among the Ruins
Walk through the ancient ruins, and you come upon it suddenly, with
indrawn breath. Alone in the midst of a vast green lawn, the central
pyramid at Chichén Itzá, known as El
Castillo, rears up over the surrounding area. This is the Pyramid
of Kukulkcán, the feathered
serpent god who ruled the Maya pantheon during the later period
of Chichén Itzá's flowering.
Climb the huge stone steps of the Pyramid to the tiny sacrificial
chamber, and you can see the forest stretching to the horizon in
every direction. The huge green lawn spreads below you, and the
other major structures appear small: the Temple of the Jaguar, the
Temple of the Warriors, and the Ball Court. Stay for a while, here
where it’s believed that the Mayan rulers offered human sacrifices
and sat in conversation with the gods. Watch the sun move across
the sky, watch the rain clouds sweep in.
at the buildings around you. In addition to providing evidence of
Mayan knowledge about the cosmos, the architecture at Chichén
Itzá preserves the mythology of the Maya. Study the site
carefully and you can see a deep-rooted embodiment of Mayan myth,
including the emergence of humans from the primordial sea.
According to some interpretations of the Mayan creation myth, in
the beginning, there was no separation between earth and sky. Mayan
texts often refer to this as the “lying down sky place,”
and inscribed images of the events of this time are often represented
on a black background, possibly indicating that they took place
in darkness or underwater. The first father, the Maize God, planted
a World Tree, the pillar that lifted the sky above the earth, creating
the space for human life.