Sunday, November 18, 2012

Seven Macaw's Last Day, Part 2.

The terrace was bordered with gardens full of flowering shrubs and trees laden with flowers and fruit: jacarandas, almond trees, oranges, pineapples and mangos. Countless birds perched in the trees, including several flocks of wild macaws who came to Seven Macaw's call as if they were tame. Seven Macaw sat down under the shade of a tree, arranging his writing materials beside him, in preparation for the serious thinking he needed to do.

He glanced out at the scene in front of him, and frowned slightly. Something seemed wrong. The street was empty of passerby, and the nearby houses all had their doors closed and windows shuttered. Nobody stopped by to offer him a friendly greeting or seek his advice, as the citizens were usuually wont to do. Everything was still and quiet, sombre, as if on the day of a funeral. Moreover, something was wrong with the sun. Its golden light was flickering erratically, casting a chiaroscuro of shifting shadows over the lonely street.

With a surge of magical power, Seven Macaw reached upwards to stabilize the sun, making it shine steady and clear. The effort left him drained again. Sighing, he slumped wearily, holding his head in his hands.

Then, from somewhere outside the burning blackness behind his closed eyes, he heard a voice call, "Mister Sun?"

He raised his head to look, and there in the street before him stood a small girl. She gazed up at him shyly, her hands tucked behind her back. "Hello, Mister Sun," she said.

"Well, hello there," said Seven Macaw. Even though it hurt, he made his mouth curve into a smile. "And whom do I have the honor of meeting today?" he inquired.

The girl blushed and giggled. "I'm Julia," she said. She pulled her hand out from behind her back, holding out a bouquet of flowers. "I saw you were sick, Mister Sun, so I brought you some flowers."

"Why, how kind of you, Julia," replied Seven Macaw. He had thousands of flowers in his gardens, many of them far more rare and exotic than the simple wildflowers she had brought. But her compassionate gesture touched him, nonetheless. He did not reach out to take the flowers, however. He didn't want to risk accidentally touching the girl, for he knew his illness could easily kill a mortal. "Just set them down there, Senorita," he said, pointing to a spot on the terrace near the front steps.

Julia looked puzzled, but she did as she was told, laying the flowers where he pointed. Then she skipped back to stand in the street below him, regarding him solemnly and earnestly. "Does it hurt really bad, Mister Sun?" she asked.

Seven Macaw thought of saying something reassuring. But when he saw the simple, clear honesty in her eyes, he knew he had to be honest too. "Yes," he nodded. "Really bad."

"Well, I'm sorry, Mister Sun," said Julia. "I hope you get better soon."

"Gracias, Senorita," said Seven Macaw, managing to smile again. He picked up the flowers and inhaled their sweet scent. It made him feel a bit more refreshed.

Just then, a pair of shutters across the street opened, and a woman leaned out of a window, her face strained with fear. "Julia, what are you doing?" she called anxiously.

"Its okay, mother, Senor El Sol and I are just talking," Julia called back.

Seven Macaw lifted his hand to the woman in a friendly wave. "Buenos Dias, Senora," he called to her. Then he leaned down to address Julia softly. "I think your mother wants you to go home now."

Giorgio de Chirico, The Mystery and Melancholy of a Street.

"I know," Julia nodded. "See you later, Mister Sun." She ran off across the street and went inside the house, and the frightened woman closed the door behind her with a sharp bang.

Seven Macaw rubbed his chin gingerly, wiping some of the oozing blood from his shattered face.  Why, he thought with astonishment, these people are afraid of me. But why? I have done nothing to threaten them.

He meditated on it for a moment. Then, with blinding clarity, he saw himself as others saw him, as if he were watching himself from a window on the other side of the street. He, the man whom these people revered as a living god, the one who lit up the Sun and Moon, was sitting there maimed and broken, groaning with pain, gasping with fever, putrid blood flowing from his lower jaw, the bright feathers falling from his wings like dead leaves in the dry season. Seeing their divine protector and benefactor in such desperate condition, how could they not feel that some terrible doom was overtaking the world?

Then another image flashed into his mind: a memory from long ago, of his parents lying dead with the plague.

So that's it, he thought. I am no longer their Saq Etal, their Bright Sign, symbol of joy and hope. I have become only a Kame, an emblem of death.

Then Seven Macaw felt ashamed. Enough! he thought. I have let this go on on long enough. It is no longer just I who suffer; I have also brought misery to others, to my good people who honor me and wish me only well. I must bring an end to this wretchedness; I must find someone to help me as soon as possible.

Chimalmat had been right, he realized; and as soon as he saw her again, he would tell her so -- not grudgingly, but gracefully.

As Seven Macaw thought of his wife, an idea came to him. Smiling softly to himself, as much as his sore jaw would allow, he picked up his bark paper and began to pen a note to Chimalmat. It was hard to write, because he couldn't see very well, but he managed to scrawl down a few rows of glyphs, then signed it with the numeral seven: :| Then, he wrapped the paper around the flower bouquet Julia had given him, and set it down gently at his side.

This task accomplished, he returned to pondering his situation.

At last, he clearly perceived the trap in which the Twins had caught him. They had damaged the very part of him which enabled him to channel his divine power. His magical teeth and eyes enabled him to heal and regenerate the rest of his body, even to resurrect himself; but they could not repair themselves. That must be the flaw that Itzamna had warned him about. And now he had nearly drained himself in his futile attempts at healing.

But, he thought proudly, I am still a god, and though they have hurt me, they shall not conquer me.

Indeed; his vast power was still spread out through all the sky-earth, keeping alight the Sun and Moon, holding off the dreadful wrath of Hurucan, and sending life-giving winds and rains where they were needed. But now he was so sick and weary that he could feel the weight of the heavens pressing down upon him, as if he alone held up the sky. And he dared not rest from his burden for even an instant, or the sky would fall and crush the world.

Well then, thought Seven Macaw, I will just have to endure until I can find help. And, should the Twins again attack me, I shall hurl the very power of the cosmos against them, no matter how much pain it costs me.

Thus Seven Macaw vowed in his heart. But he still could not see past the horizon, and he did not know what his enemies truly had planned for him.

The proudest man in the world sat in front of his beautiful house, gazing out at the fine street with the locked doors and shut windows, the smoothly paved road on which the shadow of no passerby fell. There came a strange, ominous hush, the wind was still, and the birds were silent in the elegant gardens. The sun flickered in the sky like a pale ghost. And Seven Macaw began to feel terribly, terribly alone.

Again, he felt the immense weight of the heavens looming over him. Lowering his head to his hands, he hid his stricken face. "Help me," he whispered. "Somebody, help me."

Then, as if in answer to his plea, he heard the sound of voices, old voices and young voices. He looked up. There, coming down the street, were an old man and woman, accompanied by two teenage boys.

[And, if you've read the Popol Vuh, you know that Seven's goose is about to be cooked....]

Friday, November 16, 2012

Seven Macaw's Last Day, Part 1.

[Late Third Age. This occurs immediately after the scene in Seven Macaw's vision in "Xibalba: The Room of Loneliness".]

As soon as his wife left the room, and he heard the door close, Seven Macaw turned back to his attempt to heal himself. Over the past three days, he had tried all the most powerful spells and rituals that he knew. Now, he was starting to feel desperate; although, he did not allow himself to acknowledge the feeling. He was the world's greatest shaman, after all; such doubts were unworthy of him. They simply hovered in the background, like Hurucan's stormclouds.

What he was going to try now was very dangerous. That was part of the reason he had asked Chimalmat to leave; he did not want her to know what he was doing. He would tell her about it afterward, of course, but there was no need to make her worry.

Taking his seating-mat with him, Seven Macaw ascended the steps to the roof of his house. The sick man paused to catch his breath; he looked out over his glorious city, and his heart swelled with pride. The city looked strong and peaceful, its red-painted pyramids and ornate stucco facades shining in the morning light of Seven Macaw's sun. Reassured, he spread out his mat on the flat rooftop terrace, sat down cross-legged, and closed his eyes to meditate. Soon, he was immersed deeply in a trance.

After anchoring himself firmly to the energy of the Earth, Seven Macaw stretched his awareness into the heavens, reaching out with the vast network of luminous fibers that was his divine self. He drew upon the powers of the moon and sun and sky, weaving them all together in a luminous braid of gold, silver and crystalline radiance, encoiled in sparkling rainbows. Then, he pulled the cosmic powers into himself, all at once. The eldritch energy, sufficient to kill a mortal thousands of times over, descended into him in a great column like a huge bolt of lightning striking downward, eerily silent.

Seven Macaw let the celestial fires flow through him as long as he could bear it, hoping to burn away the worms that infested his eyes, teeth and face, and repair the damage the Twins had done to him. But it was to no avail. The energy simply spilled out from his broken teeth like water through a sieve, leaving him more drained than before.

At last, Seven Macaw could endure the dreadful burning no longer. He sank down on the mat, feeling worse than ever. The unbalanced energies oscillated through his body, causing him to sweat with fever and then tremble with chills every few minutes. As for the demonic worms, they seemed only to feed on the energy he had provided them.

When he could stand up again, he climbed laboriously back down to his room. He knew he had failed, and the blow to his pride hurt him much more than the physical pain. Perhaps my wife is right, he thought. Perhaps it is time now to seek other solutions. But his jaw was throbbing so badly that he could not think clearly. What was he to do?

As he pondered confusedly, he happened to look down at his arm, and saw that small flames were beginning to lick out of his flesh, burning from the inside. He realized that he was in danger of catching fire. Hurriedly, he searched for something to put it out.

