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Do we have an Mayan expert here?

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  • Do we have an Mayan expert here?

    Hi,I was reading Dark Ages:Mage for the first time,and I realized how cool it would be to make Fellowships based on the civilization of the Americas.
    So,I wanted to ask. Do we have someone knowledgeable in Mayan civilization that could tell me what a Mayan Fellowship of mages would be like? Especially their Foundation and Pillars?

  • #2
    I'm not at all any sort of expert. I do know that one of the main sources about the Post-classical Maya is the Popol Vuh, or Book of the People, a documentation of the oral traditions of the K'iche' subset of the Mayan people in Guatemala. It is an account of their history, religion, and myths. One of the others is the Chiam Balam, a compilation of history, religion, prophecy, literature, astronomy, and other subjects from the Mayans of the Yucatan.

    As far as groups go, the two main ones are the Balamob from the original WoD: Sorcerer and the Yum Cimil who are part of the Euthanatos.


    What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
    Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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    • #3
      I forgot about those! Thanks!

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      • #4
        I'm not an expert on the Mayans at all, though I did read a little about them in history graduate school. One of my professors wrote several books on the Maya in Mexico focused on the nineteenth century. The one on religious cultures might be of use:

        https://www.amazon.com/Wonders-Wise-.../dp/029277107X

        Also, if you have access to academic journals, the Hispanic American Historical Review should have some articles and book reviews to help you find some good sources. It's been years since I used the journal, but a lot of Latin American history is covered by that journal.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by baakyocalder View Post
          I'm not an expert on the Mayans at all, though I did read a little about them in history graduate school. One of my professors wrote several books on the Maya in Mexico focused on the nineteenth century. The one on religious cultures might be of use:

          https://www.amazon.com/Wonders-Wise-.../dp/029277107X

          Also, if you have access to academic journals, the Hispanic American Historical Review should have some articles and book reviews to help you find some good sources. It's been years since I used the journal, but a lot of Latin American history is covered by that journal.
          Thank You. This will be mighty useful

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          • #6
            For ease of research if you want to delve that deeply into it:

            Multiple translations of the Popol Vuh in pdf form.

            And of the Book of Chiam Balam.



            What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
            Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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            • #7
              There may or may not be a Mayan expert frequenting the Mage forum, but griffinguy24 is a Mesoamerican expert who frequents some of the other boards.

              From what little I know, the four directions seem to be an important concept for the Mayans. They might make an appropriate set of Pillars for your Mayan fellowship.
              Last edited by Alastor; 02-01-2021, 05:08 AM.


              Not the daimon, just a namesake.

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              • #8
                A player in my modern day Mage game is running a Euthanatos of Mayan descent, and he’s a ton of fun (all the moreso, since this is that player’s first WoD character). In preparation for his joining the game, I did a deep dive into Mayan religion and culture. I am by no means an expert, but maybe this will be of help to you.

                I divided modern Mayan mages into two primary camps: the Daykeepers (a tradition still alive in Mayan communities) and the Yom Cimil, which have a small write up in one of the books. Lost Paths, maybe?

                The Daykeepers (or Aj Kin) are astrologers and healers charged with maintaining the rituals necessary to continue the Great Cycle. Their Foundation could be the “Calendar Round,” the 52 year period that combines the haab and tzolk’in calendars. Pillars include astrology (tracking the sun, moon, and Venus in particular), the haab and tzolk’in calendars, maize, seeds, crystals, flowers, chocolate, and rituals that invoke the glyphs associated with each day or month. The last paragraph of this page has a sample ritual:
                https://mayan-calendar.com/ancient_tzolkin.html

                The Yom Cimil are psychopomps and mediators with the Lords of Xibalba (their Foundation), the Mayan Underworld. As the Daykeepers ensure the cyclical regularity of life among the living, the Yom Cimil take care that the dead--virtuous or villainous--get their due. Their Pillars might be obsidian knives, sacrifice, caves, and trials that imitate those found in the Mayan Underworld.

                Both traditions might use Pok-a-tok, the Mayan ballgame, to settle disputes, but in my game the Daykeepers and Yom Cimil are two sides of a coin and not in conflict (they have enough problems in the modern world).

                Note that there are two broad Mayan lineages, the K’iche/Quiche and the Yucatan, each with their own language and interpretation of Mayan belief. The great feathered serpent, for instance, is Gucumatz to the K’iche but Kukulcan to the Yucatec (and Quetzalcoatl in the Nahuatl language). Xibalba is the Yucatec underworld where many lords rule, while for the K’iche the supreme death god is Au-Puch, and his domain is Metnal. The same is true of the calendars.

                The Popol Vuh is a K’iche religious text. Almost everything else the Mayans wrote was burned in 1562 by Bishop Diego de Landa (the early 1500s would be quite a time to set a game in).

                All this just scratches the surface but hopefully gives you some direction. The Hero Twins-inspired, atlatl chucking Euthanatos librarian was a great addition to my game, and I could easily envision a chronicle focusing on the response of Daykeepers and Yom Cimil to the Spanish invasion, relations with the balam (were-jaguars named from Mayan creator gods), interference from foreign mages, and the demands of the Lords of Xibalba during uncertain times.


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