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The Maya sun god as shark-mana€”one of his several guises on a newfound monument in Guatemala. Some 1,600 years ago, the Temple of the Night Sun was a blood-red beacon visible for miles and adorned with giant masks of the Maya sun god as a shark, blood drinker, and jaguar. Long since lost to the Guatemalan jungle, the temple is finally showing its faces to archaeologists, and revealing new clues about the rivalrous kingdoms of the Maya. Unlike the relatively centralized Aztec and Inca empires, the Maya civilizationa€”which spanned much of what are now Guatemala, Belize, and Mexico's Yucatán region (Maya map)a€”was a loose aggregation of city-states. El Zotz, in what's now Guatemala, was one of the smaller kingdoms, but one apparently bent on making a big impression.
By 2010 archaeologists working on a hilltop near the ancient city center had discovered 45-foot-tall (13-meter-tall) Diablo Pyramid.
Around the same time, Houston and a colleague spotted the first hints of the Temple of the Night Sun, behind the royal tomb on Diablo Pyramid.
The sides of the temple are decorated with 5-foot-tall (1.5-meter-tall) stucco masks showing the face of the sun god changing as he traverses the sky over the course of a day. One mask is sharklike, likely a reference to the sun rising from the Caribbean in the east, Houston said. The noonday sun is depicted as an ancient being with crossed eyes who drank blood, and a final series of masks resemble the local jaguars, which awake from their jungle slumbers at dusk. In Maya culture the sun is closely associated with new beginnings and the sun god with kingship, Houston explained. Maya archaeologist David Freidel added, "Houston's hypothesis is likely correct that the building was dedicated to the sun as a deity closely linked to rulership. Houston's team also found hints that the Maya, who added new layers to the temple over generations, regarded the building as a living being. By contrast, Maya workers at El Zotz went to great pains to preserve the original temple structure, going so far as padding it with earth and small rocks before building on top of it.

Project leader Houston added that the masks' colora€”crimson, according to paint tracesa€”would have also helped them stand out.
Importantly, it would have been noticeable from Tikal, a larger, older, and more powerful kingdom that El Zotz may or may not have been on friendly terms with. Despite the obvious care that was taken to construct and preserve the newfound temple, it wasn't used for long. The answer to this mystery and others could become evident as more of the Temple of the Night Sun is uncovered. This ancient Mayan symbol is representative of the Earth keeper who sanctifies the Earth and venerates all life that exists on it. The Eagle is representative of focus, mental acuity, contemplative thought, sharp awareness, foresight, keen judgment, powerful communication and inspiration. The Mayan symbol of Eagle also stands for protection, authority and control, and is considered symbolic of unity or cooperation within a diverse group.
If you are worried the world will end next year based on the Mayan calendar, relax: the end of time is still far off. So say Mayan experts who want to dispel any belief that the ancient Mayans predicted a world apocalypse next year. The National Institute of Anthropological History in Mexico has been trying to quell the barrage of forecasters predicting the apocalypse.
In the Mayan calendar, the long calendar count begins in 3,114 BC and is divided into roughly 394-year periods called Baktuns. Sven Gronemeyer, a researcher of Mayan codes from La Trobe University in Australia, who has been trying to decode the calendar, said the so-called end day reflects a transition from one era to the next in which Bolon Yokte returns. Of the approximately 15,000 registered glyphic texts found in different parts of what was then the Mayan empire, only two mention 2012, the Institute said. Atop it they found a royal palace and a tomb, believed to hold the city's first ruler, who lived around A.D.

Only recently, though, have excavations uncovered the unprecedented artworks under centuries of overgrowth. So the presence of solar visages on a temple next to a royal tomb may signify that the person buried inside was the founder of a dynastya€”El Zotz's first king. For example, the noses and mouths of the masks in older, deeper layers of the temple were systematically disfigured.
Evidence at the site suggests the building was abandoned sometime in the fifth century, for reasons unknown.
Reminding everyone of the larger forces that are behind all creation, this Earth symbol represents movement, transition and synchronization. Focusing on it is believed to facilitate clear thinking, give access to inner wisdom and encourage action that takes one to greater heights in life.
Native wisdom relates the Eagle with skill and determination too because of its ability to fulfill its needs in the most efficient way. 12, 2012 which should bring the return of Bolon Yokte, a Mayan god associated with war and creation. But specialists meeting at this ancient Mayan city in southern Mexico say it merely marks the termination of one period of creation and the beginning of another. Seen as the ruler of the sky, the Eagle is associated with freedom, mental liberation and detail-oriented vision. It also symbolizes the synergistic working of destiny that brings everyone together for shared spiritual intents.

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