The Popol Wuj is the sacred narrative of the K’iche’ people. They are one of the Mayan peoples and principally come from Guatemala. This version has been written, told and recorded by another good friend of Bard Mythologies, Margarita Kenefic. Margarita has both Irish and Guatemalan roots and came to Bard to explore the Irish myths and that part of her origins. She is a writer and actor and was recently part of an Oscar nominated foreign language film La Llorona (2019).
The Popol Wuj is a creation myth of the K’iche’ people and tells of the exploits of the twins, Hunahpú and Xbalanqué. We have this precious text because of a Spanish translation by a priest, the Reverend Franzisco Ximénez,. It is the foundation texts of every subsequent translations.
It was translated into English by Allen J. Christenson.
The first task for the principal creator gods, Heart of Sky, the Framer and Shaper, the Sovereign and Quetzel serpent and Xpiyacoc and Xmucane is to create the landscape and the animals and then to create the people who will worship them on earth. They succeed in the end but it is a case of try, try again. Firstly, they create animals, the use mud, then wood and finally corn. The world is created as a result of a journey of experimentation and learning.
In time the gods create One Hunahpu and Seven Hunahpu who journey to the underworld and suffer many trials and tribulations before being decapitated! The maiden Lady Blood hears of the gruesome death by manages to become impregnated by one Hunahpu’s slaiva. Another generation are born, the twins, Hunahpú and Xbalanqué.
They are sent on a vengeance quest regarding their fathers killers, but then are mandated to go forth and conquer many lands. This questing results in the creation of the K’iche’ world and the settling down and dividing their land in to 24 Lordships. Many generations are to follow before the arrival of the conquering Spanish.
Our plan here will be to hear again the Myth of the Popol Wuj from Margarita in the traditional Bardic manner. We will also explore some of the glories of the Mayan World and calendar as well as the consequences of the Spanish colonialism.
To listen Margarita talking about the Popol Wuj see video below.
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