There exist no written records of the ancient myths and legends associated with the Guaraní people. The Guaraní language was not a written language until modern times, and, as such, the entirety of their religious beliefs is passed down through word of mouth only. As such, accounts of the various gods and related myths and legends can vary from one locale to the next, and the regional differences may be so extreme as to completely redefine the role a specific deity plays in the Guaraní belief system.
Although a large number of the indigenous Guaraní people have largely been assimilated into modern society and their belief system altered or replaced by Christianity (due in large part to the work of Jesuit missionaries in the 16th century), several of the core beliefs are still active in many rural areas in the Guaraní region. As a result, the myths and legends continue to evolve to this day.
The primary figure in most Guaraní creation legends is Tupã, the supreme god of all creation. With the help of the moon goddess Arasy, Tupã descended upon the Earth in a location specified as a hill in the region of Aregúa, Paraguay, and from that location created all that is found upon the face of the earth, including the ocean, forests, and the animals. It is also said that the stars were placed in the sky at this point.
Tupã then created humanity (according to most Guaraní myths, the Guaraní were naturally the first race of people to be made, with every other civilization being born from it) in an elaborate ceremony, forming clay statues of man and woman with a mixture of various elements from nature. After breathing life into the human forms, he left them with the spirits of good and evil and departed.
The original humans created by Tupã were Rupave and Sypave, whose names mean "Father of the people" and "Mother of the people", respectively. The pair had three sons and a large but unspecified number of daughters. The first of their sons was Tumé Arandú, considered to be the wisest of men and the great prophet of the Guaraní people. Second of their sons was Marangatú, a benevolent and generous leader of his people, and father of Kerana, the mother of the seven legendary monsters of Guaraní myth (see below). Their third son was Japeusá, who was from birth considered a liar, a thief and a trickster, always doing things backwards to confuse people and take advantage of them. He eventually committed suicide, drowning himself in the water, but he was resurrected as a crab, and since then all crabs are cursed to walk backwards much as Japeusá did.
Among the daughters of the Rupave and Supave was Porâsý, notable for sacrificing her own life in order to rid the world of one of the seven legendary monsters, diminishing their power (and thus the power of evil as a whole).
Several of the first humans were considered to have ascended upon their deaths and become minor deities.
Kerana, the beautiful daughter of Marangatu, was captured by the personification or spirit of evil called Tau. Together the two had seven sons who were cursed of the high goddess Arasy, and all but one were born as hideous monsters. The seven are considered primary figures in Guaraní mythology, and while several of the lesser gods or even the original humans are forgotten in the verbal tradition of some areas, these seven were generally maintained in the legends. Some of them are even believed in down to modern times in some rural areas. The seven sons of Tau and Kerana are, in order of their births:
Abaangui is the moon god in the mythology of the Guaraní people of central South America.
According to the myth, Abaangui had a huge nose, which he cut off. When he threw it into the sky, it became the moon.
He is described as being a culture hero of the Guaraní, with his brother Zaguaguayu.Guaraci
Guaraci or Quaraci (from Tupi kûarasý, "sun") in the Guaraní mythology is the god of the Sun, creator of all living creatures.Iara (mythology)
Iara, also spelled Uiara or Yara (Portuguese pronunciation: [iˈjaɾɐ], [iˈaɾɐ], [ˈjaɾɐ], [wiˈjaɾɐ], [ujˈjaɾɐ]) or Mãe das Águas ([ˈmɐ̃j dɐˈz aɣwɐs], "mother of waters"), is a figure from Brazilian mythology based on ancient Tupi and Guaraní mythology. The word derives from Old Tupi yîara = y + îara (water + lord/lady) = lady of the lake (water queen). She is seen as either a water nymph, siren, or mermaid depending upon the context of the story told about her. The Brazilian town of Nova Olinda claims the Cama da Mãe D’água as the home of Iara.Iara is a beautiful young woman, sometimes described as having green hair, light brown or copper-colored skin (as that of an Indigenous Amerindian from Brazil, or of a caboclo) and brown eyes, connected to a freshwater dolphin, manatee or fish body (the Tupi word y did not have a distinct meaning, being used in general for any riverine or freshwater lacustrine place) who would sit on a rock by the river combing her hair or dozing under the sun. When she felt a man around she would start to sing gently to lure him. Once under the spell of the Iara a man would leave anything to live with her underwater forever, which was not necessarily a bad thing, as she was pretty and would cater for all needs of her lover for the rest of his life.
