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Discovered: The Lost Mountain Gods of Colombia

Discovered: The Lost Mountain Gods of Colombia


Peña de Juaica - Penis of Juaica - (pronounced: why-ka) is a remote and legendary mountain situated between the municipalities of Tabio and Tenjo at an altitude of 3,100 meters (10,170ft) above sea level. This dominant phallic sentinel which once guarded the rich agricultural territories of the pre-Colombian Muisca people who inhabited this territory. Known locally as La Puerto de Los Dioses - the Gateway of the Gods - this story recounts my recent discovery of the ancient gate-keepers.

The Mystery of Juiaca

Juaica has been associated with mysterious lighting phenomena for many centuries and thousands of spiritual tourists travel here every year to bask in the perceived ‘energy’ of this ancient landscape. To some, the mountain is a portal to other dimensions and hundreds of reports every year describe mysterious floating lights, unidentified flying objects and blue and red balls of light are seen entering and leaving its pointed summit.

The magical rock of Juiaca, situated between the municipalities of Tabio and Tenjo, Colombia.

The magical rock of Juiaca, situated between the municipalities of Tabio and Tenjo, Colombia.

Even the most rational local sceptics do not deny the existence of these unusual phenomena and they struggle to explain the origins of these weird lights and what appear to be flying objects. Over the last year, I actively set out to understand the cause and origins of the extraordinary light shows, flying-disks and whizzing balls of energy. Having spent almost a year living less than two kilometers from the mountain I have heard or read pretty much everything that has been said of the place. Talking about Juaica, César Eduardo Bernal Quintero, a journalist for the National Broadcasting of Colombia, insisted the problem of 'the lights of mount Juaica' should be approached from two rational perspectives; scientific and historical/anthropological before the paranormal. He then suggested, however, that the lights may be 'reflections from the gold' that is said to have been buried in that mountain by the Muisca Indians explaining why guaquerías (grave robbers) have been so successful at this site for several centuries. Buried gold does ‘not’ cause flying disks and airborne light shows, so far as scientists have observed.

System engineer William Chaves Ariza is director of UFO Contact in Colombia, a popular organization disseminating information on UFO sightings across the country. In his book Juaica, The Door of the Gods, he claimed to see lights forming a ‘disc or dish’ circulating in the sky above the mountain. Local psychologist Juan Sebastián Castañeda Soto has lived in Tabio for more than 15 years and witnessed 'a blue light moving quickly and hiding in the mountain' about which he said: “it could have been the reflection of an airplane, a comet, a shooting star or a meteorite”, but concluded that it was most probably a UFO. 

This photograph seized front page headlines in Colombia last year

In a culture where leading members of the academic community, including the local head doctor, believe in UFOs, it is of no surprise the village folk and farmers 'see' UFOs regularly, as their society leaders permit them to do so.

Also on the fringes, many maintain that the mountain ‘must’ hold some sort of ‘superior technology’ capable of warping space and time. How else does one explain the countless annual reports of people setting off down the east face of the mountain and arriving at the west, lost, two to three hours from the main road? And if you ask any one of these people, they are all super-pro, and reject any suggestion that fog and bad mountaineering played any part in the hyper-drive experience.  

The most esoteric and mystically-minded local writers account for the whizzing lights by referencing Spanish records at the time of colonization in 1537 which talk of 'mass suicides' of indigenous people who jumped off the top of Juaica before being subjected to Spanish rule. It is held that these suicide events contribute towards the ‘energy load’ displayed by the rock of Juaica. The trouble in accepting that the lights at Juaica are caused by UFOs, time-travelling technology or the energy of dead people, is that these ideas require a greater leap of faith than those undertaken by the poor Muisca people who jumped of the rock to avoid the apparently insane Spanish world-view where one god displaced many.

Not being prepared to take such a leap of faith, I turned to hard science for answers and approached the nation’s leading geological authority in an attempt to catch a fish of reason in a poisoned ocean of pseudo-science blended with blinding colorful Andean imagination. To help solve this ‘environmental’ mystery, on New Year’s Eve December 2016, I interviewed Professor Eufrasio Bernal, President of the Geographical Society of Colombia and a leading authority on the pre-Colombian (Spanish) Muisca civilization.

Investigating the Mystery of Juiaca

Professor Eufrasio has worked with many teams conducting formal geological research projects on the mountain range in which Juiaca is situated. He was openly excited that I had come to him as seldom do people want to hear his dry scientific reasoning. Speaking of the rock of Juiaca he said:

It is composed of unusually high quantities of metal which interacts in 'unusual and unpredictable' ways with the greater environment. All of the curious lightening phenomena, mysterious balls of light and other visual effect can be attributed to ‘geomagnetic stress’ which in this case manifests in the highly-charged skies above the summit of Juaica.

