and a New Name: Coyolxauhqui
|Coyolxauhqui, the torn-apart Moon Goddess|
also known as Tlaltecuhtli, the Blue Star
It was not until 2004 that I began to explore the Popol Vuh as a history book before I even looked into José Castillo-Torre's history about Hunab Ku, the father of all men, that I read anything relative to the humanity of Pacal of Palenque, other than his birth, accession to the throne or his death and maybe a battle or two. The dates were taught by the professors, but no history other than what the epigraphers were able to decipher from the glyphs in those early days.
Two glyphs appeared around 2002 when I attempted to paraphrase the West Panel of the Temple of the Inscriptions in Tom Jones class during the Maya Meetings, in Austin, Texas. Joel Skidmore came by and gave us the translation of O-12 and P-01 as: God I threw the heart of the Death God into the Sea. It shocked me to hear that translation because I had just seen it in the Madrid Codex: a Death Bundle with the bells of the Death God around his neck, upside down (falling is to be assumed here).
It was not until much later, I discovered Mary Miller's and Karl Taube's Dictionary of the Maya Gods, and read about Tlaltecutli, who was torn apart by the twins (Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca, in this instance, or the Maya Twins Hunahpú and Xbalenqué) The Popol Vuh. changed the arms and legs of the Aztec Moon goddess Coyolxauhqui into Tlaltecutli and finally to the metal eye decorations of Seven Macaw's Eye and his Turquoise [Blue] Teeth. They were then replaced with white kernels of maize, thus making him/her a benign star ever after.
One other glyph was also at the bottom of the panel, I read it as: the Lake of Moon [Texcoco] next to the volcano Popocatepetl. However, what it referred to in the story of the glyphs, I have no idea. Nevertheless, the Lake of the Moon at the rim of the volcanic lake was as clear and concise as glyphs are supposed to be.
The Aztec Tlaltecutli has other names in the Mesoamerican world. The names are never cognates that may or may not be the original god or goddess; even though their individual descriptions are so alike that their tales can be seen as the same story as the visual representation of Coyolxauhqui discovered in the Templo Major in Mexico City. Mary Miller and Karl Taube's, (1993, 167) verbal description of Tlaltecutli (below) matches the visual stone picture of the Moon Disk (Above)
"One grasped the right hand and left foot and the other took the left hand and the right foot; they squeezed Tlaltecuhtli, until they had rent her body asunder. After they had taken one-half away to the sky, other gods descended to the earth to console her."Although represented in the sculpture of Mayapan, Tlaltecuhtli, cannot be located in Classic Maya Art and her origins remain obscure." (See Miller & Taube, p. 167) Especially since she was venerated in the Aztec temple as Coyolxauhqui as a Mixtec goddess. Except for her name, the gory details of her flaming birth was left out because the codex was so badly deteriorated at the bottom edge, little else could be determined.
Even so, it is the story that Alfonso Caso, (1976, 263) described, in the Mixtec Bodley Codex, her exact location in the sky. Her location in the Burning Tree, her birthplace. Nevertheless, Alfonso was able to discover her name, Tlaltecuhtli, a Mixtec [and/or an Aztec] goddess, not a Maya at all.
The complete story of marriages, children, husbands, and sundry other relations, include the dynasty of Tilantango; Black Mountain; a split mountains; the Seven Caves, Bundle or Stone with a hole; a monkey born from a rock; the Tlaloc Wall; the Burning Tree of Tlaltecuhtli's birth. All these items are within Laminas 25 thru 29. And all appear refer to the main astronomy noted in the Popol Vuh, even the "rock" (p. 35) [as was once tossed by Xbalenqué] at the turtle hanging over the ballcourt, or even in the world myths that are found to refer to the births of miraculous gods born from rocks; i.e Huiitzilopochtli of the Aztecs; and Su Wu Kong of China, each was born in or on a Flower/Fruit Mountain, Mithras of Persia, Su Wu Kong of China; again each was born from a similar egg of Stone,just as found in the Peruvian temple for a Peruvian star god, etc.
Without investigating other myths around the world, any star information is completely lost to the magical, and mythical stories of strange gods, or animals who accomplish stranger deeds that any human or animal could do in real life. Hence, the story immediately becomes a myth and no one even considers the very important earth and sky event hidden in those magic happenings.
According to Alfonso Caso, there is also an interpretation of two dates once thought to be a simple matter of different calculations between the Aztec and the Mixtec historians in the Nuttall, the Bodley and the Vindobonensis [6-II). But since all three codices refer to years both before and after the date of the murder of 12 Lizard and 12 Vulture by 9 Grass "Skull" in otherwise proper sequences, Alfonso Caso still had his doubts and determined that particular interpretation as "untenable."
He did not say that it was an error, or that it should be investigated more thoroughly; he just inferred that those dates might need further investigation. In 1976, his Interpretations of the Codices were sufficiently detailed for scholars to search out the various dynastic rulers, their marriages, births and deaths of their children, accession to their thrones; gods, goddesses, some important stars or planets, because it was felt that the codices were only dynastic records of previous rulers. It was also accepted that the glyphs were only short notes about those dynastic rulers.
With the advent of NASA's Hubble Satellite Telescope, old stars that had been moved across the sky [during the second ball game of the Twins in the Popol Vuh], can now be appreciated. There are at least five nebulae that should be evaluated for their distinctive characteristics that are mention and/or illustrated in the extant codices and monuments of Mesoamerica.