Americas original inhabitants had for thousands of years worshipped their ancestors. As their descendants became more resident, they also worshipped Mother Earth and got a more dualistic world view. As early farmers their heirs developed a trinity represented by the snake, the puma and the condor. And much later, the Incas proclaimed themselves as Children of the Sun.
As the Incas became strong enough to conquer neighboring tribes, they took over some of these tribal religious faiths. It may surprise, because we generally expect victors to force their faiths to the defeated, but that is not always the case. The Incas took over some of the faiths of the conquered tribes and in this way tied the kingdom together.
The Incas were dynamic in their empire building.
Myths are useful for spreading religious renewals. Incas, the self-proclaimed Children of the Sun, gave in a myth the Sun followship of Ticiviracocha, the Creator of Everything, the Most Important, who long had been worshipped by other civilizations. Ticiviracocha was even referred to as the Father of the Sun.
The Incas could claim: The Sun shows up – but behind it stands the Creator God Ticiviracocha, the Father of the Sun.
We can argue that the Incas went from effect to cause, so they did not explain from cause to effect.
Some have claimed that Ciezas way of telling this myth stumbled by letting people exist before the Creatorgod appeared. No, no, the Father of the Sun appeared in the north of these lands, Incaswould claim. The argument works when believers can seize to an invisible Creator of Everything, something outside of human time and place.
Indians worshipped many gods, they were not monotheists.
Around the year 1400, it is told, an Inca prince with poor relations to his father dreamed about the god Viracocha, who at that time was not worshipped very much by the Incas, for they worshipped the Sun and presented themself as Children of the Sun.
This prince dreamt that Viracocha warned him of the Chancas imminent attack. It made him mobilize willing warriors and they beat the Chancas. Subsequently, the prince began to pray to Viracocha, and when he was proclaimed as the 8th Sapa Inca, he called himself Inca Viracocha.
It’s also told that one day the prince had bent backwards, had stared directly at the sun, the Incas sungod Inti, and had declared – condescending, if it is possible when you shout to heaven, let me call it mocking – that the Sun must follow its established trail! Also this could sound like a clash with a father, what it might have been. Who decided your trail? The question must have shocked the sun-worshipping Incas. There had to be a creatorgod behind Inti! Also in this way Viracocha was highlighted.
According to another source, the prince had said:
Then I tell you that our Father the Sun must have another greater lord, more powerful than himself, one who bids him undertake this journey he daily performs without stopping; for if he were the supreme lord, he would every now and then desist from his journey and rest at his ease, even though there were no need for him to do so.
The words could have been Inca Viracochas, but I have also heard them put in the mouth of his son Inca Pachacútec, who further must have argued that even clouds were able to cover the sun, so that the creator of clouds might be considered the Creator of Everything.
Immediately after Cieza had introduced the Father of the Sun, Ticiviracocha, a man who was white skinned and of tall stature and whose behaviour showed him to be important and to be obeyed, who had given life to both men and animals he continued his account:
They also told me that after a period of time, another man, who was similar to the first one, returned, but they did not remember his name. They heard about his doings and that if someone was sick he cured them and if someone was blind he returned their sight with only words.
He went to the province of Canas where the people rose up and came to him on their knees raising their hands up to the sky and pleaded for divine favors and forgiveness because they lived in shame and disorder.
The man was so sickened by what he saw that he wanted to wipe them out. So a very great fire appeared from the sky, everyone thought they would perish and they were all fearful and very frightened and with a great clamour they all went to him to beg to be freed from this anger, because they all knew that they were doomed to be stoned to death. And they saw that the great fire in the sky was extinguished.
And about that they even say more. That leaving that place, he then journeyed until he arrived to the sea and taking out his cloak, went between the waves and was never seen again.
They called this man Viracocha, which means Seafoam. And after that happened, they built a temple in the village of Cacha, next to a river, where the sun sets. There they placed a very big stone idol in a room located in the temple which is so big and well made also of stone just like those in Tiahuanaco which was built in remembrance of Ticiviracocha.
Ticiviracocha had disappeared to the north and was never seen again. Then a similar god should have shown up, a god who had cured the sick and given blind their sight. But when people had asked him for help and forgiveness for the way they had lived so far, he would destroy them! The sky was blazing up, the people had been terrified, had begged and prayed for their lives, but this god had gone to the sea and had disappeared in the waves. They called this man Viracocha, because according to Cieza they could not remember his name.
Of course, mythcollector Cieza had to visit Cacha to investigate the place where Viracocha had let the sky rain with fire on the people and where they had built a temple with a large stone image.
(pp. 56-59 in volume 2, reproduced without notes and illustrations):
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO AZTECS AND INCAS: MYTHS AND STORIES FROM MEXICO AND PERU. Edited, translated, retold and commented by Mikael Witte. Volume 1 + Volume 2
476 pages + 540 pages. Richly illustrated in colors
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