleys and from the valleys made great hills, causing streams to flow from the living stone... They say that in many places he gave men instructions how they should live, speaking to them with great love and kindness and admonishing them to be good and to do no damage or injury one to another, but to love one another and show charity to all. In most places they name him Ticci Viracocha...Other names applied to the same figure included Huaracocha, Con, Con Ticci or Kon Tiki, Thunupa, Taapac, Tupaca and ilia. He was a scientist, an architect of surpassing skills, a sculptor and an engineer: He caused terraces and fields to be formed on the steep sides of ravines, and sustaining walls to rise up and support them. It was said that 'wherever he passed, he healed all that were sick and restored sight to the blind."(Fingerprints of the Gods)

Working great miracles by his words, he came to the district of the Canas and there, near a village called Cacha...the people rose up against him and threatened to stone him. They saw him sink to his knees and raise his hands to heaven as if beseeching aid in the peril which beset him. The Indians declare that thereupon they saw fire in the sky which seemed all around them. Full of fear, they approached him whom they had intended to kill and besought him to forgive them...Presently they saw that the fire was extinguished at his command, though stones were consumed by fire in such wise that large blocks could be lifted by hand as if they were cork. They narrate further that, leaving the place where this occurred, he came to the coast and there, holding his mantle, he went forth amidst the waves and was seen no more. And as he went they gave him the name Viracocha, which means 'Foam of the Sea' (Fingerprints of the Gods)

Above all else, Viracocha was remembered in the legends as a teacher. Before his coming, it was said, 'men lived in a condition of disorder, many went naked like savages; they had no houses or other dwellings than caves, and from these they went forth to gather whatever they could find to eat in the countryside.' Viracocha was credited with changing all this and with initiating the long-lost golden age which later generations looked back on with nostalgia. All the legends agreed, furthermore, that he had carried out his civilizing mission with great kindness and as far as possible had abjured the use of force: careful instruction and personal example had been the main methods used to equip the people with the techniques and knowledge necessary for a cultured and productive life. In particular, he was remembered for bringing to Peru such varied skills as medicine, metallurgy, farming, animal husbandry, the art of writing (said by the Incas to have been introduced by Viracocha but later forgotten), and a sophisticated understanding of the principles of engineering and architecture. (Fingerprints of the Gods)

The mystery was deepened by local traditions which stated not only that the road system and the sophisticated architecture had been 'ancient in the time of the Incas', but that both 'were the work of white, auburn- haired men' who had lived thousands of years earlier." One legend described Viracocha as being accompanied by 'messengers' of two kinds, 'faithful soldiers' (huaminca) and 'shining ones' (hayhuay- panti). Their role was to carry their lord's message 'to every part of the world'. (Fingerprints of the Gods)

The people around here say that they [the Nazca Lines] were not the work of men, but of demigods, the Viracochas, who also left their fingerprints elsewhere in the Andean region many thousands of years ago. It's clear, for example, that the animals and birds antedate the geometry of the 'runways', because many of the trapezoids, rectangles and straight lines bisect (and thus partly obliterate) the more complex figures. The obvious deduction is that the final artwork of the desert as we view it today must have been produced in two phases. Moreover, though it seems contrary to the normal laws of technical progress, we must concede that the earlier of the two phases was the more advanced. The execution of the zoomorphic figures called for far higher levels of skill and technology than the etching of the straight lines. (Fingerprints of the Gods)

In the life of Manco Capac, who was the first Inca, and from whom they began to boast themselves children of the Sun and from whom they derived their idolatrous worship of the Sun, they had an ample account of the deluge. They say that in it perished all races of men and created things insomuch that the waters rose above the highest mountain peaks in the world. No living thing survived except a man and a woman who remained in a box and, when the waters subsided, the wind carried them...to Tiahuanaco [ where] the creator began to raise up the people and the nations that are in that region. (Fingerprints of the Gods)

