The Maya World Tree

Gypsy Café

The Roots of a Ceiba Tree at Copán, Honduras, Central America. Photograph by Jean-Jacques Morin, September 2015.The Roots of a Ceiba Tree at Copán, Honduras, Central America. Photograph by Jean-Jacques Morin, September 2015.

In Mesoamerican theology the sacred World Tree stands in the centre of the world, crossing and connecting three horizontal levels, the heavens, the earth and the underworld. It has its roots embedded deep in the underworld, with its trunk straight and sturdy in the earthly realm and its branches high up in the heavens, diverging into the four cardinal directions.

According to Maya mythology the World Tree allowed human souls to come to be and this is symbolised by the White flowers of Ceiba trees, which are still found in Maya lands today. Following that, the biological human bodies which souls reside in allowed them to pass through the experience of life on earth. All souls came from one of the four cardinal directions, defining not only characteristics and personality traits, but also…

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