Coniraya: The Inca Fertility God Who Dressed Like a Bum

If you thought the Greek gods had a monopoly on selfishness, rape, deception and other shady derring-does, you were wrong. Take, for example, the Inca god Coniraya (also Cuniraya), who may have fitted in fairly well on Mount Olympus. If we look at a god like Coniraya, we see a possible allegory, a possible morality story and many that are problematic about the actions that people often tolerated of their gods just because they did not die and had a kind of superpower. has. Often these factors were enough for people to look the other way when gods felt the urge to be a little (or very) naughty.

We see a tragic figure in Coniraya, whose lack of self-awareness has also done other great damage. Many ancient, anthropomorphized gods did not discern their own moral and emotional flaws, never became human again, never tried to rise above whatever emotion was driving them at the moment. They questioned no inner drive that forced them into action and often showed no self-control. Perhaps they were projections in the air of a class that lived above the law, acted arbitrarily, and demanded to be worshiped. Perhaps the gods were written for a time by the rich and powerful of the ancient world until the monotheistic religions said, “Enough is enough! A God must start acting better as if He / She is better than us! ”

Coniraya looked cool but looked like a bum

According to some stories, Coniraya was a kind of benevolent, man-centered creator god who could create useful things like canals, irrigation systems and arable land. This god often dressed like a beggar while wandering around, and sometimes played the role of traveling teacher. One who told of his story claimed that dressing like a beggar was the price he paid for his ability to change shape into any animal he wanted to be.

In other retellings of his story, it appears that Coniraya was so dressed by choice. Perhaps he identified with the oppressed in human society. Reports say that he was often ridiculed and abused for his appearance by those who did not recognize him as a god, but there do not seem to be stories of Coniraya punishing those who abused him or rewarding those who treated him well. him was not in spite of his way of doing things. of skirt. He dressed, very simply, like a beggar and one’s treatment of him provided no profit or loss.

Coniraya sees the beautiful, pure Cavillaca and rapes her

We do not know all the details, but one fine day Coniraya Cavillaca looked and became obsessed with her due to her physical beauty and chaste nature. There was an attempt at courtship, but Cavillaca was deterred by the overall appearance of the benevolent creator god. Honestly, she was repulsed by the very appearance of him. Imagine Charlie Chaplin’s kind-hearted bum chasing Virginia Cherrill’s now haughty Flower Girl at the end of the movie City lights .

While watching Cavillaca weave under a tree, Coniraya turned into a Bird of Paradise, inserted his DNA (uh hem) into a piece of fruit and dropped the fruit next to her. She ate innocently of the fruit and became pregnant. It is not necessary to cut words here or clarify this picture, a kind of rape is described, though unknown by the victim, and this god of human rape is seen by the mythology of many cultures. The search would soon be underway to find the identity of the father.

Illustration of Andean woman and child.  (KarimRocio / Adobe Stock)

Illustration of Andean woman and child. ( KarimRocio / Adobe Stock)

Cavillaca’s pragmatism, for the sake of the child

When the child was a year old, Cavillaca had had enough. All she wanted to know was who the father was so that her child could be raised in a family unit. The fraud behind the pregnancy was overcome by the need to find the father, but she no doubt also wanted to know how the act was done. The disclosure of the methodology would indeed be necessary to determine the father’s real identity.

Cavillaca convened a meeting of the Vilca, powerful male supernatural beings who held various functions. The Vilca showed up, dressed to the nine, but no one dared to claim paternity because no one had a way of explaining how the DNA was transmitted. There was only one who could do it, and he stood apart in his dirty, smelly rags, dust in his hair. When no spirit emerged, Cavillaca placed her child on the ground, trusting that he would crawl to the appropriate man. Of course, he crawled to Coniraya who then explained everything, to everyone’s horror. It seems that even a benevolent creator god who smells evokes contempt.

Coniraya chases Cavillaca and the animal kingdom

Cavillaca grabbed the baby and took off. She did not know where she was going, but she knew she had to go. The last thing she was going to do was settle with Coniraya, which pushed her off more than ever. All she could do in desperation was buy time and flee. In addition to shape shift, Coniraya was able to communicate with creation. So he asked a vulture where Cavillaca was and got some useful information and blessed the vulture to make sure he always had food to eat.

If Coniraya comes across an animal that had negative information or no information at all, that being is cursed, e.g. let’s say a snake could not tell him anything, it would explain why the snake would have no arms or legs and would live under the earth. The animal kingdom thus became divided by whether it could help Coniraya find the woman he was pursuing or not.

Coniraya, Per Hook or by Crook, failed

It turns out Cavillaca had had enough of all this nonsense and found a place where she planned to commit suicide with her child. When she entered the water to drown, she and her child were turned to stones, which to this day have stood in the Pacific Ocean in the sea. Using his interrogation skills with the animal kingdom, Coniraya was soon close to the place where Cavillaca killed herself. But he discovered that the site was protected by two daughters of a god guarded by a mortal being.

Coniraya could not seduce any of the daughters, who turned into a bird and flew away from Coniraya. When he saw nothing but a few stones, he then took revenge on the mother of the daughters. While herding all the fish in the world in one pond, Coniraya released the fish into most of the water masses in the world. To this day, he may be wandering through the world causing chaos in his search for the woman who just could not stand the look and smell of him.

Both Cavillaca and her child turned to stone when they tried to escape Coniraya.  These rocks are nowadays located in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Peru and are known as the Pachacàmac or Cavillaca Islands.  (rjankovsky / Adobe Stock)

Both Cavillaca and her child turned to stone when they tried to escape Coniraya. These rocks are nowadays located in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Peru and are known as the Pachacàmac or Cavillaca Islands. ( rjankovsky / Adobe Stock)

In defense of Coniraya: Is this an allegory?

So Coniraya is a fertility god. It is his job to make sure that things grow or are born. When a seed falls to the ground, it does not ask the Earth’s permission to germinate in it. When the alpha male and alpha female of a group of social mammals mate, there is also little choice of mate involved. Fertility apparently does not mean personal choice, but is closer to raw opportunity.

So, to some extent, what Coniraya is doing is nothing he has not seen before in a state of nature. He dropped his seed and it was eagerly picked up by another. Perhaps the great crime of Coniraya, and the purpose of the story, is that he does not realize that people have risen above his type of fertility and that love has become part of what has historically been a very basic and often random process. Coniraya can thus be a symbol of an outdated sexual urge that has no place in civilized society. Perhaps he represents what we were as animals and shows us one of the most important ways we have changed.

Top image: Though a creator god, Coniraya dressed like a beggar. Source: fresnel6 / Adobe Stock

By Daniel Gauss


Solomon, F. & Urioste, GL 1991. The Huarochirí Manuscript: A Testament of Ancient and Colonial Andean Religion . Austin: University of Texas Press

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