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Mayan cosmology

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  • 1. Mayan CosmologyMayan Cosmology Mayan World ViewMayan World View Creation Myth:Creation Myth: Pre and Post-ContactPre and Post-Contact ReligionReligion Gods and GoddessesGods and Goddesses
  • 2. Mayan World ViewMayan World View  Maya conceived of the earth as flat and four-Maya conceived of the earth as flat and four- cornered.cornered.  Each corner had a color valueEach corner had a color value  East-RedEast-Red  White-NorthWhite-North  Black-WestBlack-West  Yellow-SouthYellow-South  Center-Blue-GreenCenter-Blue-Green
  • 3. World SupportsWorld Supports  Each corner was held up by four PowahtunsEach corner was held up by four Powahtuns (old deities)(old deities)  The sky was held up by four BakabsThe sky was held up by four Bakabs (Human/Atlantean figures) of the correct color(Human/Atlantean figures) of the correct color for each direction.for each direction.  Although sometimes these are represented asAlthough sometimes these are represented as trees.trees.
  • 4. Pre-Contact CreationPre-Contact Creation  The oldest evidence is from pre-The oldest evidence is from pre- Classical monuments (1st C. BC)Classical monuments (1st C. BC) at Izapa that depict the Worldat Izapa that depict the World Tree and other symbols ofTree and other symbols of Creation.Creation.  Izapa World Tree glyph (StelaIzapa World Tree glyph (Stela 25): The crocodile  represents the25): The crocodile  represents the the Earth, its hills symbolized bythe Earth, its hills symbolized by the rough skin of the reptile, athe rough skin of the reptile, a characteristic shared with thecharacteristic shared with the bark of the ceiba tree.bark of the ceiba tree.
  • 5. Post-Contact: The Popul VuhPost-Contact: The Popul Vuh  The creation myth of the Maya takes place inThe creation myth of the Maya takes place in four stages:four stages:  Stage 1Stage 1::  Before anything else, the world was nothing but seaBefore anything else, the world was nothing but sea and sky.and sky.  Then the Maker stretched a cord across the sea andThen the Maker stretched a cord across the sea and sky to create the four corners of the earth.sky to create the four corners of the earth.
  • 6. Stage 2Stage 2::  In the second creation, the Modeler made mountains,In the second creation, the Modeler made mountains, lakes, forests, animals, birds, and insects.lakes, forests, animals, birds, and insects.  Although the Maker was happy with the creations,Although the Maker was happy with the creations, these organisms couldn't speak, pray, keep track ofthese organisms couldn't speak, pray, keep track of time, or most importantly, show their love andtime, or most importantly, show their love and appreciation by returning nourishment to the gods.appreciation by returning nourishment to the gods.  Dissatisfied, the Creator Couple commanded a floodDissatisfied, the Creator Couple commanded a flood that eliminated all life on the earth so they could startthat eliminated all life on the earth so they could start over.over.
  • 7. Stage 3Stage 3: Birth of the Hero Twins: Birth of the Hero Twins  The third stage is the legend of the Hero twins. TheThe third stage is the legend of the Hero twins. The father and Uncle of the Hero twins were great ballfather and Uncle of the Hero twins were great ball players. Unfortunately, the court where they playedplayers. Unfortunately, the court where they played caused great noise, disturbing the Lords of Death in thecaused great noise, disturbing the Lords of Death in the Underworld of Xibalba (Place of Fright).Underworld of Xibalba (Place of Fright).  After trials set forth by the Lords, the Father and UncleAfter trials set forth by the Lords, the Father and Uncle were put to death and buried under the ball court. Thewere put to death and buried under the ball court. The father's head was severed and placed in a tree as afather's head was severed and placed in a tree as a warning to others.warning to others.
  • 8. Birth con’dBirth con’d  One day the Father called a girl over to the tree.One day the Father called a girl over to the tree. She complied when she was asked to hold outShe complied when she was asked to hold out her hand.her hand.  The Father spit in her hand, impregnating her.The Father spit in her hand, impregnating her.  When this girl's father found out, she wasWhen this girl's father found out, she was banished to the middle world of humans.banished to the middle world of humans.  She had twins who she named Hunahpu andShe had twins who she named Hunahpu and Xbalanque (schpah-len-kay)Xbalanque (schpah-len-kay),, the Hero twins.the Hero twins.
  • 9. Stage 4: The Hero TwinsStage 4: The Hero Twins  One day they were playing ball like their fatherOne day they were playing ball like their father and uncle before them.and uncle before them.  Their shouts were heard down below in Xibalba.Their shouts were heard down below in Xibalba.  The Lords of Death were affronted.The Lords of Death were affronted.  These twins were no more humble than theThese twins were no more humble than the others. And so messengers were dispatched,others. And so messengers were dispatched, summoning them to a ballgame in Xibalba.summoning them to a ballgame in Xibalba.
