23 junio, 2024

The 30 Most Important Mayan Gods and their Meaning

Some of the mayan gods The main ones are Hunab Ku, Chaac (god of rain), Itzamná (wisdom), Pawahtún (charger of the cosmos), Ixchel (love), Kinich Ahau (sun), Yum Kaax (corn) or Kauil (of fire).

Mayan mythology has a long tradition of veneration of deities, religion being for them the channel of communication between men and the cosmos. These supernatural beings represented themselves in every way the imagination allowed and there were no limits to their worship.

Plants, animals and humanoids were the most common forms in which the gods of the Mayan culture were found. The image of the gods can be found especially in paintings, drawings and engravings, in which this people established their veneration. But also the architecture, their writings and the sculpture are a representation of their beliefs.

The Mayan civilization is present in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras, but it has influence in many other territories. It was maintained from the year 2,000 BC until the end of the 17th century.

The Mayans were the only ones who established a writing system, the glyphic, fully developed in America. In addition, they left a vast legacy of knowledge in architecture, agriculture, art and even mathematics, being one of the first peoples in the world to recognize explicit zero, quite an advance for the time.

Their societies were complex, with a political system based on the idea of ​​a divine king, who mediated between mortals and supernatural space. His form of government was similar to a monarchy, but it varied in each state and city.

The Mayans were guided by the power of the gods, which led them to the composition of a complex series of calendars. The weight of religion in this culture led them to make various human sacrifices to satisfy the desire of the divinities and avoid their wrath.

Most important gods of the Mayan culture

hunab ku

He is the most important god of the Mayan culture, father of all gods, he is the only living and true one, and all things are born from him. Hunab Ku, or kolop u wich k’in, as it was known in this civilization, is a disembodied figure, so it cannot be represented in the culture.

Dualities converge in his figure, the opposite elements with which he gave rise to the universe. This god is everything and nothing at the same time.

The Mayans considered Hunab Ku the center of the galaxy, the heart, the mind and the creative being. They invoked him through the sun and the center of the universe, where they located his presence.

Chaac

Chaac is another of the main figures in the Mayan pantheon; he is associated with water, lightning and rain, so he is invoked to obtain good crops.

In the Mayan culture he was represented as an old man, with reptilian features and a long trunk (or nose) inclined upwards.

Itzamná

Also known as Zamná, he is the god of wisdom, creator of science and knowledge, he is also called the god of the Sun, lord of the sky, day and night.

Itzamná is another of the central gods of the Mayan pantheon, its importance is crucial because it speaks of work, sacrifice and the path of the true man.

It is considered as the universal spirit of life that encourages chaos so that there can be creation. He is depicted mostly as an old man, but also in the form of different animals depending on which plane he was on.

Thus, it could be a bird, when it is in its heavenly form, or a crocodile, when it was on earth. He always wore bowl-shaped hands and earrings in his ears.

pawahtun

Four in one, the Mayans represented this god as a single man or as four who each held one of the corners of the universe. That is why he is called the charger of the cosmos.

His figure, with his arms raised, supporting the vault of the earth, contradicts his image of a toothless old man in a turtle shell. He is the patron of writers and painters, and presides over the five disastrous days of the solar calendar.

In the Mayan culture, the turtle’s shell is a common and famous symbol, as it is the place where the Sun and the Moon took refuge from the destruction of the world.

Ixchel

Goddess of love, gestation, water, textile work, vegetation, the moon and medicine, she was associated with various elements such as water and fertility and even with a rabbit.

She is the wife of Itzamná, god of wisdom, is known as the queen mother and is represented as an old woman emptying a vessel on the ground. She is also represented weaving or with a snake on her head, depending on the veneration that one wants to make of her.

Kinich Ahau

This god contains some contradiction, since it is one of Itzamná’s invocations, but it is also linked to Kinich Kakmó. God of the Sun, patron of music and poetry, his name represents the Lord of Solar Eye.

Married to Ixchel, in the Mayan culture he was figured with two large eyes, jaguar ears, huge T-shaped teeth, a pronounced edge in his fangs, and sunbeams in his beard.

Kinich Ahau was the ruler among the gods, his role was to solve all the problems between the different divinities and distribute the land among the peoples. Also, he was the god of war.

yum kaax

God of corn, of wild vegetation, patron of agriculture, the abundance of life and prosperity, Yum Kaax is also the guardian of animals.

The divinity of this benevolent god makes him one of the most revered in the Mayan pantheon, due to his importance for hunters and farmers, two central tasks in these towns.

