Dedenbach-Salazar Sáenz, Sabine: Deities and Spirits in Andean Belief towards a Systematisation

Abstract. – Most people who live in the rural Andes have considered themselves Christians for several hundred years, and their religion combines traditions of Andean and Christian origins. In order to understand the basic concepts of life in the Andes I will study the deities and spirits who inhabit nature and how they affect human beings. Apart from major deities (Pachamama, the apus) there are other beings, the spirits: dangerous and evil ones hovering in liminal space and time as well as benevolent ones who help the deities. By systematising materials and studies from Peru, I will show that, although words and certain concepts are blended in what may be called Andean Christianity, the (super)natural world is essentially Andean. [Andes, Quechua, 20th century, religion, deities, spirits, Christianisation, cultural blending]