Monday, November 17, 2008

Mayan River Of Blood (To Hell)

The AP, via washpost, followed University of Yucatan archaeologist Guillermo de Anda through some treacherous jungles, caves and underground lakes, in pursuit of the Mayans' "buried highway through hell."

"Legend says the afterlife for ancient Mayas was a terrifying obstacle course in which the dead had to traverse rivers of blood, and chambers full of sharp knives, bats and jaguars." And now de Anda says "a series of caves he has explored may be the place where the Maya actually tried to depict this highway through hell." (ap)

Caves are largely believed to have been sacred to the Mayans, the ancient Central American civilization that was a central tenant in the formation of this very web site. (See the countdown to December 21, 2012, the end of the Mayan calendar, and perhaps, the end of the world to the right.)
The network of underground chambers, roads and temples beneath farmland and jungle on the Yucatan peninsula suggests the Maya fashioned them to mimic the journey to the underworld, or Xibalba, described in ancient mythological texts such as the Popol Vuh.

"It was the place of fear, the place of cold, the place of danger, of the abyss," said University of Yucatan archaeologist Guillermo de Anda. (ap)

The Mayans were really a messed up people. I don't know if this story lends more or less credence to their belief that everything ends when their calendar does. But if they are right, rivers of blood, jaguars, and caves to hell sound pretty scary. I wonder what it will feel like to trudge through them in January of 2013.

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