About 20 or so years ago I spent 2 years learning to read the hieroglyphs of the Maya. I had already spent countless years becoming illiterate in Egyptian hieroglyphs so it made since to look into this other great dyslexic friendly writing system. I put in the time and the brain sweat only to find that when I got to the point where I could just start to read the literature that I was totally turned off by all the religious bloodshed, horror and flaying of living humans. I had the key to open the door but did not like what was on the other side. So I quit my studies and almost all of it drained out of my head. One of the few things I got from that time is a lasting love of the Popol Vuh. My next project is the brothers One and Seven Hurricane and their ball court on the top of death's domain.
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Father/Mother of all the people
  • Xpiyacoc
    (Father of of 1 & 7 Hunahpu)
  • Xmucane
    (Mother of 1 & 7 Hunahpu, maker of the blue green plate)

Ball Court Heroes Defeated
  • 1 Hunahpu
    (1 Blowgunner)
  • 7 Hunahpu
    (7 Blowgunner)

Parents of Hunahpu and Xbalanque
  • Head of 1 Huahpu
  • Blood Women
    (Maiden Daughter of Blood Gatherer)

Ball Court Heroes Triumphant
  • Hunahpu
  • Xbalanque
    (Little Jaguar Sun)

Lords of Xibalba (Land of the Dead)
  • 1 Death
  • 7 Death
  • House Corner
  • Blood Gatherer
    (Father of Blood Women)
  • Pus Master
  • Jaundice Master
  • Bone Scepter
  • Skull Scepter
  • Trash Master
  • Stab Master
  • Wing
  • Pack Stap

Messengers of the Lords of Death
Military Keeps of the Mat
  • Shooting Owl
  • One-Legged Owl
  • Macaw Owl
  • Skull Owl (skull w/ wings)

Breakdown of Popol Vuh
    Part 1: The Defeat of 1 and 7 Hunahpu

  1. 1 and 7 Blowgunner play ball all day with 1 Hunahpu's sons 1 Monkey and 1 Artisan
  2. Their ball court is above Xibalba (land of the dead)
  3. 1 and 7 death are upset by the noise
  4. They send messenger for 1 and 7 Hunahpu to come play ball with them
  5. Xibalba wants their game equipment, kilts, yokes, arm guards, panaches, headbands and rubber ball
  6. 1 & 7 Huahpu leave their rubber ball in the eves and leave 1 Monkey and 1 Artisan behind with their mother.
  7. Messenger takes them by the roads to Xibalba
  8. 1 & 7 Hunahpu are fooled by manikins dressed as lords - the lords laugh at them
  9. 1 & 7 Death invites them to set on a stone bench which is a cooking stone. The are burned the Lords laugh
  10. Taken to Dark House and given a torch and cigars already lit told to given then back unused in the morning.
  11. When they can not return the torch and cigars they are sacrificed and the head of 1 Hunahpu is hung in a tree that bares fruit looking like the skull of Huahpu. No one will eat the fruit or go near the tree.

    Part 2: Blood Women is With Child of the Skull 1 Hunahpu

  12. Blood Women, maiden daughter of Blood Gatherer, hears tales of the tree and its fruit and goes to see it in the place of ball court sacrifice.
  13. The head of 1 Hunahpu speaks to her "Don't you want the fruit?" She replies "I do want it!" the head says "stretch out your right hand!"
  14. The Skull of 1 Hunahpu spits saliva into the center of her right hand. The head of 1 & 7 Hunahpu were of one mind during the act.
  15. Hunahpu and Xbalanque generate in the belly of the maiden Blood Women
  16. Skull of 1 Hunahpu tells Blood Woman to go to the surface. But she does not at first.
  17. Maiden daughter's state is noticed by her father
  18. Blood Gatherer and the Lords of Xibalba "get her to tell who or if she will not say sacrifice her.
  19. Blood Gatherer to Blood Women, his daughter "who is responsible?"
  20. Blood Women "I know no man's face so there can not be a child"
  21. Blood Gatherer to the 4 Military Keepers of the Mat "take her away to sacrifice and bring back her heart in a bowl.
  22. The four messengers (owls) take Blood Women by the hand and carrying the bowl and white knife of sacrifice take her away.
  23. Blood Women to messengers "It would not turn out well if you sacrificed me!" And she tells them how she came to be carrying the children of 1 Hunahpu.
  24. What are we going to use in place of your heart?
  25. They use nodules of sap

