STRUCTURAL SYMBOLISM

symbolism of the sanctuary’s architectural components
with a focus on ancient Mesoamerica related symbolism

NOTE Significant cross symbolism between components will be found based on overlapping concepts and a shifting frame of reference (for example: overlapping concepts of the center found in earth navel, cosmic throne, world axis, heart center symbolism, embodied by the sanctuary, platform, Serpent-Tree, or Crown Vessel). Selective choices were made to avoid repetition, distinguishing between concepts and components that ultimately cannot really be divided.

SANCTUARY (overall)

COMPONENT NAMES

sanctuary / shrine
power-plant
artform

SYMBOLISM

[primordial shape] circle

mandala (circle, enclosing the essence): that which organizes the space-time continuum within a single disc,offering an all-embracing cosmovision

sanctuary (holy place)

cathedral (seat of a higher authority)

temple as space-time structure where we can con-temp-plate realities that paradoxically transcend space-time

abode as dwelling place of a god

locus of powerful supernatural forces beyond human understanding and control

temenos (sacred space)

omphalos (world navel)

World Mountain with the regenerative seed at its center

Place of Emergence, that which we are born from and return to

Mound of Creation, preserving the memories of the Earth

Living Mound, dwelling place of manifest spirit

World Egg / Cosmic Egg

unus mundus (one world), the underlying unified reality that everything emerges from and returns to

REPRESENTATION IN THE COSMOLOGY, ICONOGRAPHY AND ARCHITECTURE
OF ANCIENT MESOAMERICA

First True Mountain associated with the first moment of creation, inside which the fundamental necessities for life are hidden

Flower Mountain: mountain located at the world's centre, associated with a tree of life

Witz Monster: symbol of the living mountain

Tamoanchan (Place of the Flowering Tree): mythical paradise, the primogenital place of origins and creation where exists a single, great, hollow tree

chalchihuitl (precious blue green stone) embodying tlalxicco: blue-green earth navel, the energizing renewing transforming primordial central hearth

Snake Mountain / Snake Hill: Place of Origins: associated with Tollan (Place of Reeds), the mythical foundational city


EXEMPLES OF REPRESENTATION IN OTHER WORLD CULTURES

[Hopi] sipapu

[Native American] Turtle Island

[Judeo-Christian] Garden of Eden

[Buddhist] Place of Awakening

[alchemy] lapis philosophorum, Solid State Mandala of the Great Work

[metaphysics] Transcendental Object at the End of Time

DOME-SHELL (outside)

COMPONENT NAMES

dome-shell / shell / earthdome

SYMBOLISM

Earth Mound, Earth Island, Primeval Mound, Primeval Hillock: mound of earth floating on a great primordial ocean

shape of planet Earth

protection

sacred enclosure separating the earth world from the otherworld, the secular from the sacred ― between mutually incompatible environments with different spiritual air pressure

fertility / potency

REPRESENTATION IN THE COSMOLOGY, ICONOGRAPHY AND ARCHITECTURE OF ANCIENT MESOAMERICA

shell of the Cosmic Turtle-Earth

EXEMPLES OF REPRESENTATION IN OTHER WORLD CULTURES

[Native American] shell of Turtle Island

DOME-SHELL (inside)

COMPONENT NAMES

dome / inside dome

SYMBOLISM

[primordial shape] circle

curvature of space-time

dome of the sky

anima mundi (World Soul) / Universal Spirit / global consciousness

Earth-Sky Mother

REPRESENTATION IN THE COSMOLOGY, ICONOGRAPHY AND ARCHITECTURE OF ANCIENT MESOAMERICA

jaws of the sky iconographic motif

sky band iconographic motif

EXEMPLES OF REPRESENTATION IN OTHER WORLD CULTURES

[Chinese] heavens

[Egyptian] Nut, Hathor, Isis

[Greek] Aphrodite Ourania as Cosmic Mother, the Queen of Heaven

CAVE-CHAMBER

COMPONENT NAMES

cave-chamber / womb-tomb / vessel

SYMBOLISM

sanctuary as womb-chamber

womb of the Great Mother: fertile feminine cosmic center / womb-tomb of the Great Goddess who swallows and gives birth to the Resurrected God / womb-house as place of birth vs womb-tomb as place of burial, rebirth and regeneration [counterpart to SERPENT-TREE as Son/Father and sacrificed immortal being]

