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Bats make excellent leaders and are well respected for their air of authority and their capacity to project their dreams and visions for the future upon others.
Bats can be quick to judge or speak their mind without thinking first, but the insightful folks who are smart enough to keep company with bats know to expect this and, indeed, rely on it.
Bats are frequently corporate managers, advocates or foremen, but the truth is that they tend to excel no matter what the environment.
February 11 — March 15 Wolf. Wolves are usually seen by others as very stable individuals, even when inside the true self is always in turmoil.
Wolves are known to be persistent and resilient, even at the risk of being seen as stubborn by others. Wolves are seen as strong allies and lovers of art and good conversation.
When other spirit animals need to sound their ideas off another, or talk about major life changes over a beer or glass of wine, the wolf is usually the first person they call.
Wolves are highly pragmatic and logical, and so their advice is invaluable to others. Wolves are most often found in jobs that require teamwork, as they thoroughly enjoy the sense of belonging.
Athletics, tourism and hospitality, engineering and military are all common career paths for the typical wolf. March 16 — April 13 Snake.
While in modern times we associate the snake with deception, the ancients viewed the snake as a sign of luck and hope for the future.
People with the snake spirit animal are big dreamers and tenacious lovers. Their strengths include courage, compassion, and idealism.
Snakes need to beware of a dual nature, however. If a snake does not feel that her efforts are paying off, she can fall prey to the darkness of narcissism, greed, and vanity.
However, for the most part, snakes are full of energy and vitality, and they are clever wordsmiths. Most snakes are gifted with a burning intellect, which the right people see as an indispensable asset.
Unfortunately, most others are unable to see the intelligence of the snake, because the snake often deals in high-minded concepts that are beyond the reach of others.
Snakes should take care to share their ideas only with those who are capable of appreciating them, otherwise they can find themselves in trouble.
April 14 — May 10 Jaguar. The Jaguar is the greatest enigma of all the spirit animals. They seek comfort and security yet they constantly search for new adventures.
Jaguars can often be seen as commanding individuals, even though they present themselves to the world with a calm and cool demeanor.
The Jaguar is the benevolent master planner of the Mayan spirit animals, and jaguars are usually known for getting their way without ruffling too many feathers.
Jaguars are often found in real estate, politics and management, since their diplomatic yet steadfast personalities are well adapted to those fields.
May 11 — June 10 Fox. The Fox is the great influencer of the Mayan spirit animals. Armed with his strong internal moral compass, he tends to use his clever wit and sense of humor to involve others in the pursuit of greater goals.
However, the Fox often feels a strong desire to be alone. In his periods of isolation he becomes reflective and introspective.
This alone time is vitally important because it is during these periods that the Fox recharges and prepares to shine once more.
When the Fox is recharged, nothing can stop him. Even the strong leadership of a Bat must bend to the will of a Fox at his best.
For this reason, the Fox thrives in politics, entertainment, and fund-raising. Unfortunately, the Fox can have a difficult time maintaining friends and love relationships if he neglects placing a strong emphasis on communication.
However, once these obstacles are overcome, those with the Fox spirit animal will forge strong, life-long relationships with very special and talented people.
June 11 — July 16 Monkey. No one knows of your trials because they are so great that no one would even believe you if you tried to explain. I speak directly to you Monkey, because too often you feel alone despite the fact that you are constantly surrounded by people.
Rest assured that your core friends and family love you very dearly, and they need you much more than you may think.
Your genius is well noted by others, and even if few of them agree with your politics or your ideas about love and relationships, deep down they know that you have been right all along.
July 17 — August 14 Coyote. Coyotes are deep thinkers, but for good reason they tend to have a lot of shallow people in their lives.
Coyotes constantly seek to improve themselves and expect the same from others, which usually leads to frustration and disappointment. August 15 — September 9 Piranha.
The Piranha is easily the most misunderstood of the Mayan spirit animals. Piranha always have the best interests of others at heart.
Moreover, the Piranha is incredibly brave, perhaps the bravest of all the Mayan spirit animals. This is why we often see Piranha working as first responders, in law enforcement, and as counselors and advisors to others.
