Mayan Mythology

Have you checked out the UPenn Museum--Mayas Lord of Time?? amazing pics and content--probably the Popol Vuh shows up on its own page too

Tom, T-Kitty, D-Crazy, B-teezy
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Culture explnation



In Maya narratives, the origin of many natural and cultural phenomena is set out, often set to explain the moral relationship between man and nature. In such a way, that one finds explanations about the origin of the heavenly bodies (Sun and Moon, but also Venus, the Pleiades, the Milky Way). Also it may link between man and the nature around them. For example, the mountain landscapes, clouds, rain, thunder and lightning, wild and tame animals, the colors of the maize, and diseases and their curative herbs.
Overall, the major theme in all of Mayan stories is that of the relationship between man and nature, or that of the relationship of man vs. the universe.

In Mayan narratives, a great and major motif is that of the Skull motif. "It is evident that the cult of the skull or at least skull worship, has been in the past a worldwide practice among ancient peoples," said Dorland, a Mayan enthusiast and archeologist. Another Mayan motif is that of the tree of life. Many Mayan myths, or stories have within them some sort of reference to their "sacred" tree or often refereed to as the "Tree of Life."

Mayan mythology often has two major archetypes. The first is Natural Phenomena.This archetype, displayed in their creation myths, is understood by many that they were trying to display that the Mayans main goal in their life was to praise the gods. The next is that of the "Teaching" archetype. This is often displayed in their stories or myths to help teach lessons to the Mayan people, and to better understand that the gods are trying to help them and make them learn. Overall, two major archetypes of Mayan stories, and myths are that of the Natural Phenomena and the "teaching" archetypes.

major archetypal characters
Ah Puch is the god of death. Chac is a benevolent fertility god. Kinich Ahau is a Maya sun god. Kulkacan taught the Maya about civilization and was associated with rain. He was also associated with the four elements, the colors yellow, red, black,and white, and good and evil. Ix Chel is a rainbow, earth, and moon goddess of the Maya. Ixtab is the Maya goddess of the hanged and suicide. She is depicted with a rope around her neck, this goddess can be tied in with the creation story.
mayan creation myth

History of the Mayan Mytholology
‚Äč The Mayan Culture was believed to start on August 11 3411 B.C. It is believed that the Mayan area is somewhere in Mexico region.There are many arguments as to what boundaries that the culture had land wise. This culture is still has decendants that are present in the everyday as we know it today. The land is broken up into three parts and they are the southern Pacific lowlands, the highlands, and the northern lowlands. The Mayans had developed into a group that contains millions of people in this group. It took place during the Classic Period in the years 200-900AD. There were many new developments that took place down in the Southern Region of where they were located. They are known for making the stepped pyramids and this is where the Mayan emperors would stay during the reign that they had. Also, this was when a writing system first began to develop. Trading was one of the ways that these people were able to communicate with the outside world. Not only did this have to do with closer Mesoamerican countires, but also there were distant countries that were involved with the trading as well from the Mayan Civilization. By the time that the 8th and 9th centuries came along, there was a collapse of the southern lowlands due to a drought that took place. Many universities don't have a theory as to why this big collapse happened the way that it did. There was evidence however of the population being in excessive of the amount of land that was available. Many scholars believe that this drought had lasted for 200 years and was the result of the collapse.

Apocalypto - Sacrifice
Get More: Apocalypto - Sacrifice

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Cultural History and Background
Some of the different cultural pieces that were a part of the Mayan Civilization. During the Classic period the arts that the Mayan were very highly aesthetic and artisanal sophistication.There were paintings left that had special characteristics that when a chemical agent is applied it turns what a person would call "Maya Blue". Most of what is left from the cultural paintings is in the form of funny pottery. This is one of few civilizations that still can give attribution to their work. Other important architectural designs that were included with the culture were many caves that are still left. There were myths that were contained with the caves that were still left. It is believed that the Mayans had remodeled and rebuilt the pyramids every fifty-two years in accordance with the Mayan calender. In the different Mayan geographical locations there are many types of designs that were unique to their own locations. Many of these places had local plazas and opening spaces so that the people could gather to meet or do what they wanted to do. When they were building the designs, their defense structure wise was not as good as it would be in the later era. In the heart of the Mayan city there were large government buildings and religious places as well. Also, when the Mayans had built the technology that used was not very good. Some of the technology that was not good was the pulleys and some of the tools that were used. Later, technology was improving and the way that building was done was good.

Story Summaries
One of the creation myths that we came across dealt with four gods, a yellow god, a red god, a black god, and a colorless god. One day the gods were in heaven observing the earth, when the yellow god suggest they make a man to worship them. He then proceeded to make a man out of clay, but that man failed to survive the dangers of earth. The red god they should make man out of wood but he also could not survive. The black god attempted to make man out of gold. The gold man was able to handle himself on earth, but he was cold to touch, could not speak, move or worship the gods. Finally the colorless god decided to make man out of his own flesh, so he cut off the fingers on his left hand and let them fall down to earth. The men filled the gods with joy, and one day the men made out of flesh found the man of gold, their compassion brought the man to life to worship the gods. All four of the gods named the gold man "rich" and the men of flesh, "poor". From that day on any rich man was judged upon his death on his charity to the poor, who brought the rich to life. Another story that often popped up was the story of the Hero twins. There father was terrific at ballgames, and one day he was walking past the mouth of a cave. A lord of the underworld invites him to a game, he takes the bait and is immediately beheaded. His head is hung on the branch of a calabash tree. One day the daughter of a god walks past the tree and talks the the hung head, he spits in her hand and she is then impregnated. She gives birth to the twins, when they hear about their father they decide to look for him. They come across the same cave, challenge the lords of death to a ballgame, and win. The gods are astonished at the twins trick to kill each other and then bring them back to life. Finally one of the gods asked if they can do it to them, so the twins kill him and instead of bringing him back to life, they resurrect their father. On their way back to earth the father grabs and ear of corn and begins to eat it. Also they pass through earth and rise to the sky, where the twins become the Sun and Moon and the father becomes the God of Maize. Many Maya believe they are descendants of that ear of corn.