Mayan Religion

         There were many different Gods that the Mayan people worshiped and all gods had a good and bad side. The major God of the Mayan people was Izamna, who was known as the fire and earth God as well as being a creator. Kukulan was also an important God to the Mayan people and is featured on many of their temples as a feathered serpent. Chac was another very important God because he was known as the god of rain and lightning. Bolon Tzauab was a great and significant God only to the royal people because only they could make contact with him.

            The various Mayan leaders also took on the role as pastor or preacher to the people and were the only ones besides the priest who could make contact with all the different Gods. When these leaders would die they would be buried with many beautiful gifts and placed in big and lavish style tombs as their final resting place.

            The Mayan people were also big believers of the afterlife; believing that the soul never died but instead continued on a dangerous journey in the after world. They believed in a heaven, but thought that it was reserved only for those who died at childbirth and the men and woman who were used as sacrifices to the Gods. They believed in human sacrifices because they felt that it was the only means of contact with the Gods. Sacrificing life was their way of feeding the Gods and receiving their blessings, and they feared that if they did not sacrifice humans, they would be severely punished.   At the ceremonies the person being sacrificed had his or her own heart ripped out and burned as a way of showing the Gods the ultimate respect.

    The Mayan people also thought that everyone had an animal spirit born with them. They thought that the same exact soul placed in them as a human being was also placed in an animal when they were born. It could have been any animal from as small as a mouse to as big as a elephant, either way this was their belief and they were very passionate about it and believed in very much. The Mayan people also believed that they could turn into these animals that shared their human spirit. Even though the Mayans believed that most people could not choose the animals they shared their spirit with, they believed that the kings were the exception to this rule. They believed that all kings would share their spirits with the jaguar which was a highly respected and loved animal by the Mayan people.  

     In a lot of the Mayan art work the kings are often shown wearing big elaborate jaguar helmets.  The Mayans did things such as bloodletting to connect with the animals that shared their spirit, this seemed as very extreme to me but to the Mayan people this was a normal part of there every day worship. This was very unmoral to me because they would actually cut themselves and bleed because they believed it not only connected them to the animal spirit but also to the gods that they loved and worshiped. At the end of the day we can learn a lot from the Mayan people and the way they worshiped.