The cult of mother earth goddess was one of the most important mythological beliefs of coastal pre-Inca cultures, with proven dominance in all civilizations of the Andean valleys of South America. Their antiquity probably dates back to periods long before the construction of the sacred city of Caral (see link), 4.400 years before the Incas (approx. 3.000 years b.C.).
In the sexual context of this mythology, Allpa Mama or Pacha Mama was the goddess of the earth, wife of Pachacamac god of heaven. In ancient accounts is described as the god of the sky sends rain to fertilize the earth goddess, making it the sustenance of life to emerge and manifest itself in all its forms. This dualistic thinking understood that male and height have a need his female and low counterpart. But as in all archaic myths that recount the marriage between the god of the atmosphere and the earth goddess, male power appears only fleetingly to fertilize; she is single and myth shows the supremacy of the goddess.
During the rule of the Inca Empire, the divinities of the coastal lowlands were relegated to the “hurin pacha” (instead of down), while their own gods were in the “hanan pacha” (rather than up). This new perception causes the ancestral cult to Pacha Mama was obscured and displaced, surviving in the popular veneration to the “huacas”, pyramid temples of adobe or stone, in which the earth was represented.
When Europeans conquered the Incas and impose their beliefs, the god “Inti” (the sun) is replaced by the Christian God, which is also male and his domain is in heaven; but many of the old local deities, including Allpa Mama, regained their preeminence.
During the colonial period, many European Christian ritual celebration of the Virgin Mary, despite her “virginity” was not consistent with fertility sexually, were made by Indians in the belief syncretic of offer a tribute to Allpa Mama.
At present and according to tradition, the ceremony to the mother earth is performed during the month of August, which is the time when corn is planted, when Pacha Mama enters its period of fertility.
Regarding the ceremony there are two concepts that focus on different perspectives: the “kintukuy” and “pagapu”.
“Kintukuy” means “do kintu” which are clusters of coca leaves, to put together gifts to be delivered to fire in a sacred place; praying for health, good harvests, fertility in cattle, money to cover family expenses, understanding between husbands and wisdom to educate children. “Pagapu” is the desire of buying protection against probable punishment or misfortune: “If I do not do this, then my cattle will die, my children got sick, I robbed the house, hail destroy my crops.”
I am not culturally prepared to interpret the true meaning of this ceremony-belief, but if I can express my deep admiration and respect for their stunning mythical force.