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The Mayan religious text, the Popol Vuh (known by many names, among them, The Light That Came From Beside The Sea) is the Quiche Maya story of creation translated into Spanish in the early 18th century CE by the missionary Francisco Ximenez from much older tales. As most of the books of the Maya were burned by the Bishop of the Yucatan, Diego de Landa, in July of 1562 CE, this text is all the more important in understanding Mayan culture and religious beliefs even though information is available elsewhere through glyphs, stele, assorted art work, and the three famous Mayan books (known as the Dresden, Paris, and Madrid Codices after the cities where they were taken) which survived Landa's auto-de-fe. The Popol Vuh has been called “the Mayan Bible” and this designation is unfortunate in that it presents the Mayan text in the interpretative light of the better known western scripture. Unlike the stories and poems which make up the anthology of ancient texts known as `The Bible', the Popol Vuh was never considered a revelatory work by the Maya who heard the tales it contains. It was interpreted by the Maya much in the same way as the ancient Greeks received and understood Homer's Iliad and Odyssey: as stories to be understood as the way things could have been, could be, not as any direct `Truth' revealed by an omnipotent god to human beings. The Maya referred to the work as an Ilb'al - an instrument of sight - which provided a hearer with clarity.
The Popol Vuh is a collection of stories which describe the creation of the world, of human beings, and how order was established by the great Hero Twins, Hunahpu and Xbalanque, through their victory over the forces of darkness and death. The characters whose tales are told in the stories are carefully constructed figures who symbolize the planets and the stars and a reader who recognizes this understands that one is encountering in these characters a vision of the world quite different from that presented in the Bible. While the tales told may be mythical in nature, the truths represented could be empirically proven by observing the paths the planets took (most notably Venus) and the positions of the stars. It was clear to the Maya, from astronomical observations, that all of life was cyclical and this eternal round of existence was made so by the cyclical nature of time.
A World of Spiritual Forces
It could be argued that time itself is the supreme god of the Maya pantheon as the intricate calendars of the Maya rose from, and then directed, the religious beliefs. The religion of the ancient Maya infused every aspect of their civilization from their architecture, to their dress and personal appearance, their sports, and, of course, their calendar. The Maya believed that the gods, though living high in the mists of Tamoanchan, were an integral part of their daily lives. The jungles which ringed their cities were inhabited by spirits and by the great god of the woods, Yum Caax, protector of plants and animals. The cities themselves each had a patron god who made the city thrive by accepting the invitation to residence in the central temple. When the rains came, it was because the god Chac was pleased and when the lightning flashed it was the work of the lord Yaluk. Each individual had a `Way', a spirit guide known as a Wayob, who helped him or her throughout life and could appear as an animal, or in dreams, to impart important messages from the spiritual realm. Each year, at the spring and autumn equinox, the great god Kukulcan descended from the sky down the staircase of his temple at Chichen Itza as was (and is still) clearly recognized by the shadow the serpent god moving down the steps to meet the stone heads at the base. The whole of the earth, and human life, then, was imbued with spiritual forces which needed to be recognized, honored, and regularly consulted in order for the community and the individual to prosper.
The Calendar & Role of the King
To the Maya, there was no difference between what a modern-age person would define as `science' and religion. Mathematics and Astronomy were a part of religious observance and went to the creation of the Sacred Calendar. The calendar was of such importance that, when the gods made the second attempt to create human beings, they decided to destroy them because the humans lacked the ability to consult the calendar and, so, to honor the gods. The Maya had a secular calendar to track the days and the seasons and a sacred calendar to predict the future and chart the courses of the stars. The scribes and the priests were astronomers and mathematicians and worked to understand the cycles of the planets in order to recognize in those patterns the celestial meaning being imparted by the gods. This meaning, then, would be carried to the ruler of the city who was considered an intermediary between the gods and the people. Blood was the food of the gods and the king and his court were not exempt from this sacrifice. Rituals surrounding royal blood-letting included drawing a string of thorns through the tongue or penis and spiking the ears or tongue with sharp spines. The blood was then let to fall on paper which was burned as an offering to the gods. If the offering was acceptable - so determined by the pattern of the burning paper - the petition of the king and his people was granted and, if not, further sacrifice would need to be made.
While animals and precious gems were regularly surrendered to the gods in ritual, human sacrifice was central to the religious observations of the Maya (although a modern-day visitor to Mayan sites will hear the tour guides say differently). Excavations in and around the Sacred Cenote at Chichen Itza, as well as at other sites, have revealed bones of what seem to be sacrificial victims and human sacrifice is depicted in stele, in paintings, and in carvings throughout the region the ancient Maya inhabited. Some of these victims were captives taken from other villages or cities but some were citizens of the community who were honored in being chosen as messengers to the gods. Diego de Landa, wrote, “Their festivals were only to secure the goodwill of favor of their gods…They believed them angry whenever they were molested by pestilences, dissensions, or droughts or the like ills, and then they did not undertake to appease the demons by sacrificing animals, nor making offerings only of their food and drink, or their own blood and self-afflictions of vigils, fasts and continence; instead, forgetful of all natural piety and all law of reason they made sacrifices of human beings as easily as they did of birds” (Ancient Maya, 90). Sometimes this sacrifice took the form of being thrown into the Sacred Cenote and, other times, the victim was disemboweled or had the heart torn out on an altar of a temple. As the Maya believed in the cyclical nature of life, nothing ever truly `died', and so the individual sacrificed was considered to have simply `moved on' to live among the gods. Whatever form the sacrifice took did not finally matter because the individual was guaranteed instant transport to the realm of the gods and by-passed the arduous road most other souls needed to travel after death.
To the Maya, the afterlife was a journey of the soul toward paradise; but there was no guarantee at all that one would reach one's destination. At death, the soul went down to the underworld, a dark and frightening place called Xibalba (or Metnal) which was populated by terrifying deities with names like Bloody Teeth, Flying Scab, and Bloody Claw. In perpetual darkness, the underworld had rivers of blood and pus and the trees were dead, the landscape barren. The Lords of Xibalba were just as apt to steer a soul in the wrong direction on its quest as the right one. Having arrived in Xibalba, one needed to not only navigate one's way across it but, then, ascend the nine levels to reach the middle world (earth) and then thirteen more levels before arriving at Tamoanchan (paradise). Once one attained the realm of the gods, one would then descend to a lower level, on the earth or just above it, to live in eternal happiness. The only souls considered exempt from this journey were sacrificial victims, women who died in childbirth, those killed in warfare, suicides, and those who died playing the ball game Pok-a-Tok.
