By Karen Bassie-Sweet
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Extra resources for At the edge of the world: Caves and Late Classic Maya world view
The serpent and the skybands,which are often conflated with the body of the serpent, have been assmned to be symbols for the ecliptic and the zodiac by many authors. Part of the problem rests in the fact that we do not know how the Maya grouped stars and what the ñames for their zodiac divisions Avere. ^® The Milky Way appears as a faint arching band of white across the sky26 hi one section the band divides into two,forming a cleft. The Quiche cali this cleft the road of Xibalba(the underworld)or the black road.
The black rift road of the Milky Way leads to this crossroads. The Gemini crossroads marks the center of the sky at sunnse on the autumn equinox and sunset on the spring equincK. Both ofthese crossroads come into conjunction with the tenestrial crossroads during the solstices. On the summer solstice^ the Scoipio cross roads rises at the southeast comer at sunset; hoveis over the south miHpnínt at midnight; and sets at the southwest comer at sunrise. The Gemini crossroads rises at the northeast comer on winter solstice, hovers over the center of the world at midnight, and sets in the northwest comer at sunrise.
It also marked Hacauitz as tbe center of tbe world; tbe Quiche establisbed tbeir first community tbere. Tbis first appearance of tbe sun also tumed tbe tbree patrón deities to stone. It is not clear wby tbis occurred, but tbe Quiche continued to bold tbese patrón deities in tbe bigbest esteem and to leave offerings to tbese stone idols. Tbese episodes tell us tbat tbe creation of safe human space involved tbe estabbsbment of a quadrilateral world based on tbe annual cycle of tbe svm and tbe setting up of patrón deities at wbat eventually became tbe borders of tbe community.
At the edge of the world: Caves and Late Classic Maya world view by Karen Bassie-Sweet