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The Gods of the Guanches of Tenerife

Not a great deal is known about the Guanches of Tenerife, except flashes of information that suggest they were the first inhabitants of the Canary Islands. Despite the extinction of their culture, details regarding some of their religious belief and worshiping customs have survived. In this article, you will encounter a variety of gods associated with the Guanches culture.

Achaman

Known as the supreme god of the Guanches, he represents the father god and creator. Achaman’s name translates to mean ‘the skies’ and was often used to refer to the heavens. As an eternal god, he played an important role in the belief system of the Guanches. He was responsible for creating the land, water, fire and air. All creatures had a connection to the god, as he took credit for their existence.

Living above the people, he was believed to come down from the summits of the mountains to check on his creations. Other names given to the supreme god include Achuhuran, Achahucanac, Achguayaxerax, Achoron, and Achaman.

Magec

As the god of the Sun and the light, Magec earned recognition as one of the main deities of the Guanches. One legend states that the god was captured by Guayota (who represented evil) and held captive inside one of the highest mountains (or volcanos) in Tenerife (Teide) until the supreme god Achaman frees him. When Guayota kidnaps Magec (the sun), the world suffers a period of darkness.

Guayota

Representing a deity with ill will, Guayota was the antagonist to Achaman’s protagonist. Myths involving Guayota state that he dwelled inside of the Teide volcano, which served as one of the gateways to the underworld. Oftentimes, he was believed to take the form of a black dog, where he had demons accompany him wherever he went. Many times, the demons were thought to be his children, which could transform into black dogs called Tibicenas. The god is also known as the king of the evil genies.

Chaxiraxi and Chijoraji

Known as the native goddess, the Sun Mother, she is also known as giving birth to Chijoraji (known as the divine child).

Achuguyo

Also referred to as the “Father of the Times,” Achuguyo is known as the god of the moon, and looked upon as the deity responsible for regulating time. He is also considered the other half of Magec, who served as the god of the sun.

Achuhucanac

In the Guanches religion, Achuhucanac is known as the god of rain and is often identified with the supreme god (Achaman).

The belief system of the Guanches also included a collection of friendly gods (or genies) and domestic spities known as the Maxios (or ‘Dioses Paredros’). Sometimes, these entities came in the form of guardians attached to specific places. Many felt they served a purpose of mediating contact between the humans and the great celestial mother, Chaxiraxi.