Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mayan Beliefs from the Mouths of Natives

On Saturday we went to a little town called Panchimalco. We were hoping to see something exciting, but there really wasn't much there except a mostly unimpressive church and an art studio/gallery/school.  We did, however stop in to a really unimpressive looking cultural shop which housed two guys who specialized in recovering Salvadoran ancestral history.  First the one guy began talking about cultural stuff and playing an instrument invented in El Salvador that does awesome native bird calls.  He did a lengthy bird call demonstration for us.  Then, I pointed at a souvenir with a vicious snake like creature on it and asked what it was.  As I suspected, it was Quetzalcoatl, depicted as a feathered, fire breathing serpent.  I asked him to tell me what he knew about Quetzalcoatl.  It all occurred in Spanish, but, between my imperfect understanding and what my dad can remember, we got a few interesting things out of it. His buddy was a spiritual mystic who was all over the place, mixing in Nostradomus and typical Native American spiritualism, and seemed to be proselytizing to us, so we took his comments, which were many, with a grain of salt.


The following is a summary of what was explained to me by the bird song man and his mystical buddy about their Native American/Mayan beliefs:

Quetzalcoatl was a God who was a white man with a beard who wore a white robe with a cross on his chest.  He came on some sort of an "embarkation" which usually means ship, but they don't understand what exactly.  (Which is actually contradictory to other accounts which say the Quetzalcoatl came down from the sky.)  He came to teach them new ways to improve their lives, both spiritual and temporal.  He taught them about the most nutritional way to prepare or grow corn or something (can't really remember). The corn we eat today is genetically inferior to the ancient corn and continues to lose its nutritional value.  The modern Mayan elders know this and have hidden up a cache of the ancient corn in accordance with Quetzalcoatl's instruction.

Many Native American peoples, in some form or another, believe in Quetzalcoatl, including Anazazi/Ancetral Hopi, the Hopi, the Aztecs, essentially most tribes from North America all the way to Northern South America, but they all have different names for him, most, however, being quite similar.  It it prophesied that Quetzalcoatl will return but no one knows when. Thus, the Mexican thought that Cortez was Quetzal and so they treated him like a god until they realized that he was nothing more than a man.  The people still anticipate the return of Quetzalcoatl.

According to tradition, with the arrival of the original Quetzalcoatl, most followed him but there was one tribal leader who was angry at the attention given to Quetzalcoatl, which resulted in his loss of power.  He rebelled against him, teaching his people not to believe in him.  He left the area and took other like-minded people with him.

The end of the Mayan calendar does not predict the date when Quetzalcoatl will return (since, as previously stated, no one knows when he'll come again), nor does it predict when the world will end.  It is simply a prediction of a time of great change, or a new epoch of time that will usher in a great positive energy that will have a negative effect on those who are not in synch with nature (or evil, i guess) and apparently make them go crazy (info from the Mystic guy).  So, on December 21, 2012 expect big changes, but not Quetzalcoatl yet.  And he said that we have 20 years after that date before the judgement.  He also said that people continue to harm the earth because they don't understand that it's a living entity.  Eventually, the earth will transform in to a paradisiacal state.

Paintings by one of the most famous artists in El Salvador. Found at the gallery/studio/art school.  It had extensive, beautifully manicured gardens behind it, in which more artwork was displayed. 

Kelsey posing in front of a banana tree.

Kelsey and 4 yr old Jocelyn who was a neighbor to the gallery.


  1. Hi Laura, nice post! However I would like to comment on a couple of points.

    "Quetzalcoatl was a God who was a white man with a beard who wore a white robe with a cross on his chest. He came on some sort of an "embarkation" which usually means ship, but they don't understand what exactly. (Which is actually contradictory to other accounts which say the Quetzalcoatl came down from the sky.)"

