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Friday, December 24, 2010

MesoAmerican Connections to Atlantis

MesoAmerican Connections to Atlantis

Mayan writings telling of catastrophes and floods seem to contains elements which go far beyond a mere flood, such as subterranean fires, land sinking, the shifting of the “face of the Heavens”, etc. Some of these elements are more indicative of a violent shift in the axis of the planet than a mere downpouring of rain (as in the biblical story of Noah’s flood), and I am inclined to think that these would be the very elements accompanying the demise of Atlantis.
Among the Maya groups that left behind written records we find various accounts of a great flood that wiped out the previous world and allowed the creation of a new cosmological order. Bartolomí de Las Casas (1967) mentions that among the Quiché Maya people from Verapaz there was a story about a flood, and the end of the world, which they called Butic, meaning a “deluge of many waters”. Other than Chumayel, only texts of Mani, Tizimin, Kaua, Ixil, and Tusik have survived.
The value of The Books of Chilam Balam rests in the fact that they were written by Quiché Maya authors, mostly in the Quiché language (using Roman characters) shortly after the Spanish conquest, and thus does not entail the problems normally experienced when attempting a translation from Mayan hieroglyphics.* The translation below is influenced by the Spanish translation of Mayanist Prof. A. M. Bolio (1930). Here, then, is the English translation of the Quiché text.

“It was during the Eleventh Ahau Katún when Ah Mucencab came forth and obscured the face of the Heavens [Oxlahun-ti-Ku]...  It [the eclipse] occurred when the whole Earth began to awaken, but nobody knew what was to happen. Suddenly the Underworld Fires [Bolon-ti-Ku] seized the Heavens, and fire rained down, and ashes descended, and rocks and trees fell down, and wood and stone smashed together. Then the Heavens were seized and split asunder, the face of the Heavens [Oxlahun-ti-Ku] was buffeted back and forth... and thrown on its back... After that the fatherless, the miserable ones and the widows were all pierced through [the Tizímin and Mani versions say: "torn to pieces"]: they were all living when their hearts were stopped. And they were buried in the sand beneath the waves.
“And in one great sudden rush of water their Great Serpent [Canhel] was ravished from the Heavens [Oxlahun-ti-Ku] . The sky fell down and the dry land sank, when the four gods, the four Bacabs arose, who had brought about the annihilation of the world.
“After the destruction was complete... the four pillars of the sky [Bacab trees] were re-established... And the Great Mother Seiba rose amidst recollections of the destruction of the Earth.”(Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel)
An “eclipse” preceded the unleashing of the watery cataclysm, and the forthcoming re-erection of the “sky pillars” (Bacab trees) immediately afterward indicates that a cycle of world destruction and renewal had been completed, as noted by Taube (1995). And just as in the Babylonian epic Enuma Elish, when the Creator-god Marduk lances the cosmic dragon Tiamat, splitting it asunder, using its carcass as material for the universe; likewise in the Tizimin and Mani texts, a Cosmic Crocodile’s head is severed, and, after the resulting flood, its body is used as material for the new cosmos.

The Cakchiquel people came to the Valley of Mexico “from across the sea,” from an island which was dominated by a volcano and a snow-capped (white) mountain. From there they migrated, en masse, eventually coming to Tulán in Central Mexico, settling for a time there.
Most, if not all, of the Indian tribes of Mesoamerica migrated originally from some “mythical” point of origin to a place in Mexico called Tulán, before spreading out into the various areas of Mexico, Yucatán, Honduras, and Guatemala.
“Here I shall write a few stories of our first fathers and ancestors, those who begot man of old, before these mountains and valleys were inhabited, when there were only rabbits and birds, so they said; when our fathers and grandfathers went to populate the mountains and valleys, oh, my sons! in Tulán.
“I shall write the stories of our first fathers and grandfathers, one of whom was called Gagavitz ["hill or mountain of fire"], the other Zactecuah ["white mountain"]; the stories that they told to us; that from the other side of the sea we came to a place called Tulán, where we were begotten and given birth by our mothers and our fathers, oh, our sons!”


