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

No comments:

Post a Comment