Where all of the ‘believers’ in the cranky ideas had ‘answers’, professor Eufrasio was refreshingly honest in admitting that the South American scientific community was at 'somewhat of a loss' as to what exactly happens at the rock of Juaica, but he quickly pointed out that the high metallic load of the mountain and the endless reported visual effects cannot be merely a coincidence. Scientists, ufologists and mystics all agree that the rock of Juaica has a special ‘energy’ and this is where the mystery has been left. Until now, that is.

Treading water in an ocean of speculative chaos, where scientists battle with mystics over the source of Juiaca’s whizzing lights and discs, I reasoned, that if these visual effects did indeed result from the metallic structure of the mountain, as suggested by professor Eufrasio, then they must have been observed for as long as people have lived in these territories, which is around 16,000 years. Might I find answers in the myths and legends of the people’s history? 

Returning to my safe-zone - history - and having lived in the shadow of this magical mountain for a year, I was to discover that its deepest secrets lie not its iron content and resulting electrostatic signature, but in how it has been perceived symbolically as a spiritual motif by the indigenous people of this area - the Muisca civilization.

The Muisca Culture

The Muisca were Chibcha-speaking people and one of the four advanced cultures of Pre-Colombian South America along with the Incas, Mayas and Aztecs. They ruled what is now central Colombia between the 9th and 16th century and the Muisca Confederation of the central Andean highlands, of the present-day Altiplano Cundiboyacense, was composed of rich landowners and successful agriculturists who produced textiles, mined salt and emeralds and forged vast tonnages of fine gold crafts. Identified by their allegiances to three great rulers: the zaque, centered in Hunza (now Tenjo); the zipa, centered in Bacatá (now Bogota); and the Iraca, ruler of Suamox (now Sogamoso).

The Andean worldview is fundamentally different from the world views of western cultures, primarily because their reality models were not influenced by the Bible and there was no influence by Greek philosophers who worshiped human intellect as the highest form of knowledge. Western cosmology, is self-centric, and one perceives the universe as consisting of isolated objects and our consciousness is centered upon, and limited to, our own being.

In its essence, Andean Cosmovision is mystical, therefore, words, beliefs and even thoughts are considered as being connected directly with the most sacred and essential levels of creation and reality. Mountains, lakes, lagoons, thermals and waterfalls were all associated with characters and events in the Muisca account of the creation of the universe. The highest snow-capped mountains, the Nevadas, gushed fertile white rivers and were perceived as emanating powerful male fertility energy and regarded as the homes of the gods. Gently rounded hills and streams, lakes, lagoons and waterfalls were considered generators of female energy and the dwelling places of goddesses.

Juaica is special in that it is a phallic mountain but it was associated with a goddess, therefore it is a union of male and female principals of creation, a dynamic enhancing Juiaca’s perceived centrality to the magical process of fertilization, within its agricultural environment.

The Discovery

When I left Professor Eufrasio in December last year he said he would have his colleague, professor of history Mauricio Botero, contact me as he knew ‘everything there was to know about Juaica’. Eight months later, last week, he called me and extended an invitation to visit his home in Tabio. Last Sunday, he introduced me of the works of Spanish chroniclers Juan de Castellanos, Lucas Fernández de Piedrahita and Pedro Simóna, who wrote Elegías de varones ilustres de Indias. They recorded a ‘Muisca cult’ who worshiped at the rock of Juiaca and high-priests and priestesses made vast ritual offerings of gold, emeralds, libations and sacrifices to the ‘rebelling’ goddess Xubchasgagua (Huitaca) now - Juaica.

Professor Bernal and Ashley and in his library.

Professor Bernal and Ashley and in his library.

Huitaca was the goddess of; witchcraft, sexual liberation, drunkenness, pleasure, arts, dance, music and grant good luck and bountiful crops, rain for the land and fertility for their women. The Muisca worshiped her as one aspect of the triple Goddess of the Moon - Chia, the other two being the creator goddess Bachué and Chia herself - representing the three phases of the moon: waxing, full and waning (young, pregnant and old). Huitaca's mythological archetype is reflected in Arianrhod (silver moon wheel) the Celtic Moon-Mother Goddess who was also part of a lunar trinity of female deities and associated with an owl. ‘Delightfully feminine’ Huitaca loved to indulge herself with drinking and dancing and when she rolled into town it was always party time, leaving little to wonder as to why she was such a popular goddess. The Earth goddess Bachué, the creator of humans, was ‘horrified at Huitaca’s drunken antics’ and turned her into an owl. 

Huitaca was the goddess of; witchcraft, sexual liberation, drunkenness, pleasure, arts, dance, music

Huitaca was the goddess of; witchcraft, sexual liberation, drunkenness, pleasure, arts, dance, music

After discussing the attributes of this goddess at length, professor Bernal set my imagination on fire when he informed me that his great-grand uncle, who was a former Archbishop of Colombia, told him that Juiaca was so important to the Muisca people that they had 'decorated the face of the mountain with ‘three massive carved indigenous heads’. When a 70-year-old professor of history tells someone like me that there exists ‘three massive carved godheads’ on a remote sacred mountain that appear nowhere on the internet or in books - you get to work right away.

