• Rachael Bell-Irving

Myths & Legends

I love mythology. When I was in grade 6 I read my first book about Greek Mythology and have been hooked ever since. This passion led me to take a Classical Studies course in my first year of university, and eventually focus half my degree on the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome. I find it fascinating how closely intertwined myth and culture are - full of stories are so captivating that they have stood the test of time.


For Demons at the Doorstep, however, I didn't want to use Greek Mythology for inspiration. I wanted to explore new mythologies that I hadn't yet had the chance to embrace. The myth of Camelot is one of the legends I have always had an interest in, but never fully explored. Reading The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart was a great introduction to Camelot for me. There is a lot of writing about the mythical kingdom - all the different variations, retellings, and theories are well-documented.


The villain of Demons at the Doorstep, however, has nothing to do with Camelot. Instead, I went with a mythology that I had no knowledge or expertise in. Incan Mythology. At least in terms of internet research, there isn't all that much around. A few books and a lot of digging led me to a god who sparked my creativity. Supay is the Incan god of death and ruler of their underworld, Ukhu Pachu.


The Spanish Colonizers of Peru identified as their Christian devil - seems like pretty good villain material to me. I changed the spelling to Supai for the book and took inspiration from this photo. You can see this reflected on the cover of Demons at the Doorstep.

From my preliminary research, Supay was a greedy god who mercilessly punished those who entered his realm. Ukhu Pachu was the lowest of the realms, where the wicked were sent. The Incas believed heavily in the afterlife. The peoples were so afraid of Supay, that they begged the god not to harm them. On the other hand, the inner world was also deeply associated with the earth, as well as the subterranean water that provided a vital water source to the Incas. This water created a link between the human realm and the inner world. The duality of fear and respect for this underworld realm, the punishment it delivers but also the life-sustaining resources it provides, demonstrates how deeply intertwined the sense of place and cultural faith were.


While the character of Supai is inspired by this Incan God, please remember that artistic liberties were taken in the creation of the character and the backstory details. That is a special power that fiction has; it can inspire us to dig deeper, learn more or even create our own stories thanks to the myths and legends that have survived centuries since their first telling.

Resources:

https://archive.org/details/firstpartroyalc01markgoog

https://howtoperu.com/category/about-peru/peru-history/

http://www.machupicchu-inca.com/inca-gods.html

http://www.ancientpages.com/2016/06/01/supay-god-of-death-and-underworld-and-ruler-over-race-of-demons-according-to-inca-mythology/

©2019 by Rachael Bell-Irving. Proudly created with Wix.com