the symbolic meaning of the sanctuary’s architectural components
delineated from both universal and Mesoamerican perspectives


  • universal symbolism     
  • Mesoamerican symbolism     


[see also space-time constructs  and mandalas]

omphalos / the cosmic egg

Living Mound / cosmic turtle / Earth Turtle / Turtle Island (Native American)

[space]  dome of the universe, sky, cosmos / [time]  Kalachakra, the Wheel of Time the Universal Spirit / anima mundi, the World Soul / global consciousness


the feminine cosmic center  [counterpart to the PILLAR]

the world Egg split in two  [counterpart to the PILLAR'S SUMMIT as Vessel]

the Heart of the Mountain  [counterpart to the PILLAR as World Mountain]

womb of the Great Mother / womb-house, the place of birth / womb-tomb, the place of burial, of rebirth and regeneration / sipapu, the place of emergence / that which we are born from and return to / the alchemical vessel

the Great Mother / the Earth-Sky Mother / Coatlicue - Tonantzin - Virgin de Guadelupe / Isis-Mary

the underworld / cave-mouth / jaguar mouth / human skull

that which preserves the memories of the Earth / reservoir of spiritual and Earth-bound energy

meeting place of the divine and the human / the heart as initiatory center, the place for psychological internalization and the process of individuation


birth canal

Xibalba Be (the road to the Underworld)

Kuxan Sum (Living Cord), energy portals linking Earth realm to the Otherworld

threshold, the separation between secular and sacred, worldly and otherworldly



the cosmic throne / seat of a higher authority / dwelling place of manifest spirit

the Universal Spirit

altar / that which supports aspiration toward knowledge through mastery

Throne-Stone as cosmic center [see also ORGANISM BODY]


the Immortal Body, the Resurrected Body, the Divine Self  / the Realized Self, the individuated Self / lapis exilis, the Philosopher's Stone / the Great Shape

the savior-healer raised on the Tree of Life / sacrifice and rebirth into immortality

the incarnation of Amaru Uturuncu, the Serpent-Jaguar deity, daimon, and archetype

Quetzalcoatl - Kulkulkan / the Lord of Life

[time]  Tzolkin, the Wheel of Time




the manifest duality of life wound around an unifying central pillar

Kundalini channel for the River of Immortality, for the passage of vital life energy travelling up and down the World Tree, the Blood Lightning (Koyopa, Malinalli) 

the architecture of the universe and its cyclic nature / the motion of life revolving round the world, the cosmic dance around a fixed center / the dynamic and the static

the outstreched arms of the Realized Being  [counterpart to the PILLAR's spinal column] / the 4 primary archetypes of the mature male psyche: Warrior, Lover, Magician, King

the double-headed serpent bar as the celestial Ecliptic  [counterpart of the PILLAR's Milky Way]

stability and groundedness as a four-directional construct

the pyramid mountain / the Green Stone Place as bundle of stones representing living elemental energies, bundle of revolving time, and cosmic throne/center [see also PLATFORM]



the complementary movement of winding and unwiding, ascending and descending, centrifugal and centripetal, inbreathing and outbreathing, going out from and returning to the center, beginning and end

the upward and inward spiritual path of transmutation (interiorization of Matter) entwined with the downward and outward physical path of manifestation (exteriorization of Spirit)


the 4 Pillars of the Cosmos / the 4 Chicchans, directional guardians of space-time, as Year Bearers [time] and Sky Bearers [space]  

the Guardian at the Gate / the guardian of the mystery

AHAU, ancestor and lord / Tzolkin date 4AHAU  

the Vision Serpent

Eros-Thanatos, the life-force and the death-drive / a force too great to let unleashed on Earth 


the masculine cosmic center  [counterpart to the CAVE-CHAMBER]

the World Mountain  [counterpart to the CAVE-CHAMBER as Heart of the Mountain]

the World Pillar, the pillar that supports the world / the Cosmic Pillar, World Axis or Axis Mundi / the Tree of Life, the Tree of Knowledge, or Serpent Tree, the cosmic tree

the central unifying principle around which life is organized / stability and continuity 

the spinal column of the Realized Being  [counterpart to the SERPENT BODY outstretched arms] / the Djed (obelisk), spine of the Resurrected Body

the Milky Way  [counterpart of the SERPENT BODY's Ecliptic]

Raised-up Sky, the Maya world tree of Creation


the Great Mystery

Source  [space] and Origin  [time], the temporal and spacial center / the cosmic center, Heart of Creation, infinite Point of Creation / the original unity of the quaternary cosmos

the Life-bearing Center / the Vesica Pisces Vessel / apogenesis-genesis  [time]

the unformed, unmade, unborn, undifferentiated

the Galactic Center  [space] / the Dark Rift of the Milky Way and crossroad  [crossing of the Milky Way—PILLAR—with the Ecliptic—SERPENT BODY]

Long Count date  [time] / Tzolkin date 1AHAU / 4AHAU  [time]

the heart of the Realized Self  [crossing of the PILLAR's spinal column and SERPENT BODY's outstretched arms] / human perfection

soma, the nectar of immortality / the Vessel which holds the seeds of cyclical rebirth and of lost tradition

the world Egg split in two  [counterpart to the CAVE-CHAMBER]

Jean Chevalier, Alain Gheerbrant, The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols
J. C. Cooper, The illustrated Encyclopedia of Symbol
John Major Jenkins, Maya Cosmogenesis 2012
John Major Jenkins, Galactic Alignment
Estefan Lambert, The Solar Body

Caduceus, World Tree, Fountain of Life
raised at the desert heart of the world