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The Sacred Ball Game: Pok-a-Tok
Pok-a-Tok was more than just a popular sport as it symbolized the struggle of the forces of life and death, light and darkness, and, it is thought, was also an act of sacrifice to the gods who enjoyed watching the game as much as the people did. Two teams of seven players each would attempt to score a rubber ball through a sideways hoop attached to a wall (sometimes as high as twenty feet in the air, sometimes lower or higher) without using their hands or feet. Players were only allowed to use their heads, shoulders, hips, elbows, knees and, sometimes, wrists. Scoring a point was so difficult that a single game could continue for days and the play was so rough that participants were frequently killed in the course of it. Prisoners of war were often sent to play in the great ball courts of the cities but not, as many think, as a punishment; they were a sacrifice to the gods. For many years, since engravings and stele concerning the game were first discovered, it was thought that the losing team (or losing captain) was sacrificed but as a clearer understanding of Maya culture has emerged it has become apparent that it was the winning team (or winning captain) who was beheaded at the game's conclusion in that the victim was then sent instantly to paradise. There was no doubt he was received well by the gods because they loved Pok-a-Tok as much as mortals did and would appreciate the gift of an excellent player. Even so, the claim that the winning team was executed is still a subject of some debate. The Mayanists Schele and Matthews contend that, "the most popular [myth surrounding the ballgame] says that the Maya sacrificed the winners so as to give a perfect gift to the gods. There is no evidence for this interpretation in any of the ancient or historical sources" (210). Those who disagree with Schele and Matthews claim that the long-standing belief that the losers were sacrificed, or that prisoners of war were forced to play to the death as a means to dishonor and punish them, is not consistent with the religious and cosmological beliefs of the Maya. The gods would have been uninterested in receiving a losing team or captain as a gift and would have visited the city with wrath instead of benevolence. Further, the concept of the prisoners of war being punished may simply be a conflation of the Maya game in the ball courts and the Roman gladiatorial games in the coliseum first suggested by 19th century interpreters of the game. A definitive answer on whether the winners or losers were sent to their deaths is not yet available because extant glyphs are often open to both interpretations. Some modern-day Maya Daykeepers (shamans) have claimed that the winners were killed but whether this is the majority opinion is not known as there has been no systematic study of this particular question with the Daykeepers of the modern Maya.
The Popol Vuh
The importance of Pok-a-Tok as a religious ritual is illustrated clearly in the Popol Vuh. In this text, the early demi-gods Hun Hunahpu and Vucub Hunahpu (symbolizing planets and fertility) are excellent Pok-a-Tok players. It is their enjoyment of the game, and the noise they make in playing it, which enrages the Lords of Xibalba who invite the brothers to the underworld on the pretext of playing against them in a game. Once the young men arrive in Xibalba, however, they are tricked and murdered. Their bodies are buried under the ball court but Hun Hunahpu's head is placed in the axis of a calabash tree as a warning to others of the Xibalban's strength. This head (which is animated by both brothers) later spits into the palm of the virgin goddess Xquiq and she becomes pregnant with the two boys known as the Hero Twins, Hunahpu an Xbalanque, also both expert Pok-a-Tok players, who defeat the Lords of Xibalba and the forces of chaos and darkness. In playing the game, then, the Maya were re-creating the victory of the twins over death while, simultaneously, honoring the gods in the present with sacrifice. The Mayanist Dennis Tedlock writes, “For Mayans, the presence of a divine dimension in narratives of human affairs is not an imperfection but a necessity and it is balanced by a necessary human dimension in narratives of divine affairs” (Popol Vuh, 59). The divine dimension in the game of Pok-a-Tok was multi-layered and, like everything else in Mayan life, reflected the importance of the gods in one's daily life.
The Cyclical Nature of Existence
The religious beliefs of the Maya, then, were intricately bound up in cycles, whether the cycle of a day, a ritual performed, or the great ball game. All of existence carried on eternally in the great cycle of time and this was illustrated through the calendar, both the secular and the sacred versions. The calendars were envisioned as great cogs with interlocking teeth which clicked precisely and, if understood properly, enabled one to predict future events. Much has been made recently of the Maya allegedly predicting the end of the world on 21 December 2012 but, again, this is a result of interpreting the beliefs of the Maya through a western European understanding. As time was an eternal god, bound up in, outside of, and manifesting itself through the workings of the universe, it could never end. The world brought into being through the operation of time as represented by the gods could never end either as that would contradict the very nature of existence as understood by the Maya. 21 December 2012 is better understood as simply the end of one cycle (known as a Baktun) and the beginning of another as, to the Maya, there is never an end to anything, only ceaseless change through the eternal work of time.
Mayan civilisation was the most important and longest lasting civilisation of the Mesoamerican region. The civilisation took birth in its Pre-Classic Period and flourished during the Classic Period between 250AD and 900AD, during which the Mayans founded many large urban centres and made impressive advancements in the domains of art and architecture.
Due to the unique culture and indigenous languages of the Mayans, they also had distinct names of people, gods, and places, which almost always had symbolic meaning. Even the Maya people today use a lot of names that were prevalent during the ancient Mayan civilisation.
Mayan Word Formation
Most common aspect of word formation for Mayan words includes compounding of noun roots to form new nouns. Additionally, different morphological processes are used for the derivation of nouns from verbs. Another aspect of word formation for Mayan words is incorporation of noun stems into verbs either as direct objects or in other functions. Word formation also includes widespread metaphorical use of roots signifying different body parts, particularly for formation of locatives and relational nouns. This last aspect is true not just for Mayan languages but also for various other Mesoamerican languages.
This is the beginning of the Ancient Word, here in this place called Quiché. Here we shall inscribe, we shall implant the Ancient Word, the potential and source for everything done in the citadel of Quiché, in the nation of Quiché people.
And here we shall take up the demonstration, revelation, and account of how things were put in shadow and brought to light by
Hunahpu Possum, Hunahpu Coyote,
Great White Peccary, Coati,
Heart of the Lake, Heart of the Sea,
plate shaper, bowl shaper, as they are called,
also named, also described as
twice a midwife, twice a matchmaker,
as is said in the words of Quiché. They accounted for everything -- and did it, too -- as enlightened beings, in enlightened words. We shall write about this now amid the preaching of God, in Christendom now. We shall bring it out because there is no longer
a place to see it, a Council Book,
a place to see "The Light That Came from Beside the Sea,"
the account of "Our Place in the Shadows."
a place to see "The Dawn of Life,"
as it is called. There is the original book and ancient writing, but the one who reads and assesses it has a hidden identity. It takes a long performance and account to complete the lighting of all the sky-earth:
the fourfold siding, fourfold cornering,
measuring, fourfold staking,
halving the cord, stretching the cord
the four sides, the four comers, as it is said,
mother-father of life, of humankind,
giver of breath, giver of heart,
bearer, upbringer in the light that lasts
of those born in the light, begotten in the light
worrier, knower of everything, whatever there is:
This is the account, here it is:
Now it still ripples, now it still murmurs, ripples, it still sighs, still hums, and it is empty under the sky.
