Humans search for explanations for the world that surrounds them. The Guajira peninsula is rich of tales and mystic places from the Wayuu mythology. The tales are about questions like: Where do the Wayuu come from? How did the Wayuu learn their weaving-technique? Where do the Wayuu clan symbols clan symbols come from? What happens after death?
In this article we want to introduce some of the most important people and places from the Wayuu mythology. For an in-depth introduction we refer to publications of anthropologists who gathered, analyzed and published the tales. Unfortunately, almost all sources are in Spanish or Wayuunaiki. See our bibliography.
It is said that “Maleiwa” (pronounced “Mareiwa”) is the creator of the Wayuu. No one has ever seen her. However, there exist many different tales about her. It is said she lives in the Macuira mountains.
Indigenous all over the Guajira peninsula tell stories about places that are said to have a Pulowi living there. A Pulowi is a female spirit associated with places related to water (e.g. lakes, rivers, or beaches) where somebody died. The Wayuu avoid bathing or spending the night at those places. It is very likely that you get in touch with Pulowi while traveling the Guajira peninsula.
The Wolunka rock is located at the Macuira mountains close to Nazareth and the Alewolou dune. “Wolunka” is the name of a girl who was the daughter of the rain and the earth. She used to bath naked beneath the rock. One day one youngster shot her with a bow and an arrow into her vagina. According to Wayuu mythology this is why women menstruate.
Jepira is a hill located at Cabo de la Vela. The Wayuu believe that Jepira is the place where the souls of the death travel to. The hill is a common destinations for tourists who visit Cabo de la Vela. The hill is also called “sugar loaf” due to its bright color. As of today, there is a Maria statue on top of Jepira which shows how the ancient beliefs get undermined by western missionaries.
Rock of Aalas
It is said that Maileiwa sent the wise man Uutta to gather the Wayuu families at the rock of Aalas. A lightning hit the rock and burned symbols into the rock. From that day on every Wayuu family gets identified by their symbol. The symbols are used to mark animals and also for art.
Piedra del Destino
The “Destiny Rock” is located in the north-east of the Guajira peninsula. It hosts a cave with an entry and an exit hole. Several tales report from people who entered the destiny rock and were not able to leave it through the exit hole. The ones who failed lost their lifes in accidents short after. It is said that it does not matter whether you are fat or thin, tall or short. The rock can become impassable for everyone or widen itself to let you pass.