Viracocha himself, with his two assistants, journeyed north...He travelled up the cordillera, one assistant went along the coast, and the other up the edge of the eastern forests...The Creator proceeded to Urcos, near Cuzco, where he commanded the future population to emerge from a mountain. He visited Cuzco, and then continued north to Ecuador. There, in the coastal province of Manta, he took leave of his people and, walking on the waves, disappeared across the ocean. Viracocha went on his way, calling forth the races of men...When he came to the district of Puerto Viejo he was joined by his followers whom he had sent on before, and when they had joined him he put to sea in their company and they say that he and his people went by water as easily as they had traversed the land. (Fingerprints of the Gods)

Thunupa appeared on the Altiplano in ancient times, coming from the north with five disciples. A white man of august presence, blue-eyed, and bearded, he was sober, puritanical and preached against drunkenness, polygamy and war. After travelling great distances through the Andes, where he created a peaceful kingdom and taught men all the arts of civilization Thunupa was struck down and grievously wounded by a group of jealous conspirators: They put his blessed body in a boat of totora rush and set it adrift on Lake Titicaca. There...he sailed away with such speed that those who had tried so cruelly to kill him were left behind in terror and astonishment - for this lake has no current...The boat came to the shore at Cochamarca, where today is the river Desguardero. Indian tradition asserts that the boat struck the land with such force it created the river Desguardero, which before then did not exist. And on the water so released the holy body was carried many leagues away to the sea coast at Arica...(Fingerprints of the Gods)

Although there are huge differences between the traditions it is bizarre that Osiris in Egypt and Thunupa- Viracocha in South America should have had all of the following points in common: both were great civilizers; both were conspired against; both were struck down; both were sealed inside a container or vessel of some kind; both were then cast into water; both drifted away on a river; both eventually reached the sea. Are such parallels to be dismissed as coincidences? or could there be some underlying connection? The notion of pyramids as devices designed (presumably in some metaphysical sense) 'to turn men into gods' was, it seemed to me, too idiosyncratic and peculiar to have been arrived at independently in both Ancient Egypt and Mexico. So, too, was the idea of using the layout of sacred sites to incorporate a celestial plan. (Fingerprints of the Gods)

The early Spanish travellers who visited the ruined Bolivian city of Tiahuanaco at around the time of the conquest were impressed by the sheer size of its buildings and by the atmosphere of mystery that clung to them. 'I asked the natives whether these edifices were built in the time of the Inca,' wrote the chronicler Pedro Cieza de Leon, 'They laughed at the question, affirming that they were made long before the Inca reign and...that they had heard from their forebears that everything to be seen there appeared suddenly in the course of a single night...' Meanwhile another Spanish visitor of the same period recorded a tradition which said that the stones had been lifted miraculously off the ground, 'They were carried through the air to the sound of a trumpet.' (Fingerprints of the Gods)

The Pyramid of the Magician was by no means unique in being associated with the supernatural powers of dwarves, whose architectural and masonry skills were widely renowned in Central America. 'Construction work was easy for them,' asserted one typical Maya legend, 'all they had to do was whistle and heavy rocks would move into place. A very similar tradition, as the reader may recall, claimed that the gigantic stone blocks of the mysterious Andean city of Tiahuanaco had been 'carried through the air to the sound of a trumpet'. In both Central America and in the far-off regions of the Andes, therefore, strange sounds had been associated with the miraculous levitation of massive rocks. (Fingerprints of the Gods)

In Peru, one legend tells of a man being caught by surprise when he checked his herd of llamas: "One day a herdsman found that his animals were all staring in the direction of the sun. When he lifted his hand to his eyes to look himself, he saw a cluster of stars which seemed to be surrounding the sun, even in daylight. The llamas then told the man that the stars which had appeared close together, were a sign that the world was about to be destroyed by a great deluge. The farmer took his family and his animals to the very top of a mountain and they had only just reached the summit when the waters of the sea rose up in a mighty wave and swamped the land. It was many days before the waters started to recede and while this was happening the sun was hidden by a great darkness."(Uriel's Machine)

The Southern Cross is part of the Milky Way but what we find particularly striking about it...is that it lies in the specific sector of the Milky Way that the Incas and their ancestors regarded as the entrance to the land of the dead. It is also adjacent to two 'dark-cloud' constellations, envisaged as a fox and a llama. Since times immemorial Andean traditions have associated these shadowy 'sky animals', formed of interstellar dust, with a flood that destroyed the earth in mythical antiquity - a flood that an earlier race of mankind is said to have been warned of by a 'conjunction of stars'. (Heaven's Mirror)

