2012 - Science Or Superstition?/JMJ/14
Going hand-in-hand with visionary shamanism, which was a journeying into the outer cosmos in a spiritual sense, was an interest in the actual astronomical sky. At Palenque, near the famous square palace building, in that complex of buildings there are several very interesting areas that are like courtyards. They are rectangular areas surrounded by walls about three feet high. It's now believed that these were once filled with water, and Mayan astronomers and visionary calendar priests would sit around this, and at night the sky would be reflected in the still water of these rectangular pools. This is how the Maya did their stargazing. It's very interesting because instead of looking up at the sky they were looking down at the sky reflected in the water. Very interesting, because for the Maya, the sky at night was envisioned as the underworld flipped upside-down. So all the stars and planets that are moving around and doing alignments in the sky were actually the activities of the underworld deities. This is a really interesting idea because is shows how apparent opposites, like sky and underworld are integrated in the Mayan concept.