From the Maya to the Hopi: A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Apocalyptic Views from Mesoamerica to the American Southwest
Page M. Strong
For Dr. James Blythe – History 7070 – Research Seminar – 12/14/2011
Current research in the American Southwest only vaguely acknowledges a cultural connection between the Hopi and Ancestral Puebloans in the American Southwest and the Mesoamerican cultures including the Maya, Toltec and Aztec. This cultural connection is recognized as the trading of physical objects between Mesoamerica and the American Southwest, which for the most part is uncontested. What has not been concluded from any research of trade between these cultures is the possibility of cultural and ideological trade. The following research will consider the question of whether there was cultural and ideological trade accompanying the trade of goods between the Mesoamerican cultures and the cultures of the American Southwest by first affirming the physical and ideological trade from the Maya, to the Toltec and concluding with the Aztec. From there the research will focus on the physical and ideological trade from the Maya to the Ancestral Puebloans and from the Aztec to the Hopi.
The Maya, Aztec, and Hopi have captured the millennial imaginations of the public, each to varying degrees. The hyper-accurate calendar of the Maya predicts the ending of the world in the near future, commonly estimated on the Gregorian calendar as December 21, 2012. The Aztec culture looks toward the end of time when their rain god, Quetzalcoatl, will return. The Hopi, descendants of the Ancestral Puebloans, sometimes referred to as the Anasazi, watch the circling nature of their calendar descend into the end of this cycle and into the beginning of another, though in modern terms this end of a cycle is often equated with the unequivocal end of the world. On the surface, these three perspectives on the end of the world appear completely distinct, however, a deeper investigation will bring to light a connection between the three cultures.
The theory of cross-cultural contact between Mesoamerican cultures and the Puebloans of the American Southwest is not at issue here. Trade between the cultures of the area is well documented from such archaeological sites as Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monument, both in modern day Flagstaff, Arizona, as well as other archaeological sites throughout the American Southwest and Mesoamerica.
What is less clear is the cultural and ideological trade that occurred. The following research will focus on the cultural and ideological trade that followed the physical trade between four major cultures: the Maya, Toltec, Aztec, and Hopi. In addition, the Ancestral Puebloans will also be discussed, though not in as much detail as the other four cultures as much of the Ancestral Puebloan ideology is currently unknown. Each culture must be examined as each will prove to be interconnected. The Maya influenced both the Toltec and the Ancestral Puebloans. The Toltec influenced the Aztec who influenced the Hopi, who were also influenced by the Ancestral Puebloans. This confusing web will hopefully be made clearer in the following research.
Descriptions of each of these cultures must be presented for two reasons: the first for giving a strong foundation on which to base this research, the second to produce evidence of their interconnected cultural beliefs and traits. From the cultural description, the focus will turn to each culture’s understanding of time and how it was recorded. Once time has been defined in each culture, the creation mythologies will be addressed. Following these mythologies will be the apocalyptic mythologies, lending a unique view to the area and the cultural and ideological trade of the area.
Before the research can commence, however, some notes must be made on choices that were made. The reason the Hopi were chosen over any other modern culture in the American Southwest will be discussed in detail later, but in short, the Hopi culture is the purest form of the Ancestral Puebloan culture that remains. Furthermore, due to the inability to find research pertaining to the cultural and ideological trade between Mesoamerica and the American Southwest, many of the following ideas are presented as original and are based on personal observation in addition to evidence presented in research developed in other areas.
The Maya (2000 B.C. – 1500 A.D.)
Calling the dense rainforests and mountainous region of Central America home, the Mayan civilization evolved out of the Olmec traditions and into a world of fantastic deities, man-made grey mountains and complex thoughts and writings. Beginning with the Preclassic Maya around 2000 B.C., the Mayan civilization does not physically end, though their culture severely declined to near-extinction. It falls into decay around 800 A.D. Even today, however, the Maya are still found in some of their highland homes, now practicing a religion that is a mixture of Christian and ancient Mayan rituals and philosophies.
Having nearly 3000 years of history allowed the Maya to produce some of the most beautiful artwork and one of the most complex ideologies in Mesoamerica. As will be seen later, the calendar is one of the most famous hallmarks of the Mayan civilization and one of its greatest accomplishments. As the Mayan civilization began to decay in the Late Classic period, some of the Mayan people left their cities to create hilltop cities and villages. These people became the Toltec.
Toltec (800 – 1200 A.D.)
Around 800 B.C., the great Mayan civilization began to disperse. Though it never truly disappeared and remnants of the Mayan people and even their ancient religion can still be seen today, their cities and their culture seems to have waned. The cities were mostly abandoned and the people moved to hilltops, possibly to better defend themselves. They created new cities, Tula and Chichén Itzá being some of the most influential Toltec cities. Their crafts suffered, for example, their pottery, which was once beautiful, smooth, multi-colored, now was rough, monochrome, and un-slipped. There was a definite decline in the Mayan culture to produce this new Toltec culture.
This is not to say the Toltec civilization had no innovation. Instead of focusing on the arts the Maya had produced, the Toltecs appear to have focused on warfare. There was a sudden emphasis on human sacrifice that had not been seen in the Mayan civilization. The flowing, artistic styles of the Maya were replaced with static figures, and harsh carvings which show evidence of a lack of patience and time taken to produce their artwork. The Toltec art appears rushed, and there lacks the consistency lent by having the same artists produce the same thing over and over again.
In addition, the Toltec incorporated other civilizations, warping the remaining Mayan civilization with new ideas and traditions. One such civilization the Toltec incorporated into their midst was the Nonoalca, a people who spoke a Nahua dialect, similar to Nahautl, the Aztec language.
Aztec (1325 – 1519 A.D.)
The Aztec wandered from their caves of origin through many harsh lands until they reached the Toltec city of Tula, long since abandoned and nearly destroyed. Here they camped, dammed the nearby river and created a luscious landscape in which they began to thrive. A vengeful god, however, decreed they should not take their destinies into their own hands and their dammed creation was destroyed, turning what was once a teaming land to desert. This legend is intimate with what archaeologists believe truly happened to the Aztec. The Aztec were not native to the Mesoamerican area, but instead were nomadic latecomers who mimicked the Toltec civilization. The Aztec saw the Toltec as the quintessential civilization and strove to make themselves as great as the Toltec were.
The Aztec discovered they were locked in a realm of drought and difficulties. Dealing with the chaos and uncertainty of a drought-inflicted land led the Aztec civilization to embrace the chaos in their own way. Their religion reflected their strife and uncertainty, illustrated in the fear they held during some of their rituals meant to bring about new 52-year cycles. They feared the rituals might fail, bringing about an end to their world. Even with the Aztec’s belief of a tenuous hold on the continuation of time, the civilization lasted from 1325 A.D. through 1519 A.D. and the coming of Hernan Cortes.
Ancestral Puebloans (300 B.C. – 1250 A.D.)
The Ancestral Puebloans lived in what is today the American Southwest. This region includes Arizona, New Mexico, southern Utah, and southern Colorado. Their culture went through six stages of evolution over a period spanning more than 1500 years. The first three stages were known as the Basketmaker periods. These periods were known by poor ceramic production, pithouses, and well-made basketry. Three Pueblo periods followed, indicated by stone structures and increasingly detailed pottery production. During the early Pueblo periods, the structures were small with several rooms and normally circular in nature, though there were some square structures. In later periods, the structures became more rectangular and larger, with room blocks often in an “L” shape. Also in the later Pueblo periods, the pueblo structures were often built under cliff overhangs in canyons and mesas.
Descendants of the Ancestral Puebloans
It is necessary to understand the reason for choosing the Hopi tribe above any other in the American Southwest such as the Navajo or the Paiute. The Hopi were chosen due to their close relationship to the Ancestral Puebloans. At this point in time, no conclusive evidence, such as DNA, can be cited to connect between any current Southwestern tribe and the Ancestral Puebloans. Due to the laws surrounding Native American Graves and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), DNA testing on the remains of Ancestral Puebloans is rare. According to NAGPRA, all bodies and artifacts found in an archaeological context must be returned to the affiliated tribe. Permission would have to be granted by the tribe in question for such a test to be made. This permission has yet to be granted.