This is the tradition behind the Andean belief that Titicaca, the Island of the Sun - and in particular the 'lion-cliff' on the eastern side of the island where Viracocha had emerged from the waters of the lake - constituted the original sacred domain of creation itself. In this great scheme of spiritual geography. Tiahuanaco, 'with its ancient and strange buildings', was believed to be the first city that Viracocha had built after the creation. There is no significant difference between this concept and the ancient Egyptian idea of Heliopolis as the city at 'the place of creation' - in which the god Atum 'rose [out of the waters of the Nun] as a High Hill [and] shone as the Benben stone in the Temple of the Phoenix'. (Heaven's Mirror)

In Egypt the Nile was the terrestrial counterpart of the Milky Way. The Incas regarded the entire valley from Cuzco up to Machu Picchu as a reflection of the sky and saw the Vilcamayu river running through it as the terrestrial counterpart of the Milky Way. Rituals were conducted along the banks of both the Nile and the Vilcamayu rivers at the June solstice. In both places these rituals were led by god-kings - Inca and Pharaoh being virtually interchangeable concepts. And in both places they took place amidst precisely built megalithic structures of unknown antiquity. (Heaven's Mirror)

This scenario for the megaliths of Sacsayhuarnan is supported by Andean myths which speak of the magical engineering and architectural achievements of the bearded, white-skinned, fair-haired god Viracocha and his companions - 'the messengers', 'the shining ones' - who appeared from Lake Titicaca in primordial times. There is also a parallel tradition concerning a race of prehistoric master- builders referred to as the Huari. They are described as: 'white, bearded giants who had been created at Lake Titicaca, whence they had set forth to civilize the Andes...' (Heaven's Mirror)

Here is a translation of the version of the great flood as told by some unknown native peasant to a native scribe, trained by Avila to transliterate the Quechua language by means of the Spanish alphabet. By so attenuated a thread hangs the tale. What they say is as follows: In ancient times this world was in danger of disappearing. A male llama, who was pastured on a hill with excellent fodder, knew that the Mother Sea had decided to overflow, to fall down like a waterfall. This llama became very sad; he kept crying out "in, in," and didn't eat. The llama's master, very angry, hit him with an ear of maize. "Eat, dog," he said. "You are lying about on the best pastures." Then the llama, speaking as if he were a man, told the shepherd, "Pay very close attention, and remember what I am going to tell you: Five days from now the great ocean will be here and the whole world will be flooded." And the shepherd was stricken with fear; he believed him [the llama] "We will go somewhere to escape. Let us go to Mount Vilcacoto, there we must save ourselves; bring food for five days," he ordered. And so, from that instant, he started walking, taking his family and the llama. When he was about to reach the top of Mount Vilcacoto, he found that all the animals were reunited: puma, fox, huanaco, condor, every species of animal. Hardly had the man arrived than the water began to fall in rivers; and so there they were, squeezed together at the top of Huillcacoto, in a tiny space, at the very peak, where the water couldn't quite reach. But the water did manage to reach fox's tail and get it wet, which is why fox's tail, to this day, is black. And after five days, the waters began to recede and dry up. The dry part began to grow. The sea retreated more, and as it retreated and things dried out, it killed all the men. Only he of the mountain survived, and with him the rest of the people [family?] returned to multiply, and by him exists mankind today. (The Secret of the Incas)

The paqo, or male alpaca, in the myth was a shaman. As the significance of this realization dawned on me, a passage from the Chronicles came to mind that described in detail the behavior of the Andean priest-astronomer: His life was a religious one, of great abstinence; he never ate meat, only herbs and roots, along with the customary bread of maize. His house was in the countryside, very rarely in town; he spoke little; his dress was common, plain, of wool, but decent, down to the knees... and over this a very long mantle, gray, or black, or purple; he drank no wine, but always only water. The life in the countryside was in order more liberally to contemplate and meditate on the stars, which he held for his gods in the ideas of his religion. (The Secret of the Incas)

