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The Popol Vuh

An account of the Popol Vuh, written by Lewis Spence.  The full name of the work is “The Mythic and Heroic Sagas of the Kichés of Central America”.

The Popol Vuh is a the mythological and quasi-historical account of the K’iche’ people who inhabit the Guatemalan Highlands northwest of present-day Guatemala City. This version of the Popol Vuh is from the 1908 edition and is in the public domain.

Maya Religious System

Religion was indeed the very fountain-head of their civilization, and on its rites and observances they lavished a devotion rarely equaled in the annals of man. To its great uplifting force was due the conception and evolution of the hieroglyphic writing and calendar, alike the invention and the exclusive property of the priesthood. To its need for sanctuary may be attributed the origin of Maya architecture; to its desire for expression, the rise of Maya sculpture. All activities reflected its powerful influence and all were more or less dominated by its needs and teachings. In short, religion was the foundation upon which the structure of the Maya civilization was reared.

Votan, Civilizer

Early European chroniclers made mention of Votan as a civilizer or culture hero in Tabasco and Chiapas, properly Maya traditions.  Like Quetzalcoatl, Votan was the first historian of his people, and wrote a book on the origin of the people, in which he declares himself a snake, a descendant of Imos, of the line of Chan, of the race of Chivim. One of his titles was ‘lord of the hollow tree,’ the tepahuaste, or teponaztli.

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