Inca Religion Essay, Research Paper
The Incas were probably one of the most religious cultures in history. Nearly every single aspect of their lives involved the worship of some sort of idol. They worshiped through prayers, dances, and sacrifices. Sacrifices were the most important form of worship. The Incas sacrificed a wide variety of things, ranging from objects they created, to crops they grew, to livestock, to their own children. The type of sacrifice they made depended on the importance of the god the gift was for and the seriousness of the situation they were involved in. Human sacrifice was only done for very special occasions and in crisis situations. The guidelines for sacrifice were very specific had to be followed exactly. To change the order of a ceremony would mean that the gods would not be pleased and would bring more problems. At a ceremony there would be much drinking and dancing that were part of the ritual. Sacrifices would be accompanied by prayers as well. Like the sacrifices, prayers had to be recited in a specific manor, and only by priests. There were many prayers for many situations. Here are some examples.
All these sacrifices and prayers were offered to the most important things in the Inca culture, their deities. Incas were incredibly idolatrous, they idolized a wide variety of things, from dirt to the Sun. The Incas did have a hierarchy of gods, the top being Viracocha, or sometimes called Pachayachachic, or “Creator of the World.” Viracocha was the supreme being that created all the other gods. Viracocha also created the light and the dark, the earth and the sea, land and water, and all the things that are of the earth.
The Inca emphasized the arrangement of space into a sacred geography. A crucial aspect of this sacred geography was the concept of Huaca. This term referred to any person, place, or thing with supernatural power ; almost anything unusual was considered a Huaca, including prominent features of the landscapes, oddly shaped or colored pebbles, and plants. Cuzco, the Incas capital was the center of their universe. Most of the important Huacas in the area around Cuzco were conceived of as lying along lines that radiated from Cuzco. The Incas also saw the earth as being composed of four quadrants, whose dividing lines intersected in Cuzco. Like the earth, the heavens were also divided into quadrants. The movement of astronomical bodies through the four quadrants determined the Incan agricultural and ceremonial calenders.