Mama Quilla, mother-goddess of fertility in the Quechua worldview.


The Moon has been the timeless and universal symbol that has represented women in the beliefs of all civilizations on the planet. For primitive man the moon was the natural symbol of the feminine essence, in contrast to the male essence of sun considered. The close connection between many female fertility rituals and the moon is revealed by its association with a symbolic reference to the female reproductive organs to pregnancy and childbirth.

In coastal and Andean civilizations of pre-Hispanic America to the moon worship was widespread, although it is clear that not all cases were recorded ceremonial rites or symbolized, and many others took forms and manifestations confusing.

In Inca cosmology, the moon mother (Mama Quilla), sister and wife of Father Sun (Taita Inti) was the guardian and protector of all manifestations and feminine aspects of the universe Quechua. Changes to the star said during his orbital cycle resulted in a lunar calendar governing various aspects of the Andean universe and operated in parallel to the solar calendar. Specifically, the Moon and its phases indicate periods of high fertility of the earth (Mama Pacha) and exercised direct influence on fertility of women.

The cult of Mama Quilla was preserved, participated and celebrated exclusively by women. The priestesses of the Moon belonged to the elite women Cusco, were very numerous and had a main temple in Qorikancha. These priestesses wore long gray robes and mantles of the same hue, covered his head with a thick white wool cap and wore silver earrings which emitted a metallic sound that warned her presence to the men, who were forbidden to look at them.

The priestesses of the moon were known as great healers and wise women too, knew the secrets of plants and witches were very busily, usually their oracles announcing disaster and calamities, so the moon was revered with great fear of difference Sun was worshiped with joy.

In the tenth month of the calendar Inca, Coya Raymi  (September), at the beginning of the rainy season –  the spring equinox –  the first night’s  new moon, was carried out Quillamama Raymi, a celebration in honor to the moon, a special festival for women.

The festival began in Qorikancha temple on the altar of the Moon, then continued with a walk and silent night to Saqsaywaman there in the temple of Mama Quilla, torches were lit with flashes lit the night sky reflected by source silver, then they would vibrate thin sheets of silver emitted a sound that broke the silence to call attention to the moon. Essences and perfumes were burned, and it spilled water with aromatic oils and thrown into the sky reflected in water, combs, mirrors, needles, ornaments of silver filigree women and miniaturized, also burned in open fires flame white wool and fine clothing for women.

At the present province of Anta department of Cuzco – Peru, located at 3,600 m. is the sanctuary of Quillarumiyoc (the moonstone) that is considered the only archaeological ceremonial center dedicated to women.

Quillarumiyoc occupies a large area of terrace built in the style of Sacsayhuaman, Chincheros and the tops of Ollantaytambo (ancient sacred sites located in Cuzco). The Huaca or a stone replica of Apu (sacred mountain) is a symbol carved on one of the larger rocks and represents an ancient temple dedicated to the divinity of the essence and expression of the feminine principle.

Within the universal concept of lunar mythology, Mama Quilla the connection is what gives the Quechua woman secrets of magic, charm, beauty, strength of the invisible, the knowledge of cycles and feminine wisdom; also reminds its instability and vulnerability. Is it the Andean women who made offerings to ask for protection for girls, new mothers and newborn.

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