MoonOwl Observations

Pauahtun and the Bacabs

This Mayan god is the cause of many debates, even to this day. This is because of the vast differences between the Classic era and the Postclassic era.In the classic era he is simply Pauahtun. I’m going to touch base on him first.

Pauahtun is a god of four incarnations called the Bacab. Each stands at one of the four corners of the world, holding up the sky. Even with such an important job he was seen as a drunk and unpredictable. He would also control thunder and wind. He is connected to Mam, who is an ancient highland earth deity.

He is usually depicted as an old man with a shell on his back and a crocodile headdress on. He is the patron of scribes and of the Uayeb. The Uayeb is from the Haab calendar and is five unlucky days. Pauahtun is also known as Pavahtun or the Skybearer.

Now, moving into the Postclassic era, Pauahtun’s Bacabs take on individual identities. They are four separate gods that are at each compass point. This was a much more popular belief because it was still believed the earth was flat so each was at the edge of the earth, still holding up the sky. All four of these gods are considered brothers and are the patrons of beekeepers.

They are also called the four wind gods and are typically shown as four old men with raised arms.  Sometimes they will be four jaguars or turtles though.  The North was help up by a god named Mulac. Cauac was at the south and Kan in the east. In the west stood Ix.

There are stories with both theories and there are also glyphs depicting both beliefs. They are shrouded in mystery, but so are most gods.