Ix’chel, the generative and destructive Moon Maya

The Maya settled around 250 A.D. in the territories that today comprise Guatemala and the Yucatan in Mexico, their mythology was heavily influenced by the moon in all Mesoamerican cultures, involving some human events as pregnancy and tissue phases of the moon.

In Maya mythology, Ix’chel, “The White” or “Lady Rainbow” was the goddess of love, pregnancy, textile workers, the Moon and medicine.

Was represented as an old midwife emptying a pitcher of water on land or as an old woman weaving on a loom. Two of the Maya codices, the Dresden codex and the Madrid codex, have shown very clear representations of the Moon goddess and from them has been demonstrated that there was an interpretation of the Moon as a goddess of weaving, because it is represented by spindles, needles, tools for spinning and by the spider, an animal that symbolizes the action of knitting. Also showed that one of his avocations was considered evil, and they are represented in the codices, as an old woman, emptying bottles of anger on the world.

She had several shrines, such as Chichen-Itza (525 AD) one of the main settlements of the Maya during the Post-classic period in the Yucatan Peninsula, located 110 km east of Merida, capital of the Mexican state of Yucatan.
His temple on the island Cuzamil (Cozumel), the sacred island, was where young women came seeking to be fertile and more attractive and also to ask that their pregnancies procreate children their husbands wanted. The temple on the southern tip of Isla Mujeres on the cliff, is at the highest point above sea level throughout the Yucatan Peninsula and is part of the actual natural park Garrafón.

Ix’chel was worshiped as the goddess of the moon, the feminine character of it, represented fertility closely linked with the land, because they were the cycles of the moon which ruled the time of planting and harvesting.

For the Maya, the mother Ix’chel was presented with two aspects: on one hand was the mother and maternal charity and the other was destructive, so sometimes shown as a young woman, carrying a rabbit, associated with crescent moon and other appears as a goddess old, angry and destructive with a snake in his head, surrounded by symbols of death and destruction at the time the moon is waning. The rabbit is a symbol of fertility and the snake is a symbol of wisdom and knowledge hidden.

The Mayas said they had all the waters of the heavens in its belly, “… take a bucket full of water and causing flooding and storms dumped rain …” and thought in eclipse, the moon was exposed and threatened to their wards, for this reason during the eclipse the pregnant woman should not leave home, because the child could be born with a cleft lip or some other hereditary malformation.

According to local legend, in the beginning when the gods were mortal, there was a beautiful princess named Ix’chel, who was wooed by many men, including a young man named Itzamná. A prince of another empire’s met and fell in love with her. When the two fought, Itzamná was wounded in the back and died. Ix’chel to see the death of her lover commended his soul to Ixtab and took his life.

Itzamná became the Sun God, and Ix’chel, his wife and the Moon Goddess.




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