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Mapuche symbols meanings

Mapuche Symbols - Mapuche Meanings

The Mapuche are an indigenous group of inhabitants originating from Chile. Originally inhabiting the Aconcagua Valley of Chile, regions south of the island Chiloe and western parts of Argentine Patagonia, the Mapuche are now one of the largest ethnic groups in the Americas – although their population saw a decline during the Spanish Inquisition. A deeply religious group, the Mapuche believe that life is a battle between good and evil. Their dualist perspective is rooted in the idea that there are two opposing and complementary worlds coexisting in this environment. One of the worlds is the natural world, with the earth and people. The other world is spiritual and exists in the sky.

This spiritual world is called Wenumapu, and it exists between the clouds and the cosmos. This is the region where gods, spirits, and ancestors live. And next to it is the world Anka-wenu. This world is chaotic and filled with evil spirits called Wekufes. These spirits are responsible for illness and suffering. The Mapuche worship a cosmic family of gods called Nguenechen, Kushe, Elmapun, Elchen, and Ngunemapun. Spiritual leaders in the Mapuche are responsible for keeping contact with these gods and fighting off the evil power of the Wekefu.

Hawk Mapuche Symbols

The Hawk

The Hawk represents important ancestors in Mapuche culture. Ancestral spirits are often seen as Hawks of the Sun and hold special significance for the Mapuche. These Hawks of the Sun are often seen in dreams and ceremonies, and are viewed as a message from the ancestors. If the hawks circle to the right, it symbolizes good fortune. However, if they circle to the left, it is seen as a sign of evil to come. Generally, a circle to the left represents some form of human error or sin and is seen as a bad omen.

Trapelacucha Mapuche Symbols


The trapelacucha depicts the ways in which Mapuche women adorn themselves. It consists of many triangular silver plates that are used in pectorals. These are meant to symbolize the dual heavenly and earthly world of man. The upper plate shows a pair of birds facing each other and touching their beaks together. This represents the feminine-masculine duality. The design of the trapelacucha also shows their links to the connection between the sky and the earth, and the importance of recognizing both in the world of man and mother nature.

Llalin Mapuche Symbols


The Llalin or Spider, is a symbol of wisdom. It is a representation of the master of the fabric and the webs of life. The symbol consists of a rhombus-shaped body with its eight legs facing east. The legs can be curved or form angles in other depictions of the Llalin. In Mapuche culture, it is believed that Llalin Kushe or the Old Spider, is the owner of spinning and weaving. A female being, she is a teacher and also serves as a protector. She is the protector of weavers and keeps them from falling prey to the negative forces that drive them into error.

Toad - Sapo Mapuche Symbols

Toad – Sapo

The Toad is a representation of water, purification, fluidity, transparency, and ultimately life itself. It is considered a sacred animal by the Mapuche culture. Also known as Sapo, the toad has been used in shamanic rituals going back hundreds of years. It is considered as a healing animal and thus has a lot of spiritual and mystical importance for the Mapuche. The dried venom of the toad is used for its psychedelic molecules.

Ñandú Mapuche Symbols


Choique, also known as “ñandú”, is a typical animal of Argentina. It is a common entity in Patagonian folklore. It is a running bird native to the region, it is known as a smaller bird. The term choique is mainly used by the indigenous people such as the Mapuche, who see the bird. It is also known as “ñandú,” which means to dry in native language. They can be between 90 to 100 cm tall, but can reach up to 120 cm. The choique weighs around 25 kg.

Külpuwe Ñimin Mapuche Symbols

Külpuwe Ñimin

The symbol of Külpuwe Ñimin is seen as an association with an ancient snake. Commonly used as a textile design on Mapuche clothing, it is seen being made on looms. Külpuwe Ñimin is often accompanied by hooks and its design is used even today in clothing and textiles. It is mainly used on fabrics and materials by the Mapuche people.

Guñelve Mapuche Symbols


The Guñelve is a depiction of the star of the dawn or the planet Venus. A common symbol in Mapuche culture, it can be seen on the Bandera de Leftraru. It is described as an octagram or eight-pointed star. The Guñelve represents the morning star. In the Mapuche language of mapudungun, it is also called Wüṉyelfe or ‘bearer of the dawn’. Many have also interpreted it as a representation of the cinnamon flower, which is the sacred tree of the Mapuche people.

Bandera de Leftraru Mapuche Symbols

Bandera de Leftraru

The Bandera de Leftraru is an ancestral flag. It is also referred to as the Lautaro flag. It is used as an emblem and representation of the Mapuche culture and its presence in Chile and other communities in the region. The flag shows an octagram or a star with eight points. This is meant to represent the planet Venus. The Bandera de Leftraru was used by Mapuche troops up until the 18th century, and was seen waved by their chieftain Lautaro.

