Culture and Cosmos is a peer-reviewed academic journal in the history of astrology and cultural astronomy published in association with the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture, School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology, University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Vol 18 no 2 (Autumn/Winter 2014 will be published in July/August 2016. Vol. 19 (2015) will be a double issue featuring the proceedings of the 2013 Sophia Centre conference on Celestial Magic and is scheduled for publication in September/October 2016. Vol. 20 (2016) will be a double issue featuring the proceedings of the 2014 Sophia Centre conference on the Marriage of Heaven and Earth.

Volume 20

Passages between Worlds: Heaven, Earth, and the Underworld in the Andean Cosmos

Kim Malville


Throughout the ancient Andean world there are architectural references to the three worlds and the means for traveling between them. The first people to visit Peru probably arrived by sea and ascent from one world to the next was a geographic imperative. The underworld is represented by the ocean itself, sunken circular plazas, caves sometimes with niches for mummies, and labyrinths. The heavens are represented by summits of pyramids, mounds, and high of peaks. Metaphorical passages between worlds are evidenced by monumental stairways and carved non-functional stairs associated with huacas. In the Inca empire, real passages involved climbing of some of the highest peaks of the Andes, the construction of ceremonial structures on their summits.

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