Conflicting Essays in scholarship which have been the most engaging research job I have ever done. I have also added, over the years, queries about our "dated" geology with their "computerized" confirmations together with climate changes denied since 1963. The Ten-O'clock News have been telling us to change our clocks for DSL and back again BUT no one as noticed it has been changed, more than a few years ago, from March 31 and October 31, to a week or so earlier or even a week or so later.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Re-birth of the Maize God

Mother of Maize
The Old Fire God.
(Courtesy of L. Schele)
  How could the Maize God be reborn?  Maybe, when ground, maize becomes tortillas or tamales, but they were always there to begin with. Roasted, it becomes a great snack, but it is still maize on the cob.  Maize is common corn kernels, at times as different colors, but it is still maize. The problem that arises when one thinks of re-birth it has to be a GREAT change . . . in personality, or in form.

      The Maize God was on his way north with four other sky creatures, so that he could be reborn in the north or in the northwest. First, it should be useless kernels, maize that could never be used for anything other than to feed livestock. Only then is a re-birth possible.  Just as  the human condition demands a great sacrifice of self so that a new more useful life can emerge, the maize must become useful.
K-1892 The birth of the Maize God
      Justin Kerr's notations for this plate that shows the birth of the Maize God  and is called the  Resurrection Plate.His notations say: the Maize God (Hun Nal Ye) is resurrected by his sons Hun Ahaj and Yax Balam. But after the Kaye Almere Read wrote in 1998, it was clear that the dotted persona was the diseased sun god, with splotched skin lesions,1 not Hunahpú, at all, but the real sun that we do know with its very familiar sun flares that are sent away from that orb periodically.

 To paraphrase the second half of the visual glyphs [not the phonetic version] together with the caiman and his companion within the carapace of the turtle:   Hun Ahaj  [First Lord] and Yax Balam  [New (Green) Sky Jaguar] were the progenitors on/in the  [turtle-place, i/e.: wet lands] when the Maize God was re-born; after the smoking star (comet) carried death from the sky.

The above picture was redrawn by Karle Taube for Dennis Tedlock's Popol Vuh and is much clearer than here. Tedlock wrote a caption for this plate and it reads very differently:
Their father is put back together by them: Hunahpu left and Xbalenque (right) resurrect their father. He takes the form of a maize god in lowland Maya art, here emerging (or sprouting from a cleft in the back of a turtle: the earth)2    
      It is true that the two figures at the front and back ends of the turtle shell were killed by Hunahpú and Xbalenque, the Twins are not resurrecting the father (who was a skull hung in the Milky Way  tree [in that story, a magic corn stalk]. The father could not be resurrected because his bones had not been found. It was for this reason that the Father had to remain in the sky without his body [as the nebula NGC7000?]. The Twins informed their father that he would be honored above all as the Heart of the Sky.

And since the Maize God traveled behind Seven Macaw and in front of the Howler Monkey are both Itzamna as the Iguana, and  Xolotl, as the dog. All had different functions when they would reach Tamoanchan, the Paradise of the Gods. Yet with all the clues as to the function of the Maize God scattered in various cultural myths and traditions, it is difficult to find any solid reference as to why the Maize God even had to be re-born.

     According to the Popol Vuh,  Seven Macaw became bright as the moon, then, as the sun, while the Howler Monkey was going to live in the Northwest, at the very top of the "Tree of the Beautiful Rose," [according to the Aztec version of two gods who finally helped the sky to be raised by becoming trees, one was that of the Rose, and the other, that of the Warrior].2

    "The Tree of the Rose" was part of the Seven Macaw dwelling place-to-be in the Tree of the Milky Way, above Scorpio as seen  in Justin Kerr's K-1226 (above) and verified by Sahagún in Libro Siete, Capitulo 4, #4 of the Florentine Codex, as the location of the Great Star, which also can be found in the bowl tied on top of the Old Fire God's forehead. (See  Posting  for 3/22/12, Tuesday: The Track Gets More Complex.)   On page 264 of the Florentine text:  Bk VII, Chap. IV, Nbr. IV: Sahagún summarized all astronony statements found in Chapters III and IV by stating:  
     " IV: About these stars, that in some parts are called the Wagon, the people call them Escorpión (Scorpio) or Alacrán and they are called such in many parts of the world."2
      Even though the above quote tells nothing about the Maize God's journey with Seven Macaw to the northern skies,  it does menttion that Scorpio (a constellation inferred) is important to the "Tree" that is the 'home-to-be" of Seven Macaw. The only confirmation that Seven Macaw and the Maize God had any connection at all is when the Paddler Gods took them in the canoe up the Sky River, now called the "Milky Way." It is the spiral of our galaxy that is thought to hold up the sky.

