Pachamama: Celebrating Mother Earth the Andes Region

Friday April 22, 2016
Pachamama: Celebrating Mother Earth the Andes Region

By many indigenous communities of South America, particularly in the Andes, the Goddess Pachamama or Mama Pacha (Quechua: "Mother earth, mother cosmos") is regarded as a personification of the mother earth. This figure is seen to give life in many ways, she also nourishes, protects, communicates through rituals with her “children”, as well as mediates between the upper and lower world. The figure of Pachamama is the source of everything new and is perceived as a natural source. Therefore, the indigenous Andean peoples have always regarded themselves as her children. Pachamama is a very lively goddess, today she is still revered in many parts of Peru, Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador, but also partly still in northwestern Argentina and northern Chile by the indigenous communities. Today the indigenous communities in Peru - Quechua and Aymara – still worship the Pachamama as an omnipotent goddess who gives life to all creatures and nourishes.

Since its origins, the believing communities are in a close interrelationship with the "Mother Earth”. Presumably, therefore, the spiritual tradition around Pachamama is very vital until today and manifests itself in many everyday rituals and great feasts.

There are actually no images representing the Pachamama, nor the fact that she is female. Also, there is no archeological proof of her shape or gender. The figures, which are offered for sale in the markets, are more recent are usually manufactured exclusively for tourists. The locals themselves actually don´t need an image or graphic representation, as Pachamama can be felt in every place and at every moment and in every living being. Still, we can find figures of the Pachamama mixed with the shape of the Virgin Mary. It thus combines the Andean Beliefs and Christian ideas in the respect that both entities incorporate motherhood.

With the arrival of the Spaniards to “The New World”, the old native deities were replaced by Christian saints. Maria was being used by the missionaries of the Catholic Church in many way to replace the cult of the Great Mother Pachamama. The rite of Pachamama, however has been reserved until today - the figure of Maria could not replace the presence of the Great Mother: while Maria has a specific image, the Pachamama is perceived in all living beings and new creations!

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