Apu is the God of the mountains, and it is customary to ask for his blessings before climbing up the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. The spirit of Apu is the most powerful of all nature spirits in Incan mythology and the term was also used as a rank of seniority. Although Machu Picchu is considered to be a sacred Apu, it is not of the same rank as the 12 sacred Apus of Cusco.
Most Inca Trail guidebooks talk of the beauty of Machu Picchu at first light, and the Incan Goddess Chasca is responsible for this. Chasca is the Goddess of the dawn and twilight and thought to be the Inca’s personification of the planet Venus.
You may want to ask for Kuka Mama’s blessing before you start the Inca trail trek as she is the Goddess of health, and being in good health is certainly crucial for completing the 25 mile walk.
In Incan mythology, Kuka Mama had many lovers who wreaked their revenge by cutting her body in half. These pieces grew into the first cocoa plant, which Incan men were allowed to chew for happiness and health after satisfying their woman.
This is one God that you will be praying that you don’t see on an Inca trail trek to Machu Picchu. Kon is the God of rain and whilst his presence may not be entirely welcome, it is important to ensure plentiful crops and fertile lands for the year ahead. Kon was a fairly important Incan God, his mother was Quilla, the moon Goddess, and his father, was the second most important Incan God of all, Inti.
Machu Picchu was believed to be the most important temple in the Incan civilisation for sun worship, so it seems relevant that the Sun God, Inti, should feature on your Inca trail trek. Because the Incan religion revolved around nature, Inti was celebrated as he provided the warmth and light needed to make things grow. Whilst at Machu Picchu you will come across the ancient Sun Clock, which the Incans famously created in such a manner that it was camouflaged against the mountain backdrop. The clock, which is also known as Intihuatana, was believed to be the tethering post for Inti. The ancients believed the Sun God was attached to this post in order to keep himself connected to the local people.
When Inti disappears for the night it is his wife Quilla, the Moon Goddess, who rises. During Incan times, Quilla was considered the most beautiful Goddess of all and one of the most prominent Incan myths tells the tale of a fox, so astounded by her beauty that when she rose in the sky he squeezed himself against her producing the dark patches that she came to be covered in. Lunar eclipses were greatly feared as the Incan’s believed that Quilla was being attacked by a mountain lion and during these nights, weapons were thrown at the moon and noise was made in order to frighten the animal away.
Jude Limburn Turner is the Marketing Manager for Mountain Kingdoms, an adventure tour company who specialise in Inca Trail treks. They also offer treks and tours worldwide, including destinations in North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Central and South East Asia.
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