    It's curious that Quetzalcoatl is seen as a white man with a beard in their mythology. What's even more curious to me though is that the men you spoke with didn't exactly say in what kind of ship he arrived. You are assuming it is a water ship. Well.. call me crazy but there is another possibility, a space ship. These kinds of things are very mysterious and since we don't know for sure what happened, I'm gonna stay open-minded and play Devil's advocate on this one. ;)

    I agree, the Mayan calendar predicts a time of great change and I believe that those who are not in sync with the Earth's rhythms are going to suffer. I guess we'll see what happens when the time comes. Don't get left behind, love!

    Hugs & Blessings

  2. I believe Quetzalcoatl was an alien that came down in a spaceship and taught the Mayan civilization how to plant genetically superior maize, among other things. I also believe that the reason the Book of Mormon mentions cows and horses and such, but there's no historic knowledge or evidence that such things existed back then in the Americas until the Europeans brought them across the sea, is because the alien Quetzalcoatl did what aliens do best and abducted the creatures, beaming them aboard his craft, in exchange for the newfound knowledge of magical corn and spiritual enlightenment, while wiping the traditional ancient Mayan's brains of all memories of bovine. It's a fair price to pay.

    Quetzalcoatl's herald angels have returned to the earth multiple times (such as in 1947), trying to pave the way for his return, but instead they crash and get dissected in secret government laboratories. Other angelic messengers covertly fly in and make crop circles, trying to tell us something important, but we can't read them anymore, as our ability to decipher such messages was lost with the decline of the ancient Mayan civilization.

    I believe December 21, 2012 is the day more alien messengers will attempt once again to reach out to the human population and share their superior knowledge, but the government will intercept and cover it up (they don't want to lose their control and power). So for most of us, 12/21/12 will be just another day and no noticeable changes will take place (yet). Until, of course, the aliens decide to attack for our failure to diplomatically welcome their friends (and for being negative and not in synch with nature)...the day of judgement, in 20 years (because that's how long it takes the aliens to reach earth).

  3. Darren, you're entertaining. Since we're all throwing out our theories, I shall post mine as well.

    The Book of Mormon is a record of the a group of people of Ancient America from about 600 B.C. to 400 A.D, who were descendants of the House of Israel. The Book of Mormon testifies that Jesus is the Christ, the literal son of God, who atoned for our sins. It also testifies that the Holy Bible is the word of God. In the book of Mormon, after Christ was crucified and ascended into heaven, he visited the people of the Americas (and many others) giving them great light and knowledge.

    3 Nephi, Chapter 11, Book of Mormon:

    "1 And now it came to pass that there were a great multitude gathered together, of the people of Nephi, round about the temple which was in the land Bountiful; and they were marveling and wondering one with another, and were showing one to another the great and marvelous change which had taken place.

    2 And they were also conversing about this Jesus Christ, of whom the sign had been given concerning his death.

    3 And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven...

    7 Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him.

    8 And it came to pass, as they understood they cast their eyes up again towards heaven; and behold, they saw a Man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed in a white robe; and he came down and stood in the midst of them...

    9 And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand and spake unto the people, saying:

    10 Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.

    11 And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning."

    It is very likely that this great and ancient wide-spread legend of Quetzalcoatl is a distorted version of the true and living Jesus Christ who came to the people of Ancient America and who will come again.

  4. The "cross on his chest" may be symbolic of his atoning sacrifice, which he bore witness of to the people:

    "13 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto them saying:

    14 Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.

    15 And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come."

    The reason he is often depicted as a fire breathing feathered serpent may have its origins back to the time of Moses.

    Number21:9, Holy Bible

    "6 And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

    7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.

    8 And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.

    9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived."

    This brass serpent was a symbol of Jesus Christ, on whom we must symbolically "look" to live. This event is referenced to in the Book of Mormon:

    1 Nephi, Chapter 17

    41 And he did straiten them in the wilderness with his rod; for they hardened their hearts, even as ye have; and the Lord straitened them because of their iniquity. He sent fiery flying serpents among them; and after they were bitten he prepared a way that they might be healed; and the labor which they had to perform was to look; and because of the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who perished.