MAYA MYTHOLOGY & RELIGION
We know the Mayan calendars, the 260-day Count, The Tzolk’in, 20 days repeated 13 times and numbered from 1 to 13 in 20 successive counts. It is really mentioned once but at the same time the clear allusion to the four directions and the center leading to the reference to one of the oldest Mayan glyph, probably even older than Mayan and coming from very far in time, the “quincunx” that can be found in some other glyphs like that of the eighth day Lamat/rabbit or that of the eighteenth day Etz’nab/Flint.
It is very difficult to penetrate such symbolism because there is no one today that knows about it directly, as an heir and descendant of such religious beliefs and practices. And I am not sure it is correct to believe the center is a point especially if we take into account the interpretation of “quincunx” as being a representation of a pyramid. The center is a vertical line with a zenith, the Sky referring to the Heart of the Sky, to Quetzalcoatl, and with a nadir Xibalba, the territory of the Xibalban Lords of the underworld from whom the newly created human species has to free themselves.
The most intriguing question is that of the self-sacrifice, sacrifice and blood culture and civilization that justify rites and rituals of blood offerings or heart offerings. Even the divine or quasi-divine ancestors of the Maya tribes go through a ritual of sacrifice, especially Hunahpu and Xbalanque, the latter sacrificing the former by dismembering, beheading and then heart extraction, just before calling him back to life. And this is a trap to lure the main Xibalban Lords, One and Seven Death, to demand the opportunity for both of them together to go through such a sacrifice, from which they will not be resuscitated.
This book then is essential and this edition is richly illustrated and it has a great corpus of notes, bibliography, and index. At the same time, I am surprised by the list of the 20 days that does not correspond to the one I standardly work on, that or Michael D. Coe and of the Codex Borgia. I also regret that the list is given in two languages, Quiché…