PART III: LEGENDS
by Anthony Forwood (2011)
20: Mayan Origins
The Mayan civilization is a mystery in many respects, and deserves much more consideration than we can possibly give it here, but deserves some consideration nonetheless. It is believed that this civilization arose out of nowhere between 2,600 and 2,000 BC, and existed until about five hundred years ago when they suddenly and just as mysteriously disappeared again. The Mayan people seem to have built their beautiful pyramidal cities and then abandoned them after several hundred years, only to build new ones elsewhere. Some of their cities were apparently abandoned so suddenly that some buildings were left unfinished. What caused them to abandon their cities remains uncertain.
The Maya seem to have already possessed an advanced knowledge base when they arrived on the scene, or had, in some remarkable way, developed one very quickly. However, in spite of this, they still seemed to be lacking in understanding in other ways. For instance, they had no concept of the wheel or of weigh scales, and yet their concept of time and eternity and their mathematical abilities were quite advanced. They possessed a complex hieroglyphic written language, and they had a concept of the number 0 a thousand years before the rest of the world did. They seem to have been highly advanced astronomers, to the point that they accurately calculated the length of one Earth year down to the thousandths of a second – something we haven’t been able to do until fairly recently. They calculated the cycle of the moon around the Earth with comparable accuracy. Where did they get this knowledge? Did they acquire it on their own, or was it perhaps given to them by an earlier, more advanced civilization?
Their temples, of which they had many, were aligned to the points of the compass, just as the Great Pyramid is. These temples were constructed so that they could be used for observing the stars as well as for ceremonies. They were very religious people, with a large pantheon of gods that needed to be appeased, and their sacerdotal aristocracy regularly conducted ceremonies and incantations for this purpose. The ruling elite were few in number, and between them they controlled a highly superstitious population of up to three million people. An interesting fact is that some of their temples were connected by underground tunnels, and it’s not hard to imagine them being used by these priest-kings to manipulate the masses with ‘magical’ appearances and disappearances of the ‘gods’ during their ceremonies. Although the Maya lived in a region farther north than the Incan sites in the Andes, there are legends that claim that the Incan tunnels reach all the way up from South America, through Central America, and extend deep into the North American continent, and they may have connected to Mayan sites as well. Like the last of the Incas may have done, did the Mayan culture disappear forever into these tunnels?
Although the Spanish Conquistadors destroyed virtually all of the original written records of the Quiche-Mayan people of ancient Mexico (effectively aiding in a systematic cover-up of human history), a few of their books were first copied into Spanish and have survived, among them their legends of human origins. One of these writings was named the Popol-Vuh, variously translated to mean ‘Book of the Council’ or ‘Book of the People’. This book describes the creation of the universe in a way that’s very similar to the descriptions given in other ancient texts, including the Bible.
Aside from the Popol-Vuh and certain other preserved Mayan texts, one of the few hieroglyphic writings of the Maya that has been able to be deciphered is very similar to what is described in the Book of Genesis:
“The world was not light. There was no day, there was no night; there was no moon. Then they perceived that the dawn was coming; then the dawn came. Sky, earth, trees and rocks were set in order; all things were created by God. Thus he was there in his divinity, in the clouds, alone and by his own effort, when he created the entire world, when he moved in the heavens in his divinity. Thus he ruled in his great power. Every day is set in order according to the count, beginning in the east, as it is arranged.”
According to Mayan legends, the creation of all the animals came before humans, who were finally created after several failed attempts had to be destroyed – by deluges, nonetheless – in order to serve and worship the gods. This is virtually identical to what is revealed in the preserved texts of ancient Sumer.
Unlike the Bible, which has had certain alterations made to it in order to better fit the wishes of the Church, these Mayan legends make the distinction that the creators of humans were not the initial Creator of the universe.
The Mayan story of early humans involves a woman, whose name was Xquic, being tempted by the fruit of a certain calabash tree. In this tree, the gods of death had placed the skull of the god of life, who they had slain in battle. When Xquic ate the fruit, the skull is said to have spit into her hand and she became pregnant. The skull is then said to have gone on to explain to her that death is not an ending, but that a person continues to be fulfilled.
The humans that were created are said to have become a worry for the gods, because their intelligence was too great. There was also a problem early on in the creation of humans because they could not procreate, and so ‘the nature of their works’ was changed, and women were formed to be wives to them. The parallels of all of this to the biblical Garden of Eden story are very striking, as well as to Sumerian legends, as we shall see further on.
Aside from these obvious similarities to other legends, there are also similarities to the Sumerian legends that depict certain of the gods being reckless and causing calamities on the planet that brought the attention of a council of gods. The Mayan legends state that the reckless antics of the gods caused the whole Earth to shake, and when this council stepped in, the result brought disease to ordinary men.
It should be noted here that these legends indicate that the Mayan gods had the ability to perform genetic manipulation, not only in changing ‘the nature of their (the humans) works’ to create women, but also to create viruses or biological diseases. What the Mayan legends tell us about the past is threatening to be repeated today through our sciences and the unspoken intentions of those who control research into genetics and the military uses it’s being put to.
The Popol-Vuh describes a cataclysm that had occurred in the past, in which the sun had stood still and the waters had turned red: “It was ruin and destruction… the sea was piled up… it was a great inundation… people were drowned in a sticky substance raining from the sky… the face of the earth grew dark and the gloomy rain endured days and nights… and then there was a great din of fire above their heads.”
