Raising the World Tree - Wakah Chan

Maya people honor the Ya'axche or Ceiba Tree (Kapok) as an energetic connection flowing between the Cosmos (sky), Earth, and the Underworld; it's seen to be the embodiment of the cosmic axis, Wakah Chan, connecting the multiple levels above and below a flat Earth (held in place by the four Bacabs, cardinal directions of north, south, east and west). This Sacred Tree of Life is at the center of a complex mythology of Celestial Gods, heros, and deities of the underworld, Xibalba. As World Tree, Wakah Chan also symbolizes the "raised up" path to the Mayan's ancestral home at the center of the Milky Way.

On Winter Solstice, at the beginning of the last calendar round cycle in 3113 B.C., a mythological event / ceremony took place, "The Raising of the World Tree", in which the cosmic axis was reset to center upon rotation around the North Polar star. This "raising" ceremony repeats every calendar round (and thus to be reenacted on December 21, 2012),  establishing a new "heaven" and new "sun" (cosmic age).

Raising Wakah Chan

In addition to my 2012 celestial conjunction series ("Time of Awakening"), I created this image specifically focused on raising of the Wakah Chan - two shamans (male and female) are raising the Cosmic Tree (seen as a Ceiba tree) with the Milky Way crossing at the top, centered on the North star. The celestial bird perches in the top branches of the tree. Below the tree, a frieze of guardians spirits protect the entrance to the Underworld.

This composition is based loosely on Mayan carvings depicting the World Tree and the ceremonial raising of Wakah Chan. Below, I have included one such reproduction (a drawing of a carved stone temple panel) which inspired my piece.

World Tree as Foliated Cross

The Milky Way is depicted as the tree of life where all life came from. Near Sagittarius, the center of our galaxy, the World Tree meets the Ecliptic. The Ecliptic is represented as the horizontal bar crossing the vertical axis of the world tree, with celestial crocodiles, or perhaps vision serpents, at each end of the cross bar. The World Tree is in the form referred to as a "foliated cross." At it's base, a major element of the World Tree includes the K'awak Monster, a giant head with a kin in its forehead. This monster is also a mountain or Witz monster (and represents the entrance to the Underworld). On either side of the "raised up" tree stand a pair of Mayan priests or shamans. On top of the World Tree perches the celestial Quetzal bird, the Principal Bird deity, Itzam Ye.

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