Piranha tend to have excellent taste, whether is be in art, clothing, or music. This platform was likely used during the priest-kings rituals as well.
The Mayan religion was Polytheist, and they worshiped more than Gods. The Gods were human-like. The Gods were born, grew up and died.
Gods would do other human like activity that was deemed acceptable behavior. This behavior led to the Gods having interrelated jobs within their hierarchy.
Only those who died at childbirth or were sacrificed would have escaped the underworld. Sacrifice was conducted using blood-letting ritualized cutting performed by the community, but run by the priest.
The underworld is filled with with evil Gods, represented as jaguars, the symbol of the night. The jaguar was also shown on the Kings helmets.
The Mayans believed that every person had an animal companion who shared their soul. The Mayan religion told that one could transform into their animal companion.
Every King had a jaguar as their animal companion spirit, and were often depicted with jaguar in Mayan art. Most Mayans had one animal companion, but some every powerful Mayan priests could have more than one.
I found your blog post on Mayans Religion: Gods, Animal Spirits, and Pyramids to be very intriguing because I have always found the Mayans to be fascinating.
Like the Year Bearers, the thirteen twenty-year periods katuns of the Short Count were viewed as divine lords in their own right and worshipped accordingly.
The katuns had specific divine patrons as mentioned in the Chilam Balam books and their own priests. The 18 months had festivals, dedicated to specific deities, which were largely celebrated by occupational groups in particular hunters and fishermen, bee-keepers, cacao planters, curers, and warriors.
Life cycle rituals or rites of passage demarcate the various stages of life. Landa details one of these rituals, destined for making young boys and girls marriable caput sihil 'second birth'.
The Yucatec Maya continue the ritual Hetz mek  which marks a child's movement from cradling or carrying to the mother's hip.
It is performed at about three months and has godparents of the ceremony. The child is offered implements appropriate to its gender, tools for boys and cloth or thread for girls.
If the children grasp them, this is considered a foretelling. All children are offered pencils and paper. Contemporary healing rituals focus on the retrieval and reincorporation of the lost souls or soul particles imprisoned somewhere by specific deities or ancestors.
In these texts, the world with its four trees and four carriers of earth and sky Bacabs located at the corners is the theatre of shamanic curing sessions, during which "the four Bacabs" are often addressed to assist the curer in his struggle with disease-causing agents.
Many of the features of shamanic curing found in the 'Ritual of the Bacabs' still characterize contemporary curing ritual.
Not represented amongst these early ritual texts is black sorcery. Influencing the weather is the main purpose of the rain-making rituals — sometimes of a secretive character — that are found all over the Maya area  and also of such rituals as 'Imprisoning the winds'  and 'Sealing the frost'  just before the sowing season.
The officiating priests of the rain-making rituals are sometimes believed to ascend into the clouds and there to act like rain deities themselves.
The principal focus of the agricultural rites is the sowing and harvesting of the maize. Particularly the rituals of the Yucatec and Ch'orti' Mayas  have been described in great detail.
In one of the 16th-century Yucatec month feasts, hunters danced with arrows and deer skulls painted blue. The claims on territory by social groups of varying dimensions were expressed in rituals such as those for the waterholes, ancestral lands,  and the boundaries of the entire community.
For earlier periods, such crosses and shrines can, perhaps, be thought of as being connected to the central 'cross', or world tree of the centre,  best exemplified by the arboreal crosses in the temple shrines of the Cross Group in Palenque.
The king was the prime embodiment of the central cross or world tree. In Maya narrative, warfare includes the warriors' transformation into animals wayob and the use of black magic by sorcerers.
The jaguar-spotted War Twin Xbalanque counted as a war deity in the Alta Verapaz ; preceding a campaign, rituals were held for him during thirty days, so that he might imbue the weapons with his power.
The Palenque Temple of the Sun , dedicated to war, shows in its sanctuary the emblem of such a shield, held up by two crossed spears.
The early Spanish writers have little to say about the king's or, as the case might be, queen's ritual duties. Nonetheless, one finds the Yucatec king halach uinic referred to as 'bishop',  so that, in virtue of his office, the king appears to have had a leading role in major public rituals.
