between people and divinity, the Yungas made choices and assigned precedence according to their own changing requirements. The people effectively moved between huacas 'who responded', the Dominicans explained, and 'this not always, but only when they had need of them'. How do we see the apparently selective horizontality of Yunga religiosity? It did not much impress Spanish commentators, and it has struck at least one modern historian similarly, as an approach that treated 'matters of religion somewhat casually'.14
In fact, this glimpse of Chinchaycama's position, and of Yunga attitudes towards an array of divine beings, suggests Andean religious understandings that were anything but casual. Divinity was tied not only to the people's sense of themselves and their meaning, but more immediately to political, economic and environmental stresses, to developing needs and to survival itself. The Dominicans were doing their best to see, within a decade of their arrival in the region, and this fact needs thinking about. Their conception of Chinchaycama and other huacas as critical intermediaries who might reward or punish, and from whom answers, benevolence and protection might be sought through regular ritual invocations and offerings emerges within an explanation and refutation of Yunga religious inclinations. That pre-contact Andean traditions of divine multiplicity were being distorted by early Spanish Christian descriptive inclinations should be suspected, if not assumed. But, distortion coexists with at least three other possibilities. First and most basically, that information about pre-Hispanic huacas slips through in spite of awkward cross-cultural terms of reference. Second, and more deeply, that a Christianizing terminological and imaginative frame linked to the cult of the saints clearly enabled Spanish understandings, descriptions, and denunciations of actual Andean forms, both in the mid-sixteenth century and for years to come. And third, that these understandings of huacas were increasingly informed by native Andeans themselves, people who had shared in their creation.
The idea of horizontal levels of huacas beneath the likes of Pachacamac, beings 'who responded' to Indians and addressed local and specific needs, fast became a preachable concept for Spanish priests and missionaries. This kind of popular broadcasting of an emerging early colonial understanding of huacas from the pulpit cannot be romanticized. It was brutally connected to an enduring slur about the fickleness and inconstancy of native Andean worshippers, as well as to other concentrated assertions about the huacas'
14 Castro and Ortega Morejon; Anonymous, Aviso de el modo'; MacCormack, Religion, p. 155.
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