the creative-destructive complex of the Mother-Goddess concept in its totality

reservoir of Sky-bound and Earth-bound spiritual energies

vessel / pod

interdimensional vessel bridging worlds through Space & Time

otherworld: underworld vs upperworld

Cave of Emergence / Cave of Origins

sanctum sanctorum / holy of holies: innermost part of a temple where the image of the deity resides

dream chamber

initiatory chamber: place for the symbolic death and rebirth of an individual; for psycho-spiritual processes of integration and individuation

REPRESENTATION IN THE COSMOLOGY, ICONOGRAPHY AND ARCHITECTURE OF ANCIENT MESOAMERICA

Heart of the Mountain

Cave of Emergence / Cave of Origins

cave-mouth

pib nah (underground structure) / waybil (dreaming place, resting place) : small interior spaces holding gods and ancestral images

Great Mother goddesses of life, death, and fate, both generative and destructive: Coatlicue / Tzazolteotl / Tlaltecuhtli / Cihuacoatl / Xochiquetzal


EXEMPLES OF REPRESENTATION IN OTHER WORLD CULTURES

[Hindu] Vishnu (original god who dreams the universe into creation)

[Buddhist] Tara

[Tibetan] Shamballa

[Egyptian] Nut, Hathor, Isis

[Greek] Aphrodite Ourania as Cosmic Mother, the Queen of Heaven

[Judeo-Christian] Eve / Mary

[Christian] Virgin de Guadelupe

[Christian mysticism] Vessel of Honor / Mystical Rose / Holy Vessel

[alchemy] vas hermeticum / the Philosopher’s Stone as vessel

PLATFORM

COMPONENT NAMES

platform / pedestal / podium

SYMBOLISM

[primordial shape] square

that which marks the center and the 4 directions/corners of the world

Cosmic Throne at world’s center

seat of a higher consciousness

altar: that upon which an offering or sacrifice is laid out at the center

that which supports aspiration toward enlightenment

that which supports knowledge through mastery

REPRESENTATION IN THE COSMOLOGY, ICONOGRAPHY AND ARCHITECTURE OF ANCIENT MESOAMERICA

kun (seat aspect of a temple) upon which is seated a deity

scaffold, the elevated structure upon which the deity is seated

pyramid structure as Green Stone Place: bundle of 3 throne stones representing living elemental energies, revolving time, cosmic center and cosmic throne

censer (incense burner) as Turquoise Enclosure: the energizing, renewing, and transforming central hearth

EXEMPLES OF REPRESENTATION IN OTHER WORLD CULTURES

[Hindu + Buddhist] lotus throne

[Chinese] earth

[Chinese] bixi: stone tortoise used as pedestal for important stele

[Sumer] ziggurat (eg. Temple of the Foundation of Heaven & Earth)

ENTITY (overall)

Serpent-TreeSerpent-Jaguar

COMPONENT NAMES

(OVERALL)

serpent-tree / serpent-jaguar-treetetramorphic tree / tetramorphic serpent / tetramorphic dragonorganism / life-form / entity / enthroned entitySerpent-Jaguar / dragonQuetzalcoatl-Tezcatlipoca

CROWN VESSEL

crown vessel / crown / cup / bulge / pod / navel / heart centerFountain of Life

PILLAR

pillar / central pillar / tower

SPINE(S)

spine / dorsal

MANTLE

mantle / robe / skirt / cloak / skin

HEAD(S)

dragon head / serpent king (nagaraja) head

WHEEL OF TIME

Wheel of Time / Wheel of Time organ

SYMBOLISM

AS PRIME SYMBOL OF PERENNIAL WISDOM, PANTHEISTIC WORLDVIEW AND AGONISTIC INAMIC UNITY

[ overview ]
No distinction is made between reality and divinity. All-things (reality, the cosmos) are composed of an all-encompassing, immanent sacred power, force, or energy: dynamic, vivifying, eternally self-generating and self-regenerating. Not a perduring, static state of being but one characterized instead by motion-change.