Here follow the first words, the first eloquence:
There is not yet one person, one animal, bird, fish, crab, tree, rock, hollow, canyon, meadow, forest. Only the sky alone is there the face of the earth is not clear. Only the sea alone is pooled under all the sky there is nothing whatever gathered together. It is at rest not a single thing stirs. It is held back, kept at rest under the sky.
Whatever there is that might be is simply not there: only the pooled water, only the calm sea, only it alone is pooled.
Whatever might be is simply not there: only murmurs, ripples, in the dark, in the night. Only the Maker, Modeler alone, Sovereign Plumed Serpent, the Bearers, Begetters are in the water, a glittering light. They are there, they are enclosed in quetzal feathers, in blue-green.
Thus the name, "Plumed Serpent." They are great knowers, great thinkers in their very being.
And of course there is the sky, and there is also the Heart of Sky. This is the name of the god, as it is spoken.
And then came his word, he came here to the Sovereign Plumed Serpent, here in the blackness, in the early dawn. He spoke with the Sovereign Plumed Serpent, and they talked, then they thought, then they worried. They agreed with each other, they joined their words, their thoughts. Then it was clear, then they reached accord in the light, and then humanity was clear, when they conceived the growth, the generation of trees, of bushes, and the growth of life, of humankind, in the blackness, in the early dawn, all because of the Heart of Sky, named Hurricane. Thunderbolt Hurricane comes first, the second is Newborn Thunderbolt, and the third is Sudden Thunderbolt.
So there were three of them, as Heart of Sky, who came to the Sovereign Plumed Serpent, when the dawn of life was conceived:
"How should the sowing be, and the dawning? Who is to be the provider, nurturer?"
"Let it be this way, think about it: this water should be removed, emptied out for the formation of the earth's own plate and platform, then should come the sowing, the dawning of the sky-earth. But there will be no high days and no bright praise for our work, our design, until the rise of the human work, the human design," they said.
And then the earth arose because of them, it was simply their word that brought it forth. For the forming of the earth they said "Earth." It arose suddenly, just like a cloud, like a mist, now forming, unfolding. Then the mountains were separated from the water, all at once the great mountains came forth. By their genius alone, by their cutting edge alone they carried out the conception of the mountain-plain, whose face grew instant groves of cypress and pine.
And the Plumed Serpent was pleased with this:
"It was good that you came, Heart of Sky, Hurricane, and Newborn Thunderbolt, Sudden Thunderbolt. Our work, our design will turn out well," they said.
And the earth was formed first, the mountain-plain. The channels of water were separated their branches wound their ways among the mountains. The waters were divided when the great mountains appeared.
Such was the formation of the earth when it was brought forth by the Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth, as they are called, since they were the first to think of it. The sky was set apart, and the earth was set apart in the midst of the waters.
Such was their plan when they thought, when they worried about the completion of their work.
Now they planned the animals of the mountains, all the guardians of the forests, creatures of the mountains: the deer, birds, pumas, jaguars, serpents, rattlesnakes, fer-de-lances, guardians of the bushes.
"Why this pointless humming? Why should there merely be rustling beneath the trees and bushes?"
"Indeed -- they had better have guardians," the others replied. As soon as they thought it and said it, deer and birds came forth.
And then they gave out homes to the deer and birds:
"You, the deer: sleep along the rivers, in the canyons. Be here in the meadows, in the thickets, in the forests, multiply yourselves. You will stand and walk on all fours," they were told.
So then they established the nests of the birds, small and great:
"You, precious birds: your nests, your houses are in the trees, in the bushes. Multiply there, scatter there, in the branches of trees, the branches of bushes," the deer and birds were told.
When this deed had been done, all of them had received a place to sleep and a place to stay. So it is that the nests of the animals are on the earth, given by the Bearer, Begetter. Now the arrangement of the deer and birds was complete.
And then the deer and birds were told by the Maker, Modeler, Bearer, Begetter:
"Talk, speak out. Don't moan, don't cry out. Please talk, each to each, within each kind, within each group," they were told -- the deer, birds, puma, jaguar, serpent.
"Name now our names, praise us. We are your mother, we are your father. Speak now:
Newborn Thunderbolt, Sudden Thunderbolt,
Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth,
speak, pray to us, keep our days," they were told. But it didn't turn out that they spoke like people: they just squawked, they just chattered, they just howled. It wasn't apparent what language they spoke each one gave a different cry. When the Maker, Modeler heard this:
"It hasn't turned out well, they haven't spoken," they said among themselves. "It hasn't turned out that our names have been named. Since we are their mason and sculptor, this will not do," the Bearers and Begetters said among themselves. So they told them:
"You will simply have to be transformed. Since it hasn't turned out well and you haven't spoken, we have changed our word:
"What you feed on, what you eat, the places where you sleep, the places where you stay, whatever is yours will remain in the canyons, the forests. Although it turned out that our days were not kept, nor did you pray to us, there may yet be strength in the keeper of days, the giver of praise whom we have yet to make. Just accept your service, just let your flesh be eaten.
"So be it, this must be your service," they were told when they were instructed -- the animals, small and great, on the face of the earth.
And then they wanted to test their timing again, they wanted to experiment again, and they wanted to prepare for the keeping of days again. They had not heard their speech among the animals it did not come to fruition and it was not complete.
And so their flesh was brought low: they served, they were eaten, they were killed -- the animals on the face of the earth.
Again there comes an experiment with the human work, the human design, by the Maker, Modeler, Bearer, Begetter:
"It must simply be tried again. The time for the planting and dawning is nearing. For this we must make a provider and nurturer. How else can we be invoked and remembered on the face of the earth? We have already made our first try at our work and design, but it turned out that they didn't keep our days, nor did they glorify us.
"So now let's try to make a giver of praise, giver of respect, provider, nurturer," they said.
