Mayan Gods and Goddesses
The ancient Maya had a complex pantheon of deities whom they worshipped and offered human sacrifices. Rulers were believed to be descendants of the gods and their blood was the ideal sacrifice, either through personal bloodletting or the sacrifice of captives of royal blood. The Mayan vision of the universe is divided into multiple levels, above and below earth, positioned within the four directions of north, south, east and west. After death, the soul was believed to go to the Underworld, Xibalba (shee bal bah), a place of fright where sinister gods tested and tricked their unfortunate visitors.
As with all Myths about Gods and Goddesses - Mayan creational mythology discuss connections with being from other realms who came to Earth to seed the planet. Many people connect the story of the Popol Vuh with a story of extraterrestrial Gods who came to earth and made man in their own image. When they first created man, he was perfect, living as long as the gods and having all of their abilities. Fearing their 'creation', the gods destroyed them. In the next evolution, a lower form of entity was created, 'human', as he exists today. Within Mayan culture they have legends of visiting Gods from outer space. As in all creational myths, religions, and prophecies, the gods promise to return one day.Kukulcan - Winged God - Feather Serpent
Kukulcan was identified to Atlantis [Tehuti] - Egypt [Thoth] - Sumer [Ea or Enki] - then later to Mesoamerica and Peru as Quetzalcoatl.
Quetzalcoatl ("feathered snake") is the Aztec name for the Feathered-Serpent deity of ancient Mesoamerica, one of the main gods of many Mexican and northern Central American civilizations.
The name "Quetzalcoatl" literally means quetzal-bird snake or serpent with feathers of the Quetzal (which implies something divine or precious) in the Nahuatl language. The meaning of his local name in other Mesoamerican languages is similar.
The Maya knew him as Kukulkna; the Quiche as Gukumatz. The Feathered Serpent deity was important in art and religion in most of Mesoamerica for close to 2, 000 years, from the Pre-Classic era until the Spanish Conquest.
Gukumatz was a culture hero who taught the Toltecs, and later the Maya, the arts of civilization, including codes of law, agriculture, fishing and medicine. He came from an ocean, and eventually returned to it. According to Mayan legend, Gukumatz will return to the Earth during the End Times. He also represents the forces of good and evil, similar to the ying-yang paradigm of Oriental religions.
Gukumatz was a god of the four elements of fire, earth, air and water, and each element was associated with a divine animal or plant:
- Air - Vulture
- Earth - Maize
- Fire - Lizard
- Water - Fish
The worship of Quetzalcoatl sometimes included human sacrifices, although in other traditions Quetzalcoatl was said to oppose human sacrifice.
Mesoamerican priests and kings would sometimes take the name of a deity they were associated with, so Quetzalcoatl and Kukulcan are also the names of historical persons.
In the 10th century a ruler closely associated with Quetzalcoatl ruled the Toltecs; his name was Topiltzin Ce Acatl Quetzalcoatl. This ruler was said to be the son of either the great Chichimeca warror, Mixcoatl and the Colhuacano woman Chimalman, or of their descendant.
The Toltecs had a dualistic belief system. Quetzalcoatl's opposite was Tezcatlipoca, who supposedly sent Quetzalcoatl into exile. Alternatively, he left willingly on a raft of snakes, promising to return. When the Aztecs adopted the culture of the Toltecs, they made twin gods of Tezcatlipoca and Quetalcoat, opposite and equal; Quetalcoatl was also called White Tezcatlipoca, to contrast him to the black Tezcatlipoca. Together, they created the world; Tezcatlipoca lost his foot in that process.
The Aztec Emperor Moctezuma II initially believed the landing of Cortez in 1519 was Quetzalcoatl's return. Cortes played off this belief to aid in his conquest of Mexico. The exact significance and attributes of Quetzalcoatl varied somewhat between civilizations and through history. Quetzalcoatl was often considered the god of the morning star and his twin brother, Xolotl was the evening star (Venus). As the morning star he was known under the title Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, which means literaly "the lord of the star of the dawn". He was known as the inventor of books and the calendar, the giver of maize corn to mankind, and sometime as a symbol of death and resurrection. Quetzalcoatl was also the patron of the priests and the title of the Aztec high priest.
Most Mesoamerican beliefs included cycles of worlds. Usually, our current time was considered the fifth world, the previous four having been destroyed by flood, fire and the like. Quetzalcoatl allegedly went to Mictlan, the underworld, and created fifth world-mankind from the bones of the previous races (with the help of Cihuacoatl), using his own blood to imbue the bones with new life.
His birth, along with his twin Xolotl, was unusual; it was a virgin birth, born to the goddess Coatlicue. Alternatively, he was a son of Xochiquetzal and Mixcoatl.
One Aztec story claims Quetzalcoatl was seduced by Tezcatlipoca but then burned himself to death out of remorse. His heart became the morning star.
Quetzalcoatl was a god of such importance and power that nearly no aspect of everyday life seemed to go untouched by him. Secondly, as a historical figure, his actions would nor could not be contained by the History and thus eventually evolved into myth. As a legend, he would signal the end of mortal kingship. An interesting phenomena that distinguished Quetzalcoatl is that despite the fact he is not the most powerful of gods within the Mesoamerican pantheon, or one of the eldest, he is nonetheless an integral part of the system. This was partially accomplished by his ability to integrate himself so securely to attributes of his fellow brethren, to such an extent that it is virtually impossible to tell if Quetzalcoatl was the true originator or vise versa. Hence, to establish a single definitive personality to a god is extremely difficult.
Other Mayan Gods and GoddessesChac
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What is good info. About the aztec.
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What is some info on the Aztecs.
The Aztec people/tribe were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in t