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In the religion and mythology of Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia, apus are the spirits of the mountains - and sometimes solitary rocks and caves, that protect the local people in the highlands. The term dates back to the Inca Empire.
Meanings of Apu
The word "apu" has several possible meanings, depending on context:
- A god or supreme being. The spirit of the sacred mountain; the most powerful of all nature spirits.
- The sacred mountain that is home of the ancestors.
- A chief, boss, or figure of authority. One of four officials in charge of one of the four suyus of the empire. The four apukuna formed an imperial council for the Inca, and resided at court much of the time. The term has historically been used as an honorific, such as with Apu Qun Tiqsi Wiraqutra, and Atahualpa Apu-Inca.
- As an adjective: Mighty, powerful, rich, wealthy, supreme.
- A light being that exists within special mountains. These spirits live in both the middle and upper worlds, and can intercede for humanity.
In fictional literature
According to one science-fiction novel, the natives know of extraterrestrials that claim to come from the planet Apu. Apparently they wish to keep this a secret, but the Apunians wish humanity to know all about them what this implies. An extract from this book, written by Vlado Kapetanovic;
"The stranger was silent for a moment, and then smiled at me and said: “We come from a planet we call APU, located outside the Milky Way Galaxy. We are protectors of the cells and the life. For this we are traveling through space to aid by different modes the planetary beings, but not to impress with the result that you believe in our existence and ‘extraordinary powers’” 
Other Apus in Bolivia and Peru are: Akamari, Antikuna, Chachani, Kimsa Chata, Illampu, Lady of Illimani, Machu Pikchu, Pitusiray, Phutuk'usi, Qullqipunku, Sinaqara, Tunupa, Willka Wiqi (Wakay Willka), Wamanrasu, Wayna Pikchu and Yanantin.
- Stevens, Wendelle; (2012-12-30). UFO CONTACT FROM PLANET APU Kindle Edition.