The continual becoming of the cosmos is the product of this force continuing shamanic self-shape-shifting and self-transforming. This force the weaver of reality, the weaving of reality, and the woven reality. The resulting cosmos a grand weaving in progress: the product of the ceaseless agon between being and non-being, creation and destruction, order and disorder.

This force is characterized by the continual and continuous cyclical struggle of paired opposites and polarities. Dualities locked in a process of agonistic, dialectical alternation with one another. Balance is generated by the back-and forth movement between them resulting in an overarching, dynamic equilibrium that stabilizes the center.

Each inamic pair is mutually arising, mutually engendering and conditioned, inter-dependent, symmetrically related, and complementary, while at the same time mutually competitive and antagonistic with its partner. Each inamic pair is inherently and irreducibly ambiguous: neither purely one nor the other yet both one and the other at the same time. Their ceaseless movement represent different paths of energy circulation and interaction (and thus different patterns of change, becoming, and transformation). Ordering, arranging, putting stuff into place.

AS WHEEL OF TIME

[ see WHEEL OF TIME ]

AS FOUNTAINHEAD

[ see CROWN VESSEL ]

AS SERPENT-JAGUAR AND TWIN ENTITY

Serpent-Jaguar as nahual (spiritual co-essence) aspect of Quetzalcoatl-Tezcatlipoca

an irreducibly ambiguous twin being: an agonistic inamic unity, pair, and quadricity, result of nepantla-defined weaving proces: neither Serpent nor Jaguar yet both Serpent and Jaguar at the same time; neither Quetzalcoatl nor Tezcatlipoca yet both Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca at the same time

AS AXIS MUNDI

Axis Mundi (World Axis): evolutionary pivot in Space and Time: the place of passage to-and-fro motion-rest, time-eternity, separation-union

World Tree: the sacred tree at world’s center

World Tree or World Mountain that brings stability and continuity

quadripartite architecture of the universe and its cyclic nature / 4 Pillars of the Cosmos: fourthfold support of the universe, the power that sustains the world with a central supporting pole and the arms of the 4 quarters

Pillar of Heaven & Earth: supporting the sky once earth and sky have been separated but also bridging the now 2 differentiated realms (helping to bring heaven on earth)

Principle of Civilization (that upon which civilization is established) and its organizational template

World Tree as a rope, pole, ladder, or stairway linking the 3 realms (telluric underworld, middle world of Earth, cosmic upperworld) or the 2 worlds (heaven and earth, intangible and tangible realms), enabling vertical transmission (ascent and descent) between them

World-Bridger through Space & Time interweaving dimensional realms, leading to a unified field of consciousness

multidimensional portal

AS TREE OF LIFE AND SERPENT ON THE TREE

[primordial shape] (as Tree) T-cross

[primordial shape] (as Serpent) spiral / wave / weave / ...

Serpent Tree / Serpent on the Tree of Life / Serpent of the Tree of Knowledge

Tree of Life: the central life-giving column of the world

Serpent slithering up and down the Tree of Life: channel for the passage of vital life energy travelling up and down the World Tree / River of Immortality

Serpent who dies and is resurrected, shedding its skin and renewing its life: lord of the central tree where time and eternity come together vs the devolvement of eternity into time, the breaking of the one into the two and then the many

/ embodiment and bestower of the liquor, milk, food, fire, grace, of indestructible life

serpent spine as spiraling axial ladder: vertical transmission and movement along the Tree

descending vs ascending spiraling life-force: its propagation and spending vs its regeneration

spreading out of the world of phenomena vs returning back to mysteries beyond the reach of sight, sound, word, or symbol

serpent’s skin or mantle as the fabric of space-time: the field of space and the field of time / as the appearance or face of the time-space continuum, ie. the world of matter / as the field of time-space which like a web both allow and supports but also traps the world of matter

mantle as the fecundizing powers of nature, the fertility of the earth / materialization