So then comes the building and working with earth and mud. They made a body, but it didn't look good to them. It was just separating, just crumbling, just loosening, just softening, just disintegrating, and just dissolving. Its head wouldn't turn, either. Its face was just lopsided, its face was just twisted. It couldn't look around. It talked at first, but senselessly. It was quickly dissolving in the water.
"It won't last," the mason and sculptor said then. "It seems to be dwindling away, so let it just dwindle. It can't walk and it can't multiply, so let it be merely a thought," they said.
So then they dismantled, again they brought down their work and design. Again they talked:
"What is there for us to make that would turn out well, that would succeed in keeping our days and praying to us?" they said. Then they planned again:
"We'll just tell Xpiyacoc, Xmucane, Hunahpu Possum, Hunahpu Coyote, to try a counting of days, a counting of lots," the mason and sculptor said to themselves. Then they invoked Xpiyacoc, Xmucane.
Then comes the naming of those who are the midmost seers: the "Grandmother of Day, Grandmother of Light," as the Maker, Modeler called them. These are names of Xpiyacoc and Xmucane.
When Hurricane had spoken with the Sovereign Plumed Serpent, they invoked the daykeepers, diviners, the midmost seers:
"There is yet to find, yet to discover how we are to model a person, construct a person again, a provider, nurturer, so that we are called upon and we are recognized: our recompense is in words.
our grandmother, our grandfather,
let there be planting, let there be the dawning
of our invocation, our sustenance, our recognition
by the human work, the human design,
the human figure, the human form.
So be it, fulfill your names:
Hunahpu Possum, Hunahpu Coyote,
Bearer twice over, Begetter twice over,
Great Peccary, Great Coati,
incense maker, master craftsman,
Grandmother of Day, Grandmother of Light.
You have been called upon because of our work, our design. Run your hands over the kernels of corn, over the seeds of the coral tree, just get it done, just let it come out whether we should carve and gouge a mouth, a face in wood," they told the daykeepers.
And then comes the borrowing, the counting of days the hand is moved over the corn kernels, over the coral seeds, the days, the lots.
Then they spoke to them, one of them a grandmother, the other a grandfather.
This is the grandfather, this is the master of the coral seeds: Xpiyacoc is his name.
And this is the grandmother, the daykeeper, diviner who stands behind others: Xmucane is her name.
And they said, as they set out the days:
"Just let it be found, just let it be discovered,
say it, our ear is listening,
may you talk, may you speak,
just find the wood for the carving and sculpting
Is this to be the provider, the nurturer
when it comes to the planting, the dawning?
You corn kernels, you coral seeds,
may you succeed, may you be accurate,"
they said to the corn kernels, coral seeds, days, lots. "Have shame, you up there, Heart of Sky: attempt no deception before the mouth and face of Sovereign Plumed Serpent," they said. Then they spoke straight to the point:
"It is well that there be your manikins, woodcarvings, talking, speaking, there on the face of the earth."
"So be it," they replied. The moment they spoke it was done: the manikins, woodcarvings, human in looks and human in speech.
This was the peopling of the face of the earth:
They came into being, they multiplied, they had daughters, they had sons, these manikins, woodcarvings. But there was nothing in their hearts and nothing in their minds, no memory of their mason and builder. They just went and walked wherever they wanted. Now they did not remember the Heart of Sky.
And so they fell, just an experiment and just a cutout for humankind. They were talking at first but their faces were dry. They were not yet developed in the legs and arms. They had no blood, no lymph. They had no sweat, no fat. Their complexions were dry, their faces were crusty. They flailed their legs and arms, their bodies were deformed.
And so they accomplished nothing before the Maker, Modeler who gave them birth, gave them heart. They became the first numerous people here on the face of the earth.
Again there comes a humiliation, destruction, and demolition. The manikins, woodcarvings were killed when the Heart of Sky devised a flood for them. A great flood was made it came down on the heads of the manikins, woodcarvings.
The man's body was carved from the wood of the coral tree by the Maker, Modeler. And as for the woman, the Maker, Modeler needed the hearts of bulrushes for the woman's body. They were not competent, nor did they speak before the builder and sculptor who made them and brought them forth, and so they were killed, done in by a flood:
There came a rain of resin from the sky.
There came the one named Gouger of Faces: he gouged out their eyeballs.
There came Sudden Bloodletter: he snapped off their heads.
There came Crunching Jaguar: he ate their flesh.
There came Tearing Jaguar: he tore them open.
They were pounded down to the bones and tendons, smashed and pulverized even to the bones. Their faces were smashed because they were incompetent before their mother and their father, the Heart of Sky, named Hurricane. The earth was blackened because of this the black rainstorm began, rain all day and rain all night. Into their houses came the animals, small and great. Their faces were crushed by things of wood and stone. Everything spoke: their water jars, their tortilla griddles, their plates, their cooking pots, their dogs, their grinding stones, each and every thing crushed their faces. Their dogs and turkeys told them:
"You caused us pain, you ate us, but now it is you whom we shall eat." And this is the grinding stone:
"We were undone because of you.
in the dark, in the dawn, forever,
right in our faces, because of you.
This was the service we gave you at first, when you were still people, but today you will learn of our power. We shall pound and we shall grind your flesh," their grinding stones told them.
And this is what their dogs said, when they spoke in their turn:
"Why is it you can't seem to give us our food? We just watch and you just keep us down, and you throw us around. You keep a stick ready when you eat, just so you can hit us. We don't talk, so we've received nothing from you. How could you not have known? You did know that we were wasting away there, behind you.
"So, this very day you will taste the teeth in our mouths. We shall eat you," their dogs told them, and their faces were crushed.
And then their tortilla griddles and cooking pots spoke to them in turn:
"Pain! That's all you've done for us. Our mouths are sooty, our faces are sooty. By setting us on the fire all the time, you burn us. Since we felt no pain, you try it. We shall burn you," all their cooking pots said, crushing their faces.
The stones, their hearthstones were shooting out, coming right out of the fire, going for their heads, causing them pain. Now they run for it, helter-skelter.
They want to climb up on the houses, but they fall as the houses collapse.
They want to climb the trees they're thrown off by the trees.
They want to get inside caves, but the caves slam shut in their faces.
Such was the scattering of the human work, the human design. The people were ground down, overthrown. The mouths and faces of all of them were destroyed and crushed. And it used to be said that the monkeys in the forests today are a sign of this. They were left as a sign because wood alone was used for their flesh by the builder and sculptor.
So this is why monkeys look like people: they are a sign of a previous human work, human design -- mere manikins, mere woodcarvings.
