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Inca Religion -

Inca Religion
The Inca are an ancient South American people that had their own distinct set of religious beliefs. They were a pagan religion, much like that of Greece or Rome in that they worshipped many different Gods. Most of these gods centered on nature and its cycles since planting and harvesting were the source of continued life to their culture.

Their highest and most important god was Inti, or the sun god. He was the bringer of warmth and light to the people. Each god had a festival dedicated to them covering the twelve months of the year. The king and his family were believed to be descendants of Inti, a notion used frequently in ancient religions to keep a family ruling for generations.

Daily offerings and sacrifices were a standard part of Inca religion, but they were not usually animal or human sacrifices except on special occasions. When a new king was enthroned, for example, 200 children were killed by being taken high atop a mountain and sacrificed, usually by a blow to the head. Other times when human sacrifices were performed were during times of crises such as famine or epidemics ....

Another part of Inca religious life was divination. Consultation of the oracles was done using simple things such as the meanderings of a spider, the disposition of coca leaves or drinking ayahuasca (a hallucinogen). Depending on what the priests saw in these everyday things they would investigate crimes, determine illness or define what sacrifices should be made to what gods.

The power in the culture was divided between the king and the high priest who was chosen from a noble lineage. There were also priestesses who were chosen women that were to remain chaste unless they were chosen as concubines or wives of someone of the imperial families.