I shamelessly robbed this picture of my friends FB page, just gorgeous:
Nevado Ausangate near Cusco, Peru
Picture copyright Jorge Vera.
The picture’s caption:
“…ice is fast disappearing. Local people cite ancient legend that when all the ice is gone from Apu Ausangate, the world as we know it will end and a new one will be born.”
Eerrgghhh, if Hollywood can’t get the end of the world correct, surely Facebook can, right 😉
All kidding aside, the indigenous Peruvian people do worship the “apu” or deity in the many mountain peaks of the Andes. “Nevado Ausangate” or “Apu Ausangate” is a magnificent mountain peak in the Southern Andes of Peru. It is the site of the annual Señor de Qoyllur Rit’i pilgrimage which has origins in Andean culture long before Christianity.
From The Sacred Land film project:
“Today, the indigenous Q’eros community of Quechua people revere the mountains of the Cordillera Vilcanota, believing that they are divinities to be protected. The apu’s servant cat Ccoa holds court in the belly of Ausangate in a palace that only great shamans dare to visit. The glaciers on Ausangate are where the spirits of the dead wait for salvation.”
More info about “apus” from Apus-Peru:
“In the Quechua language of the Andes, “Apu” refers to the spirit of each mountain which is not unlike a god. In every snow capped peak, to smaller hills, there is an Apu. Each Apu is different, with individual characteristics and personalities. They have in common that from them emerge the life giving waters of springs, lakes and rivers, as well as the forests and creatures that dwell in them. Like gods, the Apus possess the power of giving and taking life. Andean people look first to their local Apus and then to Mother Earth when they are undertaking a pilgrimage or enterprise.”