Decoding Andean Mythology

Decoding Andean Mythology is a comprehensive analysis of Native Andean oral tradition spanning five centuries. Based on twenty years of research and a wide range of scholarship, this book departs from the Cuzco-centered focus of many published Andean narratives and includes myths, stories, and folktales from diverse regions and ethnic groups. Among them are full translations of thirty-two ancient and modern Native Andean stories. Colorful illustrations and a comprehensive glossary of Quechua, Aymara, and Spanish loan words supplement the text.
     In an accessible and engaging discussion suitable for students, the author explores a number of recurring themes and characters in Andean stories. These include shape-shifting animals, the inversion of time-space (pachacuti), anthropomorphic and supernatural beings, and conflicting attitudes toward sexuality. The text also presents a fresh perspective on traditional, non-Western concepts such as huacas (sacred objects and places), suggesting some act as portals or mediating spaces between the natural and supernatural worlds. Of particular significance for current events is a lengthy chapter on social protest, explaining the rise of indigenous movements in the Andes and highlighting the contemporary use of Native Andean folktales as an avenue for social and political dissent. 

Winner of the 2018 Wayland D. Hand Prize by the American Folklore Society.

Margarita B. Marín-Dale taught Spanish and Latin American studies for fifteen years as an adjunct professor at American University in Washington, DC. Born in Bolivia and educated in the U.S., she practiced corporate and international law before returning to her Andean roots to promote human rights and social justice for indigenous peoples. 

Table of Contents:
List of Figures
List of Stories
A Note on Pronunciation
1. Introduction
2. Andean Animism
3. Intermediaries
4. Pachacuti
5. Huacas
6. The Origin of Culture
7. Sexuality and Guilt
8. Supernatural Beings
9. Social Protest
Works Consulted

Praise and Reviews:

“Marín-Dale has written an impressive book on Andean mythology, offering new interpretations of Peruvian, Bolivian, and Ecuadorian narratives supported by wide- ranging scholarship.”
—John W. Bierhorst, author of Latin American Folktales: Stories from Hispanic and Indian Traditions and The Mythology of South America

“A comprehensive and accessible introduction to Andean narrative traditions.”
—Paul Steele, coauthor of the Handbook of Inca Mythology

“Anthropologists have long sought to unlock the mysteries of the human condition by investigating world mythology. Marín-Dale makes an important contribution to this endeavor and provides an entertaining introduction to Andean mythology. . . . This original study will interest students of Andean religion and comparative mythology.”—CHOICE