AS CADUCEUS

caduceus: a dual force with opposed directions of rotation, the central unifying principle around which life is organized / the manifest duality of life wound around an unifying central pillar / cosmic dance: the motion of life revolving around a fixed center, between the dynamic and the static

to-and-fro 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 Two That Are One and the One That Becomes Two / the interconnection of the one and the many

opposition and complementarity of all dual concepts (e.g. being/non-being, order/chaos, separation/union, subject/object, life-giving/death-wielding)

gravity vs levity: materialization of Spirit vs spiritualization of Matter / exteriorization of Spirit vs Interiorization of Matter: the downward and outward path of physical manifestation interlinked with the upward and inward path of spiritual transmutation

ever evolving while ever engaged on the path of the Eternal Return

Eros-Thanatos: the life-force and the death-drive (a force too great to leave unleashed on Earth)

Initiator

Staff of Life embued with divine authority

AS SACRIFIED AND RESURRECTED IMMORTAL BEING

Son/Father: masculine cosmic center

Son-Lover of The Goddess: the Resurrected God birthed and swallowed back

the Immortal Body, the Resurrected Body

sacrifice and rebirth into immortality / the all-transfiguring vision of immortal being

Ancestral Father / archetypal shaman god-king who both embodies and connect with past ancestors and future generations / the reborn king enthroned in the mouth of the Otherworld

spinal column and outstretched arms of the Resurrected Body / backbone of immortal man

the savior-healer raised on the Tree of Life / the consecrated fluid body of the redeemer flowing toward the opposite poles of creation

Lord of Life

AS REALIZED BEING

absolute consciousness / eonic consciousness

the Omniscient One

enlightened being: the truly awakened, truly wise

“I am that I am”: awakened self-awareness

Realized Self / the embodiment of Universal Consciousness / Ascended Master

union of the divine masculine & feminine into the Solar androgyny of Cosmic Consciousness

wholeness of the integrated and balanced self founded upon the 4 primary and complementary archetypes of the mature psyche: Warrior, Lover, Magician, King (for the male psyche) and Mother, Lover, Wise Woman, Queen (for the female psyche)

Lapis Exilis: the Philosopher's Stone

the Great Shape

apotheosis

Flower of Higher Consciousness: flower as highest form and perfection of a plant, which in turn reveals or reflects the perfection of the Sun / that which is born and revealed at the height of an evolution

Mastery of the world of spirit in physical form

omniscience and omnipotence

AS GUARDIAN AND MARKER

Watcher: its lidless eyes eternally awake and watchful

Guardian at the Gate: guarding the Great Mystery at the center of it all, incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces, the numinous nuclear source

Keeper of the Equinox: markers and guardians of the stability of the rising equinoctial sun

great maw which swallows the sun at night and regurgitates it anew in the morning

great maw which swallows the sun during eclipses

Keeper of the Great Cycle: markers and guardians of the precessional stations

REPRESENTATION IN THE COSMOLOGY, ICONOGRAPHY AND ARCHITECTURE OF ANCIENT MESOAMERICA

[ overview ]
The serpentine flow of teotl (sacred power/energy/force/stuff) is characterized by 3 types of movements involving agonistic yet complementary dual (or quadral) polarities:

  • Olin motion-change (pulsating / oscillating / undulating / swinging, ...) is a four-fold biorhythm of cyclical generation, fulfillment, degeneration and regeneration, defining the shape of a thing’s path through its life/death cycle, horizontally ordering around a center point.

Examplar: pulsating hearts

  • Malinalli motion-change (twisting, spinning, spiraling, coiling, drilling, ...) are the passageways for vertical energy transmission and transformation between different conditions of the same thing, allowing for the circulation and recycling of vital energies, vertically ordering around a central axis.

Examplar: weather conveyance systems

  • Nepantla motion-change (weaving, interlocking, middling, mixing, fusing, ...) combines horizontal olin-defined and vertical malinalli-defined processes to bind together inamic pairs in an action that is unifying and balancing.

