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magic ,maya and religion

It's a strange kind of bird. It adorns the huipiles of the women from San José Poaquíl and the village of Chajul, in the heart of the Quiché province. La Malinche, the indigenous wife of Hernán Cortés, is depicted with it. You find it in the back of the church in Concepción, near Sololá on the shores of Lake Atitlán. Men carry it with them, on their colorful satchels. A double-headed eagle. And a pigheaded one.
What is the importance of this double-headed, big bird of prey with its sharp, curved beak, its soaring flight and its exceptionally sharp eyesight? It dates back to the Romans, it was the emblem of the Austrian House of Habsburg but it is also found with the Aztecs in Mexico and the indigenous Mayan population of Guatemala, as it was imported by the Spanish conquistadors. It even serves Saint John as an attribute, be it with one head, in almost every church in New Spain, conquered in the name of the cross. One head or two heads, the bird is omnipresent.
In Guatemala, the legend serves as a warning for big families. Leave your children unattended and there it will be, invisible, carried by the winds, the double-headed eagle that will steal your children in the blink of an eye. Many people still believe this. Talk about psychological terror... Who wants to see their children abducted by this flying monster with its greedy claws and taken to an unknown destination and a horrible end? According to the legend, the carnivorous bird – called “Kot” by the locals – has gone mad from seeing its own image on so many huipiles. And being mad, it has become harmless. The lady of the house will always find a way to protect her offspring.
In San Juan Comalapa, a little visited town of Kaqchikel painters, the double-headed eagle also adorns the huipiles of the women. The rare and mostly foreign visitors often see this as “naïve” or “childish” art, as stereotypes have to be sustained. Unfortunately, people no longer know what the eagle represents, i.e. the duality of all things: good and bad, the sun and the moon, day and night, man and woman. Two persons in one body, the inseparable, the double vision.
Fortunately, the Mayan Cosmovision is still omnipresent. Its cycle of giving and taking clashes with modern thinking, in which taking is more important than giving, fairness is considered outdated and philanthropism becomes headline news. The bird has flown and, having gone mad, has lost one head.
Patrick Vercoutere – Cultural guide Guatemala / Tour operator with a peculiar vision on people and things

Further Information

Travel tips: Just open your eyes and you will be suprised ....
Must see/do at this place: Enjoy !
You should avoid here: Nothing !
Other helpful information: More cultural tours in Guatemala ... join us !



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By Patrick Vercoutere
Already 27 years in Guatemala and tour operating  .. certified guide and apasionate with this amazing country ... 
Three indigenous...
15 Sep 2015


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