Yacuruna, god of the Amazon water

Yacuruna, god of the Amazon water

Yacuruna is a water god of the Amazonian culture, who not only has power over aquatic animals but also has the ability to govern other spirits such as water genies, mermaids or other spirits. On this occasion we have brought this mystery to the table: Yacuruna, water god of the Amazon. Let’s see:

Due to his deity status, he is usually associated with shamans and only the most powerful had the ability to invoke him to ask for his help, either for something good or bad. The god also has the ability to transform himself into a human being, usually taking the form of a very attractive man who goes in search of maidens whom he lures to the river to turn them into a Yacuruna and thus become part of his powerful race.

As the territory of the Amazon is distributed in several countries, its history as in any good myth can vary: in Colombia they say that this being can turn its head 180 degrees and use it to look completely backwards. Likewise, it is said that apart from women, it also likes to trick children to take them to its aquatic kingdom and that when it sleeps it does so only during the day, without ever closing its eyes.

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In Peru, it is said that the Yacuruna moves along the river using a huge black crocodile and to demonstrate his power he wears a snake tied around his neck, as if it were a necklace. His weapons are snakes, which he carries as if they were belts, and on his feet he wears the shells of Taricaya turtles.

His name is of Quechua origin, whose root “Yaku” means river and “Runa” which represents the word man, being then his name man of the river.

The Yacuruna in literature

Miuler Vásquez González is a Peruvian writer and author of the book Yakuruna. As you can imagine, the book is set in the middle of the Amazon jungle, with rich descriptions of the place and the use of expressions typical of the Peruvian territory in each of its passages. The work enjoys being nourished with the different myths and superstitions of the region, and it is necessary to add that it counts on appearances of the magnificent animals of the jungle.

The abduction of the maiden

The indigenous community of the Shimpiyacu has a story related to this being of the water. In it they narrate how a couple gave birth to a beautiful girl who later became a beautiful woman who was the adoration of the Shimpiyacu people.

As expected, the young girl received constant marriage proposals, but she did not see in any of the possible candidates someone worthy of her heart. So it was that one full moon night she sat down on the river bank to talk to the wind of her dismay, when she was surprised in her diatribe by a young man, who sat down next to her and with whom she talked for many hours.

Every evening, the girl went out to meet the boy with whom she had fallen in love. The girl’s grandmother suspected the identity of her granddaughter’s suitor and asked her granddaughter to bring him to the house so that the rest of the family could meet him. The parents of the young girl were very happy with the beau, but the grandmother was still suspicious of him and one night after following them she realized his true identity: he was the Yacuruna.

The young girl and the creature plunged into the river. The grandmother was not able to arrive in time and, disconsolate, marched home, where she told what had happened. The family asked the strongest warriors in the area for help to find the lost maiden, but all the effort was in vain.

Time passed and although it is said that wounds heal over the years, the truth is that the disappearance of someone is always there, ready to make a dent in people’s lives. That was precisely what was happening to the girl’s grief-stricken mother, who never stopped looking for her daughter. One night, after she had fallen sound asleep and had vented her sorrows, she dreamed of her little girl.

In the dream, the girl told her that she was very happy, that she had a farm full of animals and that her husband treated her very well, she promised her mother that she would leave her presents and to please stop crying.

The next night the mother found her daughter’s gifts, but what she didn’t know was that her husband and other members of the tribe had followed her. They knew that behind the presents was the presence of the Yacuruna and that the best thing to do was to get the woman away. The lady returned to her despair, she could be with her daughter, but her husband kept her away from her: hearing her cry the grandmother released her from her captivity and the woman ran to the river where she could be reunited with her daughter.

It is said that some nights two women can be seen swimming in the river and close to them, protecting them, is the Yacuruna.

Bibliography ►
Phoneia.com (November 10, 2022). Yacuruna, god of the Amazon water. Recovered from https://phoneia.com/en/yacuruna-god-of-the-amazon-water/