Saturday, January 1, 2011

from the Popol Vuh

Page 9 of the Dresden Codex showing the classi...Image via Wikipedia
Page from the Dresden Codex

The Popol Vuh is the ancient text of the Quiche', in territory we now call Guatemala. They were a Mayan people. My favorite part of the text isn't very studious in choice: one of the first men, Jaguar Quitze, had a wife named Not Right Now.

But what follows below comes before the advent of mankind. And at the beginning of the year, nothing better than to start at the beginning of the world: creation.

--
This is the beginning of the Ancient Word, here in this place called Quiche'. Here we shall inscribe, we shall implant the Ancient Word, the potential and source for everything done in the citadel of Quiche' , in the nation of the Quiche' people.
And here we shall take up the demonstration, revelation, and account of how things were put in shadow and brought to light by

the Maker, Modeler,
named Bearer, Begetter,
Hunahpu Possum, Hunahpu Coyote,
Great White Peccary, Coati,
Sovereign Plumed Serpant,
Heart of the Lake, Heart of the Sea,
plate shaper, bowl shaper, as they are called,
also named, also described as
the midwife, matchmaker
named Xpiyacoc, Xmucane,
defender, protector,
twice a midwife, twice a benefactor.

. . . . . .

This is the Account, here it is:
Now it still ripples, now it still murmurs, ripples, it still sighs, still hums, and it is empty under the sky.
Here follow the first words, the first eloquence.
There is not yet one person, one animal, bird, fish, crab, tree, rock, hollow,  canyon, meadow, forest. Only the sky alone is there; the face of the earth is not clear. Only the sea alone is pooled under all the sky; there is nothing whatever gathered together. It is at rest; not a single thing stirs. It is held back, kept at rest under the sky.
Whatever there is that might be is simply not there: only the pooled water, only the calm sea, only it alone is pooled.
Whatever might be is simply not there: only murmurs, ripples, in the dark, in the night. Only the Maker, Modeler alone, Sovereign Plumed Serpent, the bearers, begetters in the water, a glittering light. They are there, they are enclosed in quetzal feathers, in blue-green.
Thus the name, "Plumed Serpent". They are great knowers, great thinkers, in their very being.
And of course there is the sky, and there is the Heart of the Sky. This is the name of the God, as it is spoken.

And then came his word . . . .

--

The Heart of the Sky is the Hurricane. And this I think is all very interesting. It gets even more interesting. Just like our year will. I suppose we will start it with breakfast, and then it will get every minute more complex. It will be life.

Happy New Year to you all.

The Popol Vuh: The Definitive Edition of the Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life and the Glories of Gods and Kings. Revised Edition. Trans. Dennis Tedlock. A Touchstone/Simon & Schuster Book, (1985, 1996). Excerpts from pp. 63-65.  If you read Spanish, there is a lot of significant study on this manuscript taking place as they translate it from the Mayan language to modern Spanish. It might be worth looking up!

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6 comments:

Bob G. said...

Ann:
Wow...great to be learning so much so soon this year.
Nice trend...hope it never ends.

If life were NOT complex, it would get kinda boring after a while, right?
It's often the complexities that allow us the privilege of personal growth...to expand our own horizons.
To allow us to be...US.
We just need to maintain the proper distance from those compexities.
Like the friendiness of the cutest dog, they too can "nip".

Always count yer fingers...LOL.

Our best wishes for the New Year to you (and Miss Ellen) as well.

Have a great weekend.
Stay safe.

Momma Fargo said...

Love when you teach us so much! Your posts on history fascinate me as it is one of my favorite subjects! Have a Super Happy New Year, Ann T. ! Hugs your way!

CWMartin said...

Interesting how their creation begins with a hurricane. "See I make all things new!" Very interesting story.

Ann T. said...

Dear Bob,
Poor Miss Ellen: she is so forlorn! But I will tell her that not only is Spring on its way, but that she is Remembered. I can hardly wait to get out and about again myself.

I am glad you enjoyed!

Thanks for stopping by,
Ann T.

Ann T. said...

Dear Momma Fargo,
Thanks to you! I learn over at your place too, you know.

Hugs right back!
Ann T.

Ann T. said...

Dear C.W.,
As a former biochemistry major, I think the idea of the hurricane, the ocean full of begetters and so forth sounds remarkably like the primordial soup experiments--I love this account.

It also fits in with the Christian idea of the Word making things happen, and the firmament rising out of the waters.

So many interesting things!
Thanks for stopping in to take a look!
Come back anytime.
And Happy New Year!

Ann T.