In short, the difficulty in assigning a true descendant of the Ancestral Puebloans stems from many sources. The lack of DNA testing available on the human remains found in archaeological contexts is perhaps the most scientifically crippling to the theory of the Ancestral Puebloans’ descendants. Add to that the oral histories of both the Hopi and the Navajo. The Navajo version of their history and their ancestors has not yet been addressed in this research due to the fact that they are incredibly secretive and protective of their oral histories, insisting that sharing such information with anyone outside the tribe would diminish the power of the belief within the Navajo culture. However, they have contested that they are the true descendants of the Ancestral Puebloans, without providing evidence as to how or why they should be considered for such a title.
While the above evidence suggests there could be more than one true descendant of the Ancestral Puebloans, for the purposes of this research and due to the fact there is little conclusive evidence to detract from the Hopi’s claim, the Hopi tribe will provide the basis for understanding the Ancestral Puebloan culture.
Hopi (~1300 A.D. – Present)
The American Southwest, home to the Hopi, is an arid area, stretched with sagebrush, native grasses, juniper trees, and bordered by rusty cliffs and blue-green mesas and mountains. Even as recent as two hundred years ago, though, the sparse sage landscape was covered in a savannah-like grassland. While not particularly good for crops, the land was able to yield enough produce, either by farming or hunting and gathering, to sustain not only the Hopi, but their neighboring tribes, as well.
The Hopi currently consist of numerous other tribes, all of which migrated to Hopi land. After a few years, these tribes would integrate into the Hopi community. From these new tribes, the Hopi would alter their worldviews to better mesh with the newcomers, just as the newcomers would also integrate the Hopi ideologies into their own, creating a new outlook. Some tribes, however, chose to return to their homelands.
The Hopi are and have been organized into clans, though clan members from many different clans could make up one village. Despite this organization, the Hopi did not, until recently, view themselves as a whole, but as independent village-states.
A mark of an advanced civilization is the understanding of time and the ability not only to mark its passing, but to predict its comings and goings, in other words, a calendar. Calendars can be simple, linear progressions, or can be complicated rotations of cycles. Though calendars are often merely tools for marking and understanding time, they can also be windows into a culture’s religious thoughts and perceptions. The following discusses the known Mesoamerican calendrical systems in order to better understand their creational and apocalyptic views.
The Mayan Calendar
In the Mayan civilization, there are two calendars, one sacred and one mundane. The mundane calendar corresponded with the solar calendar modern individuals are familiar with. There are a total of 365 days in the year for this calendar. There are nineteen months, eighteen of which contain twenty days, and one consisting of only five days. This calendar is often referred to as the 360-day calendar. It was with this calendar the Maya were able to keep track of when to plant and when to harvest. Unfortunately, this calendar did not coincide with the sacred calendar.
The sacred calendar consisted of a year of 260 days. In this calendar, there were no months. Instead, the names of the twenty days known by the mundane calendar were added to a number from one to thirteen. Thus, the first day of any month in the mundane calendar was Akbal, somewhat like how our week begins with Sunday, thus the first day of the sacred new year would be known as 1 Akbal. As there were no months in the sacred calendar, there was only a continuation of the repetition of the day names combined with thirteen names. For example, the first day would be 1 Akbal, the second 2 Kan, the third 3 Chicchan, and so forth. Once the thirteen days are used up, there is an obvious difference as there are still seven day names left. At this point, the numbers start over, but the day names continue, for example the new “week” would start with 1 Cib, 2 caban, 3 Etz’nab, and so forth. After 260 days had passed, this cycle would revert back to 1 Akbal.,  This calendar was used for everything the Mayan people considered sacred, from religious days to birthdays. In addition, the sacred calendar was the basis for the Mayan priests’ prophecies. Prophecies were not so much a view towards the future, but a knowledge of what happened before would happen again. The Mayan priests kept records of previous sacred years and what happened on a certain day in the previous 260-day year would happen on the same day in the subsequent 260-day year.
These two calendars posed a problem for the Maya. They needed a way to reconcile the difference between the two calendars. The Mayan came up with an ingenious solution, creating a way the two calendars literally rotated around each other using a gear-like system. This complicated system included two main wheels, one representing the sacred calendar, and the other representing the mundane calendar. These two latched together like two gears while a third wheel, numbered one to thirteen, lay inside the sacred calendar. These thirteen numbers rotated through the days of the standard month, illustrating the 260 days as was described in the above paragraph. The second wheel or gear without the thirteen numbers inside it was the mundane calendar. It is with this complicated description the Maya were able to know what sacred day corresponded with each mundane day.
While these two calendars look disparate, they were actually consistently intertwined with each other. One did not exist without the other. When the Mayan people recorded a date it would appear something like “1 sacred calendar day name, 1 mundane month name,” for example, 8 Ahau (sacred calendar day) 13 Ceh (mundane month).
In today’s world, the most commonly used calendar, the Gregorian calendar, begins at a fixed point in time, the mythological birth date of Jesus Christ. This offers a fixed point in history from which a linear calendar, like the Gregorian calendar, can progress. This concept is somewhat rare in many ancient cultures, though the Mayan civilization had such a calendar, one anchored upon a date far in the past. This is known as the Long Count.
Before proceeding to the Long Count, it must be understood how the Mayan priests organized their calendar. The following table, based on the work presented by Robert J. Sharer in his Mayan textbook, shows how the Mayan calendars were organized and the approximate equivalents in time to today’s Gregorian calendar.
As seen in the above table, the Mayan priests were able to recognize millions of years in their calendrical reckoning. This is not to say they used all these counts in their calendars. Instead, they focused their usage on the 360-day mundane calendar, the 260-day sacred calendar and a 52-year calendar round. This 52-year calendar round is the combined calendars of the sacred and mundane calendars. It takes 52 years for any date of the combined calendars to repeat itself. It is this calendar the Aztec used, as well.
The Mayan belief system centered around the creation of the world, the life of that world, its destruction and ultimate recreation. These instances of destruction and recreation happened every 13 baktuns, which would be approximately 5,128 years in the Gregorian calendar. With this in mind, it can be understood how the Mayan priests chose a date upon which to fix the base of their long count. According to the earliest Long Count date found in Mayan literature, the current Long Count began sometime in the year 3114 B.C. While the current end-date for this Long Count is estimated at being sometime in 2012 A.D.
The Aztec, like the Maya, had two calendars, a religious 260-day calendar, made up of only days and no months, and a mundane 360-day calendar, constructed from eighteen twenty-day months and five extra days at the end of every year. Both calendars were used and had to coincide with each other. The mundane calendar was named for a specific day in the religious calendar and only once every 52 years would the same name date repeat itself.
This 52-year cycle was incredibly significant to the Aztec. The advent of the end of this cycle was met with either trepidation or outright fear. As the next 52-year cycle began, the Aztec would try to kindle a fire. They feared that, should they not be able to kindle that fire, the darkness would prevail, demons would return ending the world as it was known by the Aztec.
Before considering the religions and possible evolutionary trends within Mayan, Toltec, Aztec, Ancestral Puebloan and Hopi religions, the routes of trade must first be established. Trade, beginning with the most practical and mundane definition, is the exchange of products and produce between two people. In this case, there are a number of products that were exchanged between the cultures in question. In the more esoteric definition, trade can also indicate an exchange of ideas and worldviews. Before an exchange of worldviews can occur, however, an exchange of goods must be established.
Mayan Trade in the American Southwest
Trade was common between the Mesoamericans, both Aztec and Mayan, and their neighbors. These trades were as far flung as to reach what is today known as northern Arizona, though there is scant evidence the Mayan people reached further north than that. Little is known about who the Aztec traded with, though there is evidence to support trade with both the Ancestral Puebloans and, at a later date, the Hopi. Culturally, there is evidence the Mayan people influenced at least the Ancestral Puebloan’s architecture. In numerous sites spanning the American Southwest, there are what are called by archaeologists ball courts. These open areas ranging in shape from somewhat circular to a modified “I” shape, mimic the same ball courts the Maya, and later, the Aztec, were so fond of building and using. Unfortunately, it is not known if the Ancestral Puebloans used these ball courts for the same rituals as the Maya and Aztec. In fact, it is only theory that these structures are indeed ball courts, though there is little evidence to support any other conclusion.