Fortunately, he found a pitcher of water on a table. Chimalmat had placed water jars in each room and made sure they were kept full, because she was concerned about his fever, and knew he would forget to drink if he did not have constant reminders. He drank it down, and began to feel better. The cool water soothed him, as did the beauty of the jar, painted with pink water lilies and adorned with hieroglyphs. He held the jar and turned it around, admiring the artwork. If I had burst into flames, he thought, it could have destroyed my whole art collection. He was more concerned for his treasures than for his own safety. He had, after all, set himself afire many times in the past, without harm. But, if it got out of control --

"Chima!" he called weakly, hoping that she was still somewhere in the house where she could hear. But there was no answer.

It serves me right, he thought ruefully. I asked her to leave me alone, when she was loathe to do so; now she must have gone out to while away the day in the marketplace.

But what was he to do now? He had to find answers to his dilemma, but he still couldn't think clearly due to the pain and sickness that ravaged him. I need air, he thought. He decided he would go out and rest on his front terrace for a while. Surely, the answers would come to him then.

So, Seven Macaw gathered up his sitting-mat, along with some pens, ink and bark paper, and a jug of water in case he started to burn again. Holding tightly to the ornate wooden railing, he stepped carefully down the outdoor staircase that led to the terrace.

[To be continued.]

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Xibalba: The Room of Loneliness.

[This episode answers the question: Where was Chimalmat while her husband was being killed? Why did she leave his side when she knew he was in such terrible danger? When I thought about it, I realized there could be only one possible answer.]

When the ghost reached the hills, he wandered through them until he found a cave opening. Entering it, he passed through a dark tunnel with doors on each side. Each door contained the answer to a different question.

The ghost knew, of course, that like everything here in Xibalba, each room contained trials and traps. He knew that the answer would come with a price.

There were many questions that he could have asked, but one in particular was at the top of his mind now. He focused on the inquiry, framing it clearly in his thoughts, and spoke: "I want to know why I am alone."

One of the doors slowly swung ajar. The ghost stepped through it.

Inside the small, dark cave, there was total blackness. The ghost waited quietly. Then, a torch flared into luminosity from out of the darkness, casting its light on a painting on the opposite cave wall. As the ghost watched, the picture grew more and more lifelike until it became a moving vision.

The scene showed a sumptuous room, filled with objects of art and beauty. On the opposite wall was a great mural painting showing a resplendent landscape, a city of stone terraces and pyramids rising out of lush forest, over which shone a brilliant sun with multicolored rays. Standing in the room was a man who seemed as ornately wrought as all the other things. He wore rich jewelry and a majestic headdress embellished with feathers and flowers; and, most wondrous of all, wings hung on his back, so cunningly fashioned that one could not tell if they were real or a feathered cloak.

But his face was not attractive..Although it, too, was covered with fine ornaments, the decorations seemed only to cover over the evidence of a hideous disease. Blood and pus dripped from a gaping wound in his lower jaw. His skin was puffy and inflamed, bulging in purple welts around the shining silver that covered his nose and ringed his eyes. The eyes themselves were strange to see: made of pure molten metal that shone like the sun. But they, too, were marred: their golden light flickered erratically with a feverish gleam.

If he was once as beautiful as he is now hideous --- thought the ghost.

The man in the picture seemed so ill and exhausted that he could barely keep standing. Yet his damaged face held an expression of stubborn, defiant will. As the ghost watched, the man turned to gaze into an obsidian mirror hanging on the wall. He lifted his hand to wipe at his jaw with a piece of cloth, and gave a muffled sob of pain. His eyes moved to meet the burning orbs in the reflection, and, for a few moments, he stared at the ruin he had become.

And, as the ghost watched the man watching himself in the mirror, a sudden shock of recognition came to him: He was the man in the vision. He, himself, was the man with the beautiful clothes and ugly face.

Before the ghost could recover from his shock,  the door opened, and a woman entered. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. If the man's glory was like the Sun and Moon, hers was like all of the stars put together. She had the wild, rugged beauty of the Wooden People; her skin was like fine mahogany, chiseled and polished to perfection. Her long, black hair hung down her back like a river of shining obsidian. Like the man, she was winged, with the radiant plumage of a macaw; and she was clothed only in living feathers that grew from her naked flesh.

And, just as the ghost had recognized himself, he suddenly knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that this marvellous woman was his wife.

In the vision, the feathered woman spoke, and her voice was as pure and melodious as a songbird's. "The household business is taken care of, husband. What do you wish now?" She regarded the man with tender concern

The man sighed wearily as he seated himself on a floor mat. "I wish to be left alone today," he replied. Alhough the words were spoken calmly, without anger, they still sent a chill through the ghost's heart.

As he watched, the woman knelt down beside her stricken mate. Her brow was furrowed with anxiety, but she spoke calmly and softly.  "My husband, I do not think it good that you should be alone now. You are still very ill, and your enemies might come after you."

"Do not worry, my dear." The man turned to take her hand reassuringly. "I can take care of myself. And I need  time to focus, to concentrate fully on healing myself." He let out another sigh of pain.

The woman bent over to lean her head against the man's shoulder, nestling in his feathers, holding him tightly as if he were a precious object. The ghost caught his breath; he was mesmerized by the clear, noble lines of her face, her long, straight hair flowing down her shoulders like a black waterfall. "My love," she pleaded, "is it not time that we seek the aid of other healers? It has been three days now since you were shot. It grieves me to see you suffer so."

But the man in the picture was deaf to her plea. He turned aside, saying, "I will not let the Twins say I am a lesser god than they. They may have wounded me, but they will not humiliate me." His molten eyes flared with anger, directed not toward his wife but toward his absent foes.

"Then do you truly wish me to leave?" the woman asked, her face still buried in the feathers of his wing.

The  man squeezed his wife's hand gently. "Just one day, my dear. Surely you can do without me that long?" he jested, as if trying to make light of the situation.

The woman raised her head with calm, stoical dignity. "If you wish it, my lord, then I shall."

"Until tomorrow, then, my lady, when I shall be well again, and the sun will rise golden and bright," the man said. He lifted her slender brown hand, as if about to kiss it; but, considering the condition of his mouth, he decided against it and simply pressed her hand between both of his own.

"Until tomorrow," the woman replied. She got up, and turned to go, her tall form moving with the smooth, polished grace of a proud woman of Wood. She headed toward the door, turning to look back at him just once, with a sorrowful, lingering gaze in her dark eyes.

The sick man was oblivious to her now. He stared at the wall, huddled in his ruffled feathers, lost in his own misery.

The ghost watched the beautiful bird-woman turn back to the door. He saw her walk away with straight, proud steps. He saw the long line of her black hair hanging down her back. He saw her open the door. He saw her go through. He saw her straight back moving away. He saw the door close.

As he gazed at the closed door, the vision faded, along with the flame that cast it, leaving only empty blackness.

The ghost knelt in the cold darkness, covering his face. A wave of intense woe washed through him, too deep for words. For he knew that had been the last time he had ever seen his wife.

What have I done? he thought. I turned away from the one whom I should most have loved and trusted. I sent her away, when she wished only to care for me.

Would he ever find her again? the ghost wondered. And, more important, would she still want him?

The ghost got up shakily to his feet, and headed toward the door of the cave. He knew the answer to his question now: He was alone simply because he had chosen it, and the choice had led to his death.

The price of this knowledge was simply the knowledge itself.

And he knew one other thing: The punishments imposed by the gods are not always the worst ones.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Seven Macaw and Ta Hol Discuss Eclipses.

[A bit of dialogue, inspired by some thoughts on the relation between science & myth.]

Ta Hol was searching through a shelf of bark-paper books.

"What are you looking for, Ta Hol?" asked Seven Macaw.

"The date of the next lunar eclipse," the Vulture replied, "when the great Serpent will rise up from the Underworld and devour the Moon."

Seven Macaw joined Ta Hol at the shelf. "You know, Ta Hol," he remarked, "a lunar eclipse is not really caused by a great serpent. It is caused when the Earth passes between the Moon and Sun, casting its shadow on the Moon."

"But I know there is such a Serpent," protested Ta Hol. "I've seen it."

"So have I," Seven Macaw nodded. "I myself have pulled the Moon out of its jaws. But the Serpent is not  what causes the eclipse. It is caused by the Earth coming between the Sun and Moon."

"I don't understand it." Ta Hol shrugged, ruffling his red, brown and white feathers. "But, since you've been the Sun and Moon and all, I guess I'll take your word for it."

Monday, July 30, 2012

False Dawn, Part 2.

[Continued from "False Dawn, Part 1."]

The people stood on the cliff, waiting for the sun to rise.

They prayed, they sang and they danced. They adorned One-Hunahpu's statue with fresh flowers and corn-husks. But the statue remained silent, and the sky remained dark.

Then came two priests, bringing a young woman. Seven Macaw recognized her. She was the girl who sold flowers in the marketplace. He remembered her face, smiling amid the blooms.

But she was not smiling now. Her face held a look of grief, fear, and what Seven Macaw would later come to recognize as resignation.

The priests made her lie down on a stone altar. They bound her hands and feet.

Seven Macaw was still too young to understand what was going on. His mother covered his eyes so he couldn't watch. But he could still hear. He heard the priests chanting, the thud of a flint-kinfe, and a scream. He heard something trickling, the sound of something pouring down the stone and running to the ground.

When his mother let him look again, the woman was gone. The stone was sticky with something like tree sap. He knew, without having to be told, that she wouldn't be coming back.

Surely that would be enough to make the sun rise.

But there was nothing but darkness, and stillness, and a few lone bird-calls.

