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The Maya Cosmos: 3000 Years on the Shaman's Path [Paperback]

D. Freidel , Linda Schele
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; Reissue edition (1 Feb 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688140696
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688140694
  • Product Dimensions: 25.5 x 17.8 x 3.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 585,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Synopsis

Explores archaeological discoveries, revealing how the Maya have survived centuries of religious oppression. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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The plains of Yaxuna in northern Yukatan are usually covered with a green sea of waving maize plants and waist-high grasses in the month of July. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maya Cosmos is essential to archeo-astronomy 22 Mar 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The foundation of Maya Cosmos is the re-discovery of the Mayan creation myth in hieroglyphs, art, and modern Mayan daily ceremonial ritual. The creation myth centers around First Father, the Maize god and father of the Twins, famous in the Popul Vuh creation story. First Father is identified with Orion where he is resurrected from the dead from the cleft carapace of a turtle, which are the three stars in Orion's belt. Recent studies in Egyptian archeo-astronomy has identified the constellation Orion with Osiris, the god of resurrection. The lower left star in Orion's belt, Alnitak, has been identified with the Great Pyramid of Giza. First Father emerges out of a cleft mountain and a cleft turtle carapace, the mountain here possibly related to the idea of the pyramid. Maya Cosmos has gathered a creation story that can be placed now in the archeo-astronomical tradition of the world. In like manner, ancient India has the god Vishnu sitting upon Mt. Meru. A serpent is entwined around this mountain and under the mountain is a great turtle. This identifies Vishnu and Osiris with First Father; Mt. Meru and the great pyramid with the Cleft Mountain; the Vishnu turtle with the Mayan constellation of the turtle, the belt of Orion; and the serpent entwined around Mt. Meru with the Mayan double-headed serpent of the Ecliptic. Maya Cosmos is the first book I have read that has looked at the archeo-astronomy of the Maya and the Olmec and has given archeo-astronomers a valuable resource.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Archeoastronomy of the Maya 21 July 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The authors present Mayan archeoastronomy in a very readable and absorbable form. Compare the astronomy/astrology/ myths and stories of the Maya to other cultures of which you are aware, and you will see that this book presents a valuable contribution to world archeoastonomy.
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6 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Unique look inside the Mayan Mind 11 May 1997
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Mayan Cosmos Mirrors Your Creation