Other archaeological evidence supporting contact between the Maya and the southwestern United States includes artifacts such as the remains of macaws. Macaws, not native to the United States, could have possibly been traded as a sacred or as luxury goods. The furthest north macaw remains have been found are located at the site of Wupatki, just outside the modern city of Flagstaff, Arizona. The Ancestral Puebloans had both green macaws (Ara mexicana) and the red, blue and yellow macaw (Ara macao). Both these birds are from a more tropical clime and would not have survived in the wild in the harsher environment of northern Arizona. While these macaws were traded with the Ancestral Puebloans, there is evidence these birds were traded with the Hopi as well. Hopi artwork portrays the colorful birds, indicating the living animals were probably transported north from their native Central and South America.
There is further evidence that supports trade between Mesoamerica and the American Southwest, such as the linguistics of some of the Southwestern tribes, and the Hopi tribe in particular. For trade to occur smoothly, a common language must be established. In addition, the language of the local populace will be modified by the language of the people with which that culture is trading. Many Southwestern American tribes, including the Hopi, the Comanche, Shoshone, Ute and Paiute tribes, speak a sub-family of a language commonly referred to as an Uto-Aztecan language. This linguistic family extends from Idaho south to the Panama region. In fact, only four languages in North America are known to be of the Uto-Aztecan family: Numic, Tübatulabal, Hopi and Takic. Numic is based in the Comanche, Shoshone, and Ute tribes, as well as their sub-tribes. Tübatulabal was spoken in California, but is now considered mostly a dead language. Takic was spoken in the southern California region, descending into Mexico. Of these languages, only the Numic and Hopi languages are still in use today. The similarities between these languages may be indicative of a common ancestor, however, considering the non-nomadic lifestyle of the Hopi in particular and the obvious physical trade between the Hopi and the Aztec, this is unlikely.
By the Postclassic period of the Maya and into the reign of the Aztec, trade between the Southwestern American cultures and the Mesoamerican cultures had become a thriving industry with turquoise, buffalo hides and turkey farming coming from the north and the macaw feathers, seashells and irrigation coming from the south.
Among some of the most intriguing connections are the anthropological similarities between the Aztec and the Hopi. Much of the Hopi ceremonies have in the past been believed to be post-Conquistador influence from the south, or merely disparate groups culturally evolving independently of each other. One of the most striking differences between the cultures is the Hopi use of masks in their dances, this could have been brought about by Spanish influence. However, the dances of the priests both in Aztec culture and in Hopi culture show a parallel that is at the least intriguing. In both cultures, the priests impersonate a deity for their ritual dances. Indeed, even some of their yearly rain rituals, purification rituals and the schedules of those rituals are similar in almost every way to each other.
The Hopi tradition is one of acceptance of a willingness to accept new ideas, both cultural and religious. This indicates a malleable culture on the part of the Hopi.
A common theme that will be addressed throughout the following research is the belief in multiple worlds. Each world was created following the destruction of the previous world, and were renditions of this world that preceded the creation of the modern world. These worlds are not separate planets, as such, but are renditions of the world in which we currently live. This common theme is seen in many cultures throughout the world.
Mayan Creation Mythology – The Four Worlds
After the Spanish invaded Central America, the friars following the conquistadors immediately began teaching the natives how to write their language in texts the Spanish could understand. This was intended for the native Maya to take the teachings of the friars to the rest of the Mayan civilization. The Maya, on the other hand, took their newfound literacy and began recording their own myths and legends. The written version of the Popol Vuh comes from this tradition and is the only collection of Mayan myths which scholars currently know. While the oral version of the Popol Vuh does hail from the Postclassic period of Mayan history (900-1500 AD), and thus has had ample opportunity to be influenced by the newly arrived Spanish culture and other Mesoamerican cultures, it is one of the most complete and well-preserved of the Mayan books of mythology. While these cultures did influence the Mayan culture, as well as its theology, it appears as though their religion was affected only with an increased interest in the adoration of the images of gods and an increase in human sacrifice. With this observation, we can suppose, especially for this study, the Popol Vuh is an accurate representation of Mayan religious beliefs.
The myths begin before the creation of the world. The description is of placid nothingness, while above this nothingness exists the gods, “the Farmer and the Shaper, Soveriegn and Quetzal Serpent, They Who Have Borne Children and They Who Have Begotten Sons.” These gods come together and create the earth and the light. It was then the animals, mammals, birds, and reptiles, were created, but when the gods told them to speak the names of their creators, to worship them, the animals could only cry out and moan, incapable of speech. The gods thus decided to abandon the animals to create those who could worship them. They then made man-like creatures of clay, but these, too, were unable of speech. Indeed, they could not walk, they could not speak, nor could they multiply. The gods dismantled them in favor of focusing their talents elsewhere. Instead of clay, the gods chose to create wooden effigies, and they had the power of speech, they walked and talked as a human would, but they had neither hearts nor minds. The gods were not pleased and destroyed them, allowing their tools and their dogs to turn on them. The gods then ground corn and added it to water to shape four men. These beings, however, were not made through any interaction, but merely through the thoughts, spirits, and power of the gods. Soon these men were able to have knowledge and the ability to speak. They could see everything and understand every aspect of the universe in its perfection. When asked by the gods why they were created, the men thanked the gods with their voices, truly reveling in their abilities and their complete knowledge. The gods were displeased with this all-encompassing knowledge and so they dulled the men’s vision, so they could see only what was near to them. In the same instant, the gods created women for the men so they could multiply. Once they had multiplied, there would be many voices that could worship and thank the gods for the gifts with which they had bestowed.
In the above myth, one elucidation may be that the Mayan gods tried and failed three times to create a people who could give the gods thanks and offerings and thus give the gods the sustenance they needed to survive. Upon their fourth attempt, they were successful, bringing to creation a people who could see wonders, speak their minds, and feel gratitude for their creation. In one view, it could be said there were three previous worlds to this, the fourth world in which we now reside. This way of interpreting the Mayan mythos is not unique and indeed there are different versions of these myths. One such myth from the modern Maya state there were three worlds before this one, one populated by dwarves, one populated by “the offenders,” and one populated by the Maya themselves. This, the fourth world, is inhabited by a mixture of Maya from the third world and new people created for this world. Each of the previous worlds were believed to have been destroyed by flood, as will this world when the time comes.
As the Toltec were so closely related to the Mayan civilization it can be assumed their mythology, such as the creation myths, were similar to the Maya, if not the same. As time progressed, however the Toltec allowed other cultures into their midst, and through this integration, new ideas and mythologies were introduced. As the Toltec civilization became more removed from its Mayan origins, the more the mythology is likely to have changed.
One new mythology, which is perhaps the most notable, is one rooted in fact. It was a time of strife, of warfare and the leader of the Toltecs embraced this violent lifestyle, and indeed supported and worshipped the god Tezcatlipoca, the god of chaos. A Nahua woman bore him a son in the year Ce Acatl, or One Reed. The child was named Topiltzin. Unfortunately, Topiltzin’s father was murdered, a murder Topiltzin avenged, before taking the title high priest of Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent. The Quetzalcoatl Topiltzin worshiped was a peaceful character who approved of fine art and only symbolic sacrifices. Tezcatlipoca, however, demanded the violent, bloody sacrifices, and his followers did not approve of this peaceful religion. They humiliate Topiltzin, who is known by the moniker Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl, by intoxicating him and making him neglect his religious duties. Defeated, Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl leaves with a small contingency of loyal worshippers. The legend continues, illustrating how Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl reached the Gulf of Mexico. Here, the tale has different versions, one of which states Topiltzin sails out to sea on the back of serpents, the other saying he burned himself alive. Whichever version is used or believed, Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl vows to return to conquer his people in another One Reed year.
