Posts Tagged ‘cenote’

Jaguar Maws

December 27, 2009

In the Mayan tales, the Jaguar is highlighted as a peculiarly benevolent creature. Not only do the Hero Twins of their mythology wear the skin from the beast but their Sun of the Underworld is called the Jaguar Sun (see yesterday’s article on the Midnight Sun).

They are known to have sought refuge in caves (something also mentioned in Revelations in the Bible – [6:15] And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains) and their water supply came from revered water caves called “cenotes”.

But the caves in which they sought refuge were also termed “mouth of the jaguar”. Picturing sticking your head in a jaguar’s mouth seems like a very UN-safe practice. Why would the jaguar seem such a protective creature to the Maya?

Knowing that the midnight sun was determined to be a jaguar, why did the Maya equate the dimmed Sun with safety?

Other than the visual comparison of the spotted Sun with the pelt of the spotted feline, there must have been some other connection that denoted safety.

As we know, the end of each Sun Age was accompanied by some sort of devastation, whether flood, wind, or earthquake, and it would be natural to seek some place of safety – like a cave, I suppose – and it might appear natural to think of it terms similar to the jaguar-resemblance of the Sun but I still have not found the connection.

If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them.

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