Then, the people felt a chill, as a strange presence began to fill the air. A cold wind poured out from the mouth of a cave. The wind swirled around, stirring the leaves and grass, and flying out of the cave-mouth came a monstrous bird. Its head and wings were like those of a horned owl, its eyes shone red in its grey face, and it had a long red tail like a macaw. Bits of fire and swirls of smoke spun from its tail and wings.

The bird flew around over the gathered populace. "Greetings, puny mortals," it croaked in a  mocking tone. "I am Macaw-Owl, messenger of the Lords of Xibalba. I have a message to deliver. To whom shall I give it?" The bird swooped down to where Seven Macaw was standing with his family. "What about you, little macaw-boy?" the bird asked him, its piercing red eyes staring into his small, frightened face. "Shall you be the bearer of ill tidings? Maybe they will stone you," it jeered.

Seven Macaw clutched his mother's skirt tightly. "Mommy," he said.

Seven Macaw's mother stood straight, gazing back firmly at the bird-messenger. "If the message is for all of us, then speak to all of us," she said.

Seven Macaw's father, Hun Caquix, put his arm on his wife's shoulder, standing like a strong tree beside her. "Yes," he said. "It's easy enough to frighten children. If you have a message, then speak. We already know that someone is going to die. That is the only kind of news you ever bring."

"Not going to die," the bird laughed mockingly. "Already dead." It landed on the head of the statue, perching there affrontingly. "Here is my message, people of earth: The Lords of Xibalba say to you: 'One Hunahpu, who was a god, has died like a mortal. He and his brother came to the Underworld and played a ball game with us, and they lost. Your Sun belongs to us now. Even now the Lords of Xibalba are paying ball with his head.' " The Macaw-Owl flicked its tail, sending out a shower of sparks. "And soon, say the Lords, all the rest of you will join him."

Murmurs, and groans, and cries of dismay went up from the crowd.

The Macaw-Owl flew into the air, hooting as it circled over the crowd amid clouds of smoke and fire. "What do you say to that, People of Wood? How will you live without a sun? You will starve, you will freeze in the cold, you will stumble in the dark, you will fall off cliffs, you will be eaten by wild beasts."

It hooted with malignant glee.

"You have lost your god of light and maize, and even now the other gods are also deserting you. Hurricane Thunderbolt, Heart-of-the-Sky, has already grown tired of you, like a child who is now longer amused with his toys. He has seen that you are not as pretty to look at as he once imagined you. You are rough and crude; your skin is like bark, your heads do not turn, and your limbs lack grace. You do not remember the gods well enough, you do not shower  them with enough praise for the gift of life they gave you." The bird seemed to think this was very funny. "Not only that, but you do not kill each other enough, to pour out sacrificial blood for the gods' nurture and sustenance."

More cries of gloom and misery arose from the gathering. The people stirred together in a tide of fear.

But Seven Macaw's parents, Hun Caquix and his wife, stood firm together like a pair of straight, unbending trees. "What do we say, O Bird of Ill Omen?" retorted Hun Caquix. "Well, I will speak for myself and my family. We say this: If the gods do not help us, we will help ourselves, with our own minds and muscles. We will not lie down and die as long as we can work. We have survived this long without a Sun, and if One Hunahpu does not come, we will mourn him -- and go on living." He planted his hoe firmly on the ground beside him, with his other arm around his wife. And she took the hand of their eldest son, One Macaw, and he took the hand of his brother Seven Macaw, and they all stood together as one before the Messenger of Xibalba.

And when the rest of the people saw this, they too joined hands, and stood together defiantly. Only a few of the priests, and those who were most devout, held back out of fear. But all the rest of them, the farmers and workers, the hunters and craftspeople, the elders and sages, from the oldest to the youngest they all gathered and stood together in resistance against the Lords of Xibalba and the wrathful gods.

The Macaw-Owl shrieked out, "So brave, and so proud! You will only make the gods more angry." Again, it seemed to find this very amusing. "Very well -- I will leave you to your doom. The halls of Xibalba are awaiting all of you."

Cackling and hooting, the Macaw-Owl swooped away in a gust of smoke and sparks.

And so the Wooden People were left standing, proud and sad, in the darkness. They placed a wreath of flowers on One Hunahpu's statue, and they wept for him. And so the Ritual of Waiting became the Ritual of Mourning, and the statue became his tombstone.

And, slowly and sadly, the people turned and walked home in the darkness, knowing there would be no light except the fires they made for themselves, and no morning except in their dreams. And as the years went on, the people turned away from Hurucan and the Sky Gods and no longer remembered them, forgetting the One who had made them and left them to starve.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

False Dawn: Part 1.

[Early Third Age.]

When Seven Macaw was born, there was only one village in the whole world. The two oldest people, First Father and First Mother, were still living. He had been made from a coral tree and she from the heart of bullrushes, and they lived as long as trees; but like trees, they too grew withered and old. As time went on, they spoke and moved less and less, until they became two wooden statues. But when Seven Macaw was young, Coral and Bullrushes still spoke and walked; and all of the people, the People of Wood, lived there together with them.

In those days, there was no sun or moon. It was dark and cold in the world. The only light came from a thin crack at the horizon's edge, spilling out from underneath the earth where the unborn essence of moon and sun lay swirling in formless, cloudlike nebulae. When those rays shone through faintly, like the first light of dawn, the roof of the sky-earth was dark grey, like slate; it never got brighter than that. At other times, the sky turned pitch-black, and then sometimes strange signs could be seen. That is was what the day-nights were like.

Back then, the magic of Creation was still strong in the Earth, and it was possible for things to grow even without a sun. But it took great toil and labor to bring forth food from the earth; toil and labor, and the blood of sacrifice. The first people had been created in the warmest part of the world, near the earth's very center. But without a sun, it was still often very cold. When the day-nights were at their coldest and darkest, the animals shivered in the forest, and the people huddled around their house-fires.

It was said that in those days before the sun, the lands to the North and South were all locked up with ice. And, as time went by, groups of people went across the ice and crossed over to other masses of land, and that was how the Wooden People spread all over the world.

The Wooden People knew little besides hard work and hunger, and the constant fear of death. But they had been made strong and tough, like wood; and as they struggled to survive in the cold, hostile world, they became even more hard and stiff, stubborn and proud. They stood straight and tall and unbending like trees in the harsh winds, and their hardness was counted for virtue and beauty among them. But the gods, who had made them, found them rough and ungainly and too slow to obey, and cared for them less and less.

Yet the people remained faithful to one hope: they had been promised there would be a Sun. They made a statue in his image: One Hunahpu, the shining, smiling young man clothed in green corn-husks, whose hair was cornsilk, whose bright teeth shone like golden kernels of maize. And on the appointed day-nights, they gathered to watch the eastern horizon, and wait for him to rise. They waited, and prayed, and sacrificed. They came and waited for years, for decades, for generations. And still there was no sun; but their hope burned in their hearts like burning resin, a bright flame that would not be quenched.

One day-night, when Seven Macaw was a very small boy, he went with his family to the Ceremony of Waiting. All the people of the village climbed up a mountain where they could see far to the horizon. There they stood, looking out over the cliff, in the black day-night. Coral and Bullrushes stood hand in hand near the cliff's edge, and the people stood behind and around them. Everything was hushed and solemn. Long, black bars of cloud came up the horizon; then there came a pale, yellow light between the bars. The people waited, hushed, their breath bated. They could see only the streaks of black and yellow. They waited, praying silently, for the light to grow brighter, for the great glowing yellow orb to rise at last.

But there was nothing more than the pale streaks between the horizon and clouds.

[To be continued.]

Friday, July 13, 2012

Note: Beware the Landlords of Xibalba!

If you found this blog through an "Apartment Ratings" site, please note: I am not really renting out rooms in Xibalba. I have no idea how my site got on that page -- maybe someone listed it as a joke.

Xibalba, the "Place of Fear", is the ancient Mayan Underworld. It's populated with deadly death gods, demons, & skeletal shades.

If you're looking for a place to stay, I'm sure the Lords of Xibalba would be happy to have you move in. But I wouldn't recommend it. The terms of lease can be rather... permanent.

Hun Came (One Death) waves "Hi!"

And on that note... I made a few Mayan myth icons:

Here's Seven Macaw:
  ( ;>
/// ^

The "Seven Fire Macaw" glyph:

:| ?~  <;)"

And Hunahpu with his blowgun:

 ^ ^  /
  o /

Feel free to copy & paste 'em.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Xibalba: Enemy of an Enemy.

In this room of Xibalba there burned a bone-white sun, perpetually at the zenith so that it cast no shadows. There was not one trace of shade, no relief from the relentless glare which leached the landscape of color and depth, lending it an almost transparent clarity. Beneath it was an endless, bleak desert, the flat ground broken only by writhing clumps of thornbushes. In the distance was a line of rocky hills, equally forbidding.

The ghost made his way across the barren land. The hills were the only visible landmark, so he directed his path towards them. He wondered what was on the other side. Although he knew that wherever he went there would only be more trials and tortures, he still wanted to explore, to search out Xibalba's secrets, as he once had those of Earth.

He knew that the sun was his enemy. But, he also knew that, somehow, there had once been another sun, a different sun. A different sun? How could that be? The memory kept slipping away from him, like sand running through his hands.

Then, he heard the faint sound of groans and wails of pain, although there seemed to be nothing around but the flat ground. He walked toward the direction of the sound, and saw that there was a deep pit in the earth. Coming to its edge, he peered down.

The sides of the pit were almost perfectly straight and vertical; the sun shone down into it as if focused by a lens. At the bottom lay a strange creature, half-man, half-bird. Like the ghost himself, it was but a spectre, composed of bones and ectoplasm. It had a long, skinny, bony neck, a mainly-human face with a sharp beak, and taloned hands and feet. The bird-man's breastbone was shattered, and the delicate bones of his wings were smashed into a mesh of broken fragments.