Aztec Creation Mythology – The Five Worlds
With the Aztec civilization came a new mythology, which is no surprise as the Aztec were unique to the Mesoamerican world. This mythology featured distinct worlds, vengeful gods and destruction. As is seen in other mythologies, there are a number of variations in the telling of each myth. The Aztec creation myths are no different, though the core ideas are the same in each version.
In the beginning, there were two deities, Ometecuhtli, or the Lord of Duality, and Omecihuatl, the Lady of Duality, and they had four sons, each that can be considered different manifestations of Tezcatlipoca. The four sons are Xipe Totec (red Tezcatlipoca or Smoking Mirror), Tezcatlipoca (the black Tezcatlipoca or the Lord of the Night Sky), Quetzalcoatl (the white Tezcatlipoca or the Feathered Serpent), and Huitzilopochtli (the blue Tezcatlipoca). The latter two sons, Quetzalcoatl and Huitzilopochtli, created the first man and woman, Oxomoco and Cipactonal. They then created Mictlantecuhtli and Mictacacihuatl, the lord and lady of the underworld. The world was then created consisting of only the sky and water. Floating on the waters was Cipactli, the monster on whose back land was created. The rain god Tlaloc, was then created, along with his wife, Chalchiuhtlicue.
The different worlds were then created. The first was Jaguar Sun and was ruled by Tezcatlipoca. This world was populated, but destruction came as the people were eaten by jaguars.
The second world was known as Wind Sun, ruled by Quetzalcoatl, and was destroyed by hurricanes. The people of this world were not destroyed, but turned into monkeys.
The third world was Rain Sun with Tlaloc ruling. This world was destroyed by fiery rain. These people were transformed into turkeys, butterflies and dogs.
The fourth world was Water Sun ruled by Chalchiuhtlicue and was destroyed by a great flood. As this world was created for water, the people of this world were turned into fish.
These four worlds predate our own, making this the fifth world. Each of the previous worlds was designated with a single element, and each of the previous worlds failed due to the lack of the other three elements. Only in the fifth, known as Earthquake Sun, did all four elements work together to achieve a successful world. In one version of the creation myth, the only way this fifth world could be made was if Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca tore Cipactli in half, creating the heavens from her lower half and the earth from her upper half. To console Cipactli, the other gods decree that she will provide everything humans would need to survive.
This chapter in the mythology has many versions. The above version is just as commonly found as any of the other mythologies about the creation of this world. The one constant of each of the versions of the creation myth is the joint effort to create this world made by Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca.
It is believed this fifth world will be destroyed by its namesake, just as the other worlds had been destroyed. The end of this world will come in the form of earthquakes.
Aztec Mythology – Quetzalcoatl
One of the most important figures in the Aztec pantheon is Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent. He is named and described with little pomp in the fifth chapter of the Florentine Codex.
Quetzalcoatl – he was the wind; he was the guide, the roadsweeper of the rain gods, of the master of the water, of those who brought rain. And when the wind increased, it was said, the dust swirled up, it roared, howled, became dark, blew in all directions; there was lightening; it grew wrathful.
Here, Quetzalcoatl appears to be both a creator god and a god of destruction, prone to anger, but his role as a creator was one to which the Aztec often alluded.
The Aztec viewed the Toltec, derived from the Mayan culture, as their cultural ancestors and it is from them from which the concept of the return of Quetzalcoatl came. While the Toltec civilization continued to worship Quetzalcoatl, the return they were longing for was for the deity himself. The Aztec civilization, however, was focused, not just on the return of the deity, but on the return of the high civilization and the city of Tula, as well. This longing for the return of Tula and Quetzalcoatl is verbalized in a lament:
In Tollan (Tula) stood the house of beams, where still the serpent columns stand deserted.
Gone Away is Nacxitl Topiltzin…
Ah, but no! Your palace, your temple – these you leave behind you here in Tollan Nonohualco. The painted stones, the beams, you left them here behind you, in Tollan where you came to rule.
Nacxitl Topiltzin! Never can your name be lost, for your people will be weeping. 
Here it is obvious the Aztec lament as much for the lost architecture and art the Toltec introduced as they do for their departed god. Much like the Toltec, the Aztec were waiting for the return of their peaceful god, Quetzalcoatl, and for the high art and architecture in Tula to be reborn.
Hopi Creation Mythology – The Four Worlds
The Hopi creation myths follow the challenges of the gods to create beings that would be able to properly worship them. The First World that was created was perfect; all the people, despite their language differences and their different looks, were peaceful and honored their creators, but as time passed, many forgot their gods, turned away and became violent towards one another. It was then the gods chose those who still believed in them to live underground while the world above them was destroyed.
The Second World was created in a form completely different from the First World. Again, they populated the world and were at peace; they remembered their gods and gave thanks to them in worship. In the First World, people were simple and lived with the animals, but in the Second World, they began to create handicrafts to trade with each other. Greed became prevalent, the people fought amongst themselves and again, the gods were forgotten. There were those who remembered, though, and they were again harbored underground while the Second World was destroyed.
In the Third World, the people again were at peace, but created huge cities and countries. The people became more and more occupied with their own plans and forgot their gods. Once again, the gods planned to destroy the world, but there were still honorable men and women who remembered their gods. It was these people who were saved by reed boats. The Third World was then destroyed by floods. Once the violent floods ended, the honorable people were able to try to find their new home. They landed upon the top of what had been the tallest mountain in the Third World. Everywhere they looked, the world was covered in water. They took a reed from their boats, planted it and it grew high into the sky. They climbed the reed in order to get a better view, but still no land was seen. Again, they entered their boats. First they landed on a small island, but it was not big enough, so they kept sailing. Then they came to a vast, lush land, but the goddess leading them, Spider Woman, told them it was too easy a land for them, that they would be doomed to fail as in the previous worlds should they stay there, so they continued. They finally landed upon the sands of their Fourth World and watched as the gods sank the islands which they had previously visited. While the people were not yet at their final homes, they had made it to their Fourth World, the current world, the “World Complete.”
The above myths come from Book of the Hopi, written by Frank Waters, who transcribed the myths from recordings of Hopi elders made by himself and a Hopi named Oswald White Bear Fredericks, who also translated the recordings for Waters. These, however, are not the only transcriptions or versions of the Hopi creation myths. There are, of course, variations between tribes, but each version has the same themes, four worlds, each destroyed after humans lose sight of their duty to worship the gods.
One of the most striking differences seen in comparing Hopi creation myths is the method of reaching the Fourth World. In one version, the honorable people ask for assistance as they realize the majority of the people have lost sight of their gods. The gods grant them the help they seek, and show them to an opening in the sky. The people again ask for assistance in reaching the hole in the sky, and they are told to plant a seed. The seed grows into tall bamboo, and the people climb into the sky, hopefully keeping the dishonorable people out of their new home, including the witches. They reach the top and enter their Fourth world. Unfortunately, in this version, one witch manages to slip through. They allow her to live, but the Fourth World is already tainted by her impurity.
There are two questions of civilization nearly every religion answers: how the civilization was created and how it will be destroyed. Whether that destruction can be prevented, or some people saved, or even if that destruction will be per the gods’ wishes or failures is unique to each culture, or should be unique to each culture. Below are the apocalyptic views of the cultures that have been illustrated throughout this research. It is with these end-of-the-world beliefs the answer to whether these cultures were interconnected or not may finally be answered.
In consideration of the above information, both from the creation mythologies and the Mayan understanding of time, an understanding of the Mayan view of the end of their world can be theorized.
As seen in the section detailing the mythologies of the ancient Maya, there were many attempts by the gods to create the perfect creatures to worship them. After an attempt failed, the gods punished their creations, banishing them, or even destroying them. Another creation myth shows that each of the previous three worlds the gods created were destroyed by floods. It is expected by some that this will be the fate of this world.
