May 2017 – Creation Mythology – Creation Myths of South America

By | June 5, 2017

June was away this session so the group did some research and had a discussion.

The session covered:

Maya – This starts with a watery void with grandfather and grandmother deities.  These deities gave birth to twin brothers one of whom was known as the Maize God who married and fathered two sons.  Following a ball game the twins were summoned to the underworld where after a series of trials they were sacrificed.  The Maize God’s severed head magically impregnated the daughter of an underworld god who gave birth to another set of twin brothers who were called the Hero Twins.  The Hero Twins excelled as hunters, ball players and tricksters.  They tricked their half-brothers’ turning them into monkey men who were patrons of all the arts.

In the Maya myth the creation is an iterative process.  The creation is imperfect so the cycle ends and the god tries again.  The first beings were made from mud, the second from wood, third is flesh and the fourth is maize dough which is the current cycle.

Valleys of the Chibcha – These people lived in the mountain valleys of what is now Colombia to the North of the Inca empire.  Their myth starts with darkness then the god Chiminigagua sets the light within him free using a flock of great black birds to disperse it.  Later he sets up the sun in the sky and the moon.  This god did not make man this was done by a female god Bachue and her son and they procreated and their off-spring populated the world.

Inca Creation Myths – These accounts were recorded by priests, from information on pottery, architecture and the legends which survived amongst the native people.  The world started as covered in darkness then out of a lake, the modern Lake Titicaca, a god called Con Tiqui Viracocha emerged.  More detailed information on this can be found via the Crystalinks site, details in the reference section of this post.  Many familiar themes come up.

Inca –  Chac the god of rain who covered the four corners of the world.

Northern Andean Tribes – An all powerful divinity called Sibu who had the power to grow men and animals from seeds.

Rubber Ball – A new item is the rubber ball which comes up more than once and is something of an enigma.  The rubber ball had associated ball courts where sacrifices and prayers were made.

Common South American themes

Dark world, water as a source of people, birds, maize, trees and tree of life.  The South American myths are bird orientated.

Common World Themes

There are common creation myth themes such as a great flood.

Although the land masses were separate, due to climatic conditions there was a greater uptake of water into ice which lowered the sea levels considerably by around 300 feet.  There would have been land bridges which we don’t see today.  Changes in climate conditions would have encouraged people to migrate, taking with them their myths and folklore.  It is estimated that at one point the human population may have dropped to fewer the 10,000 people.


There is a lot of information available online and in books, some of the sources used in the discussion are listed below.

Link to the map of human migration on national Geographic Site :-

World Mythology in Bite-Sized Chunks-M.Daniels-(M.O’Mara Books 2016.) Useful handbook to dip into as reference/guide. Short bibliography & website info.

Mythology – An Illustrated anthology of World Myth and Storytelling “ edited by C Scott Littleton , published by Duncan Baird Publishers . ISN 1-904292-00-3. Second hand copies are available on Amazon from about £4 + p&p, more recent edition for £10

The Maya eight edition Michael D Cole, published by Thames & Hudson ISBN 978-0-500-28902-0

The Mesoamerican Ballgame by Vernon L Scarborough 1993 ISBN 978-0-8165-1360-4

Link to Crystalinks Inca Creation Myths


Last Updated on June 5, 2017