| My first thought upon seeing the cover was GREAT! Now we might see some mesoamerican or oriental figures. And, I love the skull on it! So, given the clearly Aztec/Incan/Mayan (not sure which yet) theme and the skull right beneath, I thought I would post some info on the "Crystal Skulls" (since they were more then just a fiction made up for the purposes of a plot for another Indian Jones movie). In fact, crystal skulls (which I can't tell if the skull is crystal or not on the cover, but it's a fun area to research and read about, so