In the Classic period, the rituals of kingship were the most important rituals of the Maya court. The term ' theatre state ' Geertz , originally coined for the Hindu kingdoms of Bali, could also be used for describing the Classic Maya kingdoms; it suggests the cohesion of the state to be dependent on elaborate royal rituals through which status differences between aristocratic families could find expression.
On monuments, the king sometimes assumes a dancing posture suggestive of his participation in the rituals that were staged on the large plazas where the royal stelas stood.
The specific rituals engaged in by the king are only rudimentarily known. At other times, the king, represented by the hero Hunahpu , is sacrificing his own blood in front of directional trees murals of San Bartolo , or he is officiating in front of such a tree temple sanctuaries of Palenque.
The king not only took a leading part in ritual, but ritual is likely to have focused on his office as well. The erection of stelae showing the king and dedicated to the day 'King' Ahaw , which concluded intervals of five day years, constituted a royal ritual by itself.
It appears to implicate the king as the divine lord of his own day. Setting up a stela may additionally have involved the notion of the king as a protective 'tree of life'.
During the Classic period, Tikal's North Acropolis consisted of nucleated royal burial temples and is even referred to as a 'necropolis'.
Apart from the ancestral remains themselves, sacred bundles left by the ancestors were also an object of veneration.
Around , the incinerated remains of the male members of notable Yucatec families were enclosed in wooden images which, together with the 'idols', were placed on the house altar, and ritually fed on all festive occasions; alternatively, they were placed in an urn, and a temple was built over it Landa.
In the Verapaz, a statue of the dead king was placed on his burial mound, which then became a place of worship. Apart from writing, the fundamental priestly sciences were arithmetics and calendrics.
Within the social group of the priests at court, it had by Classical times become customary to deify the numbers as well as the basic day-unit, and — particularly in the south-eastern kingdoms of Copan and Quirigua — to conceive the mechanism of time as a sort of relay or estafette in which the 'burden' of the time-units was passed on from one divine numerical 'bearer' to the next one.
The numbers were personified not by distinctive numerical deities, but by some of the principal general deities, who were thus seen to be responsible for the ongoing 'march of time'.
The day-units k'in were often depicted as the patrons of the priestly scribes and diviners ah k'in themselves, that is, as Howler Monkey Gods , who seem to have been conceived as creator deities in their own right.
On a more abstract level, the world was assumed to be governed by certain fundamental numbers, first of all the numbers 13 and 20 that, multiplied, defined both the mantic day count and, on a vast scale, the amount of time elapsed before the first day 5 Imix 9 Kumk'u of the Long Count.
Like all other cultures of Mesoamerica , the Maya used a day calendar , usually referred to as tzolkin. The length of this calendar coincides with the average duration of human gestation.
Its basic purpose was and still is to provide guidance in life through a consideration of the combined aspects of the 20 named days and 13 numbers, and to indicate the days on which sacrifice at specific 'number shrines' recalling the number deities of Classic times might lead to the desired results.
The days were commonly deified and invoked as 'Lordships'. The crucial importance of divination is suggested by the fact that the general Yucatec word for 'priest' ah k'in referred more specifically to the counting of the days.
K'iche' daykeepers use puns to help remember and inform the meanings of the days. Divinatory techniques include the throwing and counting of seeds, crystals, and beans, and in the past also — apart from the count — gazing in a magical mirror scrying , and reading the signs given by birds auguries ; during the Classic period, pictures of such birds were used as logograms for the larger time periods.
The mantic calendar has proven to be particularly resistant to the onslaughts of time. Nowadays, a ' daykeeper ', or divinatory priest, may stand in front of a fire, and pray in Maya to entities such as the days; the cardinal directions; the ancestors of those present; important Mayan towns and archaeological sites; lakes, caves, or volcanoes; and deities taken from published editions of the Popol Vuh.
People also come to these daykeepers to know about baby names, wedding dates and other special occasions. In the pre-Hispanic past, important divinatory dates relating to the prospects of the entire kingdom were sometimes given a mythological pedigree.
