Book: The Secret Teachings of the Popol Vuh
THE WORK WITH THE ANIMALS
Animals have traditionally been a favorite element to convey ideas, virtues, defects, works, and those things intangible to our psychology. These faculties have been represented by particular characteristics of some animals and thus, including them in allegories has always been an instrument to impart teachings.
“Then, Little-Solar-Priest (Ixbalanque) called upon all the big and small animals of the forest, so each one would select their food and finally, the tortoise arrived. Leading next to the body of Master-Magi (Hunahpu), it took the shape of his head and soon after, eyes were carved on it. Many wise ones descended from the Heavens, and from heaven the Heart of the Heavens (Hurakan) descended”
The animals of the forest represent both, the elemental forces of nature that concur to help they who know how to invoke them with their heart and soul, and also the virtues that must be put into practice on our daily lives.
The 3% of free consciousness we have is of no good to us unless we truly make use of it in our daily interactions. The Magi invoke all of the animals of the forest so they can choose what nourishes them, and that is a symbol that speaks to how we should work the values of what is left of our free consciousness.
The Tortoise, among the Maya, symbolizes the universe, but in this narrative it refers to the patience that must be upheld in the internal work that is necessary for our transformation. The radical change we must manifest does not happen overnight and it requires of both tenacity and patience.
This type of work is one that cannot be done simply by oneself, as any efforts will lead us into the consideration of self-sufficiency, conceitedness and the belief that we somehow are the center of the universe. We always need of a superior divine intervention as the one represented by the Heart of the Heavens (Hurakan). This is both our internal Father and Mother who constantly watch over us. We need to invoke of them, so they also partake on every action we start.
“It took some time to shape his face, but the end result was remarkable, his hair turned out beautifully and the face could even speak; and because it was about that time for sunrise where everything was assuming a red hue, they told the buzzard: ‘Darken again, old man’; and again everything went into darkness, and just like that, in the freshness of dawn began his existence, it truly looked like his head. ‘The buzzard has darkened’ – is what people say today”
Putrefaction is mentioned in alchemy and is associated to the “black” of the crow, and in this instance it is symbolized by the buzzard. For virtues to crystallize within the soul of man, every aspect of our inhumanity, beyond dying, must also putrefy and degrade into nothingness. The buzzard represents the work we do with “the night”, with darkness, with Saturn. It is allegoric to those infra-human elements we would never suspect having within but that in reality, we carry with us.
At those critical times when events such as war, draught, floods, and famine manifest, we can easily see how those infra-human defects we would never think would exist flourish. Then we observe theft, arson, vandalism, violence, murder, etc.
We must work to eliminate from within not only the visible aspects of the ego, but also the invisible ones; and that is the work with the buzzard as it feeds itself off cadavers and carrion and these, in turn, are the most sordid and dark aspects of our internal psychology.
“And they got into an agreement and Little-Solar-Priest (Ixbalanque) told Master-Magi (Hunahpu) to make pretend he was playing, but that he would take care of it all. Then he addressed the rabbit ordering him to be present at the ball game and to hide in the tree line. He was told to jump and run whenever the ball landed close to him”
The Rabbit represents the diligence of the work; no procrastination, not waiting until tomorrow, but action at present-time. It implies avoiding pretexts and justifications that would delay the internal transformation, leaving laziness aside and doing what is necessary to not be negligent. The illness we may face tomorrow is something that must be unearthed today. The focus of our effort must be here and now.
“And so started the ball game with the Lords of Xibalba, as they mocked the Twins thinking of themselves already victorious. The ball then landed close to where the rabbit was hidden and it leaped and ran taking the Lords of Xibalba with him. Then Little-Solar-Priest (Ixbalanque) took advantage of the distraction and replaced Master-Magi’s (Hunahpu) head on his body and the Twins rejoiced, and when the Lords of Xibalba returned, they were astounded. Lastly, Little-Solar-Priest (Ixbalanque) tossed a stone to the turtle that then hung where the head of Master-Magi (Hunahpu) used to be, and it fell breaking itself into pieces. The youngsters overcame all of their tests and defeated the Lords of Xibalba”
With patience (the tortoise), working to eliminate from within our deepest defects (the buzzard) and working here and now, with no delay (the rabbit) is how we can make progress on the death of our psychological defects.