Lightning in the Andes and Mesoamerica: Pre-Columbian, Colonial, and Contemporary Perspectives

Hardcover | April 4, 2013

byJohn E. Staller, Brian Stross

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Lightning has evoked a numinous response as well as powerful timeless references and symbols among ancient religions throughout the world. Thunder and lightning have also taken on various symbolic manifestations, some representing primary deities, as in the case of Zeus and Jupiter in theGreco/Roman tradition, and Thor in Norse myth. Similarly, lightning veneration played an important role to the ancient civilizations of Mesoamerica and Andean South America. Lightning veneration and the religious cults and their associated rituals represent to varying degrees a worship of nature and the forces that shape the natural world. The inter-relatedness of the cultural and natural environment is related to what may be called a widespread cultural perception ofthe natural world as sacred, a kind of mythic landscape. Comparative analysis of the Andes and Mesoamerica has been a recurring theme recently in part because two of the areas of "high civilization" in the Americas have much in common despite substantial ecological differences, and in part becausethere is some evidence, of varying quality, that some people had migrated from one area to the other. Lightning in the Andes and Mesoamerica is the first ever study to explore the symbolic elements surrounding lightning in their associated Pre-Columbian religious ideologies. Moreover, it extends its examination to contemporary culture to reveal how cultural perceptions of the sacred, their symbolicrepresentations and ritual practices, and architectural representations in the landscape were conjoined in the ancient past. Ethnographic accounts and ethnohistoric documents provide insights through first-hand accounts that broaden our understanding of levels of syncretism since the Europeancontact. The interdisciplinary research presented herein also provides a basis for tracing back Pre-Columbian manifestations of lightning its associated religious beliefs and ritual practices, as well as its mythological, symbolic, iconographic, and architectural representations to earliercivilizations. This unique study will be of great interest to scholars of Pre-Columbian South and Mesoamerica, and will stimulate future comparative studies by archaeologists and anthropologists.

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Lightning has evoked a numinous response as well as powerful timeless references and symbols among ancient religions throughout the world. Thunder and lightning have also taken on various symbolic manifestations, some representing primary deities, as in the case of Zeus and Jupiter in theGreco/Roman tradition, and Thor in Norse myth. S...

John E. Staller is an independent archaeologist and author or editor of six books, most recently Pre-Columbian Foodways. Brian Stross is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas, Austin.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:April 4, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019996775X

ISBN - 13:9780199967759

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Table of Contents

PrefaceI IntroductionThe Nature of LightningII Andean South AmericaLightning in the Ancient WorldInca Cosmogony and Ethical Order: Lightning, Creations, and ChaosLanguage and Lightning in the AndesLightning in the Context of Pre-Hispanic Andean ReligionLightning Bolts, Sons of Lightning, and Immaculate ConceptionsShells of Lightning: Fertility, Rebirth, and DeathCatequilla: Lightning Huacas and Inca ExpansionLightning, Metal, and Death in the High AndesLightning in Colonial and Contemporary Andean ReligionLightning in Inca Cosmology and MythologyEarth, Sky, and Water in Andean CosmologyTemporality of Lightning in the AndesLightning and the World InsideLightning Shaman: Human and Animal FamiliarsFictive Kinship in the Cultural and Natural World: Guaoqui and WayqePachatira: Rainbows, Serpents, and WaterAndean Lightning StonesLightning in the Andes: SummaryIII MesoamericaIntroduction to MesoamericaLanguage and Lightning in MesoamericaLightning Deities, Directions and ColorsLightning, Mountains, Caves, and CloudsLightning, Shamanism, and KingshipLightning Deity Has Dwarf HelpersLightning Deity's Animal Co-Essences: Humans With Lightning FamiliarLightning, Warfare, Protection, and PunishmentLightning Deity, Crop Fertility, and WealthLightning Splits Sustenance Mountain, Bringing Maize to PeopleLightning: Serpent, Eagle and JaguarLightning, Twins, and TriadsLightning Strikes and Thunder StonesLightning and TobaccoLightning and MushroomsLightning and FrogsLightning and FishLightning and RedLightning in Mesoamerica: SummaryIV Discussion: Lightning in the Andes and MesoamericaSimilaritiesDifferencesV ConclusionsReferences CitedIndex