Maya nobility performed bloodletting sacrifices to strengthen a ‘dying’ sun god during solar eclipses

We live in a light-polluted world, where streetlamps, electronic ads and even backyard lighting block out all but the brightest celestial objects in the night sky. But travel to an officially protected “Dark Sky” area, gaze skyward and be amazed.

This is the view of the heavens people had for millennia. Pre-modern societies watched the sky and created cosmographies, maps of the skies that provided information for calendars and agricultural cycles. They also created cosmologies, which, in the original use of the word, were religious beliefs to explain the universe. The gods and the heavens were inseparable.


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