    Part 3: Hunahpu and Xbalanque are Born

  26. Blood women comes to the mother of 1 Monkey and 1 Artisan and tells her that she is her daugher in-law
  27. If you are truely my daugher in-law go get corn and feed 1 Monkey and 1 Artisan.
  28. I Monkey and 1 Artisan spend all their time playing music and entertaining their grandmother. There is only one clump of corn in their garden.
  29. Blood Women pulls at the cornsilks at the top of the clump and pulls out the image of the corn to fill her net without picking any of the corn.
  30. Grandmother goes to the garden and sees that the clump of corn is undisturbed. In this way she knows that Blood Women speaks the truth and carrys her grandchilden within her belly.
  31. Blood Women gives birth in the mountains. When she returns to the house of her mother in-law Hunahpu and Xbalanque scream and scream and keep everyone up.
  32. Grandmother "throw them out of here!"
  33. 1 Monkey and 1 Artisan are great Knowers and know already the true of their younger brothers but they are jealous and want them to die.
  34. They put the babies on an ant hill but they sleep soundly.
  35. The throw them in brambles but the sleep soundly and are not hurt.
  36. 1 Monkey and 1 Artisan do not want to let them in the house at first.
  37. Hunahpu and Xbalanque shoot birds every day and bring them home to feed the family. But 1 Monkey and 1 Artisan would not give them their meals. They would eat all the food themselves.
  38. One day Hunahpu and Xbalanque return without bring birds and Gandmother is very angry. "Why do you not bring birds?"
  39. Hunahpu and Xbalanque say "We shot birds but they got hung up in a tree."
  40. In the morning Hunahpu and Xbalanque took their older brothers into the forest to a Yellowwood tree. There they shot many birds but none of them feel from the tree.
  41. Hunahpu and Xbalanque tell their older brothers to climb up in the tree to get the birds. Once they climb into the tree the tree starts to grow and they can not get down.
  42. "Help us younger brothers. Reach up you hands and pull us down!"
  43. "Undo your pants, tie them around your hips, with the long end trailing like a tail behind you, and then you'll be better able to move."
  44. They did as they were told and became the people of the trees, now howling, now leeping from branch to branch. So were 1 Monkey and 1 Artisan defeated.

    Part 4: Hunahpu and Xbalanque are Called to Xibalba Like Ther Father Before Them.

