The legend of Xibalbá, the Mayan underworld

The legend of Xibalbá, the Mayan underworld

Today we are not going to talk about a astronomy legend based on Greek mythology as we usually do but we will focus on a Mayan history.

It is true that the Greeks had a legend for almost every one of the constellations that make up the sky, but the sky belongs to everyone, so throughout history there have been many civilizations who have enunciated their own versions about the beginnings of the stars and the Universe.

This is the case of the Mayans, who had a very particular vision of heaven, as we will see in the history of Xibalb, the mayan underworld which according to them was located right in the center of the Orin constellation, in what we know today as the nebula of the same name.

The story of Xibalb, the Mayan underworld

In the Maya mythology, Xibalb refers to underworld or, what is the same, a kingdom led by the deities of disease and death, similar to what will be the christian hell.

It was described in the Popol Vuh (Council Book), a book from the Mayan tradition discovered after the Spanish conquest, in which we speak of an area of ​​the sky corresponding to the Orin constellation they call Xibalb.

And right there, in the center, they tell that there was a smeared stain generated by hellish fire that would later be described as the Orin nebula.

The legend of Xibalb in the cinema

The Xibalb story it is not only relegated to a ancient book of the mayan tradition, but has been introduced in the argument of titles of the cinema of our time, as The Fountain, a movie starringHugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz in which he again points to this nebula As the mayan underworld to which souls travel of people who die.

Therefore, it seems that, unlike the Greeks, who identified the firmament with gods, heroes, and other characters from their mythology, other cultures such as the Mayans associated it with specific places to those who could travel under certain circumstances. What do you think of all this? What do you think is the most appropriate interpretation? Without a doubt science, but it must be recognized that all these stories are something nice to remember while looking at the sky, right?

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