I dream of an older woman. She is holding a ball of clay in her hands, pressing and molding it with her fingers. She reveals that working clay helps her prepare for creativity.
Preparing for creativity arouses thoughts of the Creator. The Creator1s gift was not a one-time blessing of that initial molding called Genesis, but is an ongoing, abundant outflowing at this and every moment. My personal awareness is one window through which the Creator experiences the world. My own actions, although molded by this force, are a local agent of this creation. When I pause to acknowledge the presence and companionship of the Creator, I feel grateful. The Creator1s blessing perfectly balances the burden of individual responsibility I carry in that relationship. A shared burden can be carried lightly, with joy. Praise creation!
This meditation upon creativity and companionship with the Creator is but one of the blossoms sprouting on my sacred tree as I contemplate the book, Mayan Cosmos: Three Thousand Years on the Shaman1s Path (William Morrow). The authors, David Freidel and Linda Schele, are respected Mayan archaeologists at competing univesities in Texas. Their previously acclaimed book A Forest of Kings: The Untold Story of the Ancient Maya presented the many secrets of Mayan history that were revealed with the recent breakthroughs in deciphering the enigmatic glyphs. Mayan Cosmos continues the revelations, presenting the Mayan spiritual philosophy and lifestyle.
There are so many congruences between Mayan mythology and the Christian faith that these two spiritually inspired civilizations were destined to meet. The Mayan recognizes in the Christian cross, for example, the secret of death and rebirth.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
70 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The First Book to Tell the Real Story About Maya Shamanism 13 Jun 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As a person who has traveled in places where the modern Maya live--Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico--and who has taken the trouble to get to know what the history and culture of these admirable people is really like, I have always been appalled at the number of books that claim to be about "Maya shamanism," but are really just New Age claptrap. While it is true that MAYA COSMOS does not read like a mass-market paperback, it is one of the most heartfelt, well-researched, and stunning books on the Maya that I have ever read. If you want the REAL story on who the Maya are and how their spiritual and cultural beliefs have evolved over the last 5,000 years, this is the book for you. Yes, there is some scientific data and research here, but I would rather a thousand times read that than the silly cultural misinformation written by dozens of New Age authors who project their own interpretations onto the art and the cities without even being able to read the very texts they are claiming to understand. The late Linda Schele was one of the five major figures who was responsible for cracking the code of the Maya language. As an art historian, she was well versed in the complex and fascinating symbolism of Maya culture. David Freidel has been a brilliant Maya archaeologist for over 25 years, and first became involved with the culture because of his interest in shamanism. Joy Parker, who, by the way, was the ghost-co-author of A FOREST OF KINGS (check out the Acknowledgements and the Forward where her work is credited) has spent over a dozen years working with the modern Maya (most recently, as an editor of Maya shaman Martin Prechtel's SECRETS OF THE TALKING JAGUAR and LONG LIFE, HONEY IN THE HEART) and with other indigenous cultures such as the North Native Americans (check out her book WOMAN WHO GLOWS IN THE DARK) and African cultures, so she brings a special personal interest and flair to this project. The first-person stories told in this book are priceless. I spent as many pleasurable hours reading it as I did the authors' first effort A FOREST OF KINGS. If you truly want to learn about the history of the Maya, the tragedy of the Spanish conquest, and how the modern Maya find the strength to endure, this is the book for you.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Archeoastronomy of the Maya 21 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The authors present Mayan archeoastronomy in a very readable and absorbable form. Compare the astronomy/astrology/ myths and stories of the Maya to other cultures of which you are aware, and you will see that this book presents a valuable contribution to world archeoastonomy.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best serious book about ancient Maya 7 Sep 2009
By Michael Mccormick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As an amateur interested in ancient Maya who has studied the subject for many years (and traveled extensively to Maya sites in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, & Honduras) I can say without hesitation this is the best book available for anyone seriously interested in understanding the unique mind and culture of the Maya. Linda Schele had a depth of understanding for the Maya that surpasses that of all other scholars in the field today. She tragically died young in 1998 but thankfully was able to complete this fantastic book. It's probably not the best book for a beginner, but if you already know a little about the Maya and you want to take your understanding to the next level, read this classic book. (If you are a beginner, you might try one of Schele's other wonderful books, Forest of Kings.)
15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maya Cosmos is essential to archeo-astronomy 22 Mar 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The foundation of Maya Cosmos is the re-discovery of the Mayan creation myth in hieroglyphs, art, and modern Mayan daily ceremonial ritual. The creation myth centers around First Father, the Maize god and father of the Twins, famous in the Popul Vuh creation story. First Father is identified with Orion where he is resurrected from the dead from the cleft carapace of a turtle, which are the three stars in Orion's belt. Recent studies in Egyptian archeo-astronomy has identified the constellation Orion with Osiris, the god of resurrection. The lower left star in Orion's belt, Alnitak, has been identified with the Great Pyramid of Giza. First Father emerges out of a cleft mountain and a cleft turtle carapace, the mountain here possibly related to the idea of the pyramid. Maya Cosmos has gathered a creation story that can be placed now in the archeo-astronomical tradition of the world. In like manner, ancient India has the god Vishnu sitting upon Mt. Meru. A serpent is entwined around this mountain and under the mountain is a great turtle. This identifies Vishnu and Osiris with First Father; Mt. Meru and the great pyramid with the Cleft Mountain; the Vishnu turtle with the Mayan constellation of the turtle, the belt of Orion; and the serpent entwined around Mt. Meru with the Mayan double-headed serpent of the Ecliptic. Maya Cosmos is the first book I have read that has looked at the archeo-astronomy of the Maya and the Olmec and has given archeo-astronomers a valuable resource.
40 of 56 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for the Beginner 10 May 2000
By C. Sahu - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have to admit I didn't get more than halfway through this one - no way is this written for inquiring minds who aren't already versed in Mayan lore.
The book seems to describe the authors' discovery and fleshing-out of a new theory about how the Maya interpreted the stars. Apparently their creation story was all written up in the sky and, as the stars and planets moved, episodes in the creation were cyclically reinacted. This is not described very straight-forwardly, though, and I'm still not sure if I've got it right.
There is an attempt to make the whole thing read like a mystery novel, sort of a la "Celestine Prophesy": the book starts out describing the eager young scientists mixing with the wise tribals in an ancient ceremony. Later, for several chapters, one of the authors is quoted at length about how she discovered some commonality amongst various artifacts and codices which backed up some hypothesis, and which I entirely lost sight of by the end. She kept calling up friends and friends kept calling her up until I thought I was watching a Gidget movie. All the authors come off a little too New-Age loopy for me, adding lots of little asides praising the aboriginal and putting down the modern, and talking about how their life has been changed by their discoveries. But then, my confusion with all that Jaguar-3-Peccary-Holy-Twins-Tree-of-Life stuff may have made me just a bit grouchy.
At any rate, my point is, all the reviews on this page (except the very good Kirkus one) make the book sound like an easy read, which it isn't. It's a delineation of a hypothesis with some adventure stuff thrown in for better surface marketability. The result is, to me, confusing. Granted, it's not an easy subject, but that makes clear writing all the more important, especially if you're writing for mass consumption. Better to start out with one of Michael Coe's books and go from there.
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