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The Mayan Religion

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Maya Chabros

on 19 August 2014

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Transcript of The Mayan Religion

The Mayan Religion
The relationship between sacred spaces and the beliefs of the religion
The Mayans built two types of pyramids:
- pyramids to climb - used during human sacrifices, which would please the Gods.
- pyramids not to climb, or even touched - sacred pyramids, often built with too steep of steps to climb, or a false door. Used by a priest who'd walk up the dangerous steps and get closer to the Gods.
North America
South America
Summary of the
Popol Vuh
- the story of creation of the Maya.

Gods and Deities first created “Man” out of clay, but this creature was not satisfying them, so the clay-man dissolved and crumbled away.
The Mayan gods then created a being of wood which had no soul; thus, this “wood-manly-being”had no recollection of its creators; so the gods had it burn.
Then the Maya Gods and Deities chose to form a third kind of man, this time from corn and they were pleased. Therefore, ancient Mayas believed, and many of Mayans still respect such belief but understand its symbolism, to be the son’s of maize.

Another part of the story is about the Death Lords of the Underworld. They summon the Hero Twins (the principal characters in the creation story) to play a momentous ball game where the Twins defeat their opponents. The Twins rose into the heavens, and became the Sun and the Moon. Through their actions, the Hero Twins prepared the way for the planting of corn, for human beings to live on Earth, and for the Fourth Creation of the Maya.

How was the
world created?
The Maya are a native Mesoamerican people who developed one of the most sophisticated cultures in the Western Hemisphere before the arrival of the Spanish
The ancient
lived in
Southern Mexico
and northern
Central America
The most important deity is the supreme God Itzamná, the creator god, the god of the fire and god of the hearth.
Chac is a hooked-nose god of rain and lightning. He was believed to influence fertility and agriculture.
Bolon Tzacab god is depicted with a branching nose and is often held like a sceptre in rulers' hands. He is thought to have functioned as a god of royal descent.
There is a supernatural belief in the spirits of the forest. Some villages today have four pairs of crosses and four jaguar spirits or balam at the village's four entrances, in order to keep
evil away.
The afterlife is consisted primarily of a dangerous voyage of the soul through the underworld, which is populated by sinister gods.
The principal rituals and their significance for the individual and community
Mayan Religion
and its society
Morals and ethical teaching
Mayan texts describe religious rituals, astronomy, and divination, and are the most valuable source of information on the ancient civilization.
The traditional Mayas believe in the existence, within each individual, of various souls, usually described in quasi-material terms. The loss of one or more souls results in specific diseases. In Classic Maya texts, certain glyphs are read as references to the soul.
The reason why I chose this religion is because I have always heard a lot about the Mayans (especially in 2012, when according to them it was suppose to be the end of the world) but I never actually had a chance to learn anything about them so I was very keen to create this presantation.
The thing I found most interestinga about the Ancient Mayan religion is their amazing theories about the past and the future. Their way of combinnig astrology with their religion and, therefore, their everyday lives is also fascintaing and I'm glad I know more about it.
Role of the supernatural powers and deities
in the religion

Mayan Ancestral Music
The Mayans believed that a way to make contact with the gods or their ancestors was through self-sacrifice, in the form of ritual bloodletting. The Maya commonly made sacrifices of humans, animals, and plants, believing they would encourage the fertility of the earth and lead to good crops but also seeing them as a way to celebrate stations in the calendar or victories in war. Maya rulers, who were believed to be descendants of the gods, made special blood sacrifices, including drawing blood from the tongue, earlobes, or genitals. Neglecting to perform such sacrifices, they believed, could result in chaos and cosmic disorder. Performing this ritual was supposed to call forth ancestors’ spirits, with the spirits taking the appearance of a vision serpent. The serpent was a direct way for the Maya to communicate with the gods. It acted as a link, or portal between the supernatural and human worlds.
The religion played a huge role in the Maya world, so big that the politics and the religion were integrated and it was hard to discern the line between the two areas of the communities life.
Some of the rituals, that appear to have a solid religious backing, were also used politically.
Kings would perform bloodletting rites for every stage in life, every important political or religious event, and significant calendar period endings.
The Maya practiced a form of divination that centered on their elaborate calendar system and extensive knowledge of astronomy. It was the job of the
to discern lucky days from unlucky ones, and advising the rulers on the best days to plant, harvest, wage war, etc.
Rulers used theater in front of large audiences to display ritual performances as a means to “ground unstable community identities in tangible forms through the use of symbolic acts and objects”.

How did Mayans worship their Gods?
Principal Beliefs
The Mayan religion is Polytheist. There is more than 165 Gods to be worshiped.
The duality of the soul:
One part of the soul is indestructible, invisible, and eternal. The second soul, is the "Way', defined as "supernatural guardian" or "protector": This is a supernatural companion, which usually takes the guise of a wild animal and shares the soul witha person
from birth.
The Calendar system is a complex system used to ascertain which of the many deities are ruling a particular moment.
Most peoples souls’ are vanquished to spend their afterlives in the underworld.
The behavior of the deities is a model for appropriate human conduct and provided justifications and rationalization for elite activities, social hierarchy and political structure.
For the Maya, certain caves were considered the holiest places on Earth, part of a mystical underworld outside of normal time and space. Deities dwelled in these caves, and Mayan priests communed with them there.

In ancient Maya, the landscape that was given sacred connotations, played a crucial role. The entire topography of the earth was considered to be alive and animate. The topographic features, especially the caves, the mountains, and the water bodies were believed to be living entities participating in the day-to-day affairs of the human beings.
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