The Kadiweu people, also known as the Kaduveo or Guaicurus, are an indigenous group inhabiting the southwestern region of the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul. With a rich cultural heritage, their beliefs, mythology, and rituals are steeped in ancient traditions and storytelling that have been passed down through generations.


  • Gwata'ú: Gwata'ú is the supreme creator deity in Kadiweu mythology, who created the earth, the cosmos, and all living beings. This god is known to be wise and just, and the source of the Kadiweu people's spiritual connection with the natural world.

  • Iaguaka: Iaguaka is the sun god, responsible for bringing light and warmth to the earth. He is portrayed as a powerful and radiant deity, with a strong connection to the daily cycle of life and the changing seasons.

  • Jakwa: Jakwa is the moon goddess, who governs the night and the cycles of the moon. She is associated with the female aspect of creation, fertility, and the nurturing of life.


Kadiweu mythology is characterized by a rich tapestry of stories, heroes, and mythological creatures that illustrate their beliefs and values. Some prominent myths include:

  • The Creation Story: The Kadiweu creation myth tells of Gwata'ú, who, after creating the earth and the cosmos, molded the first humans from clay. These first humans were brought to life by Gwata'ú's breath, and they were given the gift of language and culture.

  • The Origin of Fire: In Kadiweu mythology, fire was a gift from the sun god, Iaguaka, who bestowed it upon a hero named Wapixana. Wapixana was tasked with sharing the gift of fire with the rest of humanity, symbolizing the importance of cooperation and unity within the Kadiweu community.

  • The Great Flood: This myth tells of a time when the earth was submerged in water due to a great flood caused by the anger of the gods. The few survivors, guided by a divine serpent, built a new world on the back of a giant turtle, symbolizing resilience and adaptability.


Kadiweu rituals are centered around important life events, the agricultural calendar, and worship of their deities. Some key rituals include:

  • Initiation Rites: Kadiweu initiation rites mark the passage of an individual from childhood to adulthood. These rites involve various tests of strength, courage, and skill, reflecting the values of the community.

  • Harvest Festival: The Kadiweu celebrate the harvest festival, giving thanks to the gods for their bounty and the successful completion of the agricultural cycle. Offerings are made to the deities, and the community comes together for feasting, dancing, and storytelling.

  • Funeral Rites: Kadiweu funeral rites are an essential aspect of their beliefs surrounding death and the afterlife. The deceased's body is prepared for burial, and offerings are made to ensure their safe passage into the spirit world.

Unique Beliefs

A notable unique belief among the Kadiweu people is their concept of dualism, which is embodied in their worldview and mythology. This dualism is represented by the complementary opposition of the sun god Iaguaka and the moon goddess Jakwa. Their union symbolizes the balance and harmony required for life to thrive. This belief in dualism also extends to the understanding of the natural world, where opposing forces coexist to maintain equilibrium.

Another distinctive belief is the Kadiweu's strong connection with nature and the environment, which is deeply ingrained in their mythology and rituals. They believe that all living beings are interconnected and that humans have a responsibility to protect and respect the natural world. This belief system emphasizes the importance of living in harmony with the environment, taking only what is needed, and ensuring the sustainability of resources for future generations.