S01E184: The Stars and Sacrifice
Blood Tracking App
Green Stone Bones
You Spooky Bastard
Lighting Plots for BTC Meet-Up Concert ⛧ Boo-Bury Reads Lyrics and Prepares for KC ⛧ Are Stars Portals? ⛧ Popol Vuh – Mayan Mythology and Parallels with Gnosticism ⛧ The Mayan Ball Games and Human Sacrifice ⛧ Worshiping the Solar Eclipse ⛧ Floods With Feathered Serpents ⛧ Creation Stories and The Trickster Gods
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THE SUN WON’T RISE
LET’S PLAY BALL
The Mayan civilization is what we call a string of Mesoamerican cultures and people that have been around for thousands of years. Thanks to them, many ancient temples and glyphs are scattered and preserved across what we today call Central and South America. The Maya script is considered the most sophisticated and highly developed writing system in the pre-European Americas. The civilization is also noted for its art, architecture, mathematics, calendar, astronomical system, warfare, and religion.
Maya – Popol Vuh
From what we know from the Popol Vuh (po-pull voo), one of the few remaining Mayan texts that survived the Spanish Inquisition, the Gods and the Stars are one in the same. A Dominican Friar named Francisco Ximénez helped to translate and copy down these oral traditions and bark texts, and thanks to him we have some semblance of this religion recorded.
Maya – Many Gods
From this book, we get a creation story somewhat reminiscent of that of the Gnostics. We’ve discussed Gnosticism before. According to the symbols and poetry of the Gnostics, the universe is a tiered complex of planes of consciousness and matter, with hierarchies and Gods creating lesser Gods who create lesser universes. There is a relationship between Creator and Created.
According to Gnosticism, we live in one of these lesser universes created by a Lesser God called the Demiurge, and what little divine higher soul we all possess was snuck through to us from above by an agent of the Higher Gods, a messenger we call Christ. If there were Gods and heavens above, if spoken of literally, then they must live in the stars and beyond.
Maya – Many Levels
Maya – The Underworld
To the Maya, the world is one great tree or series of trees, with our world being the trunk. The underworld is the roots, and the high branches are the heavens. The Heavens and the Underworld have tiered levels. The Maya seem to have an idea of resurrection, that when you die you re-enter into the tree of life and are born again in some other form.
The stars were important to the Maya, and their way of life seems to be built around it. Their greatest cities were positioned to reflect the four seasons and the positioning of the stars.
The Maya nobility were also heavily involved in religious rituals. Only the nobility, including the King, were allowed to perform sacrifices of bloodletting, for common blood could not appease the gods. Animals and trees were also sacred to the Maya, so their blood and sap were offered as well.
During a solar eclipse, the dark moon covers more and more of the sun, creating the illusion that the sun is being eaten. Thus, the Maya depicted the cataclysmic destruction of an eclipse as a demon biting the sun. To prevent this catastrophe, the Maya would engage in religious ceremonies, sacrifice, and prayer to the gods. Because rebirth was the center of all Maya ceremonies, bloodletting was particularly common as it was thought to balance out death. Only the nobility, including the King, were allowed to perform sacrifices of bloodletting, for common blood could not appease the gods. Animals and trees were also sacred to the Maya, so their blood and sap were offered as well.
One event in the Maya world involved Gods, the heavenly bodies, religious ceremonies, Royal bloodletting, and sacrifice: the Mayan Ballgame.
GO SETTLE IT ON THE COURT
Maya – The Ballgame
Maya – The Players
Maya – The Stars and Sacrifice
The ballgame, the remaining texts, and a few other sources give us a glimpse into the Mayan mindset, and into their religion, creation story, and their understanding of the machinations of the cosmos. The Ballcourts ran North-South, and served as allegories of the Sun fighting the darkness, and going back and forth in a dance of death and reincarnation.
Maya – The Eclipse
The Eclipse was supremely important. During a solar eclipse, the dark moon covers more and more of the sun, creating the illusion that the sun is being eaten. Thus, the Maya depicted the cataclysmic destruction of an eclipse as a demon biting the sun. To prevent this catastrophe, the Maya would engage in religious ceremonies, sacrifice, and prayer to the gods. Because rebirth was the center of all Maya ceremonies, bloodletting was particularly common as it was thought to balance out death. A Ballgame played during an Eclipse was the holiest of events, with only the most revered members of society allowed to participate. Royalty would compete to see who would be sacrificed to the Eclipse.
References to the great feathered serpent abound.
Maya – Calendar and Rain
The Mayans had the most advanced understanding of charting time of any pre-Columbian society known. They worshiped the great wheels of the universe and took extraordinary pains over many generations to measure them as precisely as they could.
The Maya also have a rich mythology that can only be alluded to given the scarce amount of documentation we possess from the source. From what we do know, there is a strange parallel to certain myth stories from the western-judeo canon, such as Noah and Adam and Eve. There is an idea that we humans are living in one of several ages going far back.
Maya – Floods and Dogs
The Gods created dogs from the imperfect humans. The Gods collected together to discuss who would be Lord over the beasts created for this 5th age. The feathered serpent trickster god Quetzalcoatl sets out to create a more advanced species of human with which to repopulate the earth. From shattered bones comes new life. There is an always present sense of death and rebirth, or reincarnation.
Maya – What Will Be Will Be
Maya – Tricksters
We observe the role of trickster gods in the many pantheons of mankind. They are the rebels, the imperfect innovators who accidentally create some of the best and most useful things. They are culture heroes, whether they want to be or not.
DITCH ISN’T GONNA DIG ITSELF
ON THE WARPATH
TAKE THESE, IT’S DANGEROUS TO GO ALONE!