The notion of hechicería (sorcery) stood at the centre of the encounters between Andean people and Europeans from the 16th to the beginning of the 18th century. It shaped European perceptions and actions; it led to the persecution of Andean people. The notion of hechicería also began to shape Andean religious specialists’ self-conceptions, Andean accommodations, and transcultural exchanges between Europeans, Andeans, and Afro-Americans. Despite many studies historians have not yet discussed which Andean ideas stood behind the Spanish concept of hechicería; and particularly—as a part of that—where to locate change or resistance in the world of Andean concepts about their religious specialists and huacas. Therefore, in a first step, this article carefully draws on archaeology, ethnohistory and ethnography, to discuss what we can possibly know and how we can possibly understand Andean concepts of the powers of huacas and the powers of a certain type of Andean religious specialists—at one moment of time, the late 16th and early 17th century.
- Andean cosmology
- Andean religious specialists