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Maya Gods and Goddesses

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From before their conquest, Maya lived in city states throughout the Yucatan Peninsula, parts of Honduras, Belize, Guatemala, and the El Salvador areas of modern Mesoamerica, but shared worship of the same gods and goddesses and human sacrifice. In addition to gods being in charge of specific functions or places, as is common among polytheistic religions, Maya gods appear to have ruled during specific segments of time, as indicated by the calendar of the Maya.

Gods are known by name and letter. For more on the letter names, see Representation of Deities of the Maya Manuscripts.

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1. Ah Puch

Ah Puch is the god of death. His depiction is skeletal, with corpses and skulls. He may be shown with black spots. He is also known as Yum Kimil and the A god. Ah Puch's day is Cimi.

2. Chac

Chac is a benevolent fertility god. He is god of agriculture, rain and lightning. He may be represented as an old man with reptilian features. He is connected with the Aztec god Tlaloc.

Chac may be god B. God B is associated with life and never death. The day associated with god B may be Ik.

3. Kinich Ahau

Kinich Ahau is a Maya sun god. He sounds like God D, whose day is Ahau, which is equivalent of "king". God D is shown as a toothless old man, or with one tooth in his lower jaw. He never appears with symbols of death. Other suggestions for god D are Kukulcan and Itzamna.

4. Kukulcan

The Aztec knew Kukulcan as Quetzalcoatl ("feathered snake"). A serpent and hero-god, he taught the Maya about civilization and was associated with rain. He was also associated with the four elements, the colors yellow, red, black, and white, and good and evil. Worship of Quetzalcoatl included human sacrifices.

Kukulcan is probably god B, although Chac is another possibility. The day associated with god B may be Ik. God B has a black body, large nose and tongue hanging out to the side. God B is associated with life and never death.

5. Ix Chel

Ix Chel is a rainbow, earth, and moon goddess of the Maya. Ix is a feminine prefix.

6. Ixtab

Ixtab is the Maya goddess of the hanged and suicide. She is depicted with a rope around her neck.

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