This was when there was just a trace of early dawn on the face of the earth, there was no sun. But there was one who magnified himself Seven Macaw is his name. The sky-earth was already there, but the face of the sun-moon was clouded over. Even so, it is said that his light provided a sign for the people who were flooded. He was like a person of genius in his being.
"I am great. My place is now higher than that of the human work, the human design. I am their sun and I am their light, and I am also their months.
"So be it: my light is great. I am the walkway and I am the foothold of the people, because my eyes are of metal. My teeth just glitter with jewels, and turquoise as well they stand out blue with stones like the face of the sky.
"And this nose of mine shines white into the distance like the moon. Since my nest is metal, it lights up the face of the earth. When I come forth before my nest, I am like the sun and moon for those who are born in the light, begotten in the light. It must be so, because my face reaches into the distance," says Seven Macaw.
It is not true that he is the sun, this Seven Macaw, yet he magnifies himself, his wings, his metal. But the scope of his face lies right around his own perch his face does not reach everywhere beneath the sky. The faces of the sun, moon, and stars are not yet visible, it has not yet dawned.
And so Seven Macaw puffs himself up as the days and the months, though the light of the sun and moon has not yet clarified. He only wished for surpassing greatness. This was when the flood was worked upon the manikins, woodcarvings.
And now we shall explain how Seven Macaw died, when the people were vanquished, done in by the mason and sculptor.
Viracocha, Quetzalcoatl, and Kukulkan: The White Alien Gods of Mesoamerica
One of the most prominent features at Tiahuanaco is the statue that is located at the center of the sunken temple. Believed to be a statue depicting their Creator God Viracocha, the look of this God is particularly strange.
Viracocha is represented as having a beard and a mustache something very unusual because American Indians did not have these long beards and mustaches, even more strangely the representation of Viracocha is very much like the ancient Gods of ancient Sumeria in Mesopotamia.
Why would the designers of this statue depict their most important God with features unlike their own?
Mysteriously, as the Incan god Viracocha, the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl and several other deities from Central and South American pantheons, were described in legends as being bearded.
The beard, once believed to be a mark of a prehistoric European influence and quickly fueled and embellished by spirits of the colonial era, had its single significance in the continentally insular culture of Mesoamerica.
Kukulkan is closely related to the god Q’uq’umatz of the K’iche’ Maya and to Quetzalcoatl of the Aztecs.
Little is known of the mythology of this pre-Columbian deity.
The cult of Kukulkan/Quetzalcoatl was the first Mesoamerican religion to transcend the old Classic Period linguistic and ethnic divisions
Did the Anunnaki create mankind over 400 thousand years ago?
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Nearly all ancient texts seem to concur that otherworldly ‘beings’ created mankind. No matter what religion, culture or ancient writings we look at, all of them have one thing in common Life on Earth was created, it did not start by itself, but ‘intervention’ from above was necessary. So that takes us to the question… who or what created us? Can we find the answer if we study the ancient Anunnaki?
Oh and… If the Anunnaki created mankind, who created the Anunnaki?
In nearly all ancient writings we find that ‘Gods’ created mankind. But have we ever asked ourselves who were these gods? Is life on Earth the result of intelligence far greater than we are able to understand? Can life be explained scientifically? Or is life –no only on Earth, but elsewhere in the universe potenitally— the result of a higher intelligence that we call ‘God.’
Ancient texts seem to tell us exactly how mankind came into existence.
For example, the sacred book of the ancient Maya tells us a fascinating creation ‘myth.’
The Popol Vuh states that ‘beings’ created mankind. These beings are referred to as “the Creator, the Former, the Dominator, the Feathered-Serpent, they-who-engender, they-who-give-being, hovered over the water as a dawning light.”
If we analyze the Popol Vuh a bit further we will find through chapter one: They are enveloped in green and azure: that is why their name is Gucumatz (Feathered-Serpent). Of the greatest sages is their being. Then came his Word with the Dominator and the Feathered-Serpent and they consulted together and meditated, and while they consulted, it became day…”
“…at the moment of the dawn, MAN manifested himself, while they, in the darkness and in the night, were holding counsel upon the production and growth of trees and creeping vines, of sentient beings and humanity, by him who is the Heart of the Heavens, whose name is Hurakan. Lightning is the first sign of Hurakan the second, the path-of-the-lightning the third is the thunderbolt. And these three are the Heart of the Heavens…”
Among other ancient texts, the Bible seems to tell a similar story…
There are several Bible verses that refer to the creation of Adam and Eve, which some believe to be based on writings of Sumerian clay tablets that speak of “superior” beings which created the first human species.
Looking at Genesis 1:26-27: we find the following Then God said, “…Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground…”
“…So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them male and female he created them…”
In the Quran we find the following:
. Verse 96.1: “read in the name of God who created”
. Verse 96.2: “created man from a clinging substance”
. Verse 96.3: “read and your God, the most generous”
. Verse 96.4: “who taught by the pen”
. Verse 96.5: “Taught man what he did not knew.”
This is why we ask again, who were these Gods? Is it possible that some of the oldest writings on Earth –from Ancient Summer— can help us understand mankind’s origin?
We look towards the Anunnaki hoping to find out more about ‘WHO’ created mankind.
The Anunnaki are said to be a group of deities in several ancient Mesopotamian cultures like the Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian, and Babylonian.
The Anunnaki are also one of the MOST controversial subjects among many people around the globe. Millions of people around the world believe the Ancient Anunnaki are the creators of man and are not mythological beings but in fact flesh and blood ‘gods’ who came to Earth in the distant past.
Many researchers firmly believe that based on numerous discoveries, the Anunnaki (Sumerian: “those who came down from the heavens), a highly advanced civilization from an elusive planet in our solar system, came to Earth, landing in the Persian Gulf some 432,000 years ago.
Many find comfort in the ancient alien theory which presupposes that thousands of years ago even before recorded history our planet was visited by astronauts from another world, intelligent beings with technology beyond our own today.
Controversial author Zecharia Sitchin tells us much more about the Anunnaki.
Approximately some 250,000 years ago, according to Sitchin, the ancient Anunnaki merged their Alien genes with that of Homo erectus and created a species known as Homo sapiens, obtaining as a result, a genetically bicameral species.
Many people agree that the ancient Anunnaki could be the responsible ‘creators’ who kickstarted life on our planet.
Evidence of their creation is found in different cultures and different religions around the globe. However, all ancient creation myths seem to concur that ‘mankind was created’ by beings obviously not from Earth.
Are these beings the Anunnaki? And is it possible that all ancient creation myths are similar because they all originated from the same source? Even though we have different texts, from different cultures who were NOT interconnected in the distant past, all of them seem to tell the same story: Mankind was ‘created’ by beings from elsewhere.