At Palenque, for example, the auspicious day 9 Ik', chosen for the enthronement of one of its kings, is also stated to have witnessed, in a distant, mythical past, the enthronement of some of the patron deities of the kingdom.
What is often called Maya 'astronomy' is really astrology , that is, a priestly science resting on the assumption of an influence exerted on earthly events by the movements of heavenly bodies and constellations.
The observation of sky and horizon by present-day Mayas relates chiefly to celestial signs of seasonal change relevant to agriculture;  stars connected to the hunt and specific hunting animals;  and stars sending certain illnesses.
The far more sophisticated pre-Hispanic Mayan astrology is mainly found in the relatively late Dresden Codex , and concerns lunar and solar eclipses and the varying aspects of Venus in the course of its cycles; animals and deities symbolize the social groups negatively affected by Venus during its heliacal rising as the Morning Star.
The Paris Codex contains what some consider to be a zodiac. Horizontally, the earth is conceived in various ways: The square earth is sometimes imagined as a maize field, the circular earth as a turtle floating on the waters.
Each direction has its own tree, bird, deity, colour, and aspect, in the highlands also its own mountain.
Vertically, the sky is divided into thirteen layers, and Classic period deities are sometimes linked to one of the thirteen skies.
By analogy with the 'Nine-God' mentioned together with the 'Thirteen-God' in the Chilam Balam book of Chumayel, the underworld is often assumed to have consisted of nine layers.
However, the Popol Vuh does not know such a ninefold division, and Classic period references to layers of the underworld have not been identified.
In the world's centre is a tree of life the yaxche ' ceiba '  that serves as a means of communication between the various spheres.
In Palenque, the tree of life is a maize tree, just as the central world tree in the Borgia Codex; a curving bicephalic serpent hovers around it, which some believe to embody the ecliptic.
Besides worshipping a central maize tree, the king commonly sits or stands on a mountain containing the maize, perhaps as a guardian of the kingdom's maize supplies.
In the Classic period, earth and sky are visualized as horizontally extended serpents and dragons often bicephalic, more rarely feathered which serve as vehicles for deities and ancestors, and make these appear from their maws.
Other serpents, shown as vertically rising, seem to connect the various spheres, perhaps to transport the subterranean or terrestrial waters to the sky.
Dragons combine features of serpent, crocodile, and deer, and may show 'star' signs; they have been variously identified as the nocturnal sky and as the Milky Way.
Within the framework of the post-Classic cycle of thirteen katuns the so-called ' Short Count ' , some of the Yucatec Books of Chilam Balam present a deluge myth describing the collapse of the sky, the subsequent flood, and the re-establishment of the world and its five world trees upon the cycle's conclusion and resumption.
For the Classic Mayas, the base date of the Long Count 4 Ahau 8 Cumku , following upon the completion of thirteen previous baktun eras, is thought to have been the focus of specific acts of creation.
References to 4 Ahau 8 Cumku events are few in number the most important one occurring on Quirigua stela C , seemingly incoherent, and hard to interpret.
They include an obscure conclave of seven deities in the underworld among whom the deity Bolonyokte' and a concept of 'three stones' usually taken to refer to a cosmic hearth.
The traditional Mayas believe in the existence, within each individual, of various souls, usually described in quasi-material terms such as 'shadow', 'breath', 'blood', and 'bone'.
The loss of one or more souls results in specific diseases generically called 'soul-loss', 'fright', or susto.
In Classic Maya texts, certain glyphs are read as references to the soul. Much more is known about the so-called 'co-essences', that is, animals or other natural phenomena comets, lightning linked with the individual usually a male and protecting him.
In some cases often connected to black sorcery , one can change into co-essences acting like a sort of 'werewolves' see also nagual.
The Classic Maya grandees had a whole array of such soul companions, which were called wayob , and carried distinct hieroglyphic names.
In the pre-Spanish past, there may never have existed a unified concept of the afterlife. Among the Pokoman Maya of the Verapaz, Xbalanque was to accompany the dead king,  which suggests a descent into the underworld called xibalba 'place of fright' like that described in the Popol Vuh Twin myth.
