Mapuche mythology is the set of myths, legends and beliefs of the Mapuche people, one of the largest and oldest indigenous cultures in South America, mainly settled in what is now Chile and parts of Argentina. This mythology reflects the Mapuche’s deep relationship with nature and the cosmos, and encompasses a wide variety of spirits, deities and mythical beings. Here is an overview of some key aspects of Mapuche mythology:

  • Pillán: These are the higher spirits or major deities. They are associated with natural phenomena such as volcanoes, storms and earthquakes. They are believed to have great power and can influence the destiny of humans.
  • Ngen: They are guardian spirits of nature. Each element of nature, whether it is a river, mountain, tree or animal, has its own protective Ngen. Permission must be sought from these spirits before entering a forest or drinking water from a river, for example.
  • Wekufe: These are evil spirits or entities that can cause harm to humans. Some of them are believed to be spirits of dead people who have returned from the world of the dead to cause problems to the living.
  • Calcu: They are sorcerers or shamans who have chosen to use their abilities for evil. It is believed that they can send Wekufes to harm their enemies or cause illness.
  • Machi: This is the shaman or healer of the Mapuche people. He has the ability to communicate with spirits and deities, and plays a crucial role in healing and performing rituals and ceremonies.
  • Antü: Represents the sun in the Mapuche cosmovision and is considered a positive and creative deity.
  • Kuyen: She is the moon and is seen as a feminine deity. It has an important role in mythology, associated with fertility and night.
  • Nguruvilu: It is a water spirit, described as a snake with claws and a long mane. It is believed to inhabit rivers and lakes, and can cause whirlpools to drown the unwary.

Mapuche mythology is a reflection of this people’s deep connection to the land and nature. Through their myths and legends, the Mapuche explain the origin of the world, natural phenomena and the relationship between humans and spirits. It is a rich and complex worldview that has endured over the centuries, despite the challenges and changes that the Mapuche people have faced.