Stela 25: The Big Dipper vs. The Milky Way
Stela 25 also contains a recognizable Popol Vuh episode, in which Hunahpu’s arm is torn off by
. Since Seven Macaw is identified with the Big Dipper of the polar region, Isuggested (1996, 1998) that the “fall” of Seven Macaw involved the demise of an oldcosmological system centered upon the polar region. The shamanistic concern with knowingwhere the center of the sky is located is central to understanding this “cosmological shift.”The shift, after Seven Macaw was done away with, was to an opposite orientation, asrevealed in the diagram above. The dialectic sets the head of the alligator in opposition toSeven Macaw. This “alligator-head” is the location of another cosmological “center of thesky”—it is the location of the center of our Milky Way galaxy. (Note: I am omitting argumentsand citations that can be found exhaustively documented in my book
).Generally, this monument—as well as many others from
; e.g., Stela 11— indicate aninterest in the Milky Way, the dark-rift in the Milky Way (the mouth is the dark-rift), and the BigDipper.
I’m skipping over many related issues now to move right into the monuments of Group F. Mybasic idea is that the content of the monuments cannot be fully understood unless we takeinto account the site’s orientation, local topography, and horizon astronomy.These factors will be particularly significant for understanding the Group F monuments. First,let’s zoom into Izapa by leaps. Above we see Izapa’s location in southern Mesoamerica.