Mushrooms and Fleur-de-lis Emblem Encoded In Maya Creation Scene

Photograph © Justin Kerr

By Carl de Borhegyi

Above is a carved Maya vessel K5420 photographed in roll-out form by Justin Kerr.  The drinking vessel depicts an esoteric scene of creation that takes place in the Maya  Underworld.  I propose that the bearded deity on the far right, represents the Mesoamerican creator god Quetzalcoatl who sports a fleur-de-lis emblem on his forehead which I believe symbolizes a divine trinity.  I also propose that the symbolism and iconography on the far left depicts a stylized mushroom emerging from the anus of an upside down feline, dog or deer undergoing the mushroom’s effect of Underworld jaguar transformation (note the hands of the bearded figure on the far right are stylized as felines). In both Nauha and Maya mythology the dog usually accompanies the deceased into the Underworld as does the dwarf who may be depicted sitting on the right in front of the bearded deity right below the monkey.  It should be noted in case the animal in question is a deer, that many Hallucinogenic mushrooms, such as the Psilocybe and Panaeolus genera mushroom, grow in the dung of certain quadrupeds making the deer extremely sacred. Mushrooms found growing in the dung of the deer were easy to find and safe to consume and maybe most important extremely easy to cultivate for the purpose of trade.

According to ethno-archaeologist Peter Furst…. 

“The discovery, by early migrants into Mexico, of a functional deer-mushroom relationship could, conceivably, have served to reinforce whatever ancient Asian traditions might then still have remained alive concerning the deer as source of supernatural power, and especially the visionary gifts of shamans.”

The deer, dog, or feline is depicted inside a turtle’s shell or carapace, a scene some what  reminiscent to Hindu mythology, in which the turtle acts as the central pivot point in the Vedic-Hindu myth of the Churning of the Milk’s Ocean.  The Churning of the Milk Ocean myth is told in several ancient Hindu texts, in which the  Vedic god Vishnu is the sea tortoise depicted as the pivot point for Mt. Mantara acting as the churning stick. At the suggestion of Vishnu, the gods, and demons churn the primeval ocean with the help of a serpent, in order to obtain Amrita, (which is the Amanita muscaria mushroom I would argue) which will guarantee them immortality.  Among the ancient Maya the Turtle has been identified with rebirth, and the shell with divinity. In the creation mythology of the ancient Maya the first created image was the turtle constellation Ac, identified as the three stars (hearthstones of creation?) of the belt of Orion (Brennan,1998 p.93).    I would also argue that the turtle is a symbolic reference to the planet Venus as a divine resurrection star. I believe the symbolism of a deer sacrifice can be inferred by the trident axe located on the stem of the stylized mushroom, suggesting the ritual of Underworld decapitation. The trident blades used in ritual decapitation and the mushroom journey are both symbolic of divine portals of ancestor deification. The fleur-de-lis emblem in Maya art is an esoteric reference to a trinity of Maya gods, know as the Three Hearth Stones of creation, who separated the sky from the earth when they created the world at “Three Stone Place”. In the Quiche Maya Popol Vuh, these gods were named, Thunderbolt Hurricane,  Newborn Thunderbolt, and Raw Thunderbolt (see also Palenque Tried). The skeletal demon in this scene represents the Evening Star aspect of Venus and presides over the death of the sacrificial animal (note symbolic turtle shell). The supreme hands of death and creation are evident on the skeletal demon who esoterically depicts the creator serpent above his elongated skull, tied to his head in a knot, reminiscent of the so-called “Toothache Glyph” which refers to the supreme act of tying the royal headband or bundle, the divine symbol of completion associated with period endings and the ritual act of decapitation.  On the far right we see a scene in which a tiny human or (maybe dwarf), and monkey are created from the divine hands (note hands) of Quetzalcoatl who represents the Morning Star of Venus in this scene, and that the monkey he creates represents the divine symbol of rebirth. Maya scholars point out that when the image of the monkey, known as God C, and meaning “divinity,” is merged with another object it marks the image as “holy.” In this case the act of creation. In Maya religion the monkey represents the first of the Nine Lords of the Night or Underworld. Called the Bolon Ti Ku, these gods were responsible for guiding the Sun (identified as an underworld jaguar), into the underworld to be sacrificed by underworld decapitation and reborn and deified as the new Sun.  The first god associated with re-birth was the Monkey (GI) and Quetzalcoatl (G9) was the last associated with death and completion. The word K’uh in Classic Mayan glyphs was assigned to the monkey god and in glyphs his monkey profile was used to describe “holy” or “sacred,” referring to “divinity” or “god” (M.D. Coe 2001, p.109).

The monkey imagery in this creation scene may also alludes to the Five Suns cosmogonic accounts (Mary Miller and Karl Taube 1993; p.118), in which Quetzalcoatl in his guise as Ehecatl the Wind God presided over the second sun, ehecatonatiuh, the sun of wind, until it was destroyed by great winds. The survivors of that era were turned into monkeys and Quetzalcoatl was their ruler.  Archaeo-astronomer Susan Milbrath writes in her monumental book Star Gods of the Maya (1999,p. 256 ), that an analysis of the Dresden Codex identifies the monkey, itself,  as also related to Venus as the Morning Star.

For more on this subject read SOMA IN THE AMERICAS by Carl de Borhegyi


About deborhegyi
My research was inspired by a theory first proposed by my father, the late Maya archaeologist Dr. Stephan F. de Borhegyi, that hallucinogenic mushroom rituals were a central aspect of Maya religion. He based this theory on his identification of a mushroom stone cult that came into existence in the Guatemala Highlands and Pacific coastal area around 1000 B.C. along with a trophy head cult associated with human sacrifice and the Mesoamerican ballgame. My study, which is exclusively my own work, presents visual evidence that both the hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria mushroom and the Psilocybin mushroom were worshiped and venerated as gods in ancient Mesoamerica. These sacred mushrooms were so cleverly encoded in the religious art of the New World, "Hidden in Plain Sight" that prior to this study they virtually escaped detection. This online research study, "BREAKING THE MUSHROOM CODE" is an enormous document containing over 300 images, is presented in five parts at this time (the Home Page, Soma in the Americas, Part I and Part II, and 2012 Alert ). In the course of my study have found an abundance of archaeological evidence supporting the proposition that Mesoamerica, the high cultures of South America, and Easter Island shared, along with many other New World cultures, elements of a Pan American belief system so ancient that many of the ideas may have come from Asia to the New World with the first human settlers. I believe the key to this entire belief system lies, as proposed by R. Gordon Wasson, in early man's discovery of the mind-altering effects of various hallucinatory substances. The accidental ingestion of these hallucinogenic substances could very well have provided the spark that lifted the mind and imagination of these early humans above and beyond the mundane level of daily existence to contemplation of another reality. In summary, the encoded mushroom imagery occurred with such frequency and in such indisputably religious context that there can be no doubt as to their importance in the development and practice of indigenous religion.

One Response to Mushrooms and Fleur-de-lis Emblem Encoded In Maya Creation Scene

  1. mrsmack1985 says:

    Thanks for helping to put this info out there. It is frustrating this in not more widely known!!!

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