Archive for the ‘Uxmal’ tag
The photo here was taken in Mérida, the capital city of the Yucatan, at the Anthropology and History Museum on the Paseo Montejo. It is a Mayan figure similar to one I photographed at Uxmal which was still on the wall of a Mayan building.
Obviously, the figure is male. Strangely, the bodies both at Uxmal and here are both headless. Both have bound hands as though the male is prisoner. Both have genitals exposed.
Realizing that these figures are found in a religious context, it follows that they are more symbolic than historical. So what can these figures be telling us? Perhaps, that as humans, human males, the ruling forces are sexual, not spiritual. Men are trapped in their bodies which demand so much. The power of instinctual drives dominate when one is not aware, not far along on the journey of individuation.
Today, it is still hard in our modern world. How does one balance the polarity of masculine and feminine which are resident in each of us? Regardless of our intellectual states, our bodies betray us, demand of us. And as a counter, the soul, the opposite, demands as well it share of presence. So begins the work of midlife, the marriage of both aspects within the psyche.
Above the entrance to the main temple near the top of the Magician’s Pyramid in Uxmal, the representation of Chaac, the rain god, includes this detail of two naked bodies with their backsides together. One is obviously a male while the second figure, the one on the left is not in good enough shape to distinguish gender. Since rain is about life, it would be my guess that the second figure was female. The Chaac figure is found on almost every building at Uxmal. Some of them with the pendulous nose pointed towards the heavens as though to catch the rain and some of them have the nose pointing downwards as though to feed the earth with the life-giving waters. Nude figures in Mayan ruins are often depicting slaves and humans that are sacrificial. The theme of sacrifice is strong in Mayan religion.
Mayans acted out the collective unconscious at a basic level believing that the gods could be reached only with knowledge, ritual and prayer that was beyond the normal conscious state. Sacrifice was essential to make this mythological journey to the gods. Today, we still must make the journey into the the collective unconscious through our own rituals, sacrificing skepticism and the dogmatic belief in only one rational world. This kind of sacrifice is risky for most people, too risky. In a way, one needs to become trustingly submissive and stripped of all artifice, the price for the journey through the underworld that is dark and moist and pregnant with life giving awareness.
Just two posts previously I spoke of how a broken decorative brick, green with sea algae, ellicted thoughts of Celts and the Celtic world. Yesterday, a visit to Uxmal adding a number images and a wealth of resonances to my treasure chest. Here is a detail of one of the bricks that was laying on the ground in front of the Magician’s Pyramid. Looking at the various buildings on the site, structures build from 500 to 1000 AD, I noted many such designs. The beach brick had done its work in preparing my eyes and mind for the experience of Uxmal – a happy coincidence, a synchronicity.
I will be posting other images from Uxmal over the next while and reflecting.