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Pachamama – who is worshipped in South America?

2024-01-15
Pachamama – who is worshipped in South America?

If you are interested in South American culture, you have surely heard this name more than once: Pachamama. What is it and what does it symbolise? Her cult began thousands of years ago and continues to this day. Hundreds of people believe that she is responsible for the order of the world. Today we will tell you more about her. Join us on a fascinating journey into Andean culture and spiritual closeness to Mother Earth!

Summary:

  1. What are the benefits of drinking yerba mate?
  2. The Inca goddess Pachamama. How was she imagined?
  3. Pachamama, the patron goddess of the fight against the climate crisis
  4. Pachamama – patron of organic Ilex guayusa!

Who is Pachamama? What is it?

Who is Pachamama? She is an ancient goddess who was worshipped hundreds of years ago, in pre-Columbian times, by the inhabitants of the mountainous areas of South America. One of the most important deities in Andean mythology. The cult of Pachamama survives to this day in many communities. Her name is briefly translated as “Mother Earth”, “Mother of the World” or “Mother Nature”. It is made up of two words from the Quechua and Aymara languages, Pacha and Mama, which successively mean “time, spacetime, earth, place, human life, life of all creation” and “lady, respectable woman, mother, beginning, greatness”. It is not only a figure, but also a certain philosophy, a feeling associated with respect, care and gratitude towards the nature that surrounds us. Pachamama was worshipped by the Incas and members of Indian tribes living around the Andes – she was one of the most important deities in their country. She was believed to be the source of the earth and water, as well as of the sun and moon, and above all she was regarded as an independent entity conditioning life on earth. To this day, it is believed that Pachamama gave life to the moon goddess and the sun god. She had the power to control all aspects of nature: earth, water, fire and air. She was recognised and is still recognised today as the goddess of fertility and harvest. Prayers were raised to her for rich crops and favourable weather. The cult of Pachamama was inextricably linked to agriculture. Offerings were made to her in the belief that she would show her kindness and ensure fertility in the coming year. In order to gain her favours, special rituals were performed during which offerings were made of harvested crops and reared animals, incense was burned and infusions of guayusa and yerba mate were drunk. She was prayed to most intensely at harvest and sowing time. The goddess-woman, however, had two faces. She did not just show her generosity. Pachamama was held responsible for earthquakes and other adverse climatic phenomena. All natural disasters were explained by the wrath of the deity for man's overuse of the earth. In South America, Pachamama is still worshipped today, although her worship now looks slightly different than it did hundreds of years ago.

Pachamama image – symbol of earth and nature

For centuries, people have tried to represent their beliefs and ideas in a more tangible, physical way. The case of the goddess Pachamama is no different. In art, she is depicted as an adult, beautiful woman, often pregnant, carrying coca leaves or other crops. Other times, she is depicted as an old woman – a mother and protector of the whole world, and sometimes she is also represented in the form of a dragon. Hundreds of years ago, Pachamama was believed to be kind and caring to people. To this day, she is still a very important figure in the culture of South American countries – from Bolivia to Ecuador and from Peru to Argentina. As a result of the Christianisation of the Indian tribes carried out during colonisation, the local beliefs of the natives became mixed with Christianity. The indigenous population was reluctant to accept the new faith, so in many cases characters and phenomena were found that corresponded to each other. In this way, a certain syncretism was created, the cult of Pachamama was combined with the figure of the Virgin Mary, and it is with this figure that many people still identify the Incan goddess. Statues and paintings depicting Pachamama can be found throughout South America – they are not only an expression of hundreds of years of indigenous tradition and culture, but also an eye-catching tourist attraction. Due to the important role of the Pachamama in South American culture, it was her figure that was chosen as the patron of the guayusa available in our online shop. We cordially invite you to test the Guayusa Pachamama products!

Pachamama

Pachamama, the patron goddess of the fight against the climate crisis

As we mentioned earlier, the figure of Pachamama still plays an important role in the culture of the indigenous peoples of South America. To the modern people, “Mother Earth” may seem simply a metaphor. Meanwhile, according to the well-known Ecuadorian politician Alberto Acosta, there is a belief among indigenous people that it has a completely real dimension and is an entity present in everything around us. At a time of worsening climate crisis and a predatory economy run by corporate giants, it is the locally well-known Pachamama that is put in opposition. After all, who else but she, a symbol of attachment to tradition and, at the same time, an element that gives life but can also be ruthless towards it, is better suited to this role? With the development of environmental awareness and the need for sustainable living, the Pachamama has gained importance beyond the Andean area. It is not without reason that her figure has become a symbol of environmental protection, ecology and the promotion of sustainable development. In today's world, where climate change, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss are major challenges, it is worth appealing to the values she represents. The Incan goddess symbolises the close bond between man and nature. Her worship reminds us of the need to respect and care for our planet. She promotes the idea that we are all part of a larger ecosystem that depends on our care and respect.

Pachamama – patron of organic Ilex guayusa!

There is a reason why we mention Pachamama on our blog. In our online shop with yerba mate and other healthy infusions, you can buy Ecuadorian guayusa tea from the brand of that name. Ilex guayusa is a subspecies of holly, related to yerba mate. Due to its qualities and properties, it is often referred to as the “sister of yerba mate”. Found in equatorial forests, the plant is rich in caffeine and therefore, like mate tea, has a stimulating effect and can be an interesting alternative to coffee. The tradition of consuming guayusa-based infusions has been alive since pre-Columbian times. The indigenous peoples of Ecuador drank it in a ritual called “guayusada”, usually associated with important events for the tribe, often of a magical nature. The name “Pachamama” refers precisely to the spiritual aspects associated with drinking this extraordinary brew, as well as to the symbolism associated with ecology – after all, all Guayusa Pachamama products are organic certified . If you haven't tried it yet, we recommend catching up!


Source of the graphic used in the article: flickr.com, author: Dennis Jarvis, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license (CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED).


Source of information:

  1. Wikipedia: Pachamama.
  2. T. Szyszka, Different Meanings and Understandings of the Pachamama Phenomenon, Annals of Theology, 2023.
  3. E. R. Zaffaroni, La naturaleza como persona: de la Pachamama a la Gaia, En Bolivia: Nueva Constitución Política del Estado. Conceptos elementales para su desarrollo normativo, 2010.
  4. Alberto Acosta, Embedding Pachamama in the Constitution, thegreeninterview.com.

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