The Yucatec Maya had a double concept of the afterlife: Evildoers descended into an underworld metnal to be tormented there a view still held by the 20th-century Lacandons , while others, such as those led by the goddess Ixtab , went to a sort of paradise.
The ancestors of Maya kings Palenque tomb of Pakal , Berlin pot are shown sprouting from the earth like fruit trees which, together, constitute a blissful orchard.
The so-called ' Flower Mountain ' has more specifically been interpreted as a reference to an aquatic and solar paradise. To judge by the marine faunal remains found in Classic tombs  and by the accompanying aquatic imagery, this sea paradise may have been the Maya variant of the rain god's paradise Tlalocan in Central Mexican religion.
The traditional Maya live in the continual presence of the ' grand fathers and grand mothers', the usually anonymous, bilateral ancestors, who, in the highlands, are often conceived of as inhabiting specific mountains, where they expect the offerings of their descendants.
In the past, too, the ancestors had an important role to play, with the difference that, among the nobility, genealogical memory and patrilineal descent were much more emphasized.
Thus, the Popol Vuh lists three genealogies of upper lords descending from three ancestors and their wives.
These first male ancestors — ritually defined as 'bloodletters and sacrificers' — had received their private deities in a legendary land of origins called 'The Seven Caves and Seven Canyons' Nahua Chicomoztoc , and on their disappearance, left a sacred bundle.
Already during the Classic period, ancestral deities the three 'patron deities' of Palenque and ancestral bundles Yaxchilan are in evidence.
In Chiapas at the time of the Spanish conquest, lineage ancestors were believed to have emerged from the roots of a ceiba tree;  comparable beliefs still exist amongst the Tz'utujiles.
Within the group of the ancestors, a special category is constituted by the heroes, best known through the sixteenth-century Quichean epic of the Maya hero twins , Hunahpu and Xbalanque.
In the Classic period, the adventures of these two heroes — only partly coinciding with those of the Popol Vuh — were known all over the Mayan area.
Specific ancestral heroes occur among various traditional Maya groups, such as the dwarfish Ez among the Yucatec Mayas;  Juan K'anil among the Jacaltecs of the northwestern highlands;  Ohoroxtotil, the jaguar slayer, among the Tzotziles of Chiapas;  and Kumix among the Ch'orti' Mayas.
Sometimes, they have merged with specific military saints. In Maya folk religion, the members of the Catholic Trinity, the Virgin Mary, a number of saints, the arch angels and the devil have usually merged with traditional deities, patron deities, and ancestral heroes.
Angels, for example, generally represent rain deities. More generally, the living Earth and its male personification is often called 'World' Mundo.
From the multitude of deity names occurring in early-colonial sources and especially in the medical 'Rituals of the Bacabs' , about twenty have been linked to deity figures from the three Postclassic codices and their correspondences in the corpus of Classic ceramic representations; these have been assigned letter names Schellhas-Zimmermann-Taube classification.
The codices demonstrate that deities were permanently being arranged and rearranged according to cultic criteria which usually are not immediately accessible to us.
Moreover, Maya deities typically operate within various fields, changing attributes accordingly. The life-cycle of the maize, for instance, lies at the heart of Maya belief, but the role of the Maya maize god transcends the sphere of agriculture to embrace basic aspects of civilized life in general such as writing.
Deities have all sorts of social functions, related to such human activities as agriculture, midwifery, trade, and warfare. Moreover, they can be the patrons of large kin-based or ethnic segments of society, as shown by the four deities presiding over the four wards of Itzamkanac;  the Popol Vuh Triad including Tohil ; and possibly also by the Palenque Triad G[God] I, II, and III and its Classic Period analogues elsewhere.
With the above provisos, the main deities depicted in the codices may be roughly divided into the following groups the names given are 16th-century Yucatec:.
Whereas, within the three authentic codices, the group of male deities is highly differentiated, the female functions seem largely to have been concentrated in the young goddess I the 'White Woman' and the old goddess O the 'Red Woman'.
