Maya and The Number Seven

by Linda McManus on February 17, 2014, no comments

Nearly all the monuments of Yucatan bear evidence that the Mayas had a predilection for number seven. Since we find that their artificial mounds were composed of seven superposed platforms; that the city of Uxmal contained seven of these mounds; that the north side of the palace of King Can was adorned with seven turrets; that the entwined serpents, his totem, which adorn the east facade of the west wing of this building, have seven rattles; that the head-dress of kings and queens were adorned with seven blue feathers; in a word, that the number seven prevails in all places and in everything where Maya influence has predominated.

It is a fact, and one that may not be altogether devoid of significance, that this number seven seems to have been the mystic number of many of the nations of antiquity. It has even reached our times as such, being used as symbol by several of the secret societies existing among us.

If we look back through the vista of ages to the dawn of civilized life in the countries known as the old world, we find this number seven among the Asiatic nations as well as in Egypt and Mayab. Effectively, in Babylon, the celebrated temple of the seven lights was made of seven stages or platforms. In the hierarchy of Mazdeism, the seven marouts, or genii of the winds, the seven amschaspands; then among the Aryans and their descendants, the seven horses that drew the chariot of the sun, the seven apris or shape of the flame, the seven rays of Agni, the seven manons or criators of the Vedas; among the Hebrews, the seven days of the creation, the seven lamps of the ark and of Zacharias’s vision, the seven branches of the golden candlestick, the seven days of the feast of the dedication of the temple of Solomon, the seven years of plenty, the seven years of famine; in the Christian dispensation, the seven churches with the seven angels at their head, the seven golden candlesticks, the seven seals of the book, the seven trumpets of the angels, the seven heads of the beast that rose from the sea, the seven vials full of the wrath of God, the seven last plagues of the Apocalypse; in the Greek mythology, the seven heads of the hydra, killed by Hercules, etc.

The origin of the prevalence of that number seven amongst all the nations of earth, even the most remote from each other, has never been satisfactorily explained, each separate people giving it a different interpretation, according to their belief and to the tenets of their religious creeds. As far as the Mayas are concerned, it is thought to have originated with the seven members of Can’s family, who were the founders of the principal cities of Mayab, and to each of whom was dedicated a mound in Uxmal and a turret in their palace. Their names, according to the inscriptions carved on the monuments raised by them at Uxmal and Chichen, were—Can (serpent) and ɔoz (bat), his wife, from whom were born Cay (fish), the pontiff; Aak (turtle), who became the governor of Uxmal; Chaacmol (leopard), the warrior, who became the husband of his sister Moó (macaw), the Queen of Chichen, worshiped after her death at Izamal; and Nicté (flower), the priestess who, under the name of Zuhuy-Kuk, became the goddess of the maidens

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