Examplar: weaved garnments

cut conch shell, muyal motif, stepped mountain-pyramid motif, and xicalcoliuhqui (twisted gourd vessel) represented as step-fret motif or zoomorphized as feathered serpents and fire serpents, symbolizing several interrelated notions of spiral unfolding and the interaction of complementary opposites:

  • waves and rolling rain clouds (water)

  • breath volutes (air)

  • lightning (fire)

  • descent to the underworld vs celestial ascent

  • water vs fire (aquatic vs igneous realms)

  • sky pyramid (cloud terrace) mirrored by earth (mountain) pyramid / earth mountain cave mirrored by cave cloud

malinalli: channel for the passage of vital life energy travelling up and down the world tree

downward channel (heavy, cold, wet) vs upward channel (light, hot, dry)

emerging breath serpents from jade earspool vs twisted grass generating turquoise fire

breath serpents emerging out of Flower Mountain

raingod wielding lightning serpent: the creative power of water and fire elemental interaction

Tree of Life or Cosmic Maize Plant in Heart of the Mountain inside Flower Mountain

Flowering Tree at Tamoanchan consisting of 2 unified trunks (before splitting in half) and 2 entwined streams twisted in helicoidal fashion

Wakah Chan (Raised Up Sky): the World Tree with 4 additional trees oriented to the cardinal directions

4 Chikchans: rain gods in serpent form associated with the 4 directions, year bearers [time] and sky bearers [space]

Quetzalcoatl (Plumed Serpent and Precious Twin) in its various-yet-ultimately-unified incarnations and associations: feathered serpent, maize god, wind god, Ce-Acatl Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl, Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl, ...

Tezcatlipoca (Dark Smoking Mirror) in its various-yet-ultimately-unified incarnations and associations: Kawil, Tepeyollotl, Itztlacoliuhqui-Ixquimilli, Chalchiuhtotolin, Xipe Totec, ...

Central Mexico creation myths: Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca each or combined as a 2-fold and 4-fold entity:

  • Q. and T. as the 4 children of the dual creation god Ometeotl

  • Q. and T. as 2 great serpents piercing and dismembering the Earth Monster to create the manifest world

  • Q. and T. as a dual Tree of Mirrors (tezcacuahuitl) and Quetzal Tree (quetzalhuexotl) to support the sky

  • Tezcatlipoca’s mirror as alternately Dark Mirror (Tezcatlipoca) and Bright Mirror (Tezcatlanextia)

Maya creation myths:

  • Palenque Triad mythology and iconography (involving Kawil, world tree, serpent and jaguar)

  • Popol Vuh genesis account

  • concept of twinness in the Popol Vuh Hero Twins account

serpent and jaguar combined as dual motif in iconography (eg. jaguar biting bicephalic serpent rope, Witz Monster)

serpent and jaguar combined as hybrid creature (eg. raingod, War Serpent)

bicephalic (double headed) serpent: ubiquitous motif connected to many interrelated concepts: the Nahua concept of twinness, sky and Ecliptic, rulership, rain road and lightning

entwined twisted serpent rope motif as kuxan sum (living cord): celestial rope, umbilical cord and birth rope linking earth world to the otherworld ― used for the conjuring of supernaturals or the birth of human beings

New Fire drill

conflated serpent and maize ear fetish

Cosmic Maize Plant as axis mundi

resurrection of the corn as power of regeneration

newly born king enthroned in the mouth of the otherworld or in the ancestral mountain-cave, or standing or dancing: the reborn First Father, embodiment of the world tree

First Father as maize god emerging from split turtle shell / figure of Hunahpu (One Lord, First Lord)

Coatlicue (Snakes-Her-Skirt) as creative-destructive complex: progenitrix of life and the ultimate destroyer of all that she creates

serpents skirt or skull-and-crossed-bones decorated skirt as fertile ground and nepantla-weaved process of material creation

turtle shell or reptile skin patterns as fertile earth + jade beads as precious seeds = garment 'dressing' of the god by the female powers of nature

vision serpent: portal to the otherworld connecting to ancestors / bearded dragon

manikin scepter of rulership embued with divine authority

figure of the shaman-king and huei tlatoani (Great Speaker) who has achieved a 'face and heart' and become the rightful representative and expression of ch'ul ajaw (Lord of Life)

Olmec bar-and-four-dots motif / quincunx pattern: symbolising a 4-directional cosmos (in time and space) with a pulsing heart center or central axis

quatrefoil flower




EXEMPLES OF REPRESENTATION IN OTHER WORLD CULTURES

[Hindu] Mount Meru

[Hindu] Ashvattha: upside down tree having neither end nor beginning nor stationariness, the expression of Brahman (Universal Principle and Ultimate Reality)

[Buddhist] Bodhi-tree: under which Gautam Buddha meditated and gained enlightenment: tree of the Waking to Omniscience

[Norse / Scandinavia] Yggdrasil, the world tree

[Judeo-Christian] Serpent on the Tree of Life & Knowledge in the Garden of Eden

[Egyptian] djed pillar embodied by Osiris

[Kabbalah] Tree of Life diagram

[overall] serpentine flow of sacred power/energy/force/stuff variously called chi, prana, kundalini, holy spirit, baraka...