Missing from the codices, but important in Classic iconography are, amongst others, an ocean deity characterized by a shark tooth set in the mouth also the 'God I' of the Palenque Triad and some of the Maya jaguar gods associated with warfare.
The Postclassic Maya deity Kukulcan 'Feathered Serpent' , tutelary deity of the Toltec invaders and of the Maya kings deriving their legitimacy from them, is nearly absent from the codices.
Animal persons usually mammals and birds, but including insects appear to enjoy a relative autonomy which is lacking in the case of the animal 'co-essences'.
Perhaps representing the transformed human beings of a former creation, they mirror human society in playing varying social roles. In the Popol Vuh, for example, grandfather 'Great White Peccary' and grandmother 'Great White Coati' act as healers, whereas the owl messengers of the lords of the underworld wear military titles.
Turning to the 'ceramic codex', one finds that animal persons are often clothed and acting like persons at court. The howler monkey, for example, is commonly depicted in the social role of a writer and sculptor, and functions as a divine patron of these arts.
Other mammals function as musicians. In the Dresden Codex, certain animals dog , jaguar, vulture, owl, parrot, frog , most of them clothed as human beings, are seated in between deities, and seem thus to be treated on a par with the latter, while other animals, again acting as human beings, fulfill important ritual roles.
In the New Year rites, for example, an opossum traveller introduces the patron of the incoming year.
Similarly, in the Paris Codex, a turkey person alternates with deities in offering the head of the lightning deity god K to the new king.
Animal persons are repeatedly shown interacting with Goddess I. The power exercised by a deity is legitimate, and this legitimacy justifies offerings and sacrifice.
Unlike the gods of disease and death, spooks apparitions and demons have no such legitimacy. Whereas spooks — like the spectres of the dead — only frighten and in that way, can also cause disease , demons are devourers; in practice, however, the borderline can be thin.
One of the best-known spooks is an attractive woman maddening the men who give in to her lures known in Yucatec as the xtabay 'Female Ensnarer'.
Spooks of the Tzotziles include such figures as the 'charcoal-cruncher', the 'one who drops his own flesh', and 'white-bundle'. The boundary between spooks like these and the wayob of the Classic period is not always entirely clear.
The principal demon of the Tzotzil area is the 'Black-man' h? In order to terrorize their enemies, kings would at times assume the shapes of spooks and demons.
Bush spirits such as the 'Wild Man' or Salvaje belong to the frightening denizens of uninhabited areas, without, however, being apparitions.
According to Yucatec belief, the indigenous priests can create goblins aluxob who, if properly attended, will assist the farmer in his work by protecting his field, having the rain deities visit it, and thus making the maize grow.
They repeatedly show aquatic features and may, in such cases, be identical to the dwarfish assistants of the deities of rain, lightning, and thunder already mentioned in Aztec sources the Tlaloqueh.
There is considerable diversity in recent religious narrative, which embraces stereotypical, moralizing stories about encounters with mountain spirits and supernatural 'Owners', as well as myths concerning heroes and deities.
Particularly in tales concerned with the creation of the earth and the origin of useful plants, a reworking of Catholic imagery is often noticeable.
Among the best-known myths are those about the opening of the Maize Mountain by the Lightning deities, the struggle of Sun and his Elder Brethren, and the marriage of Sun and Moon.
Notwithstanding the progress in hieroglyphic decipherment, the most important sources for Classic mythology are still scenes painted on pottery the so-called 'ceramic codex' and monumental iconography.
The two principal narratives recognized thus far are about demi-gods close to humanity the Hero Twins and the principal Maya maize god , and have to be reconstructed from scenes in which often, narrative and ritual concerns are intertwined.
Like other Mesoamerican populations, Maya societies since the Spanish conquest have known a series of religious 'revitalization' movements, of a more or less violent character, and in response to intolerable exploitation.
These movements usually followed appearances of supernatural beings. In the Alta Verapaz, the role of saints and crosses was assumed by male mountain deities demanding the destruction of the coffee plantations and a return to the ancient ways.
As ethical systems, polytheistic religions like those of the Maya are difficult to compare with the monotheistic world religions.
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