It is often claimed that, until the 18th century, the Iara legend was originally about an aggressive monstrous river merman known as Ipupiara ("freshwater monster", [ipupiˈaɾɐ] in Portuguese phonological rules; by that [Pre-Pombaline] time, most Brazilians still spoke línguas gerais), that would readily devour fishers, rather than that of a seducing, docile river mermaid.
Iaras are immortal (like the nymphs of Greek mythology), but her lovers do age and die, which means that they live most of eternity alone.
The legend of the Iara was one of the usual explanations for the disappearance of those who ventured alone in the jungle.
Iara (or Yara) is also a very popular female name in Brazil.
The Iara is similar in nature to several other female figures of folklore from other regions such as La Llorona from Mexico and the Southwestern United States, the Colombian creatures La Patasola and the Tunda and the Deer Woman of North America. All are females who at times function as sirens leading men to their death.
In the 1969 film version of the novel Macunaíma, the protagonist of the same name meets his death at the hands of an Iara. He embraces her eagerly and sees too late the blow hole in the back of her neck that gives her away as the creature she is and not the beautiful woman he mistook her for.
This physical deformity marking an otherwise perfect woman is a common theme among siren figures in the Americas but it is usually one of the feet. Deer Woman has hooves for feet, La Patasola and the Tunda have deformed feet and La Llorona is often said to have no feet by those who see her.Jasy Jatere
Jasy Jatere is the name of an important figure in Guaraní mythology. One of the seven cursed children of Tau and Kerana, Jasy Jatere is one of the most important gods among the Guaraní speaking cultures of South America, especially in Paraguay.Kurupi
Kurupira is a figure in Guaraní mythology. He is one of the seven monstrous children of Tau and Kerana, and as such is one of the central legendary figures in the region of Guaraní speaking cultures. He is also one of the few figures still prominent in the modern culture of the region.List of legendary creatures (M)
Maa-alused (Estonian mythology) - Subterranean spirit
Machlyes (Medieval bestiaries) - Hermaphroditic humanoid
Macrocephali (Medieval bestiaries) - Giant-headed humanoid
Madremonte (Colombian folklore) - Nature guardian
Maero (Māori) - Savage, arboreal humanoids
Magog (English folklore) - Giant protector of London
Maha-pudma (Hindu mythology) - Giant elephant that holds up the world
Mairu (Basque mythology) - Megalith-building giant
Mājas gari (Latvian mythology) - Benevolent house spirit
Makara (Indian mythology) - Aquatic beings
Makura-gaeshi (Japanese mythology) - Pillow-moving spirit
Mallt-y-Nos (Welsh mythology) - Spirit of the hunt
Mami Wata (Africa and the African diaspora) - Supernaturally beautiful water spirits
Manananggal (Philippine mythology) - Vampires that sever their torsos from their legs to fly around
Mandi (Medieval bestiaries) - Humanoid with a forty-year lifespan
Mandrake (Medieval folklore) - Diminutive, animated construct
Manes (Roman mythology) - Ancestral spirits
Mannegishi (Cree) - Little people with six fingers and no noses
Manticore (Persian mythology) - Lion-human-scorpion hybrid
Mapinguari (Brazilian mythology) - Giant sloth
Mara (Scandinavian folklore) - Female night-demon
Marabbecca (Italian folklore) - Malevolent water spirit
Mareikura (Tuamotu) - Attendant of Kiho-tumu, the supreme god
Mares of Diomedes (Greek mythology) - Man-eating horses
Marid (Arabian mythology) - Jinn associated fortune tellers
Marmennill (Norse mythology) - mermen with prophetic abilities
Maro deivės (Lithuanian mythology) - Disease spirits
Maski-mon-gwe-zo-os (Abenaki mythology) - Shapeshifting toad spirit
Matagot (French mythology) - Spirit that takes animal form; usually that of a black cat
Matsya (Hindu mythology) - First Avatar of Vishnu in the form of a half-fish and half-man
Mayura (Hindu mythology) - Peacock spirit
Mazzikin (Jewish mythology) - Invisible, malevolent spirit
Mbói Tu'ĩ (Guaraní mythology) - Snake-parrot hybrid
Mbwiri (Central Africa) - Possessing demon
Medusa (Greek mythology) - Serpent-female hybrid (Gorgon) with numerous snake heads
Meliae (Greek mythology) - Ash tree nymph
