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doctrine to her followers.

This most ancient and universal belief, that the inferior gods-that is to say, the glorified spirits of eminent men and women- -are mediators between the Divinity and earth's inhabitants, has survived to our day, and is still prevalent with millions of human beings. The Church of Rome teaches this Her Fathers and Doctors received it from the Greek philosophers, several of whom held that “each demon is a mediator between God and man." Many festivals have therefore been instituted by the Church in honor of the saints, who, the faithful are taught to believe, convey their prayer to the Almighty.

True, these do not, as the devotees in some temples in India still do, stamp the red imprint of their hands on the walls, to remind the god of their vow and prayer; but they fasten votive offerings made of gold, silver, copper, or wax, according to the worshipper's means, to the image and to the altar of the saint invoked.

Such votive offerings, made of clay, are found scattered most abundantly round the altars in the temples of the ancient Mayas, or buried in the ground at the foot of the statues of their great men.

It is well known that no two individuals have hands of exactly the same size or shape; that the lines in the palms differ in every person. The red impress of the hand, on that account,


Plato, Simpos, vol. iii., pp. 202–203 (edit. Serrain). St. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, v., lib. c., p. 260 (edit. Potter), in admitting that the good demons were the angels, stated the opinion of many Christians of his time; and Dionysius Areopagite, in his Celestial Hierarchy, chap. x., § 11, says: "All the angels are interpreters and messengers of their superiors; the most advanced, of God who moves them, and the others as they are moved by God."

2 Account of General Grant's visit to the Maharajah of Jeypoor, New York Herald, edition of April 12, 1879.

came to be regarded as a private seal, a mark of ownership.1 As such it was used from time immemorial by the Mayas, in whose temples and palaces can yet be seen numerous red imprints of hands of various shapes and sizes. Such impressions being met with in all places in Polynesia and in India where other vestiges of the Mayas are found, may serve as compass to guide us in following their migrations over the vast expanse of land and sea, and to indicate the ancient roads of travel. In time the red color, used in thus recording invocations to the gods and registering the rights of ownership, came to be accepted as legal color for seals in public and private documents. The Egyptians made use of a red mixture to stamp the imprint of their personal seals on the doors of tombs, of houses, and of granaries, to secure them.2

Red seals are used by the Mongol kings on all official documents.3 This custom of using materials of a red color to seal all important and legal documents has reached our times; it still obtains among all civilized nations.

The foregoing facts tell us, it is true, of the adoption of the red color, among all civilized nations of antiquity, as symbol of nobility of race and of invocation-devotees using it in recording their vow or prayer when imploring the benison of the gods on themselves or their homes; also of its being employed in seals as mark of ownership, hence of dominion over the objects thus sealed; but nowhere is any mention made of the people among whom the custom originated, nor why it came to be the symbol

1 Henry R. Schoolcraft, "On the Red Hand," apud J. L. Stephens, Incidents of Travels in Yucatan, vol. ii., p. 476, Appendix.

p. 437.

Sir Gardner Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, vol. iii., chap. xvi.,

M. Huc, Recollections of a Journey through Tartary, Thibet, and China, vol. i., chap. viii., p. 182.

of acts so dissimilar as the assertion of power, might, and dominion, and the recording of a prayer and a supplication. It is again from the Mayas that we may learn the cause of this seeming antithesis; the various meanings of the single Maya word chac afford a complete explanation.

Chac is the Maya word for "red." Chaac is the rain-storm, and the thunder, that powerful and terrible genius that produces the rain which brings fertility to the earth. This giant, this Chac, was held as the "god of rain," "the god of plenty," "the keeper of the fields," in whose honor the great festival, called Tupp-Kak, "the extinguishment of fire," was celebrated in the month of Mac, when the priests, assisted by the Chacs, their aids, implored his blessing in the shape of abundant rains, to bring forth the crops and produce plenteous harvests, hence joy and happiness to the people.

Here, then, we find the reason why the color red was at the same time the symbol for violence and for supplication or prayer. It typified the violence of the thunder, the god of rain, and the supplications of his priests that he should grant a bountiful harvest that would insure happiness to his worshippers.

The cross was his emblem.?

'Landa, Las Cosas de Yucatan, † xl., p. 252.

This month of Mac began on the 13th of our month of March, and ended on the 2d of April.

Aug. Le Plongeon, Sacred Mysteries, etc., p. 128, et passim.


THE following invocation to the god of rain was made known for the first time to students of American antiquities by the learned Abbé Brasseur in his Chrestomathy.' He tells us he had it from a native, while at the hacienda of X-Canchakan. It is one of the many ancient prayers yet extant among the natives, who still repeat them when, in the obscure recesses of the forests, or in the depths of the dark, mysterious subterranean caves with which the country is honeycombed, they perform some of the antique rites of the religion of their forefathers.2

As published, the invocation, adulterated by the interpolation of Christian words taught the natives by the Catholic priests, despoiled of its archaic form, loses much of its interest. The individual who translated it for the Abbé, either did it very carelessly, or purposely did not interpret all the words, or was very illiterate. As presented it is stripped of its most

'Abbé Brasseur, "Chrestomathie," in his Eléments de la Langue Maya, Troano MS., vol. ii., p. 101.

Alice D. Le Plongeon, Here and There in Yucatan, pp. 88–89.

instructive features, which relate to certain religious practices in use among devotees in olden times. Although the learned Abbé says he has tried to improve the translation, it is certain that he himself is far from having apprehended the true meaning of the Maya words. As for Dr. Brinton-who in his books poses as authority on all matters pertaining to the Mayas and their language, and is very prone to criticise others by rendering verbatim, in English, the French abbé's version, he has conclusively demonstrated that he does not understand the context of the prayer better than Brasseur, who, he affirms, "knew next to nothing about Maya."3



On our return to Yucatan in June, 1880, Señor Dn. Vicente Solis de Leon, one of the present owners of the hacienda of X-Canchakan, within the boundaries of which are situated the ruins of the ancient city of Mayapan, invited Mrs. Le Plongeon and myself to visit the remains of the famous abodes of the powerful king Cocom, and of his descendants until the year 1446 of the Christian era, when, according to Landa, the lords and nobles of the country, with the chief of the Tutuxius at their head, put to death the then reigning Cocom and his sons, sacked his palace, and destroyed by fire his city and stronghold, after removing the libraries and other precious things from the temples and private dwellings.*

Being at X-Canchakan, I met a native, Marcelo Canich, an old Mayoral who had lived for more than forty years on the 1 Dr. Brinton presumes to criticise, without adducing his reasons for so doing, the assertion made by the author that the ancient Maya architects made use, in the construction of their edifices, of a lineal measure identical with the metre. For an answer to this unfounded criticism, see Appendix, notes xii, and xiv.

2 D. G. Brinton, Essays of an Americanist, p. 167.

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Ibid., p. 261. For a reply to this assertion, see Appendix, note xv.

'Landa, Las Cosas de Yucatan, chap. viii., p. 50.

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