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By Karen Bassie-Sweet

ISBN-10: 0806128291

ISBN-13: 9780806128290

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Spanish accounts of Postclassic human sacrifice describe the importance of extiacting the still beating heart of the victim to offer to the deity. The intent of this practice seems to be capturing the victüris soul and offering it to the deity to be eaten. The practice of smearing the idol's mouth with blood ("feeding the idol") also appears to represent this concept. Many accounts describe how the deity arrives at the ritual location and partakes of the spirits in the buming incensé. A number of Classic stelae illustrate deities in scroUs lepresenting clouds(Houston and Stuart, cited in Schele 1992).

One may pray and bum incensé to the genus loci; the Guardia, oí the mountain. Oliver LaFarge (1947:113)also noted that ciosses are erected to maik locations that are inaccessible or invisible to the eye:'The placement of this cioss in lelation to the Holom Konop[an idol]dlustrates the pattem of establishing a cioss facing a particularly sacred spot, which is itself covered or otherwise inaccessible": One passes clo^ to the cliff on the northem edge of the village, a point which is ost droc^y above the sacied cave of l¿klan Naf and in a general way facing ^e sacie h^ T&lan Ku across the valley.

Tree/crosses are often decorated with pine boughs and flowers that emphasize their tree aspect. This pattem is consistent across the highlands and even includes the same species of flowers (Sapper 1897). In some areas the modem tree/cross is viewed neither as a deity ñor as an idol. It does, however^ always ha\'e protective powers and is employed in almost all ritual settings. Alfonso Villa Rojas (1945:43) described the practice of the Yucatec of Quintana Roo: "Axound these two buildingS; on small stone mounds, stand four crosses....

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At the edge of the world: Caves and Late Classic Maya world view by Karen Bassie-Sweet


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