[Judeo-Christian] the 4 rivers flowing from the center of Eden as from an inexhaustable spring

[kundalini yoga] sushumna comprised of 2 entwinded nadi channels (ida + pingala) ― ascending and descending entwined streams of the Kundalini

[Chinese] Dragon King: watery and chthonic forces and zoomorphic incarnation of the 5-fold manifestation of the supreme go ― comprised of a central dragon being surrounded by the Dragon Kings of the 4 Seas (each presiding over a cardinal direction)

[Hindu] Nagaraja (serpent king)

[overall] concept of the dying-and-rising male deity (he who seasonally descends and disappears into the underworld before rising again seemingly resurrected) often found as son/consort/lover of a Great Mother goddess: Osiris, Dummuzi, Adonis, Attis, Dionysus, Jesus, Green Man / also female deities: Innana, Persephone, ...

[Hindu] churning of the milky ocean: central myth involving a world axis and a serpent rope pulled in opposite directions to obtain amrita, the elixir of immortality

[Greek] caduceus

[alchemy] Mercurius as Mercurius Quadratus, the four-in-one element

[Hindu] Rahu and Ketu as head and tail of the dragon snake swallowing sun and moon during eclipse

[Egyptian] Horus/Seth as opposite aspects of the same fundamental energy centered in Osiris

[alchemy] the androgyne as goal of the Great Work: the recombination of the primordial male/female polarities into a state of wholeness and completion

[modern science] DNA, the molecule of Life

[Egyptian] ankh cross symbol, the key of life

[Hindu] the trinity of Brahma/Vishnu/Shiva as Creator/Preserver/Destroyer of the universe

[European Christian mysticism] Grail Castle

[European Christian mysticism] the sword plunged in sacred ground

[alchemy] Philosopher’s Stone as Diamond Body or Immortal Body: the ultimate perfected creation generated by the Great Work

(entity as) WHEEL OF TIME

COMPONENT NAMES

Wheel of Time / Wheel of Time organ

SYMBOLISM

no-beginning-no-end model of cyclic and fractal time that gives the measure of sacred time ― its tone and rhythm

REPRESENTATION IN THE COSMOLOGY, ICONOGRAPHY AND ARCHITECTURE OF ANCIENT MESOAMERICA

Mesoamerican calendrical cycles (in their individual and intermeshed aspects) based on sacred entities of 4, 13, and 20:

― 260-day count (tzolkin or tonalpohualli): counting the sacred entities of ‘kin’ (sun, day, time)

― 52-year cycle (xiuhmolpilli): marked by New Fire rites leading to new era

― Long Count: deep time calendar of collective historical unfolding

260-day calendar date 4 AJAW: transitional marker, marker of the center, directional marker in time and space

52-year calendar years 1 REED, 2 REED, 12 REED as related to, respectively, Quetzalcoatl, Tezcatlipoca, Coatlicue

Long Count calendar date 13.0.0.0.0: ending of 13th baktun cycle


EXEMPLES OF REPRESENTATION IN OTHER WORLD CULTURES

[Buddhist] Kalachakra (Wheel of Time)

CROWN VESSEL

COMPONENT NAMES

crown vessel / crown cup / crown / cup / bulge / pod / navel / heart center

Fountain of Life

SYMBOLISM

[primordial shape] point

Great Mystery / the unconceivable, the unfathomable

Divine Ground of Being / Unmanifest Transcendent

the unformed, unmade, unborn, undifferentiated

the Absolute, the non-manifested Potence

eternity and infinity: the Eternal Now, the Infinite Point

Heart Center / Source (in space) and Origin (in time), the spatial and temporal cosmic center

place of non-duality: the undivided point of origin and unity of the quaternary cosmos