However, new discoveries and alternative theories that contradict and put pressure on well-established concepts, are by no means welcome by mainstream scholars.
Maybe we need to open our minds to different possibilities in order to fully understand the origin of mankind.
Despite recent scientific progress in various areas, it sometimes seems as if we never really left the Dark Ages behind us, since in some areas we remain very close minded.
Don’t forget that today, with the technology available to us mankind can create life on other worlds.
So why is it hard to believe that thousands if not million of years ago, a spacefaring civilization did the same on Earth?
Seven Caves, Seven Tribes
The seven tribes were often depicted as seven caves by Nahuatl-speaking peoples of central Mexico. Their codices contain historical lore claiming to reveal the origins of the inhabitants of the land. The Mesoamerican community, even today, understands the long-held symbolism of caves.
In Mesoamerica, caves are usually found in mountains, are dark, are sometimes damp, and may provide shelter. Caves were and are considered the place where ancestors live. To these cultures, a cave may be symbolic of a mother’s womb due to its protective enclosure. A monster’s mouth was symbolic of a cave’s entrance from which the first humans or particular tribes emerged. The Codex Durán gives a fine example of this concept (fig.ف). 8
The Lienzo of Tlapiltepec in Oaxaca, Mexico, is of particular interest with regard to the myth of the seven caves (fig.ق). The caves are portrayed on the periphery of the earth monster-mouth hill, 9 which to the natives was considered a living thing.
An exquisite portrayal of the seven caves in Mesoamerica is in the Historia Tolteca-Chichimeca (fig.ك). 10 Chicomoztoc, or Place of the Seven Caves, is the name of the place of origin. Each petal of the flower-shaped design contains an ancestral tribe. Note the scalloped or crenulated edge on the inside of each cave, which represented to the natives flesh, and in this case, the flesh of a mother’s womb—the flesh of the living cave. At the top of the mountain design are plants and rocks and, in the middle of the top, a twisted hill or curl symbol denoting Colhuacan. Chicomoztoc and Colhuacan are synonymous with the place of origin. Colhuacan means “the place of those who have Ancestors,” and with that implication, Colhuacan “is a city that stands for ancient traditions.” 11 At the top right in figureك, a man wears a coyote skin and performs a new fire ceremony. In Mesoamerica, every New Year was celebrated by making a new fire. Thus, leaving their seven-cave/womb abode was a metaphor for the act of creation and new beginnings symbolized by the New Fire Ceremony. At the bottom of the seven-cave structure are bearded men to the right (the Toltec) and men without beards to the left (the Chichimec). The men are conversing, indicated by the wavy lines between them.
A similar design called the Map of Cuauhtinchan (MC2), made in the sixteenth century, depicts seven caves with their attendants, but also men equipped with war implements as they leave their homeland to go to battle (fig.ل). This lavish bark-paper map has a pictorial history going back to the early twelfth century. Figureل shows only the upper left-hand portion of this map. The complete map has over seven hundred pictograms and is truly a vocabulary of symbols. The design was meant to replicate their history (today the Mexican village of Oxtotipan), with the ancestral cave of Chicomoztoc. 12
Also illustrated from the Historia Tolteca-Chichimeca is a mountain topped by a frog or toad with six neatly set flowers in a circle with a seventh at the center (see fig.م). The flowers are reminiscent of the flower-shaped caves in the Chicomoztoc design in figuresك and 4. It is important to note that among Mesoamericans the human soul was considered a flower, 13 and some areas refer to the placenta as a flower (kotz&aposi&aposj among the Quiché Maya of Guatemala). 14 The placenta, of course, lines the womb. These flowers represent the seven tribes who emerged from their individual lineage heads. The frog/toad gazing from the top of the mountain also has significance—in Mesoamerican symbolism, it oftentimes represented birth. 15
Another fine example of the seven tribes within the seven caves comes from the Codex Durán (fig.ن). 16 In Durán’s illustration, the seven caves contain men and women—the progenitors of the seven tribes. The caves are set in two rows, four on the top and three on the bottom row.
Also from the Codex Durán, with a similar but different design, are two rows of four over three (fig.ه). There are up to five individuals within each cave. Do these particular drawings address a division of four lineages separated from the other three? This will be addressed below.
There are two other noteworthy drawings that depict the Nahuatl origin myth—one with seven men emerging from an umbilical, tubelike cave opening in the Lienzo de Jucutácato from Michoacan, Mexico (fig.و). 17
Another, from the Codex Vaticanus A/Ríos 66v, depicts seven men, each standing in leafy caves. 18
Holy Father explains symbols of the Easter Vigil: light, water and the ‘Alleluia’
, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of the difficulties in understanding Jesus’ resurrection. He explained that the Church assists the faithful in understanding this mysterious event through three symbols in the Easter Vigil: light, water and the “Alleluia.”
The Easter Vigil began Saturday night at 9 p.m. (local time) with the lighting of the Easter Candle in St. Peter’s Square. The procession followed, as did the Liturgy of the Word and the baptism of five catechumens, each from a different country, including one from the
Below is the text of the Pope’s homily:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Saint Mark tells us in his Gospel that as the disciples came down from the Mount of the Transfiguration, they were discussing among themselves what "rising from the dead" could mean (cf. Mk 9:10). A little earlier, the Lord had foretold his passion and his resurrection after three days. Peter had protested against this prediction of death. But now, they were wondering what could be meant by the word "resurrection". Could it be that we find ourselves in a similar situation? Christmas, the birth of the divine Infant, we can somehow immediately comprehend. We can love the child, we can imagine that night in Bethlehem , Mary’s joy, the joy of
and the shepherds, the exultation of the angels. But what is resurrection? It does not form part of our experience, and so the message often remains to some degree beyond our understanding, a thing of the past. The Church tries to help us understand it, by expressing this mysterious event in the language of symbols in which we can somehow contemplate this astonishing event. During the Easter Vigil, the Church points out the significance of this day principally through three symbols: light, water, and the new song – the Alleluia.
First of all, there is light. God’s creation – which has just been proclaimed to us in the Biblical narrative – begins with the command: "Let there be light!" (Gen 1:3). Where there is light, life is born, chaos can be transformed into cosmos. In the Biblical message, light is the most immediate image of God: He is total Radiance, Life, Truth, Light.
