Chilam Balam
Chilam Balam

The Mayan world is an enthralling and wondrous collection of mysticism, megalithic achievement, and an in-depth understanding of cosmologies, mathematics, and astronomy. Several times I have stood in the imposing shadow of El Castillo at Chichen Itza and each occurrence is no less humbling than the last. The massive complex echoes in testimony to the Maya’s advanced understanding of the cosmos and timekeeping system. The four-sided pyramid is comprised of ascending staircases, each containing 91 steps, for a total of 364 steps. Add one for the temple atop the pyramid and you arrive at 365 – an obvious tribute to the sum of calendrical days of the year. The strategic positioning of the monument yields a remarkable illusion of light and shadow that occurs on the spring and autumn equinoxes. The shadow depicts the coils of the plumed serpent god Kukulkan and tracks his descent across the monument – a visual feat that would have required an incredible understanding of mathematics and the heavens.

It is hard to witness the massive stone complexes of Chichen Itza, Tulum, and San Gervasio without imagining the proud and brutal civilization that inhabited their walls. Human sacrifice was a gruesome facet of the Mayan lifestyle and the monuments remain hauntingly silent, hundreds of years since their occupation. Of the few Mayan codices that survived the destructive invasion and religious conquests of the Spanish, we can find yet another example of ancient writings depicting worldwide catastrophe and deluge. The Mayan account separates itself from the proverbial herd, as the narrative found within the Chilam Balam not only documents global flooding, but we also find the recital of subterranean fires, sand submersion, and shifting of the face of the heavens. As we will explore in chapter 7, the retelling of these calamitous happenings are hard to dismiss as not having been a reference to the Younger Dryas – a devastating period experienced by our planet towards the end of the last Ice Age.

“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.

Chilam Balam

“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, Chapter X).

Erik Velásquez García is a world renown Mayanist who has completed extensive research focusing on the history and cultural texts of the Maya. Having compared several of the ancient Chilam Balam texts with one another, García provides the following information:
“An important passage contained in the Chilam Balam book of Tizimín and Maní describes how the flood was preceded by an eclipse and caused by a pluvial and celestial caiman [crocodile], whose head was severed in order to build the new cosmological order out of its dismembered remains. . . This passage confirms what is told in the Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel, in the sense that B’olon ti’ K’uh and the cthonic [terrestrial] forces of the Underworld were the agents that brought down the skies . . . this text satisfactorily explains the presence of eclipse hieroglyphs that we can appreciate in the Postclassical scenes of the flood. . . .” (García, UNAM; bracketed words added).

García continues by quoting a translated passage (Craine & Reindorp, 1979) from The Book of Chilam Balam of Maní as contained in the Pérez Codex:

“[In the reign of Ahau 13 and Ahau 1 were the days and nights that fell without order and pain was felt throughout the land because of this] Oxlahun ti Ku [the thirteen gods] and Bolon ti Ku [the nine gods] created the world and life: there was also born Itzam Cab Ain [Iguana earth crocodile]. [Ah Mensencob] turned the Petén and the sky upside down, and Bolon ti Ku raised up Itzam Cab Ain; there was a great cataclysm, and the ages ended with a flood.”

If one continues to query, they will discover a multitude of similar flood myths and narratives from across the ancient world including such locales as ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Africa, India, China, as well as North and South America. The parallels that exist between the ancient accounts are perplexing and present the reader with evidence of these retellings having stemmed from the same occurrence. What is blatantly staring us in the face is an attempt made by our ancestors to communicate a pernicious and dire era of humanity. It is unfortunate that the ancient attempts to broadcast these happenings to a future generation by means of legend, myth, and folktale have been met with such opposition. If the evidence disclosed within the ancient literary accounts are insufficient to warrant further investigation, perhaps the a visual exhibit from antiquity is in order.

andrew tuzson

About the Author: Andrew is the founder and editor in chief of Lost Origins. He is also the host of the radio show that falls under the same moniker. Andrew has been researching ancient mysteries, alternative historical theories, and lost civilizations for over fifteen years and founded Lost Origins to provide a sounding board for authors and researchers to share their theories and concepts with the world. Andrew is currently working to complete two manuscripts that explore several ancient mysteries. He lives in Denver with his family.

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