Maya Pottery Eagel Vessel
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Maya Ritual for Learning the Future
“The future is as it was ordained to be by the gods. The people can know this future, it is not prohibited, it is just reserved to be revealed in small pieces to those that ask. For to reveal the future in its entirety all at once would surely put the fate of the gods themselves in jeopardy”, so goes the saying of Tizimin a Maya seer who foretold many events in Katun 5 Ahau.
In Maya mythology, the gods had sacrificed parts of their own divine blood to give life to man. Therefore, human blood was partially made up of the blood of the gods. In order to ask the gods to reveal a snippet of the future, the Maya believed that blood had to be given back to the gods.
To understand the words of the gods, it was also necessary to request the aid of someone with a direct link between the spirit realm of the gods and the physical world. Such a link was the Vision Serpent.
Maya mythology describes serpents as being the vehicles by which celestial bodies, such as the sun and stars, cross the heavens. The shedding of their skin made them a symbol of rebirth and renewal. Thus the Vision Serpent could communicate and speak to the gods on behalf of one who is requesting to know a piece of the future.
The ceremony required a pottery vessel that had been properly purified. This vessel would hold burning ambers and copal resin (blood of trees) in preparation for calling the Vision Serpent.
The Vision Serpent was brought forth by soaking paper with blood from a self inflicted wound and placing that paper upon the ashes of the burning amber and copal.
The act of burning the sacrificed blood symbolized the transferral of the offering to the gods via the rising smoke.
From this smoke the serpent appeared. Its image would emanate from the pottery vessel and rising smoke and tower over the one who called it forth.
It is at this point that a snippet of the future would be revealed by the gods and communicated through the Vision Serpent.
Tizimin further states, “Be not surprised by what you learn; the act of asking to learn the future does not require the revelation to be what you would want it to be. The truth will remain the truth”.