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Lairs of the wild
the abode of bats, swallows, and serpents. beasts of the forests, they are not only deserted but shunned by human beings, who stand in awe of them. Where now are the sages who used to assemble within their sacred precincts to delve into the mysteries of creation, to wrest her secrets from the bosom of Mother Nature? Do their spirits still hover there, as the natives assert? Purified from all earthly defilement, have they been reabsorbed in the great ocean of intelligence, as Buddhists would have us believe? Are they enjoying the perfect repose of Nirvana, waiting to be summoned to begin another cycle of mundane existences in more advanced planetary worlds than ours?
To-day I surely violate no oath if I reveal part of those very teachings that the adepts of old so carefully kept from the multitudes, whom they regarded as unworthy to participate in the divine light that had been vouchsafed to their minds; a principle practised, likewise, by the Egyptian priests, and that Clement of Alexandria, who had been initiated into their mysteries, proclaimed by asserting (Stromate XII.), “The mysteries of the faith are not to be divulged to all. It is requisite to hide in a mystery the wisdom spoken."
I will premise the explanation of the signs under consideration by stating that they teach precisely the same doctrine regarding creation that we find in " Primander," the most ancient and authentic of the first philosophical books of Egypt, attributed to Thoth, that is, Hermes Trismegistus. "Out of it [chaos] came forth the fire, pure and light, and rising it was lost in the air that, spirit-like, occupies the intermediate space between the water and the fire. The earth and the water were so mixed that the surface of the earth, covered by the water, appeared nowhere."
Again we read in the Hermetic books on the origin of things: "For there were boundless darkness in the abyss, and water, and a subtile spirit, intellectual in power, existing in chaos."
Berosus, recounting the Chaldean legend of creation, says: "In the beginning all was darkness and water."
In Genesis we read: "In the beginning darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.'
The author of the "Popol-vuh " tells us: "This is the recital of how everything was without life, calm and silent; all was motionless and quiet; void was the immensity of the heavens, and the face of the earth did not manifest itself; yet only the tranquil sea was, and the space of the heavens."
In the "Manava-Dharma-Sastra," we are told: "The visible universe in the beginning was nothing but darkness. Then the great, self-existing Power dispelled that darkness and appeared in all his splendor. He first produced the waters; and on them moved Narayana, the Divine Spirit."
As in Egyptian so in Maya, the sign our Latin letter k, or ch, which in Maya with a peculiar hard accent, cha.
corresponds to is pronounced
Cha is the radical of the verb cħab, "to create," "to bring forth from nothing," "to animate," "to give breath or life." Also of the word chah, "a drop of water."
Placed as it is in the inscription, it stands for its heading or epitome of its contents.
The next is a complex sign, as the world it represents. It is composed of a circumference, image of the horizon; of a central point, or boss, symbol of the sun; and of five radii, or rays, emanating from it. These rays are curved from right to left, to indicate the direction in which the sun
apparently travels every day. These same five radii stand for the numerical "five," ho, in the Maya language, radical of hool, the "head," "that which is above," hence the Deity, and also the universe. As to the five parts into which the circle is divided, they probably stood for the five great continents-North America, South America, Asia, Africa, and Europe.
The whole sign is therefore symbolical of the world, with the Deity, “the sun," shedding its beneficent rays over it, as it travels from east to west.
We have just seen that in the cosmogonies of all civilized nations of antiquity, in Asia and Africa, as well as in America, water is not only regarded as the primordial element, but is said to have covered the whole surface of the earth. The Mayas, the Chaldeans, and the Egyptians also called it “A," probably because that is the first sound uttered without constraint by the vocal organs of infants.
The Mayas graphically represented that name of the water by a circumference O, the shape of a drop of water, or of the horizon, sometimes with, sometimes without, a central point, indicating the sun.
When inventing the characters of their alphabet, which are mostly images of objects surrounding them, they naturally assigned it the first place. Thus "A" became the first letter in the alphabets of all nations with which they had communications, and it is yet the first letter of the majority of alphabets
The Egyptians were not the inventors of their own alphabet. They attributed it to Thoth, their god of letters. Did they learn from the Mayas the name and shape of their first letter?
“A” in Maya is radical of many words conveying the idea A few will suffice.
of humidity, generation, reviviscence.
Aakal, a pond; humidity; as a verb, to become green, as the plants after the first showers.
Aakil, to revivify; to spring back to life, as does nature after its apparent death during winter, when it lies dormant.
is the breath; the respiration; vapor.
to prepare for cultivation dried-up swamps; population; people.
This last sign is perhaps the most comprehensive, and therefore the most interesting.
As an alphabetical sign, it is the X of the Maya alphabet, pronounced as the English sh. As prefix to a noun, it indicates the feminine gender, being a contraction of ix, the feminine article. In the inscription under consideration, it represents the female forces of nature, as , component part of the Maya letter corresponding to our II, stands for ah, the masculine article, the male forces. The character the signs that in
2' is composed of two is equivalent
the Maya alphabet
to letter N in ours. As a distinct symbol it is found four times only in the Troano MS. (plates xx., xxi., xxiii., part ii.).
1 This sign has been mistaken by the learned Dr. Henry Schliemann for a svastica. Quoting my name in his work Troja (p. 122), he says it was discovered by me in the mural inscriptions of the Mayas. This is an error, so far as the meaning of the sign is concerned. Neither in the monumental inscriptions nor in the Maya books known to-day have I ever found a svastica. I am not aware that such symbol was used by the ancient Maya sages. It may have existed among them, however. All I can assert is that I have met with no proof of it.
The author of this most interesting work informs his readers that it represents the "boundaries of the two inclosed basins or seas;" that is, the two American mediterraneans, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea-a fact easily verified by tracing a general outline of the shores of the Gulf of Mexico from Cape Sable, the southernmost point of Florida, to Cape Catoche, the northernmost end of Yucatan; then continuing the drawing to Cape San Antonio, the westernmost extremity of the island of Cuba, thence following the general contour of the western shores of the West India Islands to Grenada. The curved line thus obtained will be precisely the sign
N, initial letter of the ancient names Nen-ha of the Mexican Gulf, and Nau of the Caribbean Sea.
Does not this sign recall that over which stands the serpent
with inflated breast, emblem of Lower Egypt? Under it is the image of a sieve, symbol of lordship and dominion. The sieve in Maya is called Mayab, one of the ancient names of Yucatan.
The character X, the female principle, the matrix, is the initial letter of many words relating both to water and to generation.
The ancient philosophers held, and modern physiologists teach, that all living things had their origin in water. It would appear that the Maya sages, in remote times, had discovered this scientific truth, and adapted their language to this, as to many other of their scientific discoveries, so as to express them in as concise a manner as possible. instance:
Xaa, to flow.
Xaan, to flow slowly. It becomes, by permutation,