Melusine (Medieval folklore) - Female water spirit, with the form of a winged mermaid or serpent
Menehune (Hawaiian mythology) - Little people and craftsmen
Menninkäinen (Finnish mythology) - Little people and nature spirits
Merlion (Singapore) - Combination of a lion and a fish, the symbol of Singapore
Mermaid/Merman (multiple cultures) - Human-fish hybrid
Merrow (Irish mythology and Scottish) - Human-fish hybrid
Metee-kolen-ol (Abenaki mythology) - Ice-hearted wizards
Mimi (Australian Aboriginal mythology) - Extremely elongated humanoid that has to live in rock crevasses to avoid blowing away
Minka Bird (Australian Aboriginal mythology) - Death spirit
Minokawa (Philippine) - Giant swallow
Minotaur (Greek mythology) - Human-bull hybrid
Mishibizhiw (Ojibwa) - Feline water spirit
Misi-ginebig (Ojibwa) - Serpentine rain spirit
Misi-kinepikw (Cree) - Serpentine rain spirit
Mizuchi (Japanese mythology) - Water dragon
Mogwai (Chinese mythology) - Vengeful ghost or demon
Mohan (Latin American folklore) - Nature spirit
Mokèlé-mbèmbé (Congo) - Water-dwelling creature
Mokoi (Australian Aboriginal mythology) - Malevolent spirit that kills sorcerers
Moñái (Guaraní mythology) - Giant snake with antennae
Monocerus (Medieval bestiaries) - One-horned stag-horse-elephant-boar hybrid, sometimes treated as distinct from the unicorn
Mono Grande (South America) - Giant monkey
Monopod (Medieval bestiaries) - Dwarf with one giant foot
Mooinjer veggey (Manx folklore) - Nature spirit
Mora (Slavic mythology) - Disembodied spirit
Morgens (Breton and Welsh mythology) - Water spirits
Morinji-no-okama (Japanese mythology) - Animated tea kettle
Mormolykeia (Greek) - Underworld spirit
Moroi (Romanian) - Vampiric ghost
Moss people (Continental Germanic mythology) - Little people and tree spirits
Mujina (Japanese mythology) - Shapeshifting badger spirit
Muldjewangk (Australian Aboriginal mythology) - Water monster
Multo (Philippine mythology) - Spirit of a deceased person seeking justice or has unfinished business
Muma Pădurii (Romanian folklore) - Forest-dwelling hag
Muscaliet (Medieval bestiaries) - Hare-squirrel-boar hybrid that has an intense body heat
Muse (Greek mythology) - Spirits that inspire artists
Musimon (Heraldic) - Sheep-goat hybrid
Myling (Scandinavian folklore) - Ghosts of unbaptized children
Myrmecoleon (Medieval bestiaries) - Ant-lion hybridList of love and lust deities
A love deity is a deity in mythology associated with romance, sex, lust, or sexuality. Love deities are common in mythology and may be found in many polytheistic religions. Female sex goddesses are often associated with beauty and other traditionally feminine attributes.List of lunar deities
In mythology, a lunar deity is a god or goddess of the Moon, sometimes as a personification. These deities can have a variety of functions and traditions depending upon the culture, but they are often related. Some form of Moon worship can be found in most ancient religions.Luison
Luison, Luisõ or Lobison is the name of a monstrous creature from Guaraní mythology. Being one of the seven cursed children of Tau and Kerana, the Luison is one of the primary figures of legend in Guaraní-speaking cultures today, such as Paraguay. Of the original myths of the Guaraní people, the Luison is one of the few whose story has changed significantly in modern times.
The name of Luison is a variation of Lobizón, a name used in Argentina and Uruguay to describe the werewolf or a similar creature, which is itself a variation of the Brazilian name for the werewolf, Lobisomem, more literally wolf-man. What name Luison may have had prior to the influence of European-based mythology is likely lost to the world. Guaraní was not a written language and all myths passed on in storytelling only, thus no written record of his original name would have been made.Mbói Tu'ĩ
Mbói Tu'i is one of the seven legendary monsters of Guaraní mythology. He is the second son of Tau and Kerana.Moñái
Moñái is the third son of Tau and Kerana and one of the seven legendary monsters of Guaraní mythology. This creature has an enormous serpent-like body with two straight, colorful horns over his head, which serve as antennae.Mythical Museum Ramón Elías
The Mythical Museum Ramón Elías (Spanish: Museo Mitológico Ramón Elías), called honoring its founder, is a mythology museum in Capiatá, Paraguay.