The man-bird held out his hand to the ghost.  Mournfully, he pleaded, "Take pity on me, stranger."

At those words, the ghost felt a haunting chill, as though he'd heard them somewhere before. "Who are you, and who did this to you?" he asked.

"I am Ta Hol, the Vulture Spirit," the being replied. "As for the cause of my misfortune, it was twins, two young men, who wore headbands and shone with light  One of them shot me with his blowgun, then they broke my wings and threw me down into this pit, to burn forever in the glare of their hatred."

"I know the Twins of whom you speak," the ghost said. "They are my enemies too."

"Then help me, please," said Ta Hol. "I can't fly; I am trapped here. My bones are drying and bleaching in this dreadful sunlight."

"I can't fly, either," said the ghost. "But I will get you out." He walked around the pit, studying it. There was nothing around that he could use to pull Ta Hol out; he would have to go down and get him. He searched for a suitable angle of descent, and when he found the best spot, lowered himself down into the hole.

The ghost was glad that he had recovered some of his memories, for he remembered how to climb. His hands and feet found sure grips and toeholds, despite the sheer steepness of the pit wall. Inside the pit, the atmosphere was close and stifling. The ghost moved steadily downward into the oppressive confinement,  feeling it close in around him.

At the bottom, there was only a choking stillness, as if motion was impossible. But the ghost could still move. He reached down, picked up Ta Hol, and put him on his back. The Vulture Spirit wrapped his arms around the ghost's neck and his legs around the ghost's waist, and locked together his taloned hands and feet. Then, carrying the Vulture, the ghost headed back up the wall.

The way up was much more difficult. Ta Hol was not very heavy, but the ghost's newly-formed spirit-body was not very strong yet, and the Vulture's talons dug sharply into his spectral flesh. Nonetheless, the ghost remembered how to climb. His fingers and toes found holds in the dry, crumbly soil as he made his way carefully, inch by inch, to the top.

Once they were both safely on the surface, Ta Hol climbed off the ghost's back. Then, the two suffering beings lay down to rest side by side. They breathed deeply of the open air, as if they couldn't get enough of it. The sun still beat down on them mercilessly. But, surely, it was better than being in the pit.

When the ghost had recovered, he rose up on his knees to look down at Ta Hol. "I think I may know another way to help you," he said.

"Yes, please, anything," groaned the Vulture Spirit.

The ghost placed one hand on Ta Hol's forehead, and laid the other, very gently, on the bird-spirit's shattered breastbone. He began to chant; the words came to him easily, as if from long practice. Calling up his inner power, he began to tug at the strands of luminous energy in Ta Hol's chest,  pulling them carefully into place, weaving them back together. As he worked, the torn ectoplasm of Ta Hol's spirit-body knit back together and rejoined. The bird-man sighed with relief, his furrowed face relaxing.

When Ta Hol's breastbone was fixed, the ghost told him to turn over. Then, he went to work on his wings. As he began to repair the subtle, delicate filaments of the bird-man's wing-bones, the ghost's chant changed, shifting into spontaneous song. He composed the lyrics as he went along, easily, effortlessly, the music riding on a surge of joy, his power flowing from within him like sap from a tree, pouring into the wounded body of the vulture.

When he was finished, the ghost watched as Ta Hol rose up and tentatively flapped his wings, testing them, before taking off and rising into the air. He swooped around a few times, soaring on the hot desert air, uttering cries of joy and freedom. Then, he sailed back to where the ghost stood.

Landing on the ground, Ta Hol knelt down before the ghost. "Tell me your name, O stranger," he said, "that I may know whom to thank for such a great favor."

"I don't know my name, " said the ghost. "But I am an enemy of your enemies; therefore you may call me Friend."

"Very well, Friend," said the Vulture. "But I still wish to repay you."

The ghost stroked his lip thoughtfully. "Let us be allies, then," he said. "If one of us is in need, and the other is able to answer, we shall stand and fight together, against whatever terrors Xibalba may wield against us."

"Agreed," nodded Ta Hol.

"So be it, then," said the ghost. "If I may ask, Ta Hol, why were the Twins angry with you?"

"One of them was my rival for the love of a woman," replied the Vulture. He gazed sorrowfully into the distance, and sighed softly. Then, regarding the ghost, he tilted his birdlike head curiously. "And you, Friend? How did you earn the wrath of such ruthless foes?"

"I still don't remember." The ghost took a painful breath, pressing his hand to his forehead. "It had something to do with time. They told me... They said, 'Your time is over.'"

Ta Hol nodded quiely. "It'll all come back, sooner or later. Though, you might wish it hadn't."

"Nevertheless, all that matters is that I must know the truth," said the ghost.

"Well, as they say," said Ta Hol wryly, "it's your funeral."

The ghost smirked. "I think it's a little too late to worry about that, for either of us."

Ta Hol laughed, his ghostly wings rustling. "Well -- what do you say, Friend? Now that we are allies, shall we travel together?"

"Where are you going, Ta Hol?" asked the ghost.

"I am going to fly over the desert and the rocks, in search of the vultures' kingdom," replied Ta Hol.

"That is not my path,"  said the ghost. He had no desire to wander the desert in search of carrion. Besides, he couldn't fly, and he would just slow Ta Hol down. "But travel well, Ta Hol, until we meet again."

"And you, too, Friend," replied the Vulture, as he launched himself into the air.

And so the two accursed ones parted their ways, for a time. As the Vulture Spirit soared off into the distant sky, the ghost stood watching proudly. He still couldn't fly, himself -- but he had made someone else fly, and that was almost as good.

He continued on his way to the hills.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Welcome to "Seven Macaw: A Mythic Narrative Inspired by the Popol Vuh". This is the story of Seven Macaw, a very pretty little parrot who contends with Heart-of-Sky, the great Cosmic Creator-Destroyer Deity, for the destiny of the world.

As one might expect, Seven ends up as an ex-parrot.

"Seven Macaw" is a fictional narrative written in both prose and verse, encompassing the genres of epic poetry, mythic fantasy, dark fantasy, and supernatural horror. Unless otherwise stated, everything on this site is original content. If you're here for homework or research, please note that my creative interpretations of Mayan mythology are original and do not necessarily represent authentic Mayan beliefs, either historical or modern. I'm going to be adding some nonfictional commentary to help explain the symbolism and the mythic and cultural references used.

This site is currently a work in progress. I've been writing the story in more or less random order, and linking it into linear sequence on the "Navigation -- Contents" sidebar. Use this sidebar to navigate the site.

A good place to begin is Seven Macaw's Prophecy: December 21, 2012. : a strange, enigmatic message which, I guarantee, is unlike any other 2012 prophecy you've ever seen. What does it mean? Follow the story, and you'll come to understand what Seven Macaw is talking about.

Next, you might want to check out  The Shaking of the Day of Seven Macaw, a verse drama based closely on the narrative in the Popol Vuh. This is my creative, poetic reinterpretation of the myth, and the piece with which I began this project.

The rest of this work is still in progress. If you want a completely linear, un-spoilered version,  you'll probably have to wait til next year. Seven and I are planning to get this project finished by the Winter Solstice, Dec 21, 2012, when something weird  -- and hopefully, wonderful -- is supposed to happen. I'm not sure how this is supposed to manifest in the real world; Seven won't spoiler it for me.

In the meantime, I'm organizing the story into sections as I go along:

"Prelude" includes some poetic pieces which deal with the general contents of the story.

"The Time of Early Dawn" is set prior to the events in "Shaking of the Day." It recounts the story of Seven Macaw's life in the Third Age, his rise to transcendence and godhood, and his creation of the Sun and Moon.

"The Last Days Before the Storm" comprises the period between Seven Macaw's death on May 28, 3147 BC (Gregorian calendar), and the Great Flood.

"Xibalba" is the story of Seven Macaw's descent into the Underworld after his death, where he must face many trials in order to regain his transcendent power, and fulfill his greatest destiny in the coming age.

Vucub-Caquix and I welcome you to our fictional otherworld, and wish you a happy 2012 -- and many years to follow.

~ The author, Myrna Sabor

Friday, June 22, 2012

Zipacna and Cabracan.

Two little boys were playing in a sandbox.

The elder boy, Zipacna, was building a huge pile of sand. "Look, Daddy," he said. "I make mountains."

The younger boy, Cabracan, took his shovel, whacked the pile hard and knocked it down. "I break mountains," he said.

Seven Macaw's blue teeth shone as he smiled proudly at his two sons.

"Then that is what you shall be," he said. "Maker-of-Mountains and Breaker-of-Mountains."


More stories about Zipacna and Cabracan:

Zipacna: All the Time in the World.

Cabracan Bites the Dust.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Xibalba: The Room of Re-membering, Part 2.

As the ghost sorted through his bones, he began to find bird bones mixed together with his human bones. At first, he was puzzled; but all the bones seemed to belong there, to be part of him.

As he reassembled his human skeleton, he began to put together the bird skeleton, too. He found its skull and beak, its vertebrae, the fine, fragile bones of its wings, and its legs. As the bird took shape, he saw that it was a parrot, a macaw.

Memories came with the bird-bones, too: first, only vague impressions, animalistic feelings; the sensation of movement, of flight, of being guided by instinct. Then, as the parrot's form began to take shape, he got his first clear memory:

Long ago, when both he and the world were young, this bird had come to him, beneath the branches of a marvellous tree. The bird had diamond eyes and plumes as radiant as the rainbow. It had shone its eyes at him, fluttered its beautiful feathers, and it had spoken.

