Another chapter of Monochrome Madness and a Mayan Journey

Though busy, no way I’ll miss  Leanne Cole and Laura Macky‘s  weekly Monochrome Madness See all the wonderful submissions on Leanne’s site.(Tues, Aug 19)

I  revisited my journey through the Yucatan for my choice (though it’s a spooky one). More on Mayan Journeys.

tomb of ek balam (star jaguar)

the tomb of Ek’ Balam ( star jaguar)

I have an interest in the civilizations of the pre columbian New World, and especially the Mayan, which I have written about in an earlier post(Star Child Musings) and in my travel journal (In the Jaws of Kukulkan). Their art and architecture were astonishing, along with their mathematics and calendar. They were governed by kings and powerful astronomer/priests ( like in the Vatican observatory!) who interpreted cosmic events and seasons into sacred ritual.

Both terrifying and beautiful, their mythology begins in deep caves,  the underworld known as Xibalba (place of fear) where the dark gods live. There, the tree of life takes root and eventually reaches the heavens.  In some accounts Xibalba is also said to be found in the dark rift of the milky way. The tree of life is a journey of souls. Their mysterious culture of which we know only a little, and their mythology captured my imagination.

They had written codices –  which sadly were burned and destroyed by the Spanish monks. Mayans did embrace Christianity, partly because they could relate to a god who was willing to die in a blood sacrifice.

in the jaws of Kukulkan

the jaws of Kukulkan

A small piece of their poetic writing did survive as a sacred text called the Popol Vu and their glyphs have only recently been deciphered. In spite of the desperate darkness of the bloody sacrifices that marked the post classic period I found and  find their story very compelling.

I didn’t have a great camera at that time but I think I was able to capture some of  the magnificence and mystery anyway. Besides the well known Chichen Itza and Tulum, the ruins of their many cities are hidden in jungles all through the Yucutan and Guatemala. I traveled on the old Mayan road called the sac be and on the ruta puuc. The god Chac filled the skies with ominous clouds, jungle rain and finally appeased, allowed hot sun to pour down.

I think monochrome is very effective for these. I hope you think so too.

PS: For all who wonder, I did climb the pyramid- damn near killed me! and in Mayan my name is “Monkey Cloud” along with all their wonderful names of Star Jaguar, Smoke Mirror and 19 Rabbit!!  The god Kukulkan, was the feathered serpent.