January 23, 2021
The idea that ancient gods were based on real personages is not a new one. In fact, the concept is called euhemerism because of a 4th century BC Greek mythographer called Euhemerus, who believed that Greek mythology was based on real events and real personages that became exaggerated in the retelling. However, modern times have provided us with new forms of euhemerism, with an excellent example being the speculation that the gods of ancient civilizations were inspired by the visits of ancient aliens.
One particularly popular candidate is the Maya civilization. For those who are unfamiliar, the Mayans was a Mesoamerican civilization that stretched from southeastern Mexico to El Salvador. It was very sophisticated, as shown by everything from its astronomical knowledge to its trade network that extended beyond the boundaries of Mesoamerica. This is particularly impressive because the Maya civilization drew influences from a much smaller region than its Eurasian counterparts, which have been connected with one another since prehistoric times. In any case, the Maya civilization declined before the Columbian Exchange, though the Maya peoples are still around in the present time.
Regardless, the claims of ancient aliens having visited the Maya civilization are very controversial.
For instance, interested individuals might come upon the claim that the return of Quetzalcoatl (Feathered Serpent - a prominent supernatural entity or deity) is evidence for the expected return of ancient gods or ancient aliens. Erich von Däniken (Swiss author of several books which make claims about extraterrestrial influences on early human culture) contests that the return of Quetzalcoatl wouldn’t entail a feathered serpent that descends from the sky, but potentially an extraterrestrial, as seen in the depictions of rulers appearing to pilot machines. There is a recurrent theme of these carvings, with human faces covered by what appear to be helmets with breathing apparatuses in their mouths. Von Däniken says that these devices that covered their mouths were likely filtering air, so as to prevent infection from bacteria or viruses.
In a tomb at Palenque, a carving of the 2nd to the last ruler of the ancient Mayans, Pakal, was found appearing to control an upward-facing machine with flames and smoke shooting out the back. While archeologists have claimed that this carving actually represented the tree of life or a descent into the underworld, two leading Mayan epigraphers have stated that the inscriptions around the tomb detail an ascent into the cosmos.
Inside a sarcophagus, the remains of this ancient ruler were found, though the body was significantly taller than the average height of the ancient Mayans and it appeared to have an unusual bone structure. Pakal was also known to have ruled for 68 years and lived to the age of 80, much longer than the average lifespan for that era.
Does this curious stone carving deep in the jungles of Mexico represent evidence of ancient alien contact, or something else? We may only wonder.
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A lot of people might remember the claim that the Maya believed that the world was going to end in 2012, which was based on the fact that a Maya calendar ended upon the Mayan equivalent of that date. Although end of the world predictions based on the Mayan calendar failed to materialise in 2012 some people still believe a doomsday sign could have appeared in the end of 2020. Interesting to mention that on December 21, 2020 Jupiter and Saturn geared up to meet in Aquarius in a rare astrological event known as The Great Conjunction. This powerful placement, which happened to coincide with the Winter Solstice, marked the beginning of a new era. We've entered a 2,000-year Age of Aquarius, having just emerged from the Age of Pisces, which began around Jesus’s birth. If the Age of Pisces was defined by monotheism and individualism, some astrologists say the Age of Aquarius will be about communities and humanitarianism.
Air signs like Aquarius are all about the realm of the mind, connecting with others, and advancements in technology. Jupiter and Saturn are associated with authority, and their alignment can be a harbinger of a big political and social change. This Winter Solstice represents a new beginning, and the energy is ripe for making changes that will carry over for the foreseeable future.
There continue to be inexplicable discoveries made regarding the ancient Mayans that inspire curiosity and fuel the idea that they may have been visited by ancient alien gods.
Archaeologists discovered huge pools of mercury beneath one of the pyramids in the ruined city of Teotihuacan called the Temple of the Feathered Serpent in 2015, which are something that has been found at other sites situated throughout Central America by other researchers. For the time being, the purpose of these mercury pools remain a mystery, but there has been speculation about them serving as representations of underworld rivers, which would have been an impression enhanced by the material’s strong association with the supernatural.
While mainstream archeology sees this as an ancient fascination with the shiny, but highly poisonous substance, others think that it may have been used as a fuel source for the ancient alien gods’ technology. Needless to say that mercury is a conductor of electricity. Did the ancient Mayans go to such great lengths to store a lake of toxic mercury under their pyramids just to honour the dead or perform ceremonies? Or were they using it to power mercurially advanced technology?
Fundamentally, the belief that ancient civilizations were visited by ancient aliens is sustained by people's assumption that our ancient predecessors were less capable than us. This is very much not the case. Our ancient predecessors were working with a much smaller tech base than what we have. However, they were every bit as capable and every bit as driven as we are in the present day. Certainly, some of their choices seem strange to us, but they tend to become much more sensible when we try to see things from their perspective. For instance, the widespread fascination with the heavens seems strange to us, but even if we ignore the fact that the heavens are one of the most spectacular sights in nature, astronomy served a very practical purpose as well. After all, time-keeping was a matter of life-and-death for agrarian societies. Never mind the uses of astronomy in traveling over vast distances.
In any case, the idea that the Earth has been visited by aliens in the past isn't inherently ridiculous. We are still unsure exactly how abiogenesis works, but if it worked once on our planet, it is reasonable to speculate that it has worked on one of the hundreds of billions of other planets that can be found in just the Milky Way. Granted, we don't know of any way to travel interstellar distances within a practical timeframe, but that doesn't mean that there isn't one out there. The issue is that extraordinary claims requires extraordinary proof. So far, nothing of that sort has been turned up for ancient aliens, though it is certainly fun to think about.
National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. Maya mask. Wikipedia
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