Mayan Zodiac
Mayan Zodiac

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Mayan Zodiac

Everyone knows that the word zodiac is mentioned frequently is astrology. However, some people do not know that this term was created by ancient astronomers to refer to the night sky's circle of constellations like a giant track, on which all the planets mark their cycles in the infinity of time. The Sun also marks its cycle, at its moment of apparition breaking the darkness of the night. Morning Venus advices the world of its star while nocturnal Venus rises like its retinue of the rear guard.

Thanks to this great Star which never travels far from its master, we see in each of the houses of the zodiac belt, we can find the Sun, during each month of the year.

According to Old World astrologers, the position of the planets and the Sun in the zodiac belt at the moment of birth determines a person's destiny and capacity.

Although the hieroglyphic texts demonstrate that the Mayas discovered the Zodiac constellations observing the path of the Moon through the night sky, later they understood that the Sun does practically the same.

Mayan Zodiac
Mayan Zodiac

Mayan Zodiac

Mayan Zodiac

Today's science does not recognize the type of influence each distant planet may have on a person. Even so, it does recognize the influence of the Moon, Earth's close neighbor, on the human organism: according to the phases, not only the biological cycles of the organism are regulated, but cerebral activity is also altered.

How was night sky for the Mayas?
Basically, the astronomical knowledge of the New World was absolutely the same as in the Old, as well as in any part of the Earth. The only difference was the religious and mythological interpretation. Likewise, we must remember that the ancestors of the Mayas began to process astronomical data over fie thousand years ago. Ad its clear that during the course of such a long period of time knowledge was perfected and the interpretation was modified.

What meaning did the North have for the Mayas?
For the Mayas, the Zodiac had profound sacred meaning, since it served as a permanent, living illustration of the Model of the universe, intertwined with the reincarnation cycle. They believed that when a person died, the soul traveled back to the ancestor's in the distant fatherland, located in a cave to the North. In the Mayan language North (associated with the Big Dipper and the polar star of the Little Dipper), was called Xam-aan, which disappears behind". Xam also means "jug", and the little Dipper was represented iconographically by an overturned jug spilling virgin water. According to the Mayas, this marked the precise location of the World of the dead, where the souls went to become purified and reincarnated. The Mayas called the South Mo-ho, or "great entrance", which represented the living part of the Universe.

What is revealed and what is kept hidden by the sacred language?
One of the hidden names for the Milky Way was "Tamcaz", "center of the sphere". This name was also used to refer to "all types of cold physic illnesses". The Milky Way was considered the Creator and the Progenitor of life and of all things. The Mayan ancestors believed the Milky Way was a Heavenly Reptile, an alligator whose terrible open jaws represented the entrance to the underworld. In the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Maya-Quiche, the Milky Way corresponds to Kukumatz or Kukulkan, the "Plumed Serpent". The "mouth" of the reptile coincides with the center of our galaxy (constellation of Sagittarius), the "tail" of the reptile, which resembles a tree with fruit from which the souls were reborn, is located between the constellations of Gemini and Taurus, and its center corresponds exactly with Orion, "Ox Och", or "Three Possums". The sacred language of the Mayas was very metaphorical: for example, the word ich meant "fruit", "eye", "face", "resemble", "twins", and "impregnate", since it was believed that the soul of a specific ancestor (the maternal grandfather) would enter the unborn child. In addition to the soul, the child would also inherit the physical and psychic characteristics, as well as te name and social standing of the relative. In other words, the child born would be an exact copy.

What was the Mayan Zodiac like?
The Milky Way, as a Creator of all things and the path of the dead, divided the Zodiac belt (made up of 13 constellations) into two to not very exact halves. The constellation of the Bat, the most mystical for the Mayas, corresponded to Ophiuchus, also considered an esoteric sign in the Old World. This represented the entrance to the underworld, and for that reason, experienced astrologers always tried to hide its existence from the profane. The bat was located in the mouth of the Heavenly Reptile, which coincides with the center of our galaxy. According to the hieroglyphic texts, the bat watched over the dead in the caves of the ancestors. To the left of the bat are: the Wild Boar (Sagittarius), the Deer (Capricorn), the Monkey (Aquarius), the female Jaguar with twins (Pisces) and the Squirrel (Aries). All of theses are mammals and belong to the living part of man's universe. At the other side of the circle, to the right of the bat, are the constellations deemed "messengers" between the worlds. These are birds, reptiles and insects: the Frog (Scorpio), the Macaw (Libra), the Plumed Boa-Serpent (Virgo), the "Muan" (Leo), the Scorpion (Cancer), the Turtle (Gemini) and the Rattled Serpent (Taurus).

What was the "Living Line"?
Another name for the Milky Way was Bal Caan, "Heavenly Line" (according to hieroglyphic texts), or Cuxxan Zum "Living Line" (according to the books of Chilam Balam). This name was more "profane" because it was also used to name the earthly projection of the Milky Way on the Mayan world, like a geographic map. The "Line" crosses the Yucatan from east to west at a latitude of 20, 15' at the summer solstice, just after the Sun sets. In other words, the Plumed Reptile (the Milky Way), rises in the night sky from the island of Cozumel, passing over Tulum and Coba, reaches its zenith in Chichen-Itza, and then continues on toward Uxmal, Tzibalche, and at last its mouth touches the island of Jaina (20, 15') the mysterious manmade Mayan necropolis, where the dead began their cycle of reincarnation. It is not a coincidence that Chichen-Itza marks the middle of the trajectory, and that is turned north to the latitude 20, 41'. The famous cenote of the alligator Itzamna marks the overturned jug with virgin water on this gigantic map (the North). By entering the water of the cenotes and going through underground tunnels and caves, the Mayas communicated with their divine ancestors. Chichen-Itza was famous for its oracles, which attracted many pilgrims. Cozumel, which extends from 20, 15' (latitude of Tulum) to 20, 41' (latitude of Chichen-Itza), was located in the part of the Zodiac that corresponds to the birth of life. In Cozumel was the oracle Ixchel, "Goddess of the rainbow", responsible for childbirth. Ixchel would climb down the lines to the Tree of the universe so the souls could rise from the underworld to heaven. The other "Celestial Line" crossed the Mayan world vertically, close to the North-South axis, exactly as the Milky Way does in this position. It starts in Copan, passes through Quirigua, Ucanal, Tukal, Uaxactun, Calacmul, Edzna, and also ends in the island of Jaina, under the constellation of the bat, the entrance to the underworld.

Was going into the cave a way to rise up to the Milky Way?
The Map of the Mayan Living World, was located in the middle of two identical esoteric spheres, the Cosmos and the underground World, which represented a mystical union, speculatively being reflected. This way, the caves were the incarnation of the Milky Way as the path of the dead beneath the earth. Likewise, as the soul entered the cave, it rose to the Cosmos on the Celestial Line of the Milky Way. The duality of the Milky Way led to the creation of the concept of the Tree of the Universe, symbol for the unity of the tribe. One of the oldest ancestors of the Mayas was Vaay-Ul, "Snail Spirit", frequently represented as a bent, toothless old man emerging from a snail shell. This way, the space of the caves of the ancestors is identified with the space of the spiral of the snail shell, as the center of the galaxy. For this reason, the cult of the caves with virgin waters was one of the most important in the Mayan region.


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