Considering the Mayan understanding of time, however, it must be questioned whether this end-of-the-world scenario is to be utterly final or if, like the other cycles in the Mayan calendars, time will repeat and life will continue. The Maya understood that time and life would continue, but for them and their culture, they understood there would be an absolute end. Prophecies in the Mayan world were not so much a prediction of the future, but a confirmation of the repetition of time. Taking this repetition into account, it can thus be projected that this concept was applied to all the Mayan prophecies, including their end-of-the-world understandings. Though the end of one cycle would end, another would begin. It is unclear as to what would signal the end of the current cycle, though it can be inferred from some of the mythologies mentioned earlier that the end of the world would be signaled by destruction and chaos.
Every 52 years, the Toltecs would burn a bundle of 52 sticks. This ritual warped and became a ritual used in the Aztec religion when they worriedly tried to kindle a fire at the beginning of each new 52-year cycle. Indeed, much of the Aztec culture was legitimized by borrowing from the Toltec civilization. As the Toltec became a dominant civilization in Mesoamerica, and were, at this point, more influential than the Maya, the Aztec used this civilization as the yardstick for their own civilization, measuring their culture against the Toltec whom the Aztec believed to be the epitome of civilization.
In addition to this, the Toltec were hoping for the return of their god-king, Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl. They knew that he was born in the year of One Reed, and thus had sworn to return in some subsequent year named One Reed. It is uncertain what the Toltecs expected with the return of Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl, but the hope of his return alludes to the hope of something better, a change for the Toltec people. That in itself is indicative of an apocalyptic tradition.
Considering the above myths pertaining to Quetzalcoatl and the 52-year cycle of the Aztec culture, there are multiple apocalyptic beliefs. The first consideration must be given to the 52-year cycle.
At the end of every 52-year cycle, as was stated above, there was a ritual, the New Fire Ceremony, in which the Aztec would attempt to light a new fire. If the fire lit, it would indicate the world would continue for one more cycle. This ritual had a number of aspects to it, each lending an idea as to what the end of the world could be. As the last night of one 52-year cycle approached, preparations for the ceremony were made. The doorways of houses and the city’s walkways would be cleared and all fires would be extinguished. Women were locked up in case they turned into ferocious animals that would eat men. Children were pinched awake in the middle of the night to ensure they didn’t turn into mice as they slept. These latter two precautions paint an interesting picture of the Aztec apocalypse. It would have been a terrifying world of feral women and no children, but even that anticipated world paled in comparison to the chaos that would descend should a new fire not be kindled. If the fire refused to light, all hope for a new cycle would have faded and the demons of darkness would consume everyone and everything on earth.
One of the most noticeable Aztec apocalyptic belief systems that easily captures the attention and imagination of modern people is the action of human sacrifice. The reason behind human sacrifice was to continue to power the sun. It was believed that the sun needed the energy of a human life, specifically the energy in the human heart, to keep rising each morning. This belief was both sacred in its function and also mundane. The Aztec were conquering neighbors and keeping those neighbors from mounting rebellions was difficult, and thus the threat of Aztec warriors and priests choosing humans to sacrifice was often incentive enough to inspire the conquered peoples to keep a low profile.
As the One Reed cycle began to approach in the early sixteenth century, the Aztec culture began to experience omens, all this at least ten years before Cortes came to the Americas. The first omen was a fiery, bleeding wound in the sky. The second omen is their most important temple is burned and destroyed, as if by its own volition. The third omen comes as another temple was struck by lightening. The fourth was fire streaming through the sky during the day. The fifth omen is the life-sustaining lake waters, which are windswept into a boiling, roiling frenzy that washes away entire houses. The sixth omen was a weeping woman, crying about leaving the city with her children. This omen has variants from a mother and her children to a woman who had been dead and buried who had come back to life to warn Moctezuma of what she had seen. The seventh omen was an ashen bird with a mirror as its crown. The final and eighth omen was a man with two heads. These occurrences frightened the Aztec and alerted them to the changing of their world. What they expected that change to be was not alluded to. It is into this fearful environment Cortes entered.
The Quetzalcoatl myth does not have such horrific apocalyptic overtones. In fact, this apocalypse appears to be one of peace and tranquility. The opportune coming of Hernán Cortes to the shores of the Aztec homeland sparked numerous emotions in the Aztec population. Cortes’ arrival came at the dawn of a new cycle, named One Reed, the same cycle associated with Quetzalcoatl. The Aztec people had been anticipating the return of their god, Quetzalcoatl, perhaps from the east, as Cortes had come, and here was a strange, enigmatic figure standing on their shores. This arrival and the subsequent treatment of the Spaniards by the Aztec show that even the Aztec were unsure of what to do with the second coming of Quetzalcoatl. They honored him, giving him gifts, and receiving gifts from Cortes, which they returned to Quetzalcoatl via offerings in his temple. The actual appearance of the character the Aztec viewed as Quetzalcoatl led to shock, disbelief and depression for the Aztec leader, Moctezuma, who understood that the coming of this deity meant he no longer was ruler of the Aztec empire. This form of apocalypse is typical of the belief of cyclic time, that even as one world ends, another begins.
At the end of World War II, the Hopi elders believed the world was beginning to come to an end, and thus decided the time had come for them to reveal their prophecies to the world. These prophesies deal directly with the general notion of the above creation myths, that the human race has been purified three times at the end of each World, and we are drawing closer to the ending of this, the Fourth World.
In one version of the creation myth not addressed above, the chief who led his people out of the Third World had two sons, and each was given a Sacred Stone Tablet. They were instructed by the Great Spirit to place their tablets in a certain place. The older of the two brothers would take his tablet to the designated place, then return to the land of the Great Spirit where his younger brother stayed behind. The older brother then was charged to help his younger brother bring about the Purification Day, when all evildoers are to be judged and true peace will reign.
The prophecies cited in Rudolf Kaiser’s work mention a number of key points that herald the coming apocalypse. There is a “gourd of ashes; one of which when it falls upon the earth will boil everything within a great area of land where no grass will grow for many years…” It is said also that,
“…our True White Brother… will wear a Red Cap or Red Cloak. He will be large in population, belongs to no religion but his very own. He will bring with him the Sacred Stone Tablets… With him there will be Two Great Ones… one of which will have a symbol or sign of Swastika… The Third One or the Second One of the two helpers to our True White Brother will have a sign of a symbol of the Sun. …[W]hen the time of the Purification Day is near, those with these signs, swastika and sun, will shake the earth… in preparation for the final day of Purification. They will shake the earth two times. Then it will fall upon the Third One… to bring on Purification Day and to help his young brother… …[T]hen the Great Spirit, Massau’u, will appear before all that will be saved, and the three will lay out a new Life Plan which leads to Everlasting Life. This earth will become new as it was from the beginning…”
It is interesting to note that the above prophecy appears somewhat scripted to fit the events of both World War I and World War II, especially considering this prophecy was released two years after World War II ended. Furthermore, there are terms and words that are unusual in comparison with the above-mentioned creation mythology, such as “Everlasting Life.” There are Christian overtones to the above prophecy. What is unknown from Rudolf Kaiser’s text, however, is whether these terms have been added since the Hopi encountered Christianity, and, if so, whether or not the Hopi elders who presented this prophecy were aware of the Christian overtones that had crept into their belief system.
In Frank Waters’ The Book of the Hopi, the same prophecy is again presented, this time in less ceremonial terms. It states that World War III will begin in south Asia and the Middle East, and the United States will be destroyed by atomic bombs. However these events will not take place until the Blue Star Kachina dances, and while the Blue Star Kachina is currently far away, his appearance will be made soon. It is expected the Hopi and all those who are faithful people will be led out of this Fourth World into the Fifth World.
Waters’ presentation of the prophecy adds one more element that was not seen in other Hopi prophecies. He mentions there are to be nine worlds in total. What that means for the future of the Hopi is not said, but it can be interpreted as giving hope that life will continue, even past the Fifth World.
