PERU: INCAS WANDERING WITH THE GOLDEN WAND

Garcilaso de la Vega wrote that the Sun to his son and daughter should have said:

When you have reduced these people to our service, you shall maintain them in reason and justice, showing mercy, clemency, and mildness, and always treating them as a merciful father treats his beloved and tender children. Imitate my example in this. I do good to all the world. I give them my light and brightness that they may see and go about their business; I warm them when they are cold; and I grow their pastures and crops, and bring fruit to their trees, and multiply their flocks. I bring rain and calm weather in turn, and I take care to go round the world once a day to observe the wants that exist in the world and to fill and supply them as the sustainer and benefactor of men. I wish you as children of mine to follow this example sent down to earth to teach and benefit those men who live like beasts. And henceforward I establish and nominate you as kings and lords over all the people you may thus instruct with your reason, government, and good works.

According to Garcilaso, this was the Incas Father the Suns last admonition – which echoed humanistic ideals of the time. He also wrote that it was a myththat the first Inca, Manco Cápac, had invented: The Sun was ruling, had instructed its two chosen ones to direct the people who were to be submissive, but the people were to be led by reason and justice, showing mercy, clemency, and mildness andtreat them as a merciful father treats his beloved.

Garcilaso presented the Incas in a completely different light than Sarmiento, who had claimed that eight Inca siblings had planned how they could tyrannize over other tribes.

Garcilaso here claimed that the people who turned to the Sun and submitted to its king were promised a bright future, almost paradise. He described the Incas wandering on the earth with the golden wand so detailed that the readers might believe that the Sun had almost physically sent two children from space to earth:

When our Father the Sun had thus made manifest his will to his two children he bade them farewell. They left Titicaca and travelled northwards, and wherever they stopped on the way they thrust the golden wand into the earth, but it never sank in.

Thus they reached a small inn or resthouse seven or eight leagues south of this city. Today it is called Pacaritambo, inn or resthouse of the dawn. The Inca gave it this name because he set out from it about daybreak. It is one of the towns the prince later ordered to be founded, and its inhabitants to this day boast greatly of its name because our first Inca bestowed it. From this place he and his wife, our queen, reached the Valley of Cusco, which was then a wilderness.

Garcilaso placed – as Sarmiento a generation before him – Pacaritambo around 20 miles south of Cusco; it could be the place scholars call Rumicolca at Pikillaqta, which had been one of the Huaris cities.

According to Garcilaso, the Children of the Sun had had the ability to organize, and people had felt pride in being part of their community. He describes a local populations voluntary acceptance of a foreign, good and wise Incas leadership.

The first settlement they made in this valley, said the Inca, was in the hill Huanacauri, to the south of this city. There they tried to thrust the golden wand into the earth and it easily sank in at the first blow and they saw it no more. Then our Inca said to his wife: our Father the Sun bids us remain in this valley and make it our dwelling place and home in fulfilment of his will. It is therefore right, queen and sister, that each of us should go out and call together these people so as to instruct them and benefit them as our Father the Sun has ordained.

At the Huanacauri mountain, the golden wand had slipped into the earth, so there the Father the Sun wanted them to stop and build their court.

The place seems to me more rocky than fertile!

Also Cieza and after him Sarmiento had written about the Huanacauri mountain, but not a word about a golden wand. On the other hand, they had written that it was the place where Inca brothers and sisters – as a dramatic highlight of the Inca history – had lured Ayar Cachi with the sling into a cave where he died.

Conversely, Garcilaso did not mention Ayar Cachi, for he had only written about two siblings who should have been the jumping-off point for the Incas, and that couple looked much more beautiful – or more morally for the eyes of Spanish Catholic readers – than the jealous relationship that according to the other myths had been between three or four sibling couples.

When Father the Suns potent golden wand had slipped into the fertile soil, Garcilaso introduced the first Incas wife. It was the first time the Inca mentioned his sister as his wife, and hence was suggested that it was not just the golden wand that during the wandering again and again had been thrust in the depth. An incest ban was violated, which Freud centuries later imagined as an important part of an alpha males mythologization.

According to Garcilaso, it was the Sun that had chosen the spot in the Cusco Valley, so the wand could be interpreted as the Suns extended beam. Finally, Garcilaso quoted the Inca, that he and his queen should gather the people, so the golden wand also became a symbol of power.

Thus, the Huanacauri Mountain gained a warm and central importance in Garcilasos myth – opposed to the conflictfilled meaning that Cieza and Sarmiento had associated with the site.

Our first rulers set out from the hill of Huanacauri, each in a different direction, to call the people together, and as that was the first place we know they trod with their feet and because they went out from it to do good to mankind, we made there, as you know, a temple for the worship of our Father the Sun, in memory of his merciful beneficence towards the world.

The prince went northwards, and the princess south. They spoke to all the men and women they found in that wilderness and said that their Father the Sun had sent them from the sky to be teachers and benefactors to the dwellers in all that land, delivering them from the wild lives they led and in obedience to the commands given by the Sun, their father, calling them together and removing them from those heaths and moors, bringing them to dwell in settled valleys and giving them the food of men instead of that of beasts to eat. Our king and queen said these and similar things to the first savages they found in those mountains and heaths, and as the savages beheld two persons clad and adorned with the ornaments our Father the Sun had given them – and a very different dress from their own – with their ears pierced and opened in the way we their descendants have, and saw that their words and countenances showed them to be Children of the Sun, and that they came to mankind to give them towns to dwell in and food to eat, they wondered at what they saw and were at the same time attracted by the promises that were held out to them. Thus they fully credited all they were told and worshipped and venerated the strangers as Children of the Sun and obeyed them as kings. These savages gathered others and repeated the wonders they had seen and heard, and a great number of men and women collected and set out to follow our king and queen wherever they might lead.

A brother and a sister claiming to be the Children of the Sun, two wandering people in strange clothes and with gold in their ears – we may recognize the gold in the ears from Ciezas story, where it however should be borne as the surviving brothers sign of submission – should have been ascribed such significance that totally strange mountainpeople and people from bogs and heathens after a short wonder worshipped and recognized the strangers as their kings.

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(pp. 130-133 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

400  Dkr. for each volume (Danish tax is included) + shipping

Published by Selskabet for smukkere Byfornyelse

Sale: selskabetfor@outlook.dk

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