Prominent Deities of the Maya


Unlike the Olmec who had mysterious unnamed gods and goddesses, the Maya gods were written about and worshiped quite openly in historical documents, carvings, and other artefacts. Instead of having specific gods for unique things, however, they tended to blend together and borrow characteristics from each other. Therefore, a major god can take on traits of a lesser god whenever they wanted to. They could also take on external traits that worked against the things they already were. Like most things in the Maya culture, the religious beliefs were rather fluid and malleable.


The deities could be humanoid, animalistic, or any combination of them both. The uppermost rulers and creators were Itzam Na and his wife Ix Chebel Yax. They could exist either as humanoid figures or iguanas. Huracan mentioned above also earned the moniker Heart of Heaven, Earth, or the Sky. While the other ones might have created the world, Xibalba, and the misty sky mountain, this guy brought the people life.


Other deities followed the same basic understanding as the Olmec gods described earlier in the book. There was a sun god, one of maize, a rain god, one that slings lightning bolts, the goddess or rainbows, and "the flatulent one" who is the god of death and rot. Rainbows were also associated with rot, disease, and bad luck. Ix Chel appears as a nasty old crone.

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