Tikal and the Nine Mayan Gods
The Nine Mayan Gods (Bolontiku) are the principle deities having dominion over the area of Central America from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to the Isthmus of Panama. To the indigenous people of the Mayan area, the Bolontiku have historically fulfilled a cultural role combining features of Jesus Christ, the presidential cabinet, Ann Landers, and A.T. & T. all put together. That is to say, their power, wisdom, sanction and protection were invoked for all earthly and spiritual transactions Ė for healing, divination, success in agriculture, trade, politics and war; for help in personal matters such as love, childbearing, grief; for carrying (telepathic) messages over distance; and so on.
Each of the Nine has his or her own specialty (there are four female deities and five males). The Bolontiku communicate with their votaries through what we would call channeling and prophetic dreams, which to the Maya were as much a part of everyday life as the telephone and television are to us. A dream prompted by the Bolontiku can be distinguished from a normal dream by the invariable presence of one personage who says nothing but who stands in the background of whatever scene is unfolding. Upon awakening the dreamer realizes that this mute personage was actually inducing and directing the entire experience, and is in fact one of the Nine revealing a message of importance. Non-Mayans do not necessarily see the Bolontiku as Mayans: to my benefactor they appear (in dreams) as long-haired hippies; and when they have appeared to me they come in three-piece suits.
The cult of the Nine Mayan gods has fallen into general neglect among the Maya. At the same time, the fragile ecosystem of the Mayan area has been and is being threatened by the destruction of massive tracts of tropical rainforest. As a result, the Bolontiku have been calling foreigners in to revive their cult, to publicize their ecological concerns, and to buy up and preserve as much virgin rainforest as possible.
The city of Tikal, located in the remote jungle of northern Guatemala, was (and is) the sacred home city of the Bolontiku. Abandoned mysteriously a thousand years ago, the jungle swallowed it up until its excavation by the University of Pennsylvania fifty years ago (see National Geographic magazine December 1975 issue). These archeological ruins are now part of a national park-cum-nature preserve administered by the Guatemalan government.
The Bolontiku themselves are delighted to see their sacred city restored to at least part of its former grandeur. They welcome tourists to come visit them and to enjoy the spectacle of immense pyramids and plazas set in the midst of impenetrable jungle teaming with exotic birds, howler monkey and jaguars. Moreover, the Nine promise to give a valuable lesson to any visitor to Tikal who wishes to invoke them, using the following ritual:
The temple to the Nine Mayan gods is the first small pyramid you come to on the right after the entrance to the park proper (Complex Q). In front of this pyramid there is a row of eight steles, with a ninth stele in front of the row of eight. Before each stele is a squat, cylindrical altar. Do not sit or lean on these altars (this is disrespectful).
Wait for a moment when there are no other tourists or park authorities around. Take a small offering to the top of the pyramid. This can be some little gift you made yourself, or even a flower or pretty stone or leaf. With a feeling of good will, offer this gift to the Bolontiku and ask them to please give you a lesson. Make the offering either aloud or silently, as you prefer, using your own words and sentiments. Donít be afraid; just relax and feel good. Although the Nine can have a fearsome aspect, they are actually a joyous bunch of spirits. They come in the winds and they sing with the birds. Rest assured that any petition made to them in good faith will be answered. Then thank them and descend from the pyramid, and go off and stroll around the rest of the ruins.
If you donít get a message right away, donít worry about it. You may get a message in your dreams that night. If you donít, you can repeat the ritual the next day. Before you leave Guatemala, you will receive a message loud and clear.
Bob Makranskyís Astrology Corner © 2001