  • 10. Stage 4: Con’dStage 4: Con’d  Now the Twins were challenged to a series of ordeals,Now the Twins were challenged to a series of ordeals, each in a special "house".each in a special "house".  In the Dark House they were given a torch and twoIn the Dark House they were given a torch and two burning cigars. They were supposed to return these inburning cigars. They were supposed to return these in the morning just as they had received them.the morning just as they had received them.  Their father and uncle had let the torch burn out, andTheir father and uncle had let the torch burn out, and they had smoked the cigars. But the Hero Twins knewthey had smoked the cigars. But the Hero Twins knew better.better.  They swapped a macaw's scarlet tail feathers for theThey swapped a macaw's scarlet tail feathers for the torch's flame. And they stuck fireflies on the ends oftorch's flame. And they stuck fireflies on the ends of their cigars.their cigars.
  • 11. Hero Twin ChallengesHero Twin Challenges  When they were sent to the Razor House, sharpWhen they were sent to the Razor House, sharp blades were supposed to cut them to pieces. Butblades were supposed to cut them to pieces. But they convinced the blades that their job was tothey convinced the blades that their job was to cut up animals, not hero twins.cut up animals, not hero twins.  And when they were sent to the Jaguar House,And when they were sent to the Jaguar House, they distracted the tigers by feeding them bones.they distracted the tigers by feeding them bones. The Cold House they survived by locking outThe Cold House they survived by locking out the cold. The Fire House didn't burn them tothe cold. The Fire House didn't burn them to ashes, but only toasted them golden brown.ashes, but only toasted them golden brown.
  • 12. The Bat HouseThe Bat House  It was when they were sentenced to the Bat House,It was when they were sentenced to the Bat House, they made their first mistake, in accordance with theirthey made their first mistake, in accordance with their destiny.destiny.  Hunahpu decided to peek outside the blowgun and seeHunahpu decided to peek outside the blowgun and see if it was morning yet. When he did so, a bat sliced offif it was morning yet. When he did so, a bat sliced off his head and it went rolling out onto the ballcourt ofhis head and it went rolling out onto the ballcourt of Xibalba. His brother called all the animals together,Xibalba. His brother called all the animals together, asking each to bring its favorite food.asking each to bring its favorite food.  The coati brought a squash, and with the help of theThe coati brought a squash, and with the help of the gods this became a new head for Hunahpu. Meanwhilegods this became a new head for Hunahpu. Meanwhile the Twins told a rabbit to hide outside the ballcourt.the Twins told a rabbit to hide outside the ballcourt.
  • 13. The Ball GameThe Ball Game  When the Lords of Death started the game, they usedWhen the Lords of Death started the game, they used Hunahpu's head for the ball. As far as they wereHunahpu's head for the ball. As far as they were concerned, this made them victors automatically. Butconcerned, this made them victors automatically. But when they kicked the ball, Xbalanque deflectedwhen they kicked the ball, Xbalanque deflected Hunahpu's head flying toward the rabbit's hiding place.Hunahpu's head flying toward the rabbit's hiding place. The rabbit hopped off, and the Lords of Death thoughtThe rabbit hopped off, and the Lords of Death thought it was the bouncing ball and raced off in pursuit.it was the bouncing ball and raced off in pursuit.  The boys got Hunahpu's head back and put the squash inThe boys got Hunahpu's head back and put the squash in its place. When the game began again and Xbalanqueits place. When the game began again and Xbalanque gave the ball a particularly energetic boot, it split opengave the ball a particularly energetic boot, it split open and all its seeds came spilling out. The Hero Twins hadand all its seeds came spilling out. The Hero Twins had defeated the Lords of Xibalba.defeated the Lords of Xibalba.
  • 14. RebornReborn  So the Lords of Death, with all their tricks andSo the Lords of Death, with all their tricks and all their tests couldn't kill the Hero Twins.all their tests couldn't kill the Hero Twins.  But still the boys knew that they would have toBut still the boys knew that they would have to die for their quest to be complete. They evendie for their quest to be complete. They even knew how the Lords of Death would kill them.knew how the Lords of Death would kill them.  So when they were called before the Lords ofSo when they were called before the Lords of Xibalba and challenged to a new and differentXibalba and challenged to a new and different game, they knew it was a trick. "See this oven?"game, they knew it was a trick. "See this oven?" said the Lords of Death. "Bet you can't jumpsaid the Lords of Death. "Bet you can't jump over it four times."over it four times."
