Maya Sacred Geography and the Creator Deities

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Overview

The K’iche’ Maya creation story preserved in the sixteenth-century manuscript Popol Vuh describes the origin of the world and its people in a setting long assumed to be the Guatemalan central highlands. Now a scholar with a deep knowledge of Maya history shows that all of these mythological events occurred at specific locations and that this landscape was the template for the Maya worldview.

Examining the primary Maya deities, Karen Bassie-Sweet links geographic features to gods and beliefs. She reconstructs key elements of the Popol Vuh to argue that the three volcanoes around Lake Atitlan were the three thunderbolt gods and that the lake was the center of the world. She also shows that the Maya view of the creation of humans is centered on corn and examines core beliefs about the corn cycle to propose that the creation myth was established much earlier in Maya history than previously supposed. Generously illustrated, Maya Sacred Geography and the Creator Deities is a detailed ethnohistorical analysis of Maya religion, cosmology, and ritual practice that convincingly links mythology to the land. A comprehensive treatment of Maya religion, it provides an essential resource for scholars and will fascinate any reader captivated by these ancient beliefs.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806139579
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
  • Publication date: 11/17/2008
  • Series: Civilization of the American Indian Series
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 1,446,491
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Karen Bassie-Sweet is Research Associate at the University of Calgary and codirects the Jolja Cave Project in Mexico. She is author of Maya Sacred Geography and the Creator Deities.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Ch. 1 Overview 3

Ch. 2 Corn 19

Ch. 3 Agricultural Events and Ceremonies 32

Ch. 4 World View 53

Ch. 5 Water, Wind, and Divination 84

Ch. 6 The Thunderbolt Triad 102

Ch. 7 The Paternal Grandfather 125

Ch. 8 The Sons of the Creator Grandparents 150

Ch. 9 The Marriage of One Ixim/One Hunahpu and Ixik/Lady Bone Water 178

Ch. 10 The Paternal Grandmother and Her Daughters-in-Law 194

Ch. 11 The Twins 211

Ch. 12 The Maternal Grandfather and His Virgin Daughters 226

Ch. 13 Sacred Landscape 239

Ch. 14 The Landscape of the Night Sky 266

Ch. 15 The Core Myth 284

Ch. 16 Summary and Conclusions 314

References 321

Index 351

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