Though the apocalyptic beliefs of the cultures are perhaps the most illustrative of the connections between the cultures, no one piece of evidence should be ignored over another. As such, a review of each of the above sections will follow along with a possible theory of whether or not there is a cultural connection based on the evidence presented.
One of the commonalities between these Mesoamerican and Southwestern American cultures is the concept of cyclical time. This ties directly to the apocalyptic beliefs of each of the cultures referenced in this research. This commonality between disparate cultures begs the question whether the Ancestral Puebloans and subsequently the Hopi came up with the idea of cyclical time on their own without the cultural influences of their southern counterparts. This question seems to have no answer with the evidence that is currently available. While the discussion of multiple cultures with the same concept of time would be intriguing, it would add little to the questions at hand: whether the religious and apocalyptic beliefs held by the Mayan people could have influenced the Ancestral Puebloans with whom they traded and if those beliefs subsequently influenced the Hopi religious structure.
The Hopi have no written calendrical system that can be interpreted at the moment. Their concept of time, however, does follow the cyclical pattern of their southern neighbors. This is seen in the repetitious rebuilding of each of their historic worlds, and in the hope there will be another world following this world.
The Ancestral Puebloans, as was stated earlier, left behind no written documents, and few clues regarding their religious beliefs. The only way historians can theorize on Ancestral Puebloan belief systems is by researching the oral histories of the tribes claiming them as their ancestors, and thus the focus of this research was concentrated on the Hopi.
The Aztec calendar was directly related to the Mayan calendar, and as such, both these systems represent a cyclical understanding of time. In the Aztec’s view, the time cycle appears to be tenuous, relying on specific rituals to continue, even relying on human sacrifice during the later Aztec empire. Even with these rituals, however, it was possible the cycle could have been broken. The end of each cycle was met with fear and worry, as the rituals were completed, hoping the rituals would be enough to keep the unstable cycle progressing.
The Toltecs used a calendar system similar to the Aztec and the Maya. This calendar, though it was not recorded as well as the Aztec or Mayan calendar, still retained the cyclical system the Maya produced.
The Mayan calendar is far more stable than the Aztec calendar; this system has a total of three calendars that are interwoven, a mundane calendar, a sacred calendar and the long-count calendar. Each of these calendars work together to produce an overview of the Mayan concept of time. This concept is irrevocably cyclical, and, with the long-count, it is further stabilized by an understanding of a continuation of time beyond Mayan knowledge, as the cyclical calendrical system was perpetual.
Each of these cyclical systems is quite similar, though similarity in the understanding of how to mark time’s passing is not the core issue. What is the issue is the commonality of the understanding that time is cyclical. As was stated earlier, cyclical time is not unique to this area of the world. The commonality of the creation mythologies, the relations between the apocalypse mythologies added to the cyclical understanding of time is what makes the observations of these cultures interesting.
Trade between the cultures
It is easy to correlate the different Mesoamerican cultures. These three cultures, the Maya, Toltec, and Aztec, each evolve from each other in some fashion or another. The Mayan culture is still alive, even in the present world, but as their culture declined, certain people left the great cities of the Maya to build their own empire, creating the Toltec empire. While the Toltec people were not as artistically developed as the Maya, they did produce their own stunning culture, though their religion was almost entirely derived from the original Mayan religion. The Toltec, however, produced their own legends, specifically the legend of Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl. As the Aztec rose to power, they saw the artwork and heard the mythology and legends of the Toltec and saw them as the height of culture. Their own religion and culture began to evolve to emulate the Toltec culture, the Aztec people willingly incorporating nearly every aspect they could salvage of the Toltec culture.
When looking at the connections between the Mesoamerican cultures and the cultures of the American Southwest, however, things become uncertain. What is certain is there was physical trade between the Mesoamericans and the Ancestral Puebloans. There are artifacts and architecture in the archaeological record of the Ancestral Puebloans that solidifies the theory of that trade. There are the ball courts built as far north as Northern Arizona, which reflects the ball courts found in Mesoamerica. The shapes of these northern ball courts further solidifies which culture was trading physical objects with the Ancestral Puebloans. The circular and “I” shaped ball courts indicate a more Mayan origin rather than an Aztec origin. Furthermore, there were macaw bones and feathers found on Ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites. Considering these artifacts and structures, it can be concluded there was physical trade between the Maya and the Ancestral Puebloan, thus there was contact between these cultures.
The Hopi and some of the Hopi neighbors have strikingly similar rituals and languages to that of the Aztec. Trade, in the case of the Aztec and their northern neighbors, consisted not only of material goods, but of cultural ideas and religious rituals. We find in the Hopi culture a willingness to consider and include alien rituals and cultural aspects in their own ideology. Add to the similarities between the rituals of the Hopi and the Aztec the Uto-Aztecan language spoken by the Hopi makes the theory of trade between the two cultures almost unquestionable.
Considering these pieces of evidence, it is possible to glean answers to the question of whether cultural and ideological trade occurred. There are a number of commonalities that indicate a trade of cultural ideals did occur in Mesoamerica and the American southwest. That the Maya directly influenced the Toltec culture is uncontested. Also uncontested are the cultural aspects adopted by the Aztec from the Toltec. From this point, however, nothing is uncontested.
The Maya appear to be the root of the cultural and ideological trade in the region from the Mayan highlands to the Grand Canyon. The archaeological evidence of Mayan contact with the Ancestral Puebloans could lead to the hypothesis of the Ancestral Puebloans folding Mayan theology in with their own, but, as has been stated throughout this research, the extent of this influence cannot be known at this time. The Maya influenced the Toltec, and the Toltec subsequently influenced the Aztec. The Aztec, it appears, influenced the Hopi culture.
Considering the trade routes that have been taken by the Mesoamerican cultures and their northern neighbors, it is possible to see where the influence for certain Southwestern cultural developments came from. The Ancestral Puebloans were obviously influenced by the Mayan culture as far as architecture is concerned. In addition, there are Mayan influences throughout the Mesoamerican world, directly influencing the Toltec, and later remotely influencing the Aztec culture, which aspired to become more like the Toltec.
Cross-Cultural Creation Mythology Themes
Each of the cultures that were considered in this research had similar multi-worldly creation myths, though the Ancestral Puebloan mythology is currently unknown to historians.
The Mayan mythology is a base for all the other mythologies in the two regions considered in this research. Here, the four worlds bleed into the other cultures, influencing them in unique ways. This mythology is perhaps the least structured of the mythologies where the gods tried and failed three times before creating a race that could and would worship them. It is uncertain when the structure of distinct worlds came into play, though it could have been an introduction from the Aztec culture. In the Aztec mythology there were aspects of Mayan mythology in the fact that each worlds’ inhabitants were destroyed, though in this case the gods had no issue with the people themselves, but with the world in which they were living.
When considering the Ancestral Puebloans, it can be hypothesized that their religious beliefs were somewhat related to the Hopi and the Mayan mythologies, the latter only when considering the physical and cultural trade that was taking place. Unfortunately, the frustrating silence of the Ancestral Puebloans must be honored.
When looking at the Hopi culture and the mythology they are able to impart to scholars, the influence of the Mesoamerican cultures can be seen to extend even beyond the cultural boundaries of the Hopi. The Hopi have a similar four-world creation myth to the Maya, but they also have the structure of the Aztec. The amalgamation of these cultures is indicative of the trade that took place between the Mesoamericans and the Southwest American cultures.
On the surface, the Mayan mythology appears to be unrelated to the other creation myths. This set of myths, however, can be seen as the basis upon which the Toltec, the Aztec and the Southwestern American cultures will build their own myths. Fallible deities are nothing new when considering other world religions, but to see the number of failures is extraordinary and almost unique. The wildcard myths in this section are the Toltec and the Ancestral Puebloans. The Toltec mythology can be hypothesized to be a combination of the Mayan myths and the subsequent Aztec myths. The Ancestral Puebloans are stubbornly silent and archaeologists are unlikely to discover their mythologies in the near future. The Aztec bring a new twist to the myths, adding a structure not seen previously, a structure that echoes through the Hopi mythology.