But now, the bird did not move or speak. It lay on the rock, lifeless and inert. The diamonds were gone from its eyes; there were just empty sockets in its skull.

The ghost searched for the diamonds, looking everywhere, in the dirt, under rocks. Finally, he found one tiny, broken piece of diamond. He held it in his skeletal hand, puzzled, wondering what it meant.

Then, he remembered something he had learned as a miner: Only diamond can cut diamond.

All at once, he knew what it signified: He, and only he, was responsible for the bird's destruction. Whatever other factors had been involved, his own choices had brought about its final demise.

"I'm sorry," he whispered to the bird-spirit. "I'm sorry that I failed you." But the bird did not answer. It was dead -- far more dead, perhaps, than the ghost himself.

Sitting on his rock, the ghost held the dead bird's remains to what was left of himself, and he cried for a long time.

Nonetheless, the bird's bones were still his; they belonged to him. And, although the little skeleton was now nothing more than a symbol of despair, he couldn't bear to leave it behind. So, when he had finished assembling the skeletal macaw, he hung it inside his rib cage, so he could carry it with him, inside him.

The ghost continued his work of rebuilding himself. As he put together his legs, he gained memories of walking and climbing, of wandering through the world. There was something strange about these memories: he seemed to have seen too many places, done too many things, for the life of just one person. He wondered, perhaps, if he was just recalling stories he had heard of other people' lives. But that could not be true, for the figure in the scenes who moved and acted was always himself.

And, lastly, he put together his feet, adding each tiny bone until all ten of his toes were complete. His feet gave him knowledge of dancing. He danced, sometimes alone, sometimes with a woman. He still didn't see her face; he was only aware of her body, her movements, her long black hair floating around her like wings.

When his skeleton was whole, his spirit-energy began to knit together around it. As the ectoplasm folded itself into place, closing over his frame, it began to take on a darker hue, an echo of the rich coppery brown of his living skin. A ghostly cascade of jet-black hair draped to his shoulders, wispy as spider-silk. He reached back and knotted it into a ponytail.

Well, he thought, I am now as close to being myself again as I can be for now.

He still did not know who he was, but he knew some things about himself: He was a miner; he had dug precious things out of the dark earth. He had created things of beauty. He was a man of knowledge, a scholar. He had travelled all over the world, in search of its wonders and marvels. He had danced, he had flown, and he had loved. He had raised children.

But he also knew two other things:

First, he had terrible enemies. The Twins, the one who had tortured him, had power over time. Somehow, they had actually changed the way time worked. He didn't understand it; he only felt horror that such merciless forces existed in the world. And he knew that those two were not his only enemies.

And, second, through some act of folly, he had let what was most precious to him die. Therefore, he was truly one of the accursed.

Nonetheless, he began to move his creaky bones, stretching himself, swinging his arms and legs. While he limbered himself, he thought: What's done is done. I have regained my ability to move, speak and act; I will never give that up again. Those are my treasures now.

And so he got up from the rock, and set off across the barren landscape of Xibalba.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Xibalba: The Room of Re-membering, Part 1.

He was only a pile of white bones, lying on the dry, dusty ground.

He could not move nor speak nor think. He simply lay there, a scattered heap of bones, motionless, except when the wind occasionally rattled and rolled them in the dust.

Time went on; perhaps days or months or years passed by in the world of the living, while the little ghost's spectral skeleton lay broken and inert on the desolate plain of Xibalba.

Finally -- after how long, he could not tell -- the ghost began to awaken to himself, becoming vaguely aware that he was lying there in the dust. He became aware that he was no longer in one piece. His skull lay alone, on top of a rock, with the rest of his bones strewn around it in the dirt.

He was nothing but a pile of dead bones, inert and motionless. But he began again to feel. He ached and yearned to move again. He yearned to move and speak. He ached so much he could not bear it.

So, he began to look for his pieces, to put them back together. First, he felt the round shape of his skull, enclosing what was left of his mind. His skull had no eyes, ears, or other sense organs, but he could see and hear with his spirit senses. He realized that his skull was not whole; the lower jaw was missing.

The ghost reached out with his spirit-senses to search the space around him. He found the jawbone lying on the ground a few feet away. He sent out a wispy, luminous filament of spirit-energy to draw it back to him -- but the moment his spirit touched the jawbone, he recoiled. The jaw was nothing but clean, dry bone, but its touch brought forth a hideous memory: something putrid, honeycombed with worms and pus, with the foul taste of rotting bone and pulp. Accompanying this loathesome image was a sensation of unbearable pain, throbbing, aching, burning; a sickening feeling of nausea and fever.

That jawbone was the very last thing that the ghost ever wanted to touch. But he knew that if he didn't put it back on, he'd never speak again. And he didn't want to go through all eternity without being able to talk.

So, he curled a luminous fiber of energy around the bone, and, slowly, bit by bit, began to tug it back towards him. With each inch that he moved it, more agonizing sensations filled his awareness. The ghost wanted to scream, but without a mouth, he couldn't make a sound.

Finally, he succeeded in moving the lower jaw into its proper position. Steeling himself, he popped the hinges of the jaw back into place.

Instantly, as the joint snapped back together, a terrifying memory erupted in his mind:

He was falling from an immense height, from a tree with green leaves. The blue sky was rushing away upward; the wind was roaring past him like a hurricane. Then, the ground struck him from beneath like an earthquake.  It seemed like the whole world around him was smashed, shattered, flattened by the terrible impact. He lay crushed, motionless, in agony beyond imagining.

It took the ghost a while to recover from the shock. He knew that what he had just seen and felt was impossible. Surely, nothing mortal could have survived such a fall to see or feel anything at all afterwards. And, if he was not mortal, what was he doing here in Xibalba?

But, his confusion had to remain unresolved for now. He tested his jaw, clacking it open and shut. He could make his mouth move as if he were talking, but he still had no words. He realized that he still had to find his teeth.

Again, he sent out his senses to search. His teeth were all scattered about, lying in the dust, or underneath rocks, or jumbled amidst his other bones. One by one, he picked them out from where they were hidden and drew them back to his mouth, setting each into its proper place. As each tooth went in, there was a stabbing jolt of pain, like a tooth being pulled, but in reverse. The teeth were just plain, white bone, but mixed together with the feelings came flashes of color, green, blue, aquamarine and turquoise, and strange hieroglyphic symbols. He saw the blue sky, the clouds.

As his teeth went back into place, his powers of language and reason also returned to him. His thoughts, which had previously been just swirling images, began to shape themselves into clear words. He was able to name and describe what he felt. He still hurt terribly, but his fear was eased, because the words gave him power and control over his experience.

Finally, his head was complete. He took a little time to savor his achievement: a polished, white skull perched on a rock like a throne, surrounded by the rest of himself. Then, he began to put together the remainder of his skeleton. With his wispy, coiling tendrils of ghost-mist, he found the bone pieces, one by one, and put them back where they belonged: the vertebrae of his neck, the sockets and blades of his shoulders, the long column of his back. As each piece was reattached, flashes of memory came with it, shards of visions and feelings.

As he put together the long bones of his arms, he saw himself standing in a cave, a mine, swinging a tool with powerful strokes, as he dug shining metals, crystals and gems out of the dark earth. From the bones of his hands, he received the feelings of touching a woman's flesh; the touch was tender and gentle, and the memory filled him with an inexpressible yearning and longing. With his fingers came the sensations of holding a stylus and quill pen, of writing and drawing, of skillfully making things. And his spine gave him the knowledge of carrying children on his back, lifting them on his shoulders, holding them up so they could see the moon and the sunrise.

[To be continued.]

Friday, June 15, 2012

Xibalba: The Room of Winding.

The ghost stepped toward the next door of black obsidian. There was an ominous sound coming from behind the door: a sound of creaking and grinding, the screeching of metal. The ghost knew that whatever was behind that door wouldn't be very pleasant. For a moment, he wondered: Why? What have I done to deserve this kind of afterlife? But he knew there was only one way to find out; and it lay through that door, and all the other doors that followed. So he gritted his teeth, opened the door, and quickly stepped in before he had time for second thoughts.

Immdiately, he was seized by two giant figures, twins, one dressed in gold and radiating golden light, the other dressed in silver and shining with pale light. He did not know who the twins were; he only knew that they were his enemies.

The Twins laughed and gloated over him. "You are ours!" they cried. "It is our time now; we own the days and years, and you shall be broken on our wheels."

"You are only demons," the ghost said angrily. "You are surely no more than the other fiends in the pits of Xibalba."

"We will show you what we are," the Twins replied. They took the ghost high up into the night sky, where he could see the universe.

All the cosmos had become one great clockwork. The ghost had never seen so many wheels in one place. Everywhere there were gears gripping other gears in their iron teeth, wheels spinning on axles, turning and turning. All around there was measure and motion: millions of legs marching in unison, clocks ticking and ringing, bells clanging and dinging, pendulums swinging, everything going round and round.

The ghost saw people's lives regulated by the clock and calendar, getting up and going to sleep at the appointed hour, going to work and punching time clocks, factory whistles shrilling, rows and rows of people standing at assembly lines which kept rolling and rolling.

It was a new world, a new universe, in which everything was timed and tuned and regulated, everything moving in order.

"The Fourth Age is on its way," said the gold twin, "and it shall be built by the breaking of your body."

"Never!" cried the ghost. He struggled to escape, but he was like no more than a tiny bird caught in the two giants' hands. They only laughed at his desperate attempts to get away, toying with him for a while before they got down to business.

Then, the Twins began the great ritual. They stretched the ghost out, one taking hold of his hand, the other his foot. Holding him suspended over the celestial mechanism, they chanted an incantation:

Your time is over,
Our time has come.
We are now the Moon and Sun;
The time of Measure has begun.