  • 15. Reborn con’dReborn con’d  "We're not falling for that one," said the boys, and"We're not falling for that one," said the boys, and without any further ado they jumped right into thewithout any further ado they jumped right into the flames. At this point the Lords of Death made a bigflames. At this point the Lords of Death made a big mistake.mistake.  Instead of throwing Xbalanque and Hunahpu over aInstead of throwing Xbalanque and Hunahpu over a cliff or hanging their bodies in a tree, they ground theircliff or hanging their bodies in a tree, they ground their bones on a grinding stone and sprinkled them in thebones on a grinding stone and sprinkled them in the river.river.  This was the only way that the Twins could come backThis was the only way that the Twins could come back to life. And come back they did, first as catfish and thento life. And come back they did, first as catfish and then as their normal selves.as their normal selves.
  • 16. SacrificeSacrifice  The Lords of Death asked that a dog be sacrificed and thenThe Lords of Death asked that a dog be sacrificed and then brought back to life. And when this was done, they asked that it bebrought back to life. And when this was done, they asked that it be repeated with a human. And when this too was accomplished, theyrepeated with a human. And when this too was accomplished, they asked the Twins to sacrifice each other. So Xbalanqueasked the Twins to sacrifice each other. So Xbalanque dismembered his twin and cut out his heart. Then he starteddismembered his twin and cut out his heart. Then he started dancing and commanded Hunahpu to get up and join him. Anddancing and commanded Hunahpu to get up and join him. And when Hunahpu got up as good as new, the Lords of Death werewhen Hunahpu got up as good as new, the Lords of Death were caught up in a frenzy of delight.caught up in a frenzy of delight.  "Now do us!" they cried. And so the Twins sacrificed the two"Now do us!" they cried. And so the Twins sacrificed the two foremost of the Lords of Death. Only they didn't bring them backforemost of the Lords of Death. Only they didn't bring them back to life. And the other Lords knew that they had been defeated, andto life. And the other Lords knew that they had been defeated, and from that day forth Xibalba had lost its glory.from that day forth Xibalba had lost its glory.
  • 17. Sun and MoonSun and Moon  The Twins took the head of First Father fromThe Twins took the head of First Father from the tree in which it hung, and they put him backthe tree in which it hung, and they put him back together and restored him to life.together and restored him to life.  They left him there in a place of honor besideThey left him there in a place of honor beside the ballcourt in Xibalba.the ballcourt in Xibalba.  And then the Hero Twins, Xbalanque andAnd then the Hero Twins, Xbalanque and Hunahpu, their heroic quest complete, ascendedHunahpu, their heroic quest complete, ascended into the sky and became the sun and the moon.into the sky and became the sun and the moon.
  • 18. Mayan Religion    Mayan Religion      Religion was important to every part of MayanReligion was important to every part of Mayan life.  life.    The Mayas worshipped many different gods.The Mayas worshipped many different gods.  Each day, month, city, and occupation had its Each day, month, city, and occupation had its own special god or goddess.  own special god or goddess.    The Mayas had a variety of religious festivals andThe Mayas had a variety of religious festivals and celebrations.  Most of these celebrationscelebrations.  Most of these celebrations included human sacrifice.included human sacrifice.
  • 19. •Each Mayan city -state had a ruler called the halach uinic.  He may have also served as the high priest during religious ceremonies. •The Mayans believed halach uinic was a living god.  He ruled until his death.  At his death, his oldest son became the next halach uinic.   If the halach uinic did not have a son, his brother would rule.  If  he did not have a brother, the ruler's council elected a member of his family to serve.    •The halach uinic dressed in elaborate and colorful clothes.  He also wore a very large head-dress.  Temple wall paintings show him with large ear decorations, crossed eyes, and many tattoos. http://www.spanishome.com/mayas/religion.htm
  • 20. PriestsPriests  Many other priests served with the halach uinic.  Many other priests served with the halach uinic.    These priests, namedThese priests, named ahkinahkin performed many duties.  performed many duties.    They had the knowledge of mathematics andThey had the knowledge of mathematics and astronomy.  Some of the ahkin performed medicalastronomy.  Some of the ahkin performed medical rituals.  rituals.    The Mayans believed that only the priests could explainThe Mayans believed that only the priests could explain the mysteries of life and death.  the mysteries of life and death.    They thought it was on the back of a crocodile thatThey thought it was on the back of a crocodile that floated in a large pond.  At another time they believedfloated in a large pond.  At another time they believed the earth was the floor of a lizard house.  the earth was the floor of a lizard house.  