We spent an hour in a field adjacent to his house but his old binoculars were not up to the job. He sketched out on a map where I should focus my search but the next day Juiaca was covered with clouds so I committed my time to researching similar rock faces carved in Peru by the Inca culture.

The next morning, I woke up at 6am in the shadow of Juaica and set off into the mountain range to find the three lost Muisca carved heads. I was conscious that the rocks upon which I was walking once caught the falling bodies of hundreds of suicidal Muisca people choosing death over Spanish rule in the mid-16th century. Not knowing the size of the carved heads, I had to get up-close to the mountain to begin with, but having spent several hours inspecting the rocks I accepted that I must have been too close to the cliff face. Relocating myself two kilometers east of the mountain I used a long-lens to close in on the details of rock face and moments later the godheads emerged from the magic mountain. 

The first, most obvious head, faces south. The back of its skull is rounded and this shape appears nowhere else in the strata of the rock, thus, it has been enhanced. The chin, ear, forehead and neck are all in proportion. It was not until the following afternoon that I realized that not only was I dealing with a perfectly carved head around 150 meters in height, but an entire upper-torso had been carved into the mountain displaying a perfectly arranged shoulder, chest and back!

The second carved head faces north and this one is much more indigenous in its stylization. It appears to have been adorned with traditional Muisca head-wear, in that a series of vertical feather-like features are located upon the head, evident in the following comparison.

If the carvers had indeed intended to feature a head-dress, this might indicate that this head represented a Muisca Shaman. All across South America, Shamanic classes were defined with similar headgear, generally constructed with feathers.

The third carved head is situated above the second. The eye of the second head becomes the mouth of this third one. In this photograph, the right eye is difficult to discern, however, it takes distinct formation as one circles the mountain to the north east. To the right, all three heads are illustrated.


With data from professor Mauricio Botero, I have been able to locate three giant carved godheads, each measuring over 150 meters in height and carved between the 9th and 16th centuries. It might be prudent of the Colombian authorities to jump all over this incredible cultural artifact and market it outwards as it could serve to significantly increase the tourist figures in the area around Chia and Tabio. 

What must happen first is for these authorities to see the ‘historic’ value in the rock of Juiaca and see that they are sitting on top of one of the few places on this planet so steeped in history and mystery about which so little is understood.

So far as the mysterious lights are concerned, what I think happens at the rock of Juiaca is that for many centuries people have witnessed lights caused by the mountains heavy metallic load and the resulting geomagnetic stress. To try and attribute reason, they have overlaid their pop-cultural archetype. The Muisca people may have interpreted the lights as the ‘work of gods’ leading them to enhance the natural strata of the mountain to manifest them in this world.

It is simply one beautiful mountain, with a million human projections covering its greatest secret - the lost mountain gods of Colombia.

Watch the accompanying documentary on this discovery here:

All images courtesy Ashley Cowie

By Ashley Cowie

Ashley Cowie is an author, researcher, explorer, film-maker, and blogger about lost cultures and kingdoms, ancient crafts and arts, the origins of legends and myths, architecture, iconography, artifacts and treasures. Visit



if anybody needs a place to stay near Juaica I have a small cabin for rent.... 20 min walking distance from it...

Mr. Cowie, thank you for your article.
In what matter do you have evidence to back up your article?
And I mean tangible evidence? Cause I'm having a real hard time believing the contents of your article.

Now, I don't want to say that the Muisca people did not carve any heads into the mountain, cause I have no knowledge about them, or the mountain for that matter, but the kind of claims like you are making always strike me with a lot of scepticism. Simply because I can make out at least 2 or 3 other faces on/in the mountain in the pictures you are providing.

Most of the articles I read about giant heads and/or faces in mountains scream 'Pareidolia' so loud it deafens my ears (so to speak). I mean, I won't say it's impossible or anything (Mt. Rushmore anyone?), but most of the 'giant head in mountain side'-locations strike me as wishfull thinking for the country the location is found in, so they can spark tourism ("Look at OUR ginat head in the mountain, it's OUR Sphinx!").

So that's where my original question comes from: do you have any tangible evidence to back up you claim? Other than hear say, or very old myths which could have been mistranslated for example.
Have, for example, chisel marks been found? Old tools? Other stuff which can attest to there being activity in the past?

I will say this: the first example you give is the best. It really seems like it's a head with neck on a pair of shoulders, but if I look up in the sky on a cloudy day, I can see that too and more.
It's an interesting theory nontheless and seems to be worth checking out properly. My advice to you though, would be to change the narritive of your article to a more questioning tone than a 'stating as fact' tone.

Again, thanks for you interesting article and hopefully we will get a new article from you in the future in which you can present the hard-needed tangible evidence to back up you current claim :)

Good article but could you explain the top picture.

ashley cowie's picture


Ashley is a Scottish historian, author, and documentary filmmaker presenting original perspectives on historical problems in accessible and exciting ways.

He was raised in Wick, a small fishing village in the county of Caithness on the north east coast of... Read More

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