I had found reasons to believe that the characteristics of Wiraqocha as Saturn conformed to the inner logic of the technical language of myth. He was an old graybeard who carried a staff. His name, Tunapa, meant "mill-bearer." He was androgynous, and this androgyny had numerous demonstrable astronomical valences. Thus the layout of the Inca Empire, reconciling the relation of the ecliptic to the fixed sphere of stars, imprints on terrestrial space the image of the sacred marriage of the heavenly elements, and provides the conceptual framework within which the "temper of the times" may be brought to fruition in the affairs of men. (The Secret of the Incas)

I was, I believed, dealing with a system of thought that, because of its distinctive manner of formulating astronomical observations--stars are animals, topography is uranography, planets are gods; the frame is a "mill"; and so on--could not have been reinvented over and over again. Here was a classic case of a diffusionary element of such immense scope that it could be hidden in plain sight. Nothing would be found "on the ground." Nonetheless, so far as I could see, Andean agricultural civilization issued from the matrix of this system of thought. (The Secret of the Incas)

It has long been understood that, in Andean thought, lightning represents the male generative principle, and that the god Wiraqocha is implicated in the mix. The only problem with this description is that it manages to evade virtually every historical question raised by Andean notions concerning the symbolism of lightning. The center of gravity of this problem is the concordance between Old World and New concerning a complex thought-form involving lightning and fire, the planet Saturn, Twins, and the Milky Way, These correspordences are not a simple matter of coincidental similarities, but rather are products of the logic of the technical language of myth. (The Secret of the Incas)

In its esoteric sense, the word "Sun" stood for any long number of years between significant precessional events. In the case of the Andes, significance attached to the gain or loss of "access" to the Milky Way at heliacal rise on either solstice. In the older terminology of pachas and pachakutis, the "world" that was destroyed consisted of an imaginary plane through the ecliptic, the "celestial earth" supported by "four pillars," that is, the stars rising at the solstices and equinoxes. These worlds were "destroyed" when, in the course of precessional time, their "pillars" "sank into the sea," giving way to the next "world." The word "Sun" used in the sense of world-age is merely another way of looking at the same phenomenon. There was, let us say, a "Sun" that rose in a particular era in a particular set of stars marking the equinoxes and solstices. But when these four "pillars" sank, then the "Sun" that rose with them also disappeared. Now appears a new "Sun," one that consorts with a different array of celestial players. (The Secret of the Incas)

If contact between Old World and New is unacceptable as an explanation for why, in the Andes, the planet Saturn was conceived of as the ancient mill-bearer, Jupiter as the king who hurls, Venus as a beautiful woman with curly hair, and Mars as the ruler over warfare, then the time has come for those who reject this explanation to step up and provide a plausible alternative. The most important implication of this study is a simple one: in deference to an imperfect methodology, we are leaving nothing less than a history of the human race, unsuspected and unimagined, to gather dust on dark shelves. This history is especially important to our own time, because it is above all, testimony to humanity's enduring search for the aim and Significance of human life on earth. (The Secret of the Incas)

Viracocha first appeared in Tiahuanaco after a great disaster had destroyed everything. This is from Father Molina in his chronicle Relacion de las [abulas ritos de los Yngas: "They say that in it [the catastrophe] perished all races of men and created things insomuch that the waters rose above the highest mountain peaks in the world. No living thing survived except a man and a woman who remained in a box, and, when the weather subsided, the wind carried them . . . to Tiahuanaco [where] the creator began to raise up the people and the nations that are in that region."(The Mysteries of the Great Cross of Hendaye)