Its representation has several forms, always with yellow and blue colors, it can take the form of a young man. He is always busy with his tasks and had many enemies.

kauil

God of fire, is one of the most popular and revered in the Mayan culture, with rituals among the oldest in this type of civilization and is considered one of the 13 creators of humanity.

Kauil is also patron of the abundance of harvests of the human seed, which in the Mayan culture represents prosperity, and is described as the father and mother of the human species.

With the anger of fire, he heals diseases and was a source of veneration for a successful birth. Her rites are prominent among the Maya and she is depicted in the culture with an elongated nose and protruding serpentine mouth.

The veneration of his figure is maintained to this day with fire rituals, in which it is said that the person comes out renewed. The importance of the cult of him in the Mayans was recorded in the sculptures that were found of him.

Ek Chuah

God of cocoa, war and markets, he is represented with a bag on his back, which is the figure of the merchants. He is invoked to benefit trade.

Owner of a dual character, he was auspicious as a god of traveling merchants and malevolent as a god of war. Those who had plantations paid ceremonies to Ek Chuah, patron of their fruits.

yum kimil

Also called Ah Puch (which means fleshless), Kisín (stinking) or Kimil (death), his name means Lord of the Dead. Yum Limil is the main deity of Xibalbá, the Mayan underworld and hell, and therefore is the god of death.

The image of death as a skeletal body today is closely related to the representation that the Mayans made of Yum Kimil.

Always accompanied by a rope, which he used to kill others, this god also had an owl, which is a sign of bad luck.

The Mayans believed that this god prowled around the house of the sick in search of new prey for his dwelling. To scare him away, you had to shout very loudly, so Yum Kimil would pass by. Some rites are still maintained today.

Xtabay

Xtabay is not a goddess, but a female demon. The Mayan legend describes her as dangerous, she could seduce or bewitch men, for good or for evil, causing them to get lost, go crazy or even cause their death.

Bolon Dzacab

God protector of the royal lineages and their families, he is represented with a torch or a cigar in his hand (it is not clear which was the smoking object).

This figure raises some doubts among historians because there are those who believe that it is a personification of the power of the jester god.

Kukulkan

Feathered serpent, in Mayan, a divinity associated with Venus, water, wind -two characteristics that allowed him to steer his ship at sea- and wisdom.

He is credited with being part of the first attempt at creation and being responsible for the transmission of writing among the Mayan people.

His importance in the pantheon is given by being considered, along with Quetzalcóatl, the conqueror. According to the belief, he came to Yucatan by sea from the west and is one of the founders of civilization.

Buluc Chabtan

God of destruction and human sacrifices, he often appears in the company of Ah Puch, which represents a real danger for the Mayan faithful.

His figure appears in Maya art as a thick black line around the eyes and under the cheek. Other paintings place him in burning buildings.

Chac Bolay

God of the underworld, he is related to the Sun. In the Mayan pantheon he is represented as a jaguar head, Roman nose, protruding teeth with stained skin.

It is considered as the symbol of the night and the celestial vault full of stars. For the Mayan culture, the jaguar is a nocturnal and crepuscular feline, related to the night, the underworld and the night sun, a figure that is repeated in other deities.

Ah Muzenkab

The descending god, patron of bees and honey, Ah Muzenkab is usually depicted in the form of a giant bee that governs the entire species.

His name means in Mayan «the one who protects or cares for honey» and Mayan art portrays him with honeycombs in his hands.

Hunahpu

Twin brother of Ixbalanqué, son of the god Hun-Hunahpú and the young Ixquic, is god of the Sun.

ixbalanquand

Together with his sister Kauil mano Hunahpú, they are the Twin Gods. The maiden Ixquic became pregnant by the saliva of the Jícara Tree, where the skull of Hun-Hunahpú was, which led to the conception of the brothers, despite the rejection of Ixquic’s parents.

The twins had the mission to find the court of the Mayan Ball Game that their father had built.

This upset the Lords of Xibalbá, who forced Xbalanqué and Hunahpú to visit the Underworld, where they defeated the Ajawab of Xibalbá, avenging the death of their father.

This victory turned Hunahpú into Sun, while Ixbalanqué was the god of the Moon.

Hun-Hunahpu

Father of the twin gods, he is the god of fertility and the ball game. His figure is a mystery, although the Mayan culture never names him as the god of corn, remains were found that identify him with this activity.

He was transformed into a Jícara Tree (gourds), after the noises of his ball game disturbed the Lords of Xibalbá, who took him to the underworld, tortured and sacrificed them. His twin sons avenged his memory.

ixquic

Goddess of virgin mothers, her story is that of karma. She daughter of one of the Lords…

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