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South American gods

There are differences in the natures of the gods of South American mythology; there may be a comparison between the nature-gods worshipped in the temples of the Incas and those anonymous spirits conjured up in their huts by magicians in the Amazonian or Guiana areas. Also there existed a difference between the supernatural beings envisaged by the clergy of refined civilization and those whose anger the average tribal people tried to appease. Perhaps a major reason for this difference was fear: the clergy were more protected by civilization than separated tribesmen who felt more at the domination of imagined gods or nature. The clergy probably were more educated too. Such reasoning could also apply to the difference between the nature-gods of the Incas and the spirits of the magicians: nature-gods were part of the Inca religion while the spirits served the magicians' personal interests, an example of high an low magic. Characteristically the religious beliefs of most Incas might be described as a rather crude animism since they were very concerned with endowing the individual personality with obscure and mysterious forces apparently believed to dwell in certain objects. A.G.H.


Grimal, Pierre, Larousse World Mythology, Secaucus, New Jersey, Chartwell Books, 1965. p. 481

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