Cross-Cultural Apocalyptic Themes
The final evidence presented are the apocalyptic themes of each culture mentioned. Along with creation myths, the end-of-the-world myths are the most important pieces of mythology, giving light to the fears and known disasters of the cultures they represent.
The Maya have no apocalypse predicted per se, but in considering their creation mythologies of the creation and destruction of different previous aspects of the world, it can by hypothesized the Maya believed in some form of destruction. The calendric systems the Maya developed, however, tell a story of continuation, of beginning again. The calendar does not simply end, but begins again in a new cycle. Taking the Mayan calendar into consideration shows an understanding that there will be a continuation after this current long-count has finished. Thus, if the world as we know it is destroyed, time will continue.
It can by hypothesized that the Toltec had a similar understanding, though with their existence being more strained and tenuous than the Maya, it is understandable that they were more uncertain as to the longevity of their future. The 52-year calendar being greeted with the half hopeful, half fearful burning of 52 sticks illustrates the peril their civilization was experiencing. It was the Toltec who introduced the legend of Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl and his vow to return, perhaps as a promise of better things to come.
The Aztec, being a more recent civilization, and a civilization studied and recorded by Western explorers, offer a more detailed version of the apocalypse they believed. A series of prophesies take place heralding an end, but of what is uncertain until a foreign people steps upon Aztec shores. It is believed the leader of these strange travelers is Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl and Hernan Cortes easily steps into that role to play it to his advantage. In this way, the end of the Aztec world as they understood it was brought to an abrupt end, fulfilling one apocalypse. When regarding the Aztec mythology, however, a more violent end is predicted as each of the previous four worlds died violently, so this world is predicted to die, this time by earthquakes. Unlike the Mayan mythology, however, there is no hope of continuation in the Aztec theology. The previous four worlds were ever incomplete, having only one element per world. This fifth world is a combination of all elements as the Aztec understood them. As all elements were poured into this world, there is nothing in the Aztec realm of possibility the gods could use to make another world. This world, it can thus be hypothesized, is destined to end.
As the Ancestral Puebloans left no written record, their apocalyptic beliefs are unknown to scientists at this point. Their descendants, the Hopi, however, give a clearer picture. Predictions of a great worldwide war have been made, but there is an element of hope that creeps through. While this destruction will take place according to Hopi mythology, there will be a great judgment and those people judged to be worthy will be saved and will be taken to the oncoming fifth world. Thus life and time will continue even past the violent destruction of this world. In addition, the Hopi have claimed to know there will be nine worlds in total, again illustrating a hope of continuation after this world is gone.
The above research is dedicated to finding a link between the cultures of the Maya and the Hopi. To accomplish this monumental task, each culture and its related cultures had to be examined. Through the research, it was realized the Maya and Hopi had no direct contact, though the hypothesis of their interconnected religious ideas still existed. As such, it was necessary to map the trade, both physical and ideological, of the Mayan belief system. Keeping the Maya as the grounding point of the research, the culture was moved with the Toltec who separated from the Maya. The Aztec, a nomadic tribe, entered the physical area around the Toltec cities. Consequently, the Aztec learned of the Mayan culture and adopted a number of Mayan and Toltec beliefs while keeping their original nomadic beliefs and striving to build a culture to equal or rival the epitome of culture the Aztec saw in the Toltec. It was through the Aztec the Hopi procured some of their own cultural and ideological beliefs.
These beliefs needed a vehicle to travel, and that vehicle was the trade of physical objects. Through the archaeological record, it has been proven the Maya and Ancestral Puebloans traded with each other. Also through archaeology, it can be hypothesized the Aztec traded with the Hopi. From these two sources, it can be hypothesized the Hopi adopted both Mayan beliefs from the Ancestral Puebloans and from the Aztec.
In all, there is a direct line of evolution from the Maya to the Toltec to the Aztec to the Hopi, with the Ancestral Puebloans being the silent wild card. Through the trade of goods, there was also a trade of ideas and ideologies. Looking at the direct lines of cultural evolution, they spread from the Mayan highlands to northern Arizona. While some of these ideologies are not direct, vis-à-vis the Maya to the Hopi, they are related through the quiet progression of ideas across time and space.
While the above research was hampered by time and regional constraints, it is hopeful this research will inspire others with better resources and access to said resources to further contest or support this hypothesis. A further understanding of the above research between Mesoamerican cultures and the cultures of the American Southwest needs to be pursued to expand upon the cultural and ideological trade hypothesis.
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 Robert K. Sitler, “The 2012 Phenomenon New Age Appropriation of an Ancient Mayan Calendar,” Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions 9 (February 2006): 25.
 Frederick J. Baumgartner, Longing for the End: A History of Millenialism in Western Civilization (New York: Palgrave, 1999), 121-2.
 A note must be made to the use of “Ancestral Puebloan” in the course of this research as opposed to the common term of “Anasazi.” Anasazi is a Navajo word commonly translated as “ancient enemy.” Other tribes who claim to be descended from the Ancestral Puebloans take exception to the term Anasazi and thus the more politically correct term of “Ancestral Puebloan” is used in the following research.
 Frank Waters, The Book of the Hopi (New York: Viking, 1963), 333.
 Armin W. Geertz, “Book of the Hopi: The Hopi’s Book?” Anthropos Institute 78 (1983), 547.
Robert J. Sharer, The Ancient Maya, Fifth Edition (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994), 71.
 Robert J. Sharer, The Ancient Maya, 211.
 Muriel Porter Weaver, The Aztec, Maya, and Their Predecessors: Archaeology of Mesoamerica (New York: Seminar Press, 1972), 195.
 Muriel Porter Weaver, The Aztec, Maya, and Their Predecessors, 202.
 Muriel Porter Weaver, The Aztec, Maya, and Their Predecessors, 204.
 Gene S. Stuart, The Mighty Aztecs (Washington D.C.: National Geographic, 1981), 36-7.
 Alfredo López Austin, “Aztec,” Scott Sessions, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures (e-reference edition). Ed. Davíd Carrasco. (Oxford University Press: University of Memphis Libraries) accessed 6 December 2011, http://www.oxford-mesoamerican.com/entry?entry=t221.e34
 Alfredo López Austin, “Aztec.”
 Helen C. Fairley, “Chapter 4: Culture History,” in Man, Models and Management: An Overview of the Archaeology of the Arizona Strip and the Management of its cultural resources, ed. Helen C. Fairley, (Report for USDA Forest Service: 1989), 100.
 Helen C. Fairley, “Chapter 4: Culture History,” 85-141.
 Helen C. Fairley, “Chapter 4: Culture History,” 85-141.
 “NAGPRA, Section 7, a-4,” last modified December 8, 2009, http://www.nps.gov/nagpra/MANDATES/25USC3001etseq.htm
 “NAGPRA, Section 7, a-4.”
 Miranda Warburton and Richard M. Begay, “An Exploration of Navajo-Anasazi Relationships” in Ethnohistory 52 (2005), 1-29.
 Martin R. Rose, “Chapter 2: Present and Past Environmental Conditions,” in Man, Models and Management: An Overview of the Archaeology of the Arizona Strip and the Management of its cultural resources, ed. Helen C. Fairley (Report for USDA Forest Service: 1989), 37-52.
 Harold Courlander, Hopi Voices: Recollections, Traditions, and Narratives of the Hopi Indians (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1982), xii-xiii.
 Harold Courlander, Hopi Voices, xiv.
 Day Names: Akbal, Kan, Chicchan, Cimi, Manik, Lamat, Muluc, Oc, Chuen, Eb, Ben, Ix, Men, Cib, Caban, Etz’nab, Cauac, Ahau, Imix, Ik. Robert J. Sharer. The Ancient Maya. p. 562.
 Month Names: Pop, Uo, Zip, Zotz, Tzec, Xul, Yaxkin, Mol, Chen, Yax, Zac, Ceh, Mac, Kankin, Muan,Pax, Kayab, Cumku, Uayeb (five days). Robert J. Sharer. The Ancient Maya. p. 562.
