Religion and ritual were present in all the activities of the Andean people. They worshiped many deities and sacred places. Inca People believed in good and evil spirits. And they saw omens in many things—a rainbow, a falling star, the shape of a cloud, or the hooting of an owl.


Viracocha, the Inca believed, was the creator of the Sun, the Moon, and the stars. The Sun—the life-giver—was the most important servant of Viracocha. He watched over the maturing crops, and he was the father of the Inca emperor. His image, hammered in gold, was a human face surrounded by rays—the Sun's flowing hair.

The Moon was a woman, the wife of the Sun. The. Inca believed that the eclipse of the Moon was caused by a great serpent or mountain lion trying to devour her. To frighten the serpent off the Moon, the Indians pointed their weapons at it and shouted.

All the constellations had duties assigned to them by Viracocha. The Pleiades watches), over the seeds in the fields, and the constellation Lyra, which looked like a llama, watched over the herds.

Thunder, the god of weather, was another important deity. Like Viracocha he was pictured as a man with a war club in one hand and a sling in the other. Thunder and lightning came from his sling, and from the Milky Way he drew the rain. The Earth Mother was worshiped, too, especially by the farmers. Mother Sea was worshiped by the fishermen.


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