The age of rhythms and cycles;
The time of straight lines and circles.

The time of Euclid and Newton,
The age of wheels and axles,
The time of pistons and crankshafts,
The age of the turning engines.

We are the glory of monarchs,
The splendor of civilization;
The age of flags and armies,
The time of states and nations.

Hail the age unfolding,
Hail the turning spiral!

Now we are arising in brightness,
Now is our time of morning.

And so the Twins put the little spirit on their iron wheels; they wound and unwound him. They stretched him out and knotted him up. They spun him on a spindle, turned him on a lathe, roasted him on a spit, stretched him on a rack. They spun him out like thread, like wire; they wound him up like yarn, like a clock.

The ghost screamed and screamed. He could do little else. He was only a powerless shade, while the Twins were the harbingers of an inexorable power.

They pulled him tight and taut, stretching and tearing and twisting, until all his tendons and ligaments snapped, and he was broken apart. They ripped his ectoplasmic flesh from his spectral bones. They pulled him apart until he was nothing but a heap of disconnected pieces, a pile of scattered bones.

When they were finished, they left him lying, a pile of dry, bare bones, on the dusty ground.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Cave of Vision.

[Early Third Age. This is Seven's first encounter with Itzamna, the Pre-Classic deity believed by many scholars to be a mythic precursor of Seven Macaw.]

Seven Macaw walked into the dark cave, lighting his way with a single candle. He found the room he was looking for, where stalactites and stalagmites projected from the roof and floor of the cave like teeth, resembling a giant maw. Setting the candle on a natural pedestal of stone, Seven Macaw sat down cross-legged between the giant teeth of the stone monster.

After taking some time to settle and quiet himself, he took the bag he had brought with him, and pulled out a piece of nance fruit. He put the rest of the fruit in a bowl, and placed it on the stone pedestal as an offering to the spirit of the cave.

Taking the remaining piece of fruit in his hand, he closed his eyes, softly murmuring the verses he had composed. Then, he brought the fruit to his lips, and bit into it. The sweet juice burst into his mouth; he chewed and swallowed, affirming that he would accept whatever sights or knowledge came to him, whether it be beautiful or horrible. Sitting quietly in the stillness, amid the stone teeth, he waited for the visions to begin.

Soon, the young man's sight began to alter. He saw his own face reflected against the stalactites and stalagmites of the cave, reflected many times, and broken into splinters. As he watched, the scattered pieces of images coalesced, and shaped into another face, that of an ancient man, older than the mountain itself. The man's shape took form amid the dark cave shadows.

The old man's face was perfectly calm, neutral, without a trace of judgement, blame or disturbance, as if he could gaze unmoved upon all of creation. "Greetings, little bird-spirit," he said. "I am Itzamna, First Shaman of the First Age, as you are of the Third." He held up a single finger. "You may ask one question. What do you want to know?"

"I want to know how to become immortal," replied Seven Macaw.

Itzamna showed neither anger nor sorrow, but his imperturbable calm shifted slightly, with what might have been compassion. "You do not know what you ask, little one."

"I want it, nonetheless," said Seven Macaw boldly.

"The price of life is death. The price of immortality is something greater than death," said Itzamna. He spoke the words simply; neither a warning nor a threat, just a fact. "Do you still want it?"

"Yes," said Seven Macaw.

"Very well," said Itzamna."Look within these caves, within the earth, and you will find the tools to make your immortality."

And Seven Macaw's vision was opened, and he saw into the walls of the cave, into the heart of the mountain. He saw where the secret veins of precious metal were hidden, and the jewels and gems. And he glimpsed too the powers within these things, and how they might be forged and shaped into instruments of magical transcendence and transformation.

After Seven Macaw had seen all he needed, he came back into his body.The candle was nearly burned down. The bowl of fruit was also empty, even though he hadn't seen Itzamna take any of it. Seven Macaw smiled a bit. "I hope you like it, Itzamna," he whispered.

Then, he carefully took the candle, and headed back to the exit of the cave, where he slipped outside into the darkness of the day-night. The first light of dawn was just beginning to kindle on the eastern rim of the sky-earth. He knew he still had much to learn, and much work to do.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Bit o' Mayan Awesomeness: Seven Macaw versus the Hero Twins on a Plate.

Click to see larger version.
Here's something I just found: a surrealistic, psychedelic depiction of Seven Macaw/ Vucub Caquix's fight with the Hero Twins, from a Late Classic Maya polychrome plate. (Found here). I love the way it shows Seven's defiance and his overall weirdness.

Here, Seven is getting shot at from both sides, but he's fighting back proudly, using the powers of the cosmos which he controls. I just love that expression on his face: sort of like, "Just you try and get me!"

In this picture, Seven is perched not on an ordinary tree, but on a giant head with an elaborate rayed, petaled or plumed crown, which, I think, represents the "false" Sun-Moon of Seven's creation. Hunahpu and Xbalanque are seated on the "real" Sun and Moon.

Here, Vucub-Caquix has shapeshifted into a hybrid form, a bird with a mainly-human head. This picture illustrates one of the puzzling features of the Seven Macaw character: the fact that he is described in the Popol Vuh as having both a bird's beak and human teeth. He also appears to have a Cosmic Serpent entity sprouting from the top of his head, like a jack-in-the-box. The seven vertebrae in the serpent's neck may represent the seven stars in the Big Dipper. In Mayan art, the Cosmic Serpent is often shown associated with the Itzam-Yeh or Vucub-Caquix character, sometimes entwined around him and/or his tree. In these representations, he may be an ally, or an aspect of the Bird Deity himself.

In this image, the serpent on Seven Macaw's head is disgorging the night sky, filled with stars and constellations, from his mouth. This symbolizes how Vucub-Caquix is wielding the power of the cosmos against Hunahpu to prevent him from ascending as the new Sun God. There's also a stream of blood flowing from the serpent's lower jaw, showing that he's already been shot by Hunahpu. Hunahpu has struck Seven Macaw not on his human face but on the serpent's head -- meaning that he has attacked and injured the part of Seven which contains his divine power. That is why Seven is unable to heal & regenerate himself after this injury.

It's the beginning of the end for Seven, but he still doesn't seem the slightest bit intimidated.

The fish (left and right of the center figure) are symbols of the Hero Twins, who have the power to shapeshift into fish (unlike Seven, who can't turn into a fish -- something which will cause him a lot of trouble when he gets hurled into the Cosmic Ocean later in my narrative.) The fish are swimming toward the right, the direction from which the new creation will emerge.

The Twins, as a dyad, are also right-oriented. Hunahpu, the Sun-twin, typically takes the role of leader & initiator. He is facing toward the right as he directly confronts Seven Macaw. Xbalanque is facing in the opposite direction, shooting Seven from behind. As the Moon-twin, he plays the role of Hunahpu's satellite, reflecting back his energy & activity. They're trying to turn the universe around in the direction they think it should go.

If you look closely, you can see that Seven Macaw's symbols (such as the double-curlicues around the rim, which give me the impression of replicating the dragon-serpent motif) are all oriented toward the left, the direction toward which he also faces, resisting the linear, forward movement which the Hero Twins seek to impose on him.

I think this picture is saying that Hunahpu and Xbalanque are destroying not just Seven Macaw/ Vucub-Caquix himself, but the entire Third Age cosmos of which he is the etal: the sign, example or representative.

Another interesting thing is that this picture was originally on a plate. Was the plate intended to be purely decorative, or did people actually eat off of it? I can just imagine it: "Finish up your veggies, Junior, so you can see the really weird birdie on the bottom of the dish."

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Cabracan Bites the Dust.

[This story takes place in the time period after the death of Seven Macaw and before the Flood. It follows the Popol Vuh plotline closely, with additional descriptive detail and character development. Contains profanity.]

Cabracan was very alone in the world now. Not only were both his parents gone, but he hadn't seen or heard from his brother Zipacna for a long time. No one that Cabracan had met knew what had happened to him. It was as if he had vanished off the face of the earth.

The world was very dark now that the Sun and Moon had died. At the times of day-night when the sky turned pitch-black, his father's sign, the Big Dipper, hung low over the horizon, upside-down, its bowl turned over as if about to pour rain on the world. Cabracan still felt a pang of grief every time he saw it.

Cabracan couldn't stop the hurricane alone; the storm kept coming closer, slowly, as if to mock and torture the world's people with their impending doom. For the first time in his life, Cabracan was afraid.

Then, one day-night, as Cabracan walked down the road alone, two young men, just in their late teens, came out of the forest.

"Hello," said Cabracan, with a good-natured smile. "I'm Cabracan."

"Hello, Cabracan," said one of the two boys. "I'm Juan, and this is my brother Jose." The other boy nodded. The boys were almost exactly the same height. Juan stood slightly in front, a bright, mischievous smile beaming on his face, while Jose stayed a few paces behind, looking quiet and thoughtful.

"Nice to meet you," said Cabracan. He looked the pair over curiously. "Which one of you is older?" he asked.

"Neither," said Juan. "We're twins." Jose nodded, and asked, "What about you, Cabracan? Are you all by yourself?"

"Yes," Cabracan nodded sadly. "All I've got is one brother, and I haven't heard from him in a long time. I'm worried about him."

"Well, why don't you come wifh us?" said Juan. "Jose and I travel a lot. Maybe we can help you find your brother."

"Okay," Cabracan nodded. He joined the pair, and smiled. "Thank you. It's good of you to help."

"No problem," said Juan. They walked along together for a while, and Juan asked, "So what do you like to do, Cabracan?"