Alpha-Omega point: beginning as end, end as beginning / “I Am All that Has Been, That Is, And That Will Be”

genesis-apogenesis (ultimate collapse)

Universal Fire / Elixir of Life

Heart of Creation / Point of Infinite Creation / Inexhaustible Point

Vesica Pisces Vessel / Cornucopia / Chalice

Fountain of Life: fountainhead from which flows the Living Waters of Life; from which the energies of eternity pour into the world of time

seed / seed pod / Place of the Seed: that which holds the seeds of cyclical rebirth

Crown of Creation

enlightenment

REPRESENTATION IN THE COSMOLOGY, ICONOGRAPHY AND ARCHITECTURE OF ANCIENT MESOAMERICA

xicallli (navel, depression, hollow, vase or cup): the central aspect of the xicalcoliuhqui (twisted gourd vessel)

conch shell: out of which flows the breath of life

serpent water vessel

the underworld reservoir of primordial waters

dark water at the place of duality

mirror: as water (mirror bowl), as fire, as fire-water (brazier, burning water), as sun, hearth, and portal

Turquoise Enclosure: the energizing, renewing, and transforming central hearth

New Fire brazier: the energizing, renewing, and transforming central hearth fire

generative flint

k’an cross sign: marker of the center and place of the seed

V or U shaped cleft: opening or crack in the Cosmic Mountain from which the seed sprouts / decapitated head as seed pod for the sprouting of new life

cuauhxicalli (sacrificial offering vessel): the sacrificed heart it holds becomes fountainhead for the irrigation of new life

Omeyocan (the place of duality): 13th and highest heaven, dwelling place of the dual creator god Ometeotl


EXEMPLES OF REPRESENTATION IN OTHER WORLD CULTURES

[Buddhist] sunyata (nothingness)

[Hindu] akasha

[alchemy] ether, the material-immaterial quintessence

[metaphysics] zero point

[Hindu] amrita: the elixir of immortality

[Greek] ambrosia

[Kabbalah] Keter: the vessel at the summit of the Tree of Life diagram that holds the light of illumination and is the source of all life

[European Christian mysticism] Grail Cup

[alchemy] coniunctio: sacred marriage, the joining of two into one to form the perfect vessel

[Hindu] Nitya-Kali (Endless Time)

CONNECTOR

COMPONENT NAMES

connector

SYMBOLISM

umbilical cord linking to the host

birth canal for human beings

threshold passage between the earth world and the otherworld, the secular and the sacred

transition zone allowing adaptation between 2 different environments with different spiritual air pressure

REPRESENTATION IN THE COSMOLOGY, ICONOGRAPHY AND ARCHITECTURE OF ANCIENT MESOAMERICA

pyramid stairway + kuxan sum (living cord) motif: celestial rope, umbilical cord and birth rope enabling passage between the earth world to the otherworld

great maw of the Witz Monster on temple doorway swallowing he who enters into the otherworld of the Living Mountain

EXEMPLES OF REPRESENTATION IN OTHER WORLD CULTURES

[overall] temple gates and access corridors

BAY AND HOST-ROCK (host site)

COMPONENT NAMES

bay
host-rock ― surrounded by primordial earth / primordial desert / primordial wilderness

SYMBOLISM

bay as primordial ocean out of which rises the Primeval Hillock (earth mound)

bay as shelter

host-rock as host

REPRESENTATION IN THE COSMOLOGY, ICONOGRAPHY AND ARCHITECTURE OF ANCIENT MESOAMERICA

primordial ocean at the center of which floats Cosmic Turtle-Earth

EXEMPLES OF REPRESENTATION IN OTHER WORLD CULTURES

[Native American] primordial ocean surrounding Turtle Island

PRIMARY SOURCES (OVERALL SYMBOLISM)

Jean Chevalier, Alain Gheerbrant, The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols
J. C. Cooper, The illustrated Encyclopedia of Symbol

PRIMARY SOURCES (MESOAMERICAN SYMBOLISM)

Karl Taube
James Maffie, Aztec Philosophy: Understanding A World In Motion

IMAGE GALLERIES

see individual images info


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