During the writing of this book, long after the above section was finished, cartographer J. M. Allen published his Atlantis: The Andes Solution, which not only supported our ideas on Atlantis in the Andes but also disclosed the actual location of the city itself. This, Allen believed, was the key to the mystery. Plato describes a plain in the center of the long side of the continent, next to a body of water. The plain was very smooth and level, surrounded by mountains, high above sea level with the form of "a quadrangle, rectilinear for the most part and elongated." This is, in fact, a close description of the Altiplano, the largest level plain in the world, and which also contains the two inland seas of Lake Titicaca and Lake Poopo. With this in mind, Allen went looking for Plato's regular grid pattern. It was described as a 600-foot-wide canal running around the perimeter of the plain with regular intersections and transverse canals forming a vast grid work. "It only remains then to discover on site evidence of a channel 600 ft. wide to say without any more doubts that here indeed is the proof that the city and the civilization of Atlantis existed in these parts." Allen informs us. Satellite and aerial photos suggest that such canals do exist, and in the summer of 1995, Allen traveled to Bolivia in search of them. "I found," he tells us, "the remains of a channel of enormous dimensions, the base of the canal was around 120 ft. wide and the gently sloping sides were each of some 230 ft., making it just under 600 ft. from crest to crest of the parallel embankments." Atlantis, it seemed, had been located. Allen buttresses his argument with examples of mineral wealth and early mining that match Plato's description. Atlantean use of gold to plate their sacred precincts has echoes in the Inca temples discovered by the Spanish, and a natural alloy of gold and copper, mentioned by Plato, oriculum, can be found as a mineral only in the region of the Altiplano. (The Mysteries of the Great Cross of Hendaye)

The people of Central and South America also hold rich mythologies about the lost island paradise and its destruction in a Great Flood. The supposed gods who brought agriculture to the vicinity of Lake Titicaca were said to have come “out of the regions of the south” immediately “after the deluge.” (Atlantis Beneath the Ice)

The origin myth of the Tukano speaks of the time, eons ago, when humans first settled the great rivers of the Amazon basin. It seems that “supernatural beings” accompanied them on this journey and gifted them the fundamentals upon which to build a civilized life. From the “Daughter of the Sun” they received the gift of fire and the knowledge of horticulture, pottery-making, and many other crafts. “The serpent-shaped canoe of the first settlers” was steered by a superhuman “Helmsman.” Meanwhile other supernaturals “travelled by canoe over all the rivers and … explored the remote hill ranges; they pointed out propitious sites for houses or fields, or for hunting and fishing, and they left their lasting imprint on many spots so that future generations would have ineffaceable proof of their earthly days and would forever remember them and their teachings.”  (America Before)

The slow, methodical progress of the serpent canoe, setting down its cargo of migrants here and there, explains anthropologist Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff: Was marked not only by the successive spots of debarkation but also by an advancing scale of human achievement…. The rules for the initiation into shamanism were laid down, accompanied by a large body of prescriptions, regulations and prohibitions that, from now on, were to guide and govern the life of the people. But above all … if mankind was to prevail and survive as part of nature, and was to pass on a true legacy to new generations, people had to assume responsibilities and find ways to control the organization of society so as to procure a balance between human needs and the resources available in nature. In this period “the spirit-beings prepared the land so that mortal human creatures might live on it.” Once that task had been completed, however, the supernatural beings returned to their otherworldly abodes. Before leaving … they took care to provide mankind with the means of  communication, of establishing contact with them whenever there should be need. Mortal men could not be left alone without the possibility of communing with the spirit-world…. It was essential, then, for the welfare of mankind to have at its disposal a simple and effective means by which, at any given moment, an individual or a group of people could establish contact with the supernatural sphere. (America Before)

“As the principles of organization of Cusco has demonstrated, highland concepts of both time and space are inextricably bound to religious, social, and political organizing principles in the structural plan of the city. These principles can be understood only in their totality; they lose their meaning once we attempt to break them down into separate spheres of concern.” He also comments, “Moreover, the system is radial in its basic layout, a form that seems very special and important in Andean society” (Aveni 1990). This radial system of ritual pathways is called the ceque system; according to Aveni, it “seems to have been a mnemonic device built into Cusco’s natural and man-made topography that served to unify ideas about religion, social organization, hydrology, calendar, and astronomy.” (Spirits in Stone

The rainrnakers in both culture areas made use of black rainstones, and in their sacrifices slaughtered black animals. This was also the case in South Arnerica, which the Africans visited either before or after fllterlng through into Mexico. A Peruvian oral tradition tells of black men coming to them across the Andes. To procure rain the Peruvian Indians sacrificed black sheep in a field. The Africans of West Africa sacrificed black  sheep, black fowl, the blood of black oxen and black cattle. (They Came Before Columbus)