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Fragmentary informations about Myths and Costums of the Andean Condor

    I do not know many legends about the Condor. It was a messenger to the gods, which flew up into the upper world (hanan pacha) to carry the prayers to the gods. It embodied intelligence and exaltation. Every morning the condor carried the sun up into the sky. At Macchu Picchu a condor is engraved in a wall.

    Traditions tell that a dead condor fell in the courtyard of the Cusquenian Aqllawasi or House of the Virgins of the Sun, happening what was interpreted as the announcement of the Tawantinsuyo´s destruction.

    "Condor" is being translated in Ecuador and Chile as "gold coin" and in some villages in the andes it was believed that eating the condor´s eyes enhances the own eyesight.

    Within the Oracle of the Condor its appearance meant the death of an untrue wife. Upon returning from his many years lasting pilgrimage occasionally the callawaya may find out that his wife became disloyal. Then the condor-oracle was scheduled and the whole village went on top of a high mountain. If a condor appears instead of the crowd, standing somewhere near the callawaya and his wife it was the sign for the suicide of the wife which threw herself of the mountain thereafter. This costum was invented during the time of the conquistadores ...

    For a callawaya a piece of snake´s skin, a tooth of a jaguar and a claw of a condor are very important amulets. Another costum was to use the condor for making a slow poison. A captured condor was starving for six days. Then old carrion was being fed to it. Its droppings were being used as poison. It is said it takes two months to die from this poison.

    There was a dance called ayarachi. When the southern cross was highest in the sky - around the 3rd. of May - it was celebrated under the name "Sikuri of the South". Ayarachi is being translated by Ormachea as "He who let the dead ones go" or "to accompany the dead ones". The dancers imitate the flight of the condor and use only their mouth and teeth to pick up peaces of flesh laying on the ground. During this celebration marriages were being scheduled.


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