Andean Trilogy, a perfect union of the three Andean worlds
Most people find it very useful to know some important information about the place they are visiting before they arrive. This way they will make the most of the experience. Cusco is one of the most beautiful cities in the world not only for its history, architecture and gastronomy, but also for its traditions, culture and Andean religion.
Did you know that the Andean culture was organized under the Andean Trilogy? But, what is Andean Trilogy? In this blog, we will answer this question. Join us and learn more about the Andean Trilogy:
Three sacred animals make up the Andean Trilogy, condor, puma, and snake. In the Andean cosmovision, three worlds are in a perfect union, Hanan Pacha, Kay Pacha, and Uku Pacha.
The Andean Cosmovision is a way of perceiving and interacting with reality found in the indigenous culture of the high Andes. It implies that there is a relationship between humans and nature, and that the three worlds are in a perfect union. Let’s review these three worlds:
Ukhu Pacha refers to the underworld or the world of the dead. This world is represented by the Snake.
Kay Pacha refers to the earth or world of the living where we humans inhabit. It is represented by the Puma.
Hanan Pacha represents the heavens where the gods reside. Here is where gods Wiracocha, Inti, Mama Killa, Pachacamac, Mama Cocha and Illapa are found..
Others believe that it refers to the future, the subconscious world where our desires and plans are. This world is represented by the Condor.
In the Andean world, these three are opposite yet complementary elements. This idea and the knowledge about duality are part of their daily life beliefs.
How important are the 3 animals that represent the Andean Trilogy?
Andean culture worshipped these three animals, the condor, the puma and the snake which represented the cosmovision of the Incas.
Snake: (Ukhu Pacha)
The snake is believed to represent wisdom and knowledge. For the Incas, the snake symbolizes the world below or the world of the dead (the Ukhu Pacha). When people left the earthly world they joined this other dimension represented by the snake.
A snake (‘Amaru‘ in Quechua language) is currently a symbol of bad luck for people. It is believed that the sudden appearance of these animals symbolize death or problems in agriculture.
Puma: (Kay Pacha)
Main characteristics of the puma are strength, wisdom, intelligence and patience. The puma represents the Kay Pacha, Quechua word that means ‘the world of the living’. Pumas are adapted to the tropical areas as well as to the rugged terrains of the Andes. For the Incas it was a divine animal that represented the power of the world.
Unfortunately, the andean puma is in danger of extinction. Hunting a Puma is a crime that is punished with a S/41,500 fine along with the penalty of deprivation of liberty.
It is believed that Cusco, the capital of the empire of the Incas, has the shape of a puma. The head of this animal is found in the fabulous fortress of Sacsayhuaman. The line is in the temple of Qoricancha.
Condor: (Hanan Pacha)
Among the 3 animals represented in the Andean Trilogy, the condor was considered the most sacred bird by the Incas. Since they fly so high, the condor was considered by the Incas to be the messenger of the gods between the heavens (Hanan Pacha) and the earth (Kay Pacha).
The condors symbolize righteousness and strength. These majestic birds are some of the largest flying animals in the world, which has given them a mythical reputation in Andean cosmogony.
- The condor is monogamous and it lives with a single mate for its whole life.
- With a wingspan of over 3 meters (10 feet), the Andean Condor is considered the largest flying bird in the world.
- It is mostly black, but males have a distinctive white “collar” around their necks and some white markings on their wings as well. Therefore, the sex of a condor can be determined whether they have a white-collar around their neck (male) or not (female).
- Both sexes have the iconic bald head, however, males are much larger than females.
- Male condors have yellow eyes and sport an eye-catching white ruff at the base of their necks. Females, on the other hand, have no ruffle and have red eyes.
- The condor weighs between 11 and 15 kg (24 – 33 lbs).
Where can you observe the Andean Trilogy?
The Andean Trilogy symbol is well known and very representative of the area, especially in Cusco. Today, the Inca or Andean trilogy appears in the crafts and paintings of the Wonder of World. The three animals will pop up on T-shirts, hats and trinkets at every souvenir shop.
Therefore, if you come to Cusco, we recommend paying attention to details, you will be surprised of the many places these symbols appear.
We also recommend going to one important place where you can be able to observe “the flight of the condor, The Andes King of Cusco”. A unique experience you shouldn’t miss.
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Agustine of Hippo