"I break mountains," said Cabracan proudly.

"Really?" asked Juan. "Can you really break mountains?"

"Sure I can," said Cabracan. "Just watch!" He stretched up, and made himself grow really tall, like a giant. Then he hopped on top of a nearby mountain, and tapped his foot a few times. Rocks began to tumble and roll down the mountainside. The whole slope slipped down like a landslide.

Juan and Jose clapped their hands, applauding. "Wow," said Juan. "That's amazing. Really impressive, Cabracan."

"Yeah," said Jose. "I've never seen anyone do that before."

Cabracan beamed happily. "I'm the only one who can." Then he hopped down from the mountain and returned to normal size as he rejoined the twins.

"You look like the kind of person we've been wanting to meet," said Juan. "Jose and I like sports a lot, too." Jose nodded.

"Oh? What do you do?" asked Cabracan.

"We play ball and we hunt," said Juan. "This is what we hunt with." He pulled out his blowgun to show Cabracan.

Cabracan watched as Juan showed off his weapon. "Are you any good at it?" he asked.

"My brother Juan is the best there is," said Jose. "He can hit things no one else can."

"Wow. Could you show me?" asked Cabracan.

"I'm sure I will," Juan nodded, "once we find a suitable target."

So they continued along the road. "You know, Cabracan," said Juan, "we just saw a really huge mountain the last day-night. It was just humongous."

"Yes, it was," nodded Jose.

Juan continued, "I bet even you couldn't knock it down, Cabracan."

"I bet I could!" replied Cabracan, planting his hands on his hips. "Where is it? Can you show me?"

"Sure!" said Juan. "Just follow us, Cabracan." And he and Jose led Cabracan off the road, into the mountains, where no one would see them.

Afer they had walked through the rocky foothills for a while, Juan said, "Are you hungry, Cabracan? Let's get something to eat." He and Jose pulled out their blowguns, and went hunting for wild quetzal, while Cabracan tagged along. To Cabracan's amazement, the two boys shot the birds without using darts or pellets. They just blew air, and the birds fell down.

"Wow, that really is amazing!" said Cabracan. "Thanks for showing me. You really are cool guys."

"Anything for a friend," said Juan. "Now, Jose and I are going to cook these birds. Why don't you go in the forest, Cabracan, and look for some fruit and vegetables to go with them?"

Cabracan nodded, and went off to forage in the woods. He was very happy to have found his two new friends. Juan and Jose were such great guys -- they really knew how to have fun. Cabracan needed some fun in his life now; he hadn't had any for a very long time.

Meanwhile, while Cabracan was away, Juan and Jose dug up gypsum and plaster from the earth, and coated one of the birds with it. Then they roasted the birds over a spit.

Finally, Cabracan came back from the woods with a bag of fresh vegetables and fruit. They all sat down around the campfire to eat.

"This roast fowl is really good, Juan," remarked Cabracan. "What did you put in it?'

"Oh, just a secret ingredient," said Juan. "Come on, let's go and look for that mountain." So the three got up and went walking again.

But, before they had gone very far, Cabracan began to feel very strange. First his arms and legs became weak and numb; then, his stomach began to hurt. Soon, it was aching terribly, like he'd just swallowed a whole pile of rocks.

"Juan, Jose -- I think something's wrong with me," Cabracan said. "I don't feel well." He sank down weakly to the ground.

"Aww," said Juan. "Maybe something you ate didn't agree with you."

Lying helplessly on the ground, Cabracan held out his hand to his two friends. "Help me, please."

"Sure, we'll help you, Cabracan," said Juan. "Won't we, Jose?" Jose nodded. The two boys opened their packs, and took out some rope. They began to tie up Cabracan's wrists and ankles.

"Please, don't," said Cabracan. "If you want my money, you can take it."

"This isn't about money, Cabracan," said Juan. He looked at Jose. "What do you think, should we hogtie him?"

"Good idea," said Jose.

The two boys bent Cabracan's weakened body backwards, like an arch, and then they tied his wrists to his ankles. Soon, Cabracan's back was beginning to ache just like his stomach.

Sandwiched between twin sheets of pain, front and back, Cabracan gasped and cried out. "Why?" he asked. "Why are you doing this to me?"

Juan leaned against a tree. "Let's just say we've got a score to settle," he said. Beside him, Jose took a shovel and began to dig.

Lying on the ground, hogtied, Cabracan craned his neck, trying to look up at the two boys. It was hard to see their faces from where he was. "You work for Hurucan," he said.

"Wow, this kid is a bright one," Juan smirked. He reached into his pack and pulled out a cigar.

"Yeah, he must be related to the sun god or something," said Jose. His shovel thudded in he ground as he tossed up piles of dirt.

The two boys laughed mockingly. Juan reached into his pack again, and took out a brilliant scarlet feather. He stroked the end of the feather, and a bright, radiant flame burst out of it. The feather burned without being consumed. Juan used the flame to light his cigar.

When Cabracan saw that, he felt even more sick than he was already. He knew where that feather had come from. And, now, he knew exactly who his two "friends" really were.

Cabracan knew the whole story -- he'd heard it from his brother, who'd heard it from someone who had been there in the great city. These same two people, these twins, had shot Cabracan's father, Seven Macaw, with a dart. Seven Macaw hadn't let anyone take the dart out because he was too angry, and he'd gotten very sick -- as sick as Cabracan was now. Then, these twins came back, disguised as friendly strangers. They promised to help Seven Macaw -- and what had they done to him? What had they done?

Cabracan knew, now, that it would be no good begging the twins for mercy, or trying to talk to them. They weren't people who could be reasoned with. They were just enemies, nothing more.

Cabracan's father had held out his hand to these two, and said, "Take pity on me." And what had happened to him?

Now, Cabracan knew that he, too, had been just as naive as his father. He had fallen into the same trap, and now he was paying the same price. But his father had also been brave; and now Cabracan had to be brave, too.

For all of his life, Cabracan had been just a boy -- but now, he was going to die like a man.

Cabracan set his face into an expression of cold defiance and contempt. He would not beg for mercy, nor cry before his foes. He made himself hard as wood, cold as stone. He became firm, stiff, unbending, with a wooden person's unbreakable pride.

Jose jumped out of the deep hole he had dug. "Okay, let's pitch him in," he said. He and Juan picked up Cabracan's hard, wooden form and tossed him in the hole.

"Goodbye, Cabracan," they called mockingly. "Goodbye, little friend."

"Fuck you," said Cabracan.

And they piled the earth on top of him, and he was buried in the ground, along with his bitter, hard-won wisdom. But Cabracan did not die, for he was one of those condemned by Hurucan to be among the more-than-dead: to become a lifeless, motionless object, turned into stone, into petrified wood. But it is said that at times Cabracan manages to regain his power of movement, and then he struggles to escape. And that is what causes earthquakes.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Author's Note on May 28, 2012: "All the Time in the World".

Today, May 28, is the anniversary of the day, May 28, 3149 BC, when, in the Mayan calendar, Seven Macaw, or Vucub-Caquix, is shot down from his tree and begins his descent into the Underworld. At the same time, Seven Macaw's constellation, the Big Dipper, appears to turn upside down when viewed from the tropic latitudes, and begins to set below the horizon shortly after sunset.

Many scholars believe that the Seven Macaw character was based upon an earlier entity, the Primary Bird Deity, Itzam-Yeh, who in pre-Classic times was regarded as a genuine god, an animal aspect of Itzamna, The God of Magic.  By the time of the Popol Vuh story, however, Vucub Caquix is no longer a true god but only a "false deity", variously described as a bird, a demon, a monster, or a shapeshifting man. It's thought by writers such as John Major Jenkins that Seven Macaw's fall from grace represents a shift from the Polar Center, represented by the Big Dipper which orbits the Pole Star, to the Galactic Center whose bulge could be seen clearly in the tropical sky.

According to this theory, as the ancestors of the Maya moved southward, away from the Pole, they observed the Big Dipper sinking lower and lower in the sky, and in the spring, they saw it turn upside down like a bird plummeting to its death.

I was thinking about what it must have been like for Itzam Yeh's worshippers to see this happen for the first time. It must have been terrifying to see something they'd counted & relied on for so long, suddenly appear to be dying.

This date also has a personal meaning for me. Last year, on the day after May 28 -- May 29, 2011 -- my beloved grandmother Lillian Futo passed away. She was my Pole Star, the one person who was always there for me.

The Zipacna story I've just posted was suggested to me by the passage in the Popol Vuh where Zipacna meets the 400 Boys:

“Stay with us, boy. Do you have a mother or a father?”
“There is no one,” he replied.

This struck me as quite sad -- Zipacna has just become an orphan. Poor Zipacna. What was it like for him to lose his parents that way? A few days ago, Zipacna came to me & told me, so I wrote this short tale.

I've posted Zipacna's story on this date in honor of Vucub-Caquix, my grandmother and all of our lost loved ones.

~ Myrna Sabor

Zipacna: All the Time in the World.

"Zipacna's Travels"
Image reproduced with permission of the artist, Bruce Rimell.

Zipacna, the older son of Seven Macaw, bounded from peak to peak amid the rugged stone range. He was at his work, awash in the joy of creation. He raised his arms, and great columns of black basalt rose from the earth like menhirs, soaring into the sky. He jumped on the ground, and red hot lava spurted out from below, shaping itself into stone as if guided by the strokes of a painter's brush. The rock shifted and molded fluidly beneath his feet as he leapt from ledge to ledge. A mountain was rising. He was building his new masterpiece.