 J. Eric S. Thompson, A Commentary on the Dresden Codex: A Maya Hieroglyphic Book. (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1972), 7.
 Robert J. Sharer, The Ancient Maya, Fifth Edition (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994), 565.
 See figure 1 in Appendix. 1 Akbal, 2 Kan, 3 Chicchan, 4 Cimi, 5 Manik, 6 Lamat, 7 Muluc, 8 Oc, 9 Chuen, 10 Eb, 11 Ben, 12 Ix, 13 Men, 1 Cib, 2 Caban, 3 Etz’nab, 4 Cauac, 5 Ahau, 6 Imix, 7 Ik, 8 Akbal, 9 Kan, etc.
 Robert J. Sharer, The Ancient Maya, 561-2.
 J. Eric S. Thompson, A Commentary on the Dresden Codex, 7.
 Robert J. Sharer, The Ancient Maya, 567.
 Robert J. Sharer, The Ancient Maya, 567-8.
 Robert J. Sharer, The Ancient Maya, 560.
 Robert J. Sharer, The Ancient Maya, 560.
 Robert J. Sharer, The Ancient Maya, 567.
 Robert J. Sharer, The Ancient Maya, 568.
 For more resources, reference the Codex Borbonicus and Codex Ixtlilxochitl.
 Karl Taube, The Legendary Past: Aztec and Maya Myths (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1993), 13.
 Karl Taube, The Legendary Past: Aztec and Maya Myths, 15.
 Albert H. Schroeder. “Cultural Implications of the Ball Courts in Arizona” in Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 5, (1949), 28-29.
 Harold Sellers Colton, “Prehistoric Trade in the Southwest” in The Scientific Monthly 52 (1941), 315.
 Darrell Creel and Charmion McKusick, “Prehistoric Macaws and Parrots in the Mimbres Area, New Mexico” in American Antiquity, 59, (1994), 511.
 Darrell Creel and Charmion McKusick, “Prehistoric Macaws and Parrots in the Mimbres Area, New Mexico,” 514.
 James A. Goss, “Ute Linguistics and Anasazi Abandonment of the Four Corners Area” in Memoirs of the Society for American Archaeology (1965), 73.
 James A. Goss, “Ute Linguistics,” 73.
 Yolanda Lastra, “Linguistics” The Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures (e-reference edition). ed. Davíd Carrasco (Oxford University Press: University of Memphis Libraries) accessed 4 December 2011, http://www.oxford-mesoamerican.com/entry?entry=t221.e350.
 Jean O. Charney, A Dictionary of the Southern Ute Language. (Ignacio: Ute Press, 1996). and Wick R. Miller “Sketch of Shoshone, a Uto-Aztecan Language,” Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 17, ed. Ives Goddard (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1996), 693–720.
 Nora Aion, “Selected Topics in Nootka and Tübatulabal Phonology,” (PhD diss.: City University of New York, 2003).
 Yolanda Lastra, “Linguistics.”
 Susan E. James, “Some Aspects of the Aztec Religion in the Hopi Kachina Cult” in Journal of the Southwest 42 (2000), 898.
 Elsie Clews Parsons, “Some Aztec and Pueblo Parallels,” in American Anthropologist 35, (1933), 611.
 Susan E. James, “Some Aspects of the Aztec Religion in the Hopi Kachina Cult.” p. 897.
 Elsie Clews Parsons, “Some Aztec and Pueblo Parallels,” 611.
 Susan E. James, “Some Aspects of the Aztec Religion in the Hopi Kachina Cult,” 900-7.
 Susan E. James, “Some Aspects of the Aztec Religion in the Hopi Kachina Cult,” 900.
 Robert J. Sharer, The Ancient Maya, 595.
 Robert J. Sharer, The Ancient Maya, 596.
 Robert J. Sharer, The Ancient Maya, 384.
 Robert J. Sharer, The Ancient Maya, 516.
 The Popol Vuh, ed. Allen J. Christenson (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2007), 68.
 The Popol Vuh, 70-73.
 The Popol Vuh, 74-77.
 The Popol Vuh, 78-79.
 The Popol Vuh, 80-90.
 The Popol Vuh, 193-6.
 The Popol Vuh, 197-9.
 The Popol Vuh, 200-1.
 Robert J. Sharer, The Ancient Maya, 520-1.
 Muriel Porter Weaver, The Aztec, Maya, and Their Predecessors, 204.
 Muriel Porter Weaver, The Aztec, Maya and Their Predecessors, 204.
 Unfortunately, the primary sources that were to be used in this section did not arrive from Interlibrary Loan in time for the due date of this research. For further research into the Aztec Mythology, please see: The entire Florentine Codex, and Codex Magliabechiano.
 Aztec Cosmology (Austin: University of Texas) accessed 1 December 2011, http://www.utexas.edu/courses/stross/ant322m_files/cosmology.htm.
 Aztec Cosmology.
 Aztec Cosmology.
 Aztec Cosmology.
 Aztec Cosmology.
 Karl Taube, The Legendary Past: Aztec and Maya Myths, 33-34.
 Aztec Cosmology.
 Karl Taube, The Legendary Past, 36-7.
 Aztec Cosmology.
 Fray Bernardino de Sahagún, Florentine Codex, ed. Arthur J. O. Anderson and Charles E. Dibble (Santa Fe: School of American Research and the University of Utah, 1970), 9.
 Muriel Porter Weaver, The Aztec, Maya and Their Predecessors, 204.
 David Carrasco, “Quetzalcoatl’s Revenge: Primordium and Application in Aztec Religion” in History Religions 19 (1980), 297.
 David Carrasco, Quetzalcoatl and the Irony of Empire: Myths and Prophecies in the Aztec Tradition, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982), 63.
 David Carrasco, Quetzalcoatl and the Irony of Empire, 64.
 Frank Waters, Book of the Hopi, 3-14.
 Frank Waters, Book of the Hopi, 14-16.
 Frank Waters, Book of the Hopi, 18-22.
 Frank Waters, Book of the Hopi, xv.
 Hopi Voices, trans. Harold Courlander (Albequerque: University of New Mexico, 1982), 3-14.
 Harold Courlander, The Fourth World of the Hopis (New York: Crown Publishers, 1971), 19-29
 Robert J. Sharer, The Ancient Maya, 556.
 Karl Taube, Aztec and Maya Myths, 10-1.
 Muriel Porter Weaver, The Aztec, Maya and Their Predecessors, 204.
 Michiyo Sasao, “New Fire Ceremony” in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures (e-reference edition), ed. Davíd Carrasco (Oxford University Press. University of Memphis Libraries), accessed 4 December 2011, http://www.oxford-mesoamerican.com/entry?entry=t221.e451.
 David Carrasco, Quetzalcoatl and the Irony of Empire, 185-6.
 David Carrasco, Quetzalcoatl and the Irony of Empire, 187.
 David Carrasco, Quetzalcoatl and the Irony of Empire, 189.
 David Carrasco, Quetzalcoatl and the Irony of Empire, 190.
 Frederic J. Baumgartner, Longing for the End, 121.
 Frederic J. Baumgartner, Longing for the End, 121-2
 David Carrasco, Quetzalcoatl and the Irony of Empire, 200.
 David Carrasco, Quetzalcoatl and the Irony of Empire, 195-201.
 Rudolf Kaiser, “Prophecies and Eschatological (Millennial) Traditions of the Hopi-Indians in Arizona,” in Anthropos (1990), 65.
 Rudolf Kaiser, “Prophecies and Eschatological (Millennial) Traditions of the Hopi-Indians,” 65-66.
 Rudolf Kaiser, “Prophecies and Eschatological (Millennial) Traditions of the Hopi-Indians,” 66.
 Rudolf Kaiser, “Prophecies and Eschatological (Millennial) Traditions of the Hopi-Indians,” 66.
 Rudolf Kaiser, “Prophecies and Eschatological (Millennial) Traditions of the Hopi-Indians,” 65.
 Frank Waters, Book of the Hopi, 334.
 Frank Waters, Book of the Hopi, 334.