“Thus they related of yore, the fathers and grandfathers who were called Gagavitz and Zactecuah, those who came to Tulán, the two men who begot us, the Xahila.” (Cakchiquel MS., Pt.1)
In the Codex Borturini there is an account of a migration of the Aztecs from the island of Aztlán to the Valley of Mexico (Gemelli Careri, 1699). Other Aztec traditions give accounts of a Great Flood (Bierhorst, 1992) which destroyed the Sun called Nahui-atl (“4-Water”) in which all mankind was destroyed and drowned: “The sky came nearer the water. In a single day all was lost, and the day Nahui-xochitl, ’4 flower,’ destroyed all our flesh.” (Codex Chimalpopoca, translated by Brasseur de Bourbourg, 1857-1859)
The American ethnologist, H. H. Bancroft, says that the earlier Toltecs also traced their migrations back to a starting point which they called Atlán or Aztlán. He further states that the Popol Vuh relates that after the migration from Aztlán three sons of the king of the Quichés, upon orders from their father, returned to the East where they had first come ashore to retrieve valuable ancestral knowledge—the art of painting and a system of writing. (Bancroft, 1874)
The Mayanist Brasseur de Bourbourg correctly observed that the words Atlas and Atlantic have no satisfactory etymology in any European language, but that in America it is an entirely different story. It is in the indigenous languages of the Americas that we so often encounter the radical phoneme atl. From this comes a series of words, such as atlan, meaning “on the border of, or amid, the water”—from which we can derive the adjective “Atlantic”. We have also atlaça, “to emerge or dart from the water”, which in the preterit makes atlaz (origin of the name “Atlas” perhaps?).
According to the famous Abbé, atl, in the Nahuatl tongue, means “water” (generally pictured in the codices as a water-filled vessel; Musur, 1978); observing that a city named Atlán (“Near-Water”) once existed on the shores of the Gulf of Darien, “on the Atlantic side of the Isthmus of Panama at the time of the Conquest.” (de Bourbourg, 1855-1868) A number of “Atlantis-like” place-names, retaining the atl vocule are known to exist throughout the American continents. Are we to believe this is without significance?

While it may be true that even the oldest of these Mayan texts may be little more than 2,000 years old, scholars have no doubt that such themes as world cataclysms and re-occuring cycles of the Ages of Mankind could have been carried down via sacred ceremonies (games, dances, initiation rituals, etc.) for thousands of years even if writing was not in continuous practice throughout the entire history of every Mesoamerican tribe.
And even though our present knowledge of the Maya hieroglyphic system is still in the initial stages of development, resulting in sometimes clumsy and rather unintelligible translations, it is certain that all of the basic elements of world cataclysms and renewal are present in these documents and are becoming fairly easy to recognize.
Ancient Mesoamericans and Egyptians who had never met and lived centuries and thousands of miles apart both worshiped feathered-serpent deities. Wadjet, the winged serpent of Egypt, protected the Pharoahs and controlled the waters of the Nile. Like the Mexican version, the Egyptian Feathered Serpent was sometimes depicted with red body, blue head, and green feathers.
Whether in the form of a dragon, a plumed serpent, a crested snake, or a multi-headed reptile, the symbol is usually connected in some way with the “Cosmic Deep” (abyss) of Creation—e.g., the 7-headed Narayana or the feathered-covered Gucumatz—and/or flood waters—e.g., the 7-headed Leviathan of the Canaanites, the multi-headed Leviathan (Psa. 74:13-14) and proud Rahab of the ancient Hebrews (Isa. 27:1; 51:9-10).
Symbols such as the Pyramid, Cross, or Sun can be derived from things observed in our natural world by any culture, but the Feathered Serpent is not an item existing in the natural world, and thus could not be naturally “assumed”; therefore it must have been carried from culture to culture by a process known as “diffusion” (the dreaded “D” word among cultural anthropologists). For an unnatural symbol to have been so universally recognized, the originators of such a symbol would have to have somehow touched a good many parts of the world (via trade, exploration, colonization, etc.): in any case its influence seems to have been truly worldwide in scope.
From Article Safari @ http://www.articlesafari.com/2010/10/mesoamerican-connections-to-atlantis/


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