Pachamama or Mother Earth


pachamama-mother earth-ayahuasca in peruPachamama is a goddess revered by the indigenous people of the Andes. Pachamama is usually translated as Mother Earth, but a more literal translation would be "Mother world" (in Aymara and Quechua mama = mother / pacha = world or land; and later widened in a modern meaning as the cosmos or the universe). Pachamama and Inti are the most benevolent deities; they are worshiped in parts of the Andean mountain ranges, also known as Tawantinsuyu (the former Inca Empire) (stretching from present day Ecuador to Chile and northern Argentina being present day Peru the center of the empire with it's capital city in Cuzco).


In Inca mythology, Mama Pacha or Pachamama is a fertility goddess who presides over planting and harvesting. She causes earthquakes. Her husband was either Pacha Camac or Inti, depending on the source. Llamas are sacrificed to her. After the conquest by Spain, which forced conversion to Roman Catholicism, the figure of the Virgin Mary became united with that of the Pachamama for many of the indigenous people. Roman Catholicism is a syncretic religion, and the people worship Pachamama through it, in an indigenous ritual in some parts of Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru (Merlino y Rabey 1992).


The mother who we are accustomed to evoke as giving birth and taking care of life, also has a phase in which she receives, calls to herself and waits.

Here, in the Andes, we have an Offering Ceremony to the Earth. Some of us call it “payment”. But, we call it OFFERING or simply, “AYNI” or reciprocity with our Mother Earth who gives us life. 

In that way, we also give strength to the Pacha Mama, so that she might go on generating life. During that offering ceremony, prayers are made for the health of whoever asks for them. Often, prayers are made for the participants´ work, prosperity and protection. In our Andean cosmovision, everything that surrounds us is alive and we consider that offsets of balance frequently occur within our lives. So, one of the ways we have to harmonize and re-balance them, is through that Sacred Ceremony. Therefore, prayers are made with three undamaged coca leaves that Mother Earth gives us and which are offered to the Apus (Great Mountain Spirits). We also use elements like sweets, wool of different colors, myrrh, incense, animal fat and a great variety of foods and herbs we buy in the market and that the Andean people call “alcanzo” (allowance). But, one has to know how to prepare the offering, because not all that is being sold is being used, as each element has its meaning and reason to be.      

“These offerings are prepared by initiated people like the Andean Priests or Healers. It is a very ancient wisdom that our brothers and sisters from the most distant and well-known communities like Q´eros, Ausangate and Wasao, have managed to keep alive. And today, they share it with us”.

“According to the Andean cosmovision, ritual elements are being offered to our Grandfathers; the Apus (Sacred Mountain Spirits considered as our Grandfathers), to the Wak´as, Wamanis, Aukis, Q´ochas, to Mother Earth, the Creator God Pachakamaq and to all the Sacred Beings with whom we cohabitate. The offerings are different and the ceremonial tables, set in accordance with the interested parties´ needs”. 

“The Pacha Mama receives her rites in the believers´ domicile, as well as in the great wayside shrines or summits situated in different places close to the Andean Cordillera”.