The myth of Maya creation as recorded in the Popul Vuh starts with One Ahuapu (the first father) walking past the mouth of a cave. The gods of the underworld call out to him and invite him to come down and play a ball game. He takes the bait and descends into the darkness, where the gods immediately behead him. They hang his severed head in a Calabash tree.

     Shortly thereafter, the daughter of one of the gods walks by and stops and speaks to the hanging head. The head spits into her hand. Naturally she becomes pregnant, and is banished from the underworld. In due course she gives birth to twin boys (the Hero Twins). They grow into strong young lads.

     After hearing the story about their father, the Hero Twins decide to go in search of him. They find the mouth of the cave (Xibalba), challenge the gods to a ball game, and win. Then thru a series of tricks in which one brother kills the other and then brings him back to life, followed by the second brother repeating the performance, the gods are dumbfounded.

     Finally, one said "Can you do that for me?". "Sure" said the twins, at which point they dutifully stepped forward to fulfill the god's request, and slayed him. Then, instead of bringing him back to life, they resurrect their long dead father and head for the surface. The father, following the twins, sees corn along the trail, and takes an ear.

     As they reach the surface, the Hero Twins pass thru Xibalba and rise into the sky to become the Sun and Moon. The father emerges from the cave as the God of Maize, and is greeted by the first sunrise of the Maya world.

     All Maya everywhere believe that they are the descendants of that one ear of corn. That is the definition of who is a Maya and who is not.

     Somewhere in the Maya world tonight an old man will gather young children around a fire and tell them this story, as it has been told for over 5000 years. Scenes from it are found in Maya art from the very earliest examples. It is a fundamental piece of the Maya culture, mythology, and religion. It is the most important piece of literature ever produced in the western hemisphere, and is generally unknown.

     This video was shot in San Bartotlo, Guatemala. It shows the discovery of the masterpiece of Maya mural painting, depicting the myth of Mayan creation. It was painted around 1500 years before the Popul Vuh was written.

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