  45. Hunahpu and Xbalanque made a garden. They use the magic of their mattock and ax to clear the land. In the morning the land and trees had grown up again. This happened day after day until they decided to watch at night to see who was undoing their work.
  46. All the animals came in the middle of the night and said "Arise, conjoin, you trees! Arise, conjoin, you bushes!" All the animals run from them and get away. Only the rat do they catch.
  47. The rat says "I will not die by your hand! Gadening is not your job, but there is something that is."
  48. The rat tells them that their Grandmother hides their father's ball and equipment in the eves of the house.
  49. Hunahpu and Xbalanque finds the ball and equipment and go to the ball court where they play ball all day.
  50. 1 and 7 death are upset by the noise
  51. They send messenger for 1 and 7 Hunahpu to come play ball with them
  52. They each planted a corn plant within the house so that their Grandmother would know if they still live.
  53. Hunahpu and Xbalanque summon a mosquito and sends it ahead and then listens at each of the Lords cry out. So they come to know the names of each of the lords.
  54. Hunahpu and Xbalanque are not fooled by manikins dressed as lords. They call each lord my name. They are not defeated.
  55. 1 & 7 Death invites them to set on a stone bench which is a cooking stone. Hunahpu and Xbalanque know that it is a cooking stone and will not set. Again the Lords are defeated.
  56. Taken to Dark House and given a torch and cigars already lit told to given then back unused in the morning.
  57. Hunahpu and Xbalanque use the tail of a macaw to make the torch like like it was burning and fireflies to make the cigars look like on fire. In the morning they returned the torch and the cigars and the the Lords of Xibalba were defeated again.
  58. Lords of Xibalba play ball with them using a ball covered in bone with a white knife inside designed to kill them but Hunahpu stops it with his yoke.
  59. After that they play only with their rubber ball. They play for four bowls of flowers and the boys loose.
  60. The Lords of Xibalba set their guards to protect the garden but Hunahpu and Xbalanque send ants to collect flowers so they can pay their bet. The Lords of Xibalba are defeated again.
  61. Next the heroes are sent to Razor House. But they make a deal with the spinning knifes and are not cut.
  62. Then the are sent to Cold House, Jaguar House and House of Fire and come safe from them all.
  63. At last they come to Bat House and hide inside their blowguns to be save from the bats and their razor mouths.
  64. Hunahpu looks out to see if it is dawn and a bat carries away his head. Xbalanque makes a new one from a squash.
  65. Xbalanque sets Rabbit above the court and he plays ball with 1 and 7 Death. He sends the ball over the wall of the court and Rabbit grabs it and so the head of Hunahpu is returned to him.
  66. Hunahpu and Xbalanque summoned Xulu and Pacam two midmost seers and knowers. "We haven't dies nor have we been defeated. Xibalba seeks our death and this is how it will be their insyrument of death will be a stone oven. Tell them not to dump our bones in the canyon since we will just come back to life. Not to hang us in a tree because they will have to see our faces and we will talk to them. But to dump our bones in the river but grind them on a stone first like grinding corn.
  67. The Lords of Xibalba tell them that they should play a jumping game, jumping over each other. But Hunahpu and Xbalanque see through their game and just walk into the oven and are burned.
  68. The Lords of Xibalba call Xulu and Pacam and Hunahpu and Xbalanque's bones are ground and thrown into the river.

    Part 5: The Ball Court Heroes Return

  69. On the fifth day they reappeared. They were seen in the water by the people. They danced the dance of Poorwill, the Weasel and the Armadillos. Swallowing sword and dancing on stilts. The performed many miracles.
  70. They would sacrifice themselves and come back to life.
  71. One and Seven Death sends their messengers to invite them to come to make a show for them.
  72. "We don't wany to come because we are ashamed. We would be afraid to to go inside their lordly house. Take pity on us.
  73. The messengers have to force them to come to the place of the Lords.
  74. They came to the Lords. Feighning great humility.
  75. "Where do you come From?"
  76. "We have never known."
  77. "Very well, please enterain us. What do you want us to give you in payment?"
  78. "Well we don't anything. To tell the truth we are afraid."
  79. "Don't be afraid. Don't be ashamed. Just dance."
  80. They danced the weasel, they danced the Poorwill and the Armadillo.
  81. They sacrifice a dog and then bring it back to life and they burn the house of 1 Death and bring it back from its destroyed state. They sacrifice a human and pull out its heart and bring it back to life.
  82. "Sacrifice yourselves that is the dance we really want to see."
  83. Hunahpu and Xbalanque sacrificed each other and then came back to life.
  84. "Do it to us" said 1 and 7 Death.
  85. The sacrifice the two lords and do not bring them back to life. The second to be sacrificed begs for his life.
  86. Take pity on me!"
  87. But they do not and then they name their names and claim justice for their fathers 1 and 7 Hunahpu.