The Moon

The context and meaning of "Kueyen" are explained by Dr Jorge Calbucura, Associate Professor of Sociology at the Department of Social Work of Mid Sweden University and Coordinator of the Mapuche Documentation Centre, Ñuke Mapu, in Chile.

In Mapuche tradition, existence is understood as an integrated whole; the Universe is conceived as an organism of high complexity that is born, grows and reaches the capacity of self-regeneration. Its genesis or existence is the term that in Mapuche knowledge corresponds to the energies that make up the Universe, which manifest themselves in different dimensions in Nag Mapu, this material world, or Huenu, also expressed as Wenü Mapu, the immaterial world.

In Mapuche knowledge, the beginning of the Universe starts with a great explosion, Chrufken Ruka, "the bursting of the upper house". In its origin, the Universe is configured as the ashes of the embers of the burning coal. From the Quimun or Kimün expression that denominates the ancestral knowledge we take the axiom that tells us "Kom kiñe mew muten deumalei pu antu, pu pullig, ka pu wangelen, pu che, pu mapu", which translates to "Everything is made of the same thing, the Sun, the spirit, the stars, the people, and the Earth corresponds to the truth of everything that exists and is connected with everything else".

In this way, like all the original peoples, the Mapuche conceive the notion that besides being men and women of the Earth, we are also men and women of the Universe, which gives us the duty to live with respect for the cycles of nature and the Universe.

After Chrufken Ruka galaxies are formed, among them Wenuleufü (River of the Sky), the Milky Way, or Gulpoñi (pile of popes), the Pleiades. That’s how Antü, the Sun, and Quillen, or Küyen, the Moon, are originated. This last one is the most important feminine manifestation of the Universe in the Mapuche world conception.

Quillen, or Küyen (Kueyen) is the wife of Antü, the Sun. She is the Pillán, the most powerful spirit of the Universe, and because of this, she is in charge of the other Wangülen, the stars. That's why the Moon is the brightest light of the night. Küyen (Kueyen) is the mother that controls the spirit of the waters, the spirit of the feminine, and is the protector of our dreams. Küyen, the Moon, is our extraordinary benefactor since it favours the fertility and growth of plants. It has a close relationship with women because it controls the cycle of fertility, the menstruation, Peküyen and her sexual life. Küyen has three phases: Küyen Üllcha, Maiden or New Moon, Küyen Ñuke, Mother or Full Moon, and Küyen Kuse, Old or Waning Moon. For this reason, the Moon determines the monthly energetic cycle and the Sun the yearly energetic cycle.


CAÑUMIL, T. (2015) Astronomía Mapuche. Ponencia presentada en la Primer Jornada Lengua, Cultura e Identidad, Universidad Nacional de Quilmes. https://sites.google.com/site/wixaleyin/home/fijke-zugu/astronomia-mapuche

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CALFÍO, M. (2012) Peküyen. En Comunidad de Historia Mapuche Ta iñ fijke xipa rakizuameluwün. Historia colonialismo y resistencia desde el país mapuche. Temuco: Ediciones Comunidad de Historia mapuche

COÑA, Pascual, según lo dictó a De MOESBACH, Willhelm, (2000) Memorias de un cacique Mapuche. Santiago de Chile: Ed. Pehuén