The Ecliptic

The Maya portrayed the Ecliptic in their artwork as a Double-Headed Serpent. The ecliptic is the path of the sun in the sky which is marked by the constellations of fixed stars. Here the moon and the planets can be found because they are bound, like the Earth, to the sun. The constellations on the ecliptic are also called the zodiac. We don't know exactly how fixed constellations on the ecliptic were seen by the Maya, but we have some idea of the order in some parts of the sky. We know there is a scorpion, which we equate with our own constellation of Scorpius, in this figure I believe they used the claws of Libra. It has also been found that Gemini appeared to the Maya as a pig or peccary, (a nocturnal animal in the pig family.) Some other constellations on the ecliptic are identified as a jaguar, at least one serpent, a bat, a turtle, a xoc monster--that is, shark, or a sea monster. The Pleiades were seen as the tail of the rattlesnake and is called, "Tz'ab."


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Updated: July 22 2005