T-shaped doorway or window
appears as a common architectural motif in stone masonry villages all across the
Anasazi (ancient Hopi) Southwest. It is found, for instance, at Chaco Canyon in
northern New Mexico and Mesa Verde in southwestern Colorado.
leading through a T-shaped doorway
down into Casa Rinconada, the Great Kiva
at Chaco Canyon, N.M.
Greek the letter T is called tau cross, which echoes the name of the Hopi
sun god Tawa. Every day the sun emerges from the Underworld through a T-shaped
doorway, the horizontal stave serving as the horizon. At some point in the past
the form of the Hopi kiva (subterranean prayer chamber) changed from round, like
the one at Chaco Canyon, to rectangular, located on an east-west axis. The floor
plan was sometimes widened at one end to reflect the T-shape. Hopis say that this
form represents the traditional male hairstyle of bangs falling down over the
Masau'u is the name
of the Hopi
god of the Underworld, fire, and death. His head is sometimes carved in rock
art as a modified rectangle to suggest a stylized skull.
of two humanoids,
Perry Mesa Ruins north of Phoenix, Arizona.
on the left with the T-shaped head may represent Masau'u.
also find the T-shaped cross far to the south at the Mayan city of Palenque in
Chiapas, Mexico. Specifically, a number of T-shaped windows were incorporated
into the building called the Palace.
windows in the Palenque Palace.
Photo courtesy of George Delange.
The DeLange Home Page filled with gorgeous travel photography: http://www.delange.org
Mayan daykeeper, artist, and historian Hunbatz Men explains the meaning of this
transcendental synthesis of human religious experience is inherent in the word
te, Sacred Tree, which emerged from the words teol and teotl
the names of God the Creator in Mayan and Nahuatl. These most revered and sacred
words of the ancient people, symbolized by the Sacred Tree, were represented in
the Mayan hieroglyphs as the symbol 'T.' Additionally, this symbol represented
the air, the wind, the divine breath of God." 1
other words, the T-shaped doorway or window symbolizes the Sacred Tree at the
Center of the World (axis mundi) upon which the shaman's spirit may climb.
In addition, it functions as the portal leading to the Great Spirit, through which
the breath of life may pass.
fruit growing from the trunk
of the sacred yaxche tree.
spirit messenger perched on top.
In numerous cultures tau was connected to abundant water or rain-deities.
For instance, Augustus Le Plongeon, one of the first archaeologists of the Maya,
writes that the T-shape corresponded to Crux, or the Southern Cross. This constellation
appears shortly before the beginning of the rainy season in southern Mexico.
ancient Maya astronomers had observed that at a certain period of the year, at
the beginning of our month of May, that owes its name to the goddess MAYA, the
good dame, mother of the gods, the "Southern Cross," appears
perfectly perpendicular above the line of the horizon. This is why the Catholic
church celebrates the feast of the exaltation of the holy cross on the
third day of that month, which it has consecrated particularly to the Mother
of God, the Good Lady, the virgin Ma-R-ia, or the goddess Isis
anthropomorphized by Bishop Cyril of Alexandria."2
Is it more than a coincidence that
the name of this Mesoamerican tribe should be the same as the Sanskrit word for
the veil of illusion? The Mother Goddess Shakti, otherwise known as the Divine
Mother Devi, gives birth to all phenomenal forms that we mistakenly perceive as
being real. Queen Maya was impregnated by a white elephant entering her side and
subsequently gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama the Buddha.
Maia was the Greek goddess of spring and the Roman goddess of the earth or growth.
Her fertility celebration is either the 1st or the 15th of May. She was also the
eldest sister and the brightest star of the Pleiades. In the land of the Maya
tribe, the sun in conjunction with the Pleiades passes through the zenith during
the month of May.3 In
Egypt the ankh, or ansate cross, was the "key to the Nile" by which Osiris,
husband of Isis, accomplished his annual riparian inundations. The upper loop
represents the womb, and the lower straight portion represents either the birth
canal or the phallus.
between two pairs of was scepters
carved on temple wall, Egypt
is interesting to note that when Moses entered the Sinai desert, he found the
Midianite tribe (also called the Kenites) wearing the T-shape on their foreheads.
This sign, which represented their god of storms (bringing water) and war (thunder),
later became known as the "Yahweh Mark."
Much later Jesus may well have
been crucified on a Tau or St. Anthony's cross rather instead of on the Latin
cross we think of today, though this will probably be forever debated.
his classic book Atlantis: the Antediluvian World, Ignatius Donnelly states
that tau was an important icon signifying "hidden wisdom" for Mexicans
as well as for Peruvians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Chaldeans. In general, it
was emblematic of rejuvenation, freedom from physical suffering, hope, immortality,
and divine unity.
Thus we have seen how many cultures associate the T-shape with burgeoning
new life, the rising sun, psycho-spiritual journeying, and ultimate resurrection.
Sometimes the simplest symbols contain the deepest meanings.
Men, Hunbatz, Secrets of Mayan Science/Religion, translated by Diana Gubiseh
Ayala and James Jennings Dunlap II (Santa Fe, New Mexico, Bear & Company Publishing,
2. Le Plongeon, Augustus, Sacred Mysteries Among the Mayas And the
Quiches, (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Wizards Bookshelf, 1973, 1886).
John Major, Maya Cosmogenesis : the True Meaning of the Maya Calendar End-Date
(Santa Fe, Bear & Company, 1998)
excerpt from Eye of the Phoenix:
Mysterious Visions and Secrets of the American Southwest
Copyright © 2006-2013 by Gary
A. David. All rights reserved
Any use of text or photos without the author's
prior consent is expressly forbidden.
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