The ancient Maya, through their shamans, kings, warriors, and scribes, created a legacy of power and enduring beauty. The landmark publication of A Forest of Kings presented the first accessible, dramatic history of this great civilization, written by experts in the translation of glyphs. Now, in Maya Cosmos, Freidel, Schele, and Parker examine Maya mythology and religion, unraveling the question of how these extraordinary people, five million strong, have managed to preserve their most sacred beliefs into modern times. In Maya Cosmos, the authors draw upon translations of sacred texts and histories spanning thousands of years to tell us a story of the Maya, not in our words but in theirs.
Comment (from this Blueprint): The book contextualises the Mayan Popol Vuh. Chapter 2 contextualizes the creation of human beings in the wider context of the Quiché creation myth. Chapter 4 introduces the Mayan notions of k’ul (ch’ul), essence or vital force, used to denote a sacred aspect of human that is not identical with their bodies but is inserted into them; chanul (also kanul) which is a supernatural guardian that accompanies a person and shares with them their vital force; and the ‘white flower’ and the idea that the soul is created and abandons the body in the moment of death.