  • 21. Mayan WorldsMayan Worlds  The Mayas' religion taught that there were 13The Mayas' religion taught that there were 13 layers of heavens above the earth.  layers of heavens above the earth.    They also believed nine underworlds wereThey also believed nine underworlds were below.  They thought that they lived in the fifthbelow.  They thought that they lived in the fifth creation of the world.  creation of the world.    The previous four worlds had been destroyed byThe previous four worlds had been destroyed by a great flood.  a great flood.    At the beginning of the fifth world, the godsAt the beginning of the fifth world, the gods created humans from corn.created humans from corn.
  • 22. Sacrifices and Blood OfferingsSacrifices and Blood Offerings  Many of the Mayas religious ceremonies includedMany of the Mayas religious ceremonies included gifts and sacrifices to the various gods andgifts and sacrifices to the various gods and goddesses.  The Mayans believed the gods wouldgoddesses.  The Mayans believed the gods would give factors to them in return for prayers, offerings,give factors to them in return for prayers, offerings, and sacrifices.and sacrifices.  In many ceremonies, the priests cut themselves toIn many ceremonies, the priests cut themselves to get blood to present to the gods.  get blood to present to the gods.    Other people like the king and high-ranking eliteOther people like the king and high-ranking elite would pierce their tongues, or in the case of men,would pierce their tongues, or in the case of men, pierce their foreskin with a stingray spine.pierce their foreskin with a stingray spine.   
  • 23. RitualsRituals  The Mayan ritual acts were generally dictated byThe Mayan ritual acts were generally dictated by the sacred almanac.the sacred almanac.  The numbers 4, 9, 13 and the color directionsThe numbers 4, 9, 13 and the color directions are prominent.are prominent.  Before the rituals there are usually periods ofBefore the rituals there are usually periods of sexual abstinence and food taboos.sexual abstinence and food taboos.
  • 24. Two women drawing thorn-ropesTwo women drawing thorn-ropes through their tongues.through their tongues. http://www.northstar.k12.ak.us/schools/tan/projects/mayan/relegion.html
  • 25. SacrificesSacrifices  The Mayas had several methods of giving the humanThe Mayas had several methods of giving the human sacrifices.  sacrifices.    Often, the priests took the victim to the altar at the temple.  ThenOften, the priests took the victim to the altar at the temple.  Then the priests cut the heart out of the living victim and presented itthe priests cut the heart out of the living victim and presented it to the god.to the god.  In another method, the priests tied the victim to a wooden pole.In another method, the priests tied the victim to a wooden pole.  Then they threw spears and arrows at the victim's chest in the Then they threw spears and arrows at the victim's chest in the area of the heart.area of the heart.  The priests were assisted by four old men, called “Chacs”.The priests were assisted by four old men, called “Chacs”.
  • 26. Controlling a victimControlling a victim http://www.northstar.k12.ak.us/schools/tan/projects/mayan/MayanReligiusCerimonies.html
  • 27. Post-ClassicPost-Classic  In the third type of sacrifice, they threw the victimIn the third type of sacrifice, they threw the victim into a sacred well.  the most famous of these wells isinto a sacred well.  the most famous of these wells is the Well of Sacrifices at Chichén Itzá.  the Well of Sacrifices at Chichén Itzá.    If victims survived the fall and did not drown, theIf victims survived the fall and did not drown, the priests pulled them back out of the well.  The Mayaspriests pulled them back out of the well.  The Mayas believed the gods had chosen to spare these victims.believed the gods had chosen to spare these victims.     The priests then asked the victims what messagesThe priests then asked the victims what messages they brought back from the gods.  The victimsthey brought back from the gods.  The victims received special treatment from then on since thereceived special treatment from then on since the Mayas believed they had spoken to the gods.Mayas believed they had spoken to the gods.
  • 28. Sacred CenoteSacred Cenote http://www.mysteriousplaces.com/mayan/Cenote.html
  • 29. Sacred Cenote at Chichen ItzaSacred Cenote at Chichen Itza This view of the wall of the cenote shows how high it is from the water (72 feet). It also shows the green algae that guards the secret of its contents.The walls visible here are made of limestone. http://www.isourcecom.com/maya/cities/chichenitza/cenoteside.htm
  • 30. Maya UnderworldMaya Underworld  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30EGwrVvB_8http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30EGwrVvB_8  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7CjlSISsJo&fehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7CjlSISsJo&fe
  • 31. AncestorsAncestors  The Mayas also worshipped the dead.  TheyThe Mayas also worshipped the dead.  They believed the dead became one with the gods.  believed the dead became one with the gods.    They worshipped their ancestors at manyThey worshipped their ancestors at many religious ceremonies.  religious ceremonies.    They also built pyramids over the sacred remainsThey also built pyramids over the sacred remains of their dead rulers.of their dead rulers.
