The Legend of Guayota

The Canary Island are rich in Spanish culture but before the Spanish Conquest the original inhabitants, the Guanches had their own cultures, beliefs, and myths.

Despite the passage of time, we know that the Guanches worshipped several gods. Achuhucanac was the god of rain, Magec the god of sun and light and his other half, Achuguyo the god of the moon.

The principal god worshipped by the Guanches was Achaman. He created the land, water, fire and air and all creatures derived their existence from him.  His name translates to ‘the skies’ and was used to refer to the heavens where he lived and where from time to time he would come down to the island to check his creations.  However for every yin there is a yang, for everything good, there is a flip side and representing the deity of evil was the devil, Guayota the adversary of Achaman.

Guayota lived inside the volcano Teide that was seen as one of the gateways to the underworld. He was always accompanied wherever he went by Tibicenas, mythical creatures that had the bodies of large wild dogs, blazing red eyes and long, black fur. These demons lived in deep caves inside the mountains and represented darkness and evil.

The best known Guanche myth tells of how one day Guayota kidnapped Magec, and imprisoned him in the volcano. This plunging the world into darkness. Not knowing what to do the Gaunches people prayed to Achaman.

Achaman and the devil started to fight and because he was losing, Guayota caused Teide to erupt.  But the power of good is always stronger than the power of evil and Achaman won the fierce battle locking Guayota inside Teide then to make sure he couldn´t escape he plugged the mountain with his body.  Nevertheless whenever Teide erupted the people set fires on the mountain to keep the devil from coming back and it obviously worked as he has been in Teide ever since.

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