Ep: Mayan word for center "direction"?
My first post got garbled somehow. Must have been a bad keyboard
I got a hold of--will try again.
Curt Rosengren <curt@...> wrote:
>The Mayans, if I understand correctly, saw "center" as a cardinalAmong the Tzotziles of Zinacantan , the "navel of the earth"
>point (in addition to north, south, east, and west). I'm trying
>to find what the Mayan word for that center "direction" is, as
>well as more details about the concept itself.
>Does anybody know? Or do you have any suggestions for other
>resources I might turn to?
is referred to as the "Mishik Balamil" situated within, or at a
small rounded mound, surrounded by four larger hills where the
Vashak-Men (Sky Bearers) are believed to dwell. This term can be
compared to the Chumala word "Smisik Banamil"  which is also
regarded as a "navel of the earth" pertaining to their ceremonial
A similar configuration can be found among the Yucatec Maya 
of Landa's time, where four Balams (or Four Corners, of modern
days] were believed to guard the community, with the fifth Balam,
called Thup (The Little One) dwelling in the center of the
community. Thup appears to be the equivalent of the modern
Lacandon T'uup ("little one," youngest son of the Hachakyum, and
associated with the sun). In Lacandon narrative, T'uup is believed
to have planted a giant cedar next to the house of the gods at
Palenque  and is also associated with the a giant Ceiba next
to the house of our Lord at Yaxchilan, where he is said to have
danced and sung.
And in the Chilam Balam of Tizimin , the central green Imix
Tree is referred to as the "Yax Imix Che" in the middle of the
land "T u chumuc cab," and surrounded by four other Imix trees.
The color associated with the central 5th point here is green, or
green-blue, and has obvious connections with the symbolism of the
quetzal and jade (cf. the Imix Tree imagery of Izapa stela #25).
The interior of mountains / hills / trees / ceremonial center as
dwelling places of supernaturals suggests that the central point
can also be conceived as a direction (e.g., internally directed),
and not only as a place-point; thereby pointing possibly to the
interior world of supernaturals when seers reference the center.
It is tempting to further speculate about the nature of this
central point, especially when thinking of the theoretical world
of hyperspace  and its various dimensions, that is, if one
should desire to attempt to give these conceptions further
 1981 E. Z. Vogt, "Some Aspects of the Sacred Geography of
Highland Chiapas," in Mesoamerican Sites and World
Views, Elizabeth Benson ed., p. 221. Washington D.C.:
 1974 S. G. Gossen, Chamulas in the World of the Sun: Time
and Space in a Maya Oral Tradition, pp. 5-8. Harvard
 1973 A. Villa Rojas, "The Concepts of Time and Space Among
the Contemporary Maya," in Time and Reality in the
Thought of the Maya, M. Leon-Portilla ed., p.124.
Boston: Beacon Press.
 1982 M. S. Edmonson, The Ancient Future of the Itza,: The
Book of the Chilam Balam of Tizimin, pp. 48-49. Austin:
University of Texas.
 1982 D. Boremanse, "A Comparative Study in Lacandon Maya
Mythology," Journal de la Societte Des Americanistes,
 1994 M. Kaku, Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through
Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the 10th Dimension.
Oxford University Press.