Word Archaeology: ayllu

In Inca society in the South American Andes Mountains, the ayllu is a clan among Quechuas and Aymaras. The social unit existed prior to Spanish colonization and persists to this day, defining territories for extended family, with the main goal of providing subsistence and collaboration.

In Inca lore, ayllus came from the stars, with a terrestrial location marked by a paqarina – a place of origin and final destination – associated with landmarks such as sinkholes or lakes. A paqarina also was said to serve as a portal allowing the flow of the forces of life and death.

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Wes Platt

Lead storyteller. Game designer and journalist. Recovering Floridian.

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