The two proud sons of Seven Macaw lived happy lives, roaming through the world wherever they wished, getting into all sorts of wild adventures and escapades. But what they both loved best was being out alone in the wilderness, working their art, sculpting the landscape. Zipacna, the elder, was the Maker-of-Mountains; he built great mounds and piles and jagged peaks of stone. His younger brother, Cabracan, was the Breaker-of-Mountains; he broke down the peaks, carved out canyons and valleys, levelled the hills, and made the land flat.

The two brothers were thousands of years old now, but they were still young in their looks and ways, still almost boys.They lived as if their future was always before them.

Their father had always let both of them do whatever they wanted.

Zipacna wasn't complaining. He loved his life, exploring the world and following his passion.

Today, however, he felt a bit uneasy. The sunlight was flickering strangely; it had been doing so for the past few days. Sometimes it would flare up brightly, then fade down to a hazy dimness. What was going on with Father?  he wondered. Was there some kind of trouble?  Zipacna shrugged. Whatever it was, Father could handle it. He'd never known of anything his father couldn't handle.

Zipacna returned to his great artwork. Soon, he had lost track of time completely, as he often did, immersed in the pleasure of building. Stone boomed and cracked around him, the ground shifting, the land molding into new shapes.

Then, there was a sharp, bright flash, like a stroke of lightning, a cry of pain, followed by a slow fade to grey. The sun's flickering continued, even more erratically.

Zipacna was alarmed now. Something must really be wrong. "Father!" he shouted. In three great leaps, he bounded down the mountainside and hit the road running. As swiftly as his strong, young legs could take him, he ran down the road leading to his father's city, down through the winding hills.and the forest to the city by the sea.

But, as Zipacna was running to help his father, the sky suddenly shone with a brilliant flash of light, brighter than any day that had ever before dawned. The whole sky was lit up; everything in the landscape was limned in pure white.

Then, the sky went completely black. All was silent. There was only darkness and stillness over the face of the earth.

Zipacna stopped running, right in his tracks. "No!" he wailed into the blackened heavens. But he knew it was too late. His father was dead now. And, soon, his mother would be too. She would not let her husband walk the Dark Road to Xibalba alone; she would choose to follow him there. His parents were like that.

Zipacna dropped to his knees in the road, crying, "Mommy, Daddy," his whole body shaking as he wept with overwhelming grief. A few drops of rain drifted down around him. Over the distant sea,  thunder rumbled faintly.

When he was finally able to pull himself back to his feet, Zipacna gazed bleakly at the once-familar landscape of his father's country. It was much harder to see now; the only light came from a thin crack at the horizon's edge. The trees, hills, and valleys loomed like dusky shadows in the dark grey dimness.

What was he to do now? Zipacna wondered. With his father gone, there was no one left to hold back the hurricane except him and his little brother Cabracan. They had inherited their father's power, but they didn't have his knowledge, skill, training or experience. They had never bothered to acquire these things; it had just always seemed like there would be enough time.

It had always seemed like they had all the time in the world.

He had to try, now, somehow. Perhaps he could find some of the other people who knew about magic. Maybe he could bring them together, to fight the gods; maybe someone could teach him what to do. There had to be a way.

Zipacna looked for the last time down the hill, down the road leading to the city by the sea where his home had been. For all of his life, like the sun in the sky, his parents had been a constant, abiding presence, always there, always to be relied on, often taken for granted. Wherever he had roamed in the world, no matter how far he had gone, there had always been a home to come back to -- a candle in the window, a bed for him to sleep in, arms to hug him. Now it was all gone. Zipacna couldn't go home now, for there was no home left.

Zipacna could never go home again.

So he turned around, and went the other way up the road.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Hun Caquix Buys the Farm.

Once there was a farmer who had two sons,
Hun Caquix and Vucub Caquix:
One Macaw and Seven Macaw.

The time came when the father died,
For his mortal legacy to divide.

The older brother was the heir;
He wished to still remain a pair.
And so he said to Seven Macaw:
We must be two, it is the way:
One the first and one the second,
One the elder, one the younger,
One the greater, one the lesser.
With me in my house you must stay.

But Seven Macaw thought to himself:
I can stay with Hun Caquix
Forever on my brother's leash;
Or I can go off on my own,
To see what fortune may have sown.

So Seven Macaw left the farm behind
A destiny of his own to find.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Verse Drama: The Shaking of the Day of Seven Macaw.

[I've completed the first part of this project, "The Shaking of the Day of Seven Macaw", a verse drama set during the cataclysmic events at the end of the Third Age, which closely follows the Popol Vuh storyline. Here is the complete drama, linked into the correct narrative order.]

The Shaking of the Day of Seven Macaw

A Verse Drama Based on the Popol Vuh

Dramatis Personae

[The characters' Mayan names have different pronunciations. The ones I've given here make my rhymes work right.]

Hurucan (pronounced like "Hurricane"), also "Heart-of-Sky": storm-god, Chief Sky God, Cosmic Creator-Destroyer Deity.

The Hero Twins, Hunahpu (HOO-na-poo) and Xbalanque (Ex-ba-LAN-kay): sons of the original sun god, One-Hunahpu.

Seven Macaw, also Vucub Caquix (WOO-koob Ka-KEESH): bird-human shapeshifter and self-styled sun god.

Chimalmat (Chee-MAL-mot or Chee-mal-MOT): bird-human shapeshifter, wife of Seven Macaw


1. Among the Sky Gods.

2. In the Nance Tree. 

3. The Hero Twins' Challenge (or, "Xbalanque, Hunahpu, Have I Got a Deal For You!") 

4. The Fall of Seven Macaw (or, Hunahpu Flips the Bird). 

5. The Bird Is Caught in the Snare.

6. The Death of Seven Macaw (or, "This Is an Ex-Parrot!").

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Bird Is Caught in the Snare.

[This section explains something rather puzzling in the Popol Vuh story: when Seven Macaw is shot in the jaw by the Hero Twins, instead of getting the wound treated immediately by someone he trusts, he just lies around for several days letting it fester, until he is so weakened that he easily falls prey to the Twins' ruse in the final episode. What is the reason for his self-destructive behavior? A simplistic explanation would be that the character is just stupid. But I really don't think Seven is stupid.

Here, I've put together a plausible dramatic scenario. I'm rather proud of having come up with this plot device -- no, not THAT proud. Don't shoot me! =)]

What shall we do about Seven Macaw?
So far we have only broken his jaw.

Seven Macaw's pride will destroy him.
He won't seek help until it's too late.
Then we will offer him help, indeed --
When he is sick, we'll take his riches.
We'll beguile him with friendship,
We will kill him with kindness.

The two brothers laughed at their sport;
And it happened as Hunahpu said.

For thus said Seven Macaw:
Hunahpu claims I am not divine;
He knows not the glory that is mine.
Because of the metal in my eyes
I am immortal; I cannot die.
I need no aid to mend my bone;
I'll heal this ill by will alone.
They all the world will know and see
Seven Macaw's divinity.

But the wound made by Hunahpu
Rankled and festered.

And worms came to Seven Macaw's jaw,
And the worms crawled in his teeth,
They climbed into his nose and eyes;
And in Seven Macaw's unyielding pride
The worms grew thick and multiplied.

And the Lords of Xibalba sent their demons,
With powers to sicken and weaken,
With powers to torment and stricken:

Flying Scab and Gathered Blood,
Master of Pus,  Master of Jaundice,
Bone Scepter and Skull Scepter,
Sweepings Demon, Stabbings Demon,
Wing and Packstrap --

The demons danced around Seven Macaw,
To poison his blood, to swell up his jaw,
To fill his bones and veins with putrescence.

And so the magnificent Seven Macaw,
Stubbornest of the stubborn People of Wood,
Was caught in the hunters' snare.

But while Seven Macaw sickened with pride,
His wife Chimalmat stayed by his side.

At sunset, Seven Macaw sank down in relief
And sighed, too weary even to speak,
Worn and drained, torn with pain,
Seven Macaw lay weary but awake,
Deprived of sleep by his jaw's unending ache.

And Chimalmat spoke to him softly:
Now you must rest from making light,
Let me hold you through the night.

She embraced him in her arms,
She folded him in her wings,
And Seven Macaw closed his shining eyes
Enclosed in her soft green wings.

And he who would be Moon & Sun
Surrendered to her, who surrendered to none.

Then Chimalmat sang to him in the night,
To soothe his pain, to bring respite.

And here is one song she sang:

"Remember, my dearest, how we flew through the trees
In the green forest shadows, aloft on the breeze.
Remember, my dear one, those days long ago,
When we met in the darkness, your eyes all aglow.

And I tell thee true, my dearest one,
You have always been my Moon and Sun.

In days long ago, before you were the Sun,
We sang in the treetops, our souls became one.
Even before you had lit up the Moon,
We danced in the branches, we both to one tune.

BuI I tell thee true, my dearest one,
You have always been my Moon and Sun."

And Seven Macaw said to Chimalmat,
Fortunate I am before all others,
Happy I am beyond others,
Not because I am the Sun,
Not because I am the Moon,
But because thou art my love.

And Chimalmat wept.

When the time of dawn came to the skies,
Seven Macaw opened up his eyes;
With terrible effort, he brought forth the light;
Screaming in anguish, like one giving birth
He brought the sunrise back to the Earth.

Meanwhile, the Hero Twins stood watching
For signs of Seven Macaw's downfall
See how the sunlight flashes and fades,
How it flutters and flares
Like a flickering flame;
Seven Macaw is crying in pain,
Now he is sobbing, now he is weeping.
Now he is weakened,
Now we will kill him.

I see it, Brother. He's ripe for the killing.
He'll fall into our hands like the fruit of his nance tree,
He'll fall to the ground like that fruit he's so fond of.