What is cosmovision ?

It is the way humans, in conjunction with the earth and the cosmos. The ways of seeing, feeling, and perceiving reality as a total. In the case of Andean prehispanic pueblos, they comprehend there are two big forces: the cosmic one, which comes from the universe, the sky or heaven (Pachakama or Pachatama: the invisible dimension, that provides protection, guidance, and direction); and the terrestrial one, that comes from the earth (Pachamama; the visible dimension, provides food, it nourishes, and provides shelter). Both forces are linked by the Ayni, that is reciprocity and complementarity. 

Esquema realizado en un dibujo por Ken Dallison, publicado en National Geographic. El espacio. 2003

The Andean Cosmovision considers that nature, man and Pachamama (Mother Earth) are a whole and that they live perpetually related. And they are separated into three planes.

1. First “The world of the gods” called Hanan Pacha.

2. Second “The world of mans” called Kai Pacha.

3. Third “The world of the dead” called Ukhu Pacha.

Pachamama Deity 

The word ‘Pachamama’ derives from the words ‘Pacha’, which means the universe-time, and ‘mama’ which means ‘mother’.

For the Andean communities, it was the “Mother Earth”, always present and independent. She presides over sowing and harvesting, and with her power, she keeps and creates new life on this earth, as she provokes earthquakes as well. She embodies mountains, sacred rocks, or ancestral trees’ trunks. Besides, she is credited with the origin of the four cosmological Andean principles: water, soil, sun, and moon.

She is Inti’s mother (the sun god), also as, it is said that she is hir wife as well. And Mama Killa’s mother (the moon goddess) as well.

However, due to the Catholic religion’s impact on some of these prehispanic groups, is difficult to conceptualize their cosmovision. This is because, the two cultures, the occidental (Spaniards), and the Andeans one, are very different.

-Juan Chacama, Archeologist.

Here is when the ‘syncretism’ plays an important role.

Syncretism is known as the ‘fusion’ between different currents, in this case, religious. The native and original cosmovision of the different Andean human groups mixes, or fusionists with the catholic religion brought by Spaniards. In fact, we can notice it nowadays, when they do their festivities.

“World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth - Cochabamba, Bolivia”  Illustration by Kris Krüg (2010)

Honor to the Pachamama  

In the Inca tradition, she is the deity of communal agriculture, the foundation of all civilization and the Andean State. She is the most popular of the mythological beliefs of the Inca sphere that still survives strongly in countries such as Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru.  

August 1 is when the Pachamama is fed, for which a clay pot with cooked food is buried, along with coca leaves, alcohol, wine, cigarettes, and chicha, among other things.