World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Mama Killa

Article Id: WHEBN0000090845
Reproduction Date:

Title: Mama Killa  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Viracocha, Inca goddesses, Mama Ocllo, Lunar goddesses, Mother goddesses
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Mama Killa

Mama Killa (Quechua mama mother, killa moon, "Mother Moon",[1] hispanicized spelling Mama Quilla), in Inca mythology and religion, was the third power and goddess of the moon. She was the sister and wife of Inti, daughter of Viracocha and mother of Manco Cápac and Mama Uqllu (Mama Ocllo), mythical founders of the Inca empire and culture. She was the goddess of marriage and the menstrual cycle, and considered a defender of women. She was also important for the Inca calendar.

Myths surrounding Mama Killa include that she cried tears of silver and that lunar eclipses were caused when she was being attacked by an animal. She was envisaged in the form of a beautiful woman and her temples were served by dedicated priestesses.


  • Beliefs 1
    • Myths surrounding Mama Killa 1.1
  • Relations 2
  • Symbology and temples 3
  • References 4


Mama Killa was known as "Mother Moon", and was goddess of the moon.[2] According to Father Bernabé Cobo, writing in the mid-sixteenth century, the moon was worshipped because of her "admirable beauty" and the "benefits she bestows upon the world".[3] She was important for calculating the passage of time and the calendar, because many rituals were based upon the lunar calendar and adjusted to match the solar year.[2] She also oversaw marriage, women's menstrual cycles[4] and was deemed the protector of women in general.[5]

Myths surrounding Mama Killa

One myth surrounding the moon was to account for the "dark spots"; it was believed that a fox fell in love with Mama Killa because of her beauty, but when he rose into the sky, she squeezed him against her, producing the patches.[2] The Incas would fear lunar eclipses as they believed that during the eclipse, an animal (possibly a mountain lion[3] or serpent[3][5]) was attacking Mama Killa. Consequently, people would attempt to scare away the animal by throwing weapons, gesturing and making as much noise as possible. They believed that if the animal achieved its aim, then the world would be left in darkness. This tradition continued after the Incas had been converted to Catholicism by the Conquistadors, which the Spanish used to their advantage. The natives showed the Spanish great respect when they found that they were able to predict when the eclipses would take place.[3] Mama Killa was also believed to cry tears of silver.[2]


Mama Killa was generally the third deity in the Inca pantheon, after Inti (god of the sun) and Illapu (god of thunder),[3] but was viewed as more important than Inti by some coastal communities, including by the Chimú.[2] Relatives of Mama Killa include her husband Inti, god of the sun, and her children Manco Cápac, first ruler of the Incas, and Mama Ocllo, his sister and wife.[5] After the Ichma, nominally of the Chimú empire, joined the Inca empire, she also became the mother of their deity Pacha Kamaq.[6] Mama Killa's mother was said to be Viracocha.

Symbology and temples

Mama Killa had her own temple in Cusco, served by priestesses dedicated to her.[2] She was imagined as a human female,[2] and images of her included a silver disc covering an entire wall.[5]


  1. ^ Teofilo Laime Ajacopa, Diccionario Bilingüe Iskay simipi yuyayk'ancha, La Paz, 2007 (Quechua–Spanish dictionary)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g
  3. ^ a b c d e
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c d
  6. ^
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.