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Cussler's Serpent

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  • Dan Washburn
    My wife has been reading Clive Cussler s novel Serpent about Phoenecian contact with the Maya. She has been showing me interesting excerpts, so I thought I d
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 26, 2000
      My wife has been reading Clive Cussler's novel Serpent about Phoenecian
      contact with the Maya. She has been showing me interesting excerpts, so
      I thought I'd pass one along to you.

      Trout flipped through his card file and punched out a number. When
      Orville answered Trout put him on the speaker phone.
      "Ah, Mulder and Scully,” Orville said, referring to the FBI characters
      in the popular TV program. “How are things with the X-Files.’
      In the most serious tone he could muster, Trout said, “We’ve uncovered
      solid proof that those mysterious carved boats are from the lost
      continent of Mu.”
      “You’re kidding!” Orville replied breathlessly.
      “Yeah, I’m kidding. I just like to say the word Mu.”
      “Well, moo to you, too, Mulder. Now please tell me the real reason you
      “We need your opinion on those sketches Professor Chi left with Paul,”
      Gamay said.
      “Oh, the Venus glyphs.”
      “Yes, the series of eight. Each figure represents an incarnation of the
      god Venus.’
      Gamay looked at the grotesque profiles with their protruding jaws and
      foreheads. “ugh. I’ve always thought of the goddess of love as a
      delicate maiden drifting out of the sea foam on a scallop shell.’
      “That’s because you’ve been brainwashed by Botticelli’s vision and
      wasted your time on classical studies before you got out of the Temple
      of Doom game. The Mayan Venus was a male.”
      “How chauvinistic’
      “Only to a point. The Maya were firm believers in equal opportunity when
      it came to human sacrifice. Venus symbolized Quetzalcoatl or Kukulcan.
      The feathered serpent. It’s all tied in. The analogy of birth and
      rebirth. Like Quetzalcoatl, Venus disappears for part of its cycle only
      to reappear"
      “I get it,” Trout said. “The Maya decorated their temples with
      representations of the god to make him happy so he’d come back.”
      “There was some of that, yeah, toadying up to the big guy.
      You have to understand how architecture was worked into their
      religion. Mayan buildings were often fixed on key points like the
      solstice and equinox or where Venus appears and disappears. A celestial
      calculator, in other words.”
      Gamay said, “Professor Chi compared the observatory tower at the MIT
      site to a computer’s hardware, the inscriptions on its side to software.
      He felt that it was only part of the whole picture, the way one circuit
      is past of a computer?’
      “Yes, he ran that theory by me, but your carved tower has a long way to
      go before it becomes an IBM clone.”
      “Still, it’s possible that the tower and the others were part of a
      unified plan?” Gamay persisted.
      Don’t get me wrong. The Maya were incredibly sophisticated and always
      manage to surprise. They often lined up palace doorways and streets to
      point to the sun and stars at various times of the year. You see,
      predicting the movements of Venus would give the priests tremendous
      power. The Venus god told the farmers about important dates like
      planting, harvest, and rainy season. The Caracol at Chichdn Itz.á has
      windows that line up with Venus at various points on the horizon.’
      “There are no boat inscriptions on the Caracol, as far as I know,” Gamay
      “Only on those eight temples the glyphs came from. Venus disappears for
      eight days during its cycle. A scary thing if you were depending on the
      planet for important decisions. So the priests tossed a few maidens into
      a well, did some creative bloodletting, and everything was peachy again.
      Speaking of bloodletting, I’ve got a class in five minutes. Can we
      resume this fascinating discussion later?”
      Gamay wasn’t through. “You say Venus disappears for eight days and that
      there are eight temples we know of with the boat carvings. Coincidence?”

      “Chi didn’t think so. Got to go. Can’t wait to tell the class about the
      The phone clicked off. Paul picked up a yellow legal pad. ‘That was
      edifying. Let’s go over what we have. We’ve got eight temple
      observatories. Each one was built to chart the movements of Venus’ Trout
      made a note. “These structures were also dedi
      cated toward a single theme, the arrival of boats that could have been
      Phoenician, bearing great treasure. A wild guess. The observatories and
      Venus have something to do with the treasure.”
      Gamay agreed. She took the notebook and drew eight circles at random.
      “Say these are the temples?’ She drew lines connecting the circles and
      stared at her doodles for a moment “There’s something here:’ she said.
      Paul looked at the scribbles and shook his head. “Looks like a
      flat-footed spider.”
      ‘That’s because we’re thinking in earth-bound terms. Look.” She drew two
      stars near the edge of the page. “Rise above the earth. Let’s say this
      is Venus at its extreme points on the horizon. That temple I saw at MIT
      had two slotlike openings like an archer’s port in a castle. Here’s what
      you would see if you drew a line from the window to one extreme of
      Venus. Now I’ll do it out the other window.” Satisfied with her artwork,
      she drew lines from each observatory to the Venus points.
      She stuck the rough grid she’d produced under Paul’s nose.
      “Now it looks like the mouth of an alligator about ready to have
      dinner." he said.
      “Maybe. Or a hungry serpent?’
      “Still thinkh g about that snake?”
      “Yes and no. Dr. Chi wore an amulet around his neck. He called it the
      feathered serpent. That’s what this reminds me of, the jaws of
      “You need the exact locations of the observatories, even admitting its
      possible to make sense from this. too bad Chi is in the field. Gamay
      was half listening. “I just thought of something. That talking stone
      Kurt and Joe are out looking for. Wasn’t it supposed to show some kind
      of grid?”
      ‘That’s right. I wonder if there’s a connection.”
      Trout picked up the phone. “I’ll call and leave a message for Chi to get
      in touch with us as soon as possible. Then we’ll give Kurt a ring to
      tell him you may have something?’
      She examined her doodle-bug sketches again. “Yes, but what?”
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