Similar to legends in other parts of the world, including China, Sumer, Egypt, India, and Greece, the Mayan legends also tell of a celestial battle in the sky that caused darkness for four days, after which a great star appeared, which they named Quetzalcoatl, which is interpreted to mean ‘feathered serpent’. This may have been a comet, the feathers represented by its fiery tail, or it could have just as easily been a rocket ship. Since Quetzalcoatl was also the name of their main god and founder of the Mayan civilization, it seems more likely that this star was indeed some sort of flying craft. Quetzalcoatl arrived from another land across the ocean in the east, bringing with him (and his small group) certain knowledge that he bequeathed upon his descendents, who the Mayan people claimed to be. Quetzalcoatl referred to his homeland as ‘Aztlan’, which is quite similar to Atlantis.
The Maya believed in cycles, and that history repeats itself. They knew about the precession of the equinox, which is the cycle that our solar system takes around the center of our galaxy, and calculated it to 25,625 years. This is reflected in one of their several calendars, which ends on December 21st, 2012. At this time, according to Mayan belief, the current age will end and a new cycle will begin. There must be some particular sign or event that designates this transition from one age to the next, and perhaps this was one reason they were interested in watching the skies. Could such a transitional cycle be related to a past event that had wiped out earlier civilizations, and was expected to occur again? Was their interest in watching the skies related to the return of Quetzacoatl, the ‘feathered serpent’? We’ll pick up on this subject again further on, since there’s much to consider regarding it.
The Mayan people believed in the existence of an underworld, called ‘Xibalba’, which they believed was a terrible place that was ruled by the gods of death. The Maya believed this underworld could be reached by caves as well as by going under water. This underworld, their legends state, is said to have nine levels, coincidentally very similar to Dante’s description of Hell, as well as to the Sumerian legends which describe an underworld with seven levels. By successfully passing through all nine levels, a person had a chance to join their ancestors who lived in the skies. This latter information has striking parallels with ancient Egyptian beliefs, as well as those promulgated by the Church.
After hundreds of years of peaceful existence in the jungles of the Yucatan, for some unknown reason, the Mayan population migrated north and built new cities to occupy. A new culture with a new religion and new customs arose. One of these new customs was human sacrifice, used in an effort to appease their gods. Ritual sacrifice to the gods is a custom that began in the earliest days of man’s existence, as is reflected in the Old Testament Bible. Whatever the beliefs were that led people to think that sacrificing animals or even humans would satisfy their gods, it’s more than a coincidence that these beliefs seem to have arisen by different cultures at different times. It’s another one of the many similarities between isolated cultures that seems to go beyond mere coincidence, and all of these similarities suggest that there was a greater connection between these cultures than we realize. Could it have been that these various cultures were all affected by a single recurring influence? Could the gods of these different cultures have been of the same origin, survivors of a once-great civilization that was destroyed by cataclysmic events?
The Maya mark their creation date at August 13th, 3114 BC, and their remaining hieroglyphic inscriptions still reveal a great deal of information about the activities of their gods, who are described as having walked the Earth before the time of the Mayan creation date, and the Maya speak of them and their activities much in the way that they’re described in ancient Sumerian and Indian texts. These inscriptions even give the birth dates of some of their gods, which shows that these gods were mortal, flesh and blood creatures. Other inscriptions reveal that these gods lived for hundreds of years, just as we see reflected in other ancient legends, including the Bible.
According to the Mayan legends, the world has been destroyed and recreated no less than four times already. The last creation, which they placed at around 3,000 BC, began when the ‘First Father’, the god Itzamna, came from across the ocean in the east (the Atlantic) to arrive in the Americas. The Mayan interest in astronomy was related to the story of creation, and the possibility that this interest was due to the calamities that their legends speak of is obvious from what their legends tell us. The importance the Maya put to astronomical knowledge is reflected in the alignments of their architecture as well, very much like it is at Giza, Egypt and many other ancient sites.
Three types of astronomical alignments have been recognized in ancient architecture. The first are the simplest, being those that involve the alignment of a constellation with a natural object or structure, such as a mountain peak, as seen from a certain location. The second are those that involve alignment with manmade objects such as stelae, like we see at Stonehenge. The third type are those which involve the deliberate positioning and arrangement of buildings so that they align with certain constellations, such as are found within the ancient Mayan cities. These three types of astronomical architecture reflect various levels of sophistication in utilizing knowledge that had to have been previously acquired. The first type of alignment is a primitive method that would have been used by recent survivors of a cataclysm, while the second and third would only be undertaken later as survivors of such a cataclysm became more settled and erected more complex structures. Taken all together, they show a universal predilection for watching the skies, as though to be waiting for something.
The architecture of Mayan cities reveals alignments to various different constellations in numerous ways, and this shows that astronomy was definitely of great importance to these people, who also saw a need to be incredibly accurate in their astronomical calculations. By their own historical accounts, they were created by their gods in 3114 BC, who came from overseas in the east, and they were a people who quickly developed into a well-ordered civilization, apparently with the help of these gods, who their legends say eventually departed.
In the Troano Codex, a Mayan religious book (later to become the Codex Tro-Cortesianus), there is mention of a great catastrophe in the past, quite possibly at around 10,000 BC. This is backed up by a manuscript derived from the Nahuatl tribe, called the Chimalpopoca Codex, in which it states that a series of four upheavals occurred over a relatively short period of time until as late as about 10,000 BC, caused by a shift in Earth’s axis. These texts lend further weight to the truth regarding cataclysmic events that are told of in the legends from various ancient cultures around the world.