During the Easter Vigil, the Church reads the account of creation as a prophecy. In the resurrection, we see the most sublime fulfillment of what this text describes as the beginning of all things. God says once again: "Let there be light!" The resurrection of Jesus is an eruption of light. Death is conquered, the tomb is thrown open. The Risen One himself is Light, the Light of the world. With the resurrection, the Lord’s day enters the nights of history. Beginning with the resurrection, God’s light spreads throughout the world and throughout history. Day dawns. This Light alone – Jesus Christ – is the true light, something more than the physical phenomenon of light. He is pure Light: God himself, who causes a new creation to be born in the midst of the old, transforming chaos into cosmos.
Let us try to understand this a little better. Why is Christ Light? In the Old Testament, the Torah was considered to be like the light coming from God for the world and for humanity. The Torah separates light from darkness within creation, that is to say, good from evil. It points out to humanity the right path to true life. It points out the good, it demonstrates the truth and it leads us towards love, which is the deepest meaning contained in the Torah. It is a "lamp" for our steps and a "light" for our path (cf. Ps 119:105). Christians, then, knew that in Christ, the Torah is present, the Word of God is present in him as Person. The Word of God is the true light that humanity needs. This Word is present in him, in the Son. Psalm 19 had compared the Torah to the sun which manifests God’s glory as it rises, for all the world to see. Christians understand: yes indeed, in the resurrection, the Son of God has emerged as the Light of the world. Christ is the great Light from which all life originates. He enables us to recognize the glory of God from one end of the earth to the other. He points out our path. He is the Lord’s day which, as it grows, is gradually spreading throughout the earth. Now, living with him and for him, we can live in the light.
At the Easter Vigil, the Church represents the mystery of the light of Christ in the sign of the Paschal candle, whose flame is both light and heat. The symbolism of light is connected with that of fire: radiance and heat, radiance and the transforming energy contained in the fire – truth and love go together. The Paschal candle burns, and is thereby consumed: Cross and resurrection are inseparable. From the Cross, from the Son’s self-giving, light is born, true radiance comes into the world. From the Paschal candle we all light our own candles, especially the newly baptized, for whom the light of Christ enters deeply into their hearts in this Sacrament. The early Church described Baptism as “fotismos,” as the Sacrament of illumination, as a communication of light, and linked it inseparably with the resurrection of Christ. In Baptism, God says to the candidate: "Let there be light!" The candidate is brought into the light of Christ. Christ now divides the light from the darkness. In him we recognize what is true and what is false, what is radiance and what is darkness. With him, there wells up within us the light of truth, and we begin to understand. On one occasion when Christ looked upon the people who had come to listen to him, seeking some guidance from him, he felt compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd (cf. Mk 6:34). Amid the contradictory messages of that time, they did not know which way to turn. What great compassion he must feel in our own time too – on account of all the endless talk that people hide behind, while in reality they are totally confused. Where must we go? What are the values by which we can order our lives? The values by which we can educate our young, without giving them norms they may be unable to resist, or demanding of them things that perhaps should not be imposed upon them? He is the Light. The baptismal candle is the symbol of enlightenment that is given to us in Baptism. Thus at this hour,
speaks to us with great immediacy. In the Letter to the Philippians, he says that, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, Christians should shine as lights in the world (cf. Phil 2:15). Let us pray to the Lord that the fragile flame of the candle he has lit in us, the delicate light of his word and his love amid the confusions of this age, will not be extinguished in us, but will become ever stronger and brighter, so that we, with him, can be people of the day, bright stars lighting up our time.
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The second symbol of the Easter Vigil – the night of Baptism – is water. It appears in Sacred Scripture, and hence also in the inner structure of the Sacrament of Baptism, with two opposed meanings. On the one hand there is the sea, which appears as a force antagonistic to life on earth, continually threatening it yet God has placed a limit upon it. Hence the book of Revelation says that in God’s new world, the sea will be no more (cf. 21:1). It is the element of death. And so it becomes the symbolic representation of Jesus’ death on the Cross: Christ descended into the sea, into the waters of death, as Israel did into the
. Having risen from death, he gives us life. This means that Baptism is not only a cleansing, but a new birth: with Christ we, as it were, descend into the sea of death, so as to rise up again as new creatures.
The other way in which we encounter water is in the form of the fresh spring that gives life, or the great river from which life comes forth. According to the earliest practice of the Church, Baptism had to be administered with water from a fresh spring. Without water there is no life. It is striking how much importance is attached to wells in Sacred Scripture. They are places from which life rises forth. Beside Jacob’s well, Christ spoke to the Samaritan woman of the new well, the water of true life. He reveals himself to her as the new, definitive Jacob, who opens up for humanity the well that is awaited: the inexhaustible source of life-giving water (cf. Jn 4:5-15). Saint John tells us that a soldier with a lance struck the side of Jesus, and from his open side – from his pierced heart – there came out blood and water (cf. Jn 19:34). The early Church saw in this a symbol of Baptism and Eucharist flowing from the pierced heart of Jesus. In his death, Jesus himself became the spring. The prophet Ezekiel saw a vision of the new
from which a spring issues forth that becomes a great life-giving river (cf. Ezek 47:1-12). In a land which constantly suffered from drought and water shortage, this was a great vision of hope. Nascent Christianity understood: in Christ, this vision was fulfilled. He is the true, living
. He is the spring of living water. From him, the great river pours forth, which in Baptism renews the world and makes it fruitful the great river of living water, his Gospel which makes the earth fertile. In a discourse during the Feast of Tabernacles, though, Jesus prophesied something still greater: "Whoever believes in me … out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water" (Jn 7:38). In Baptism, the Lord makes us not only persons of light, but also sources from which living water bursts forth. We all know people like that, who leave us somehow refreshed and renewed people who are like a fountain of fresh spring water. We do not necessarily have to think of great saints like Augustine, Francis of Assisi, Teresa of Avila, Mother Teresa of Calcutta and so on, people through whom rivers of living water truly entered into human history. Thanks be to God, we find them constantly even in our daily lives: people who are like a spring. Certainly, we also know the opposite: people who spread around themselves an atmosphere like a stagnant pool of stale, or even poisoned water. Let us ask the Lord, who has given us the grace of Baptism, for the gift always to be sources of pure, fresh water, bubbling up from the fountain of his truth and his love!
