The Mayan civilization hit its peak around 250 AD in the Americas. Yes, they are the ones who built Chichen Itza. And yes, they were the ones who predicted the end of a cycle in 2012. Although, according to my Mayan tour guide in Mexico, they were not predicting the end of the world (a la Armageddon) – they were predicting the end of one phase of life and the beginning of a new chapter in which long-deceased Mayans would return to roam Earth with the rest of us. All of this, of course, remains to be seen, as does the question of whether we will all search for a spaceship to take us away from a dying earth with John Cusack. So let’s move on.
Mayan religion and astronomy
Much of the Mayan religion is based on astrology and astronomy–the Mayans’ understanding of how they were to relate to the sun, moon, stars, earth, and universe. This understanding is illustrated in pictures of the Mayan Tree of Life, thought to stand between the cosmos above and the underworld below. This particular picture also shows why several Mayan structures are built in the shape of a pyramid: The sun (worshipped as a god) also followed a path around the Tree of Life. It rose up on one side of the earth, made its way through the heavens/cosmos along the eliptic, dove to the other side of the earth, and then descended into the underworld overnight before rising again the next morning.
Exclusive video: The Mayan god, Huracan
During a recent trip to Tulum (Mayan ruins in Mexico), we captured this video of a local Mayan tour guide. Watch to hear the story of the Mayan god Huracan:
Created by ReligionTranscends.com, 2011.