Cruz simétrica Mapuche Symbols

Cruz simétrica

The Cruz simétrica depicts a cross with equal arms. A more complex symbol of Mapuche culture compared to others, it is a representation of nature. It depicts heaven, rain and life. The Cruz simétrica is also seen as a cosmological symbol or a representation of the world in relation to the gods and the divine world. It is a way to connect man and the gods, and to symbolize the bond between these different elements for mother earth to continue to bloom.

Kultrun Mapuche Symbols


The Kultrun is an important musical instrument of the Mapuche machi, also known as a shaman. It is a large wooden kettledrum that is created from the hollowed-out trunk of a “tree of power.” This is considered to represent the earth, and the connection between nature and man. A ceremonial percussive drum, the Kultrun is used by the machi for religious and cultural ceremonies. It is also used in the fertility rite of Ngillatun.

We tripantu Mapuche Symbols

Wiñoy Tripantu

Wiñoy Tripantu is a symbol depicting the Mapuche celebration of the return of the sun. It is also sometimes referred to as the Mapuche New Year. Generally, the Wiñoy Tripantu takes place on the June solstice. This is the shortest day of the year in the indigenous home of the Mapuche people where they currently reside. Wiñoy Tripantu celebrates the bloom of Pachamama, or mother nature and its fertilization by Sol, as everything comes into bloom after winter.

Pillan Mapuche Symbols


The Pillan, also known as pillán and plural pillanes in Spanish is a powerful and respected male spirit within Mapuche mythology. As legends state, the Pillan is considered a good spirit but they have a darker side. They can cause disasters and mete out punishments if they so will. Or they will allow the wekfu to dole out punishment in their stead through natural disasters such as drought or flood, earthquakes, or diseases.

Wangulen Mapuche Symbols


The definition of Wangulén changes, as they are stars. Wangulén are known as gentle and kind female spirits within the Mapuche culture. Although these beings are not human, they are however, seen as close representations of the Mapuche human women. They are related to the first Mapuche human being as one would have been chosen as a woman for the first Mapuche man.

Wenumapo Mapuche Symbols


The Wenumapo symbol is a representation of cosmos and sky. A representation of father Sol, the Wenumapo symbol depicts the sun. It shows the forces of nature, and the coming of a new year. The Mapuche culture celebrates Wenumapod during the celebration of the Mapuche new year during the winter solstice. The celebration is meant to invoke the renewal of the forces of mother earth, also known as pachamama or ñuquemapo and Wenumapo, father Sol as a new year approaches.

Anümka Mapuche Symbols


Anümka is a design in Mapuche culture that represents a special plant. The Anümka plant is used for medicinal and decorative purposes by the Mapuche. Within Mapuche symbolism, there is a deep focus on designs that connect to nature. This includes symbols with plants, flowers, trees, leaves and branches. These connections to nature can be found on different garments such as sashes, ponchos, and carpets. The frequency of the symbols on these everyday items demonstrates how deep the Mapuche connection is to nature and the earth.

Pichikemenküe con Anumka Mapuche Symbols

Pichikemenküe Anumka

The term Pichikemenkúe is a reference to the figure of the small diamonds. These small diamonds are placed on top of a larger diamond, to create the symbol. The diamond is generally thought to signify water pitches. Or they can be seen as a depiction of the containers used for mudai, which is a typical Mapuche ceremonial drink made of fermented wheat. The edges of the diamond design are a representation of plants, and the connection to nature and the earth

Nge-Nge Mapuche Symbols


In Mapuche folklore, the Nge-Nge symbol is a representation of the eyes that serve as a window to the soul of a physical body. It symbolizes the connection of the physical body and the soul. Nge-Nge is a reminder of the connection between body, soul, and the metaphysical. The symbol is a depiction of the way to see inside the soul of a human, despite the physical body they may inhabit.

Maunimin Mapuche Symbols


The Maunimin symbol is a representation of the union of communities. It is a chain design to represent the different communities that exist within the Mapuche culture and to honor these different communities in a respectful way. The idea of unity and community is extremely strong within the Mapuche, and this is depicted in their symbols such as the Maunimin symbol. The symbol depicts the smaller elements and shows them coming together, as a way to represent the unity of the Mapuche communities.

Lukutuwe Mapuche Symbols


One of the most well-known figures in Mapuche culture. Lukutuwe is a depiction of the supreme religious being. It is also a symbol of one one of the first people, with hands, feet, a head and a heart tucked in a contour. A symbol of power, empowerment, and protection. Lukutuwe symbols can be found on pendants worn by women as a means of protection.

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