This museum evokes memories from Paraguay ancestors and at the same time is a calling out to maintain in the Paraguayan culture the presence of myths.Pombero
The Pombéro, known also as Pomberito, Pÿragué ("hairy feet"), Karaí Pyhare ("lord of the night"), Kuarahy Jára ("master of the sun" - in the mythology of the mbyá tribe of southern Brazil and the Argentinian province of Misiones ) and Cho Pombé (= Don Pombero ) is a mythical humanoid creature of small stature in Guaraní mythology. The legend, along with those of other mythological figures of the Guaraní, is an important part of the culture of a region stretching from northeast Argentina northward through the whole of Paraguay and into southern Brazil. The Pombéro is said to capture particularly ungrateful girls, and force them to kiss him, and later, force them to have sexual intercourse with him.San La Muerte
San La Muerte (Saint Death) is a skeletal folk saint that is venerated in Paraguay, the Northeast of Argentina (mainly in the province of Corrientes but also in Misiones, Chaco and Formosa) and southern Brazil (specifically in the states of Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul). As the result of internal migration in Argentina since the 1960s the veneration of San La Muerte has been extended to Greater Buenos Aires and the national prison system as well.
Saint Death is depicted as a male skeleton figure usually holding a scythe. Although the Catholic Church has attacked the devotion of Saint Death as a tradition that mixes paganism with Christianity and is contrary to the Christian belief of Christ defeating death, many devotees consider the veneration of San La Muerte as being part of their Catholic faith.
Although the rituals connected to and powers ascribed to San La Muerte are very similar, San La Muerte should not be confused with the similar folk saint Santa Muerte that is venerated in Mexico and parts of the US, and is depicted as a female skeleton figure.Tau (mythology)
Tau is the name of an evil spirit in Guaraní mythology. Although Tau is not quite synonymous with the Devil in Christian beliefs, for example, he was sometimes referred to as The Evil Spirit and as such may have been a personification of evil itself. Tau was created along with his opposite, Angatupyry, by the supreme god of the Guaraní creation myth, Tupã, and was left with humanity on Earth.Teju Jagua
Teju Jagua (also spelled Teyú Yaguá) is the first son of Tau and Kerana and one of the seven legendary monsters of Guaraní mythology.
Because of the curse placed upon Tau by Arasy for raping Kerana, Tau's descendants were forever cursed to a derformed and monstrous appearance.
Thus, the pair's first son was a huge lizard with seven dog-heads and eyes that shoot out fire. His seven dog-heads make any movement difficult. Some versions of the story say Teju Jagua has only one giant dog-head. But all versions agree that he has a limited ability to move around.
His appearance was the most horrid of all the seven brothers. However, his ferocity was tempered by choice of Tupã. He was left calm and harmless. Still he was feared for his fiery gaze.
He feeds on fruit and his brother Yasy Yateré gave him honey, his favorite food. He is considered the lord of the caves and protector of fruit. He is also mentioned as a brilliant protector of buried treasure.
Its skin became shiny after rolling around in the gold and precious stones of Itapé.Teyujagua
Teyujagua (named for Teyú Yaguá, a legendary beast from local Guaraní mythology) is an extinct genus of small, probably semi-aquatic archosauromorph reptile that lived in Brazil during the Early Triassic period. The genus contains the type and only known species, T. paradoxa. It is known from a well-preserved skull, and probably resembled a crocodile in appearance. It was an intermediary between the primitive archosauromorphs and the more advanced Archosauriformes, revealing the mosaic evolution of how the key features of the archosauriform skull were acquired. Teyujagua also provides additional support for a two-phase model of archosauriform radiation, with an initial diversification in the Permian followed by a second adaptive radiation in the Early Triassic.Tume Arandu
Tumé Arandú is a mythological figure in the Guaraní culture. He is considered to be the "father of wisdom".Tupã (mythology)
Țupa (also Tupave or Tenondete; Spanish: Tupá) is the name of the supreme god in the Guaraní creation myth. Țupa is also the word in the Guaraní language that means "god". Țupa is considered to be the creator of the universe, and more specifically the creator of light. His residence is the Sun.