Peru

The Traditional Offering Ceremony of the Andes: How to Maintain Balance Between the Material and Spiritual Worlds

In traditional Andean cosmovision, the natural world and the divine are united, and offering ceremonies are seen as a part of the reciprocity system between the material and spiritual worlds. Haywarikuy (offering gifts in a sacred manner), ayni (reciprocity), ofrenda (offering), and despacho (message) all are words used for the sacred offering ceremonies of the Quechua, Quichua, Aymara and other indigenous peoples in the Andes region. Although several types of these ceremonies take place all over Latin America (and by other names around the...Read more

How to Shrink a Head: The Shuar Creation of Tsantsa

The Spaniards invaded the New World seeking riches. They tortured and maimed, and the religiously inclined Christians did everything they could to stamp out indigenous faiths. They burned shrines and holy places, huacas (sacred places), and mummified ancestral kings, which played an important role in many tribes’ religious practices. The conquistadors (which means conquerors in Spanish) demanded gold, and when some smaller tribes could not supply it or had already turned over what they had, the Spaniards killed or severely injured them. In this way, many of the smaller tribes disappeared,...Read more