The third great symbol of the Easter Vigil is something rather different it has to do with man himself. It is the singing of the new song – the alleluia. When a person experiences great joy, he cannot keep it to himself. He has to express it, to pass it on. But what happens when a person is touched by the light of the resurrection, and thus comes into contact with Life itself, with Truth and Love? He cannot merely speak about it. Speech is no longer adequate. He has to sing. The first reference to singing in the Bible comes after the crossing of the
has risen out of slavery. It has climbed up from the threatening depths of the sea. It is as it were reborn. It lives and it is free. The Bible describes the people’s reaction to this great event of salvation with the verse: "The people … believed in the Lord and in Moses his servant" (Ex 14:31). Then comes the second reaction which, with a kind of inner necessity, follows from the first one: "Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord …" At the Easter Vigil, year after year, we Christians intone this song after the third reading, we sing it as our song, because we too, through God’s power, have been drawn forth from the water and liberated for true life.
There is a surprising parallel to the story of Moses’ song after Israel ’s liberation from Egypt upon emerging from the
, namely in the Book of Revelation of Saint John. Before the beginning of the seven last plagues imposed upon the earth, the seer has a vision of something "like a sea of glass mingled with fire and those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb …" (Rev 15:2f.). This image describes the situation of the disciples of Jesus Christ in every age, the situation of the Church in the history of this world.
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Humanly speaking, it is self-contradictory. On the one hand, the community is located at the Exodus, in the midst of the
, in a sea which is paradoxically ice and fire at the same time. And must not the Church, so to speak, always walk on the sea, through the fire and the cold? Humanly speaking, she ought to sink. But while she is still walking in the midst of this
, she sings – she intones the song of praise of the just: the song of Moses and of the Lamb, in which the Old and New Covenants blend into harmony. While, strictly speaking, she ought to be sinking, the Church sings the song of thanksgiving of the saved. She is standing on history’s waters of death and yet she has already risen. Singing, she grasps at the Lord’s hand, which holds her above the waters. And she knows that she is thereby raised outside the force of gravity of death and evil – a force from which otherwise there would be no way of escape – raised and drawn into the new gravitational force of God, of truth and of love. At present she is still between the two gravitational fields. But once Christ is risen, the gravitational pull of love is stronger than that of hatred the force of gravity of life is stronger than that of death. Perhaps this is actually the situation of the Church in every age? It always seems as if she ought to be sinking, and yet she is always already saved.
illustrated this situation with the words: "We are as dying, and behold we live" (2 Cor 6:9). The Lord’s saving hand holds us up, and thus we can already sing the song of the saved, the new song of the risen ones: alleluia! Amen.
The Maya And Incas Were Juniors At The Solstice, Ireland's Newgrange Shows.
The Winter Solstice this morning was a letdown in Ireland, just like in many other places where cataclysmic revelations were expected due to Mayan predictions of the end of the world just when the queues were forming at Dunkin’ Donuts. Of course, the Irish predict the end of the world every time it rains and their roots in mysticism, shape shifting, and consulting oracles make the Mayans seem like babes in the woods.
Ireland is littered with at least 40,000 neolithic monuments and the most famous is Newgrange, a massive burial cairn and World Heritage Site that breathes with the visions of the ancients and happens to be 5000 years old. A thousand years older than Stonehenge and older than the Great Pyramid of Egypt in Giza, its but a peculiarity from a distance and yet a massive formation arising on a slope for no reason.
Ah, but there was. It took Recent Man an eternity to realize it, but every year on this day when the feeble sun is as lateral as it gets on earth, a 30-foot high, quartz-sheathed inner chamber in the depths of this gnomic hill explode with luminescence at the coming of the dawn – that is, when the reawakening of the solstice does actually break out of the Irish winter gloom. The place is so iconic that thousands of Irish draw straws every year for the chance to be among the lucky ten or twenty to squeeze 60 feet into the magic chamber whose surrounding walls are inscribed with runic whorls, serpent forms, chevrons, and spiral signs of infinity. Meanwhile, hundreds of New Age pagans beat skin drums outside.
The Celtic Twilight poet and clairovoyant George William Russell caught the spirit of Newgrange in “A Dream of Angus Oge” in 1897, an ode to the fallen gods of Gaeldom.
"This was my palace. In days past many a one plucked here the purple flower of magic and the fruit of the tree of life… but look: you will see it is the palace of a god."
But what kind of god? Newgrange is surrounded by massive standing stones. It’s cruciform inner chambers are reached by a near crawl into the bowels of the earth. Many bones were found inside during the archeology of the last 150 years, suggesting Druid sacrifice, pagan exaltations we cannot now nor ever again envision.
"And even as he spoke, a light began to glow and to pervade the cave, and to obliterate the stone walls and the antique hieroglyphics engraved thereon, and to melt the earthen floor itself like a fiery sun suddenly uprisen with the world, and there was everywhere a wandering ecstasy of sound: Light and sound were one light had a voice, and the music hung glittering in the air." George William Russell.
I myself am as much a practical person as a mystical one. So I am almost equally fascinated by the nitty-gritting of Newgrange’s engineering – I mean it’s a giant mound of stones covered in grass, a glorified golf tee when seen from the air. But it’s whorled over and over entrance is not only as mysterious as any monolith Napoleon plundered from Egypt, it’s heavy. Just one of the whorled slabs at Newgrange weighs ten tons. It’s been calculated that to move even a one-ton stone on ramped rollers up a hill fora few feet 5,000 years ago would have broken half the back of a small clan. There are millions of pounds of rubble and ceremonial stones atop Newgrange. That's a lot of backs. Why did the ancients bother?
" I am Aengus… men call me the Young. I am sunlight in the heart, the moonlight in the mind I am the light at the end of every dream, the voice forever calling to come away I am the desire beyond joy or tears. Come with me, come with me: I will make you immortal." George William Russell.
Newgrange’s cruciform inner sanctums are a marvel of waterproofing. The corbelled central chamber hasn’t leaked in 5000 years. Show me any Irish house over 30 years old that can claim the same and as fast as “Bob’s your uncle” you’ll have pint. One archeologist calculated that it would have taken 400 people 16 years to carry the 200,000 tons of stone atop Newgrange to the spot from their local pub. Just kidding, because he meant from quarries miles away by the sea. Yet some say the big slab stones, the ceremonial stones would have had to come from a hundred miles or so down the coast. And all they had was reed rafts? And Roman coins have been found at Newgrange, zealots talk Phoenician artefacts. All this when I can’t organize five Irish modern friends to show up within the same two hours now.
For any traveler to Ireland, Newgrange – which has an ample visitor center and is open to great numbers on every day except the Winter Solstice – is a must see. But so are Neolithic monuments found haphazardly across the land. And I won’t mention Loughcrew here, with its 31 burial cairns where you might discover infinity alone, and which is amply described in my latest book IRELAND UNHINGED.