       Hunahpú, brother of Xbalenque, is believed to be the Venus planet in the morning sky, and as the "Sun" that was born on the first day of the present era. It was the "sun" (comet) from the northwest that met the true sun midway across the sky as if it was a mirror image returning to his home in the east. That strange passage of the Sun after its birth. Those who research this trajectory, alter the text to read from the "east" where the sun actually rises every morning. The Mopán Maya tale in which 
Lord K'in, [the sun]goes from his home in the east to the center of the sky and then back to the east again. It appears that he goes clear across the sky because he has placed a mirror at the center (Thompson 1930:132). To interpret the movements of the sun in this manner is to model it on Venus as morning star which both rises and sets in the east. (Tedlock, 1996: 304, n. 160)
 So the Maize God was re-born after his arrival from the northwest, and after his association with Seven Macaw of the blue Turquoise Teeth.  Reading the Popol Vuh, it tells us that the "turtle was hung above the ball court" and when Xbalenqué hit the turtle shell with a stone, it broke into a thousand pieces," as if [they] were seeds" 
When the Lords of Xibalba returned, they exclaimed, “What is this we see?” Then they began to play again. Both of them tied. PresentlyXbalanqué threw a stone at the turtle, which came to the ground and fellin the ballcourt, breaking into a thousand pieces like seeds, before the lords.5  

     When the debris [pieces of the broken shell], the trajectory of the third run of the double comet was now closer to the horizon. And as such, it became "the Birth of the Sun" in the Popol Vuh. The translators were told  "What you see is not the real sun."  Because of this, the original text is always justified to make sense without checking facts about the northwestern entry point of comets that enter our atmosphere. The translators just did not understand.

     So they allowed that since the sun as we know it never rises in the northwest, the terminology of the northwest within the original language of the Popol Vuh, was misinformation. and permission was granted that all further translations would be able to use the word 'East' because it is obviously an error. Yet the "mirror" was there only because the brilliance of the comet, outshone that of the normal sun as the two met in the middle of the sky. 

     When the Old Fire God [the ball or the player Hunahpu himself] came too close to earth, it burned every land it passed over.  Corn cobs left for the animals blossomed into popcorn kernels.  The miracle of re-birth was POPCORN that enabled the starving people in the caves to survived until the "comet ball player" in the sky finally went on its way never to return. 

     Thus the Old Fire God and Mother of Maize became one in a marriage of fire that allowed the Maize God to be re-born.  It became the main festival of the Aztec world and many other tribes.
Sahagún, Vol. I, Book I, Capitulo X, 4,p. 50 , 5: Y por esto las hacían fiesta y en esta fiesta ofrecían en su templo, o en las encrucijadas de los caminos, pan hecho de diversa figuras, Unos, como mariposas, otros de figura del ray que cae del cielo, que llaman xonecuilli, y  también unos tamalejos que se llaman xucuichtlamatzoalli, y maíz tostado que llaman ellos izquitl.   [izquitl - popcorn flowers.]
The Conclusion

     Since the festival of the Fire God included Izquitl [after he married the Mother of Maize] there had to be a special gift given by the groom to the bride. In a marriage on earth, usually a child is born after nine months. So one can take the nine months as a real time span and say that the Sun from the west came upon the western horizon so close to the earth that it created deserts where there was none and dried up a huge portion of the earth, especially those parts that had been inundated by a flood that surged over the mountain tops.

     Maize that had been useless for human consumption had been stored for the animals and with the flood, was spread out in the mud and debris left by the waters of the sea.  when the Sun from the west passed over and dried the mud flats, the maize burst into bloom as beautiful flowers in the dead earth. The new children of the Mother of Maize; the rebirth of a new Maize God created by their sky marriage.

      Men who had survived in the caves, came out on to the seared earth, saw that their hard work during the year in the milpas had been utterly destroyed.  As they walked dejectedly back to the caves their eyes downcast, they came upon the "flowers" peeking out of the dried earth. Someone tasted one and found it to be just like food. Did they race back to the caves with the newly flowering cobs in their hands, where their starving wives and children were waiting for news that the milpas were safe and ready for a good harvest? 

      The women and children were as joyful as their men when they saw the new food. They all gave thanks to the Maize God for his rebirth, the Maize mother who gave a new kind of birth and the new husband, the Old Fire God, who helped to create these new maize children.  When their world returned to normal, they did not forget, the Old Fire God, nor his new wife, nor his new maize children. They created festivals for all using the very flowery maize that saved their lives after the disaster.

   Kaye Almere Read (1998). Time and Sacrifice in the Aztec Cosmos. Bloomington & Indianapolis, Indiana: Indiana University Press, pp 49 58.
2   Tedlock, Dennis (1996) Popol Vuh: The Definitive Edition of the Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life and the Glories of Gods and Kings. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 140.
3    Sahagún, Bernardo de (1956). Historia General de Las Cosas de Nueva España. México, DF, México: Editorial Porrua, SA Book VII, Capitulo III, IV.
4   Phillips Jr., Henry (1883) History of the Mexicans as Told by Their Paintings Translated and edited by Henry Phillips Jr. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society XXI:616-651, 1883. (edited  for FAMSI by Alec Christensen) p. 35:  Appendix:  Note 21.
 (1954) Popul Vuh “The Book of the People”  Translated into English by Delia Goetz and Sylvanus Griswold Morley, from Adrián Recino's translation from Quiché into Spanish  Plantin Press, Los Angeles [1954, copyright not registered or renewed] p. 148, Web version.