  • 32. Mayan Gods and GoddessesMayan Gods and Goddesses  Pre-Conquest codices mention approximatelyPre-Conquest codices mention approximately 30.30.  Post-Conquest manuscripts “Ritual of thePost-Conquest manuscripts “Ritual of the Bakabs” (18Bakabs” (18thth c) depicts 166 deities.c) depicts 166 deities.
  • 33. ITZAMNÁITZAMNÁ  He was the head god, lord ofHe was the head god, lord of the heavens and lord of thethe heavens and lord of the night and day.  night and day.    His name meant lizard.  CarvedHis name meant lizard.  Carved pictures show him as an oldpictures show him as an old crossed-eyed man, andcrossed-eyed man, and sometimes with a lizard's body.sometimes with a lizard's body.  The Mayas believed he The Mayas believed he invented books and writing.invented books and writing.
  • 34. KINICH AHUAUKINICH AHUAU  He was the sun god and the god of the rulers.He was the sun god and the god of the rulers.
  • 35. CHACCHAC  He was the rain god.  Carvings show him as a reptileHe was the rain god.  Carvings show him as a reptile with a large nose pointing down and curling fangs.  Hewith a large nose pointing down and curling fangs.  He had four aspects:had four aspects:  Chac Xib ChacChac Xib Chac Red Chac of the EastRed Chac of the East Sac Xib ChacSac Xib Chac White Chac of the NorthWhite Chac of the North Ek Xib ChacEk Xib Chac Black Chac of the WestBlack Chac of the West Kan Xib ChacKan Xib Chac Yellow Chac of the SouthYellow Chac of the South
  • 36. YUN KAAXYUN KAAX  He is the god of maize (corn) and agriculture.  He is the god of maize (corn) and agriculture.    Pictures always show him as a young man eitherPictures always show him as a young man either carrying a plant or has a plant as a headdress.carrying a plant or has a plant as a headdress.
  • 37. AH PUCHAH PUCH  He is the god of death.  Carvings of him show aHe is the god of death.  Carvings of him show a skull and skeleton.skull and skeleton.
  • 38. EK CHAUBEK CHAUB  He is the god of trade.  Mayan artists painted hisHe is the god of trade.  Mayan artists painted his face black and he had a drooping lower lip.face black and he had a drooping lower lip.
  • 39. IX CHELIX CHEL  She is the moon and rainbow goddess.  She isShe is the moon and rainbow goddess.  She is also the goddess of weaving and childbirth.also the goddess of weaving and childbirth.  Wife of Itzamna.Wife of Itzamna.
  • 40. BULUC CHABTANBULUC CHABTAN  He is the god of war and human sacrifice.He is the god of war and human sacrifice. Carvings of him show a black line around hisCarvings of him show a black line around his eye and down onto his cheek.  He is at timeseye and down onto his cheek.  He is at times shown with a torch or weapon in his hand.shown with a torch or weapon in his hand.
  • 41. Minor Gods and GoddessesMinor Gods and Goddesses  Cit Bolon Tum: a god of Medicine.Cit Bolon Tum: a god of Medicine.  Ekahau: the god of Travelers and Merchants.Ekahau: the god of Travelers and Merchants.  Ixtab: the goddess of the Hanged. She receives their soulsIxtab: the goddess of the Hanged. She receives their souls into paradise.into paradise.  Kan-u-Uayeyab: the god who guarded cities.Kan-u-Uayeyab: the god who guarded cities.  Kinich Kakmo: the Sun god symbolized by the Macaw.Kinich Kakmo: the Sun god symbolized by the Macaw.  Mitnal: Mitnal was the underworld hell where the wickedMitnal: Mitnal was the underworld hell where the wicked were tortured.were tortured.  Nacon: Nacon was the god of War.Nacon: Nacon was the god of War.  Tzultacaj (Tzuultaq'ah): For the Mayan Indians of centralTzultacaj (Tzuultaq'ah): For the Mayan Indians of central Guatemala, known as Kekchí, this was the god of theGuatemala, known as Kekchí, this was the god of the mountains and valleys.mountains and valleys.  Yaxche: Yaxche is the Tree of Heaven under which goodYaxche: Yaxche is the Tree of Heaven under which good souls rejoice.souls rejoice.
  • 42. ReferencesReferences  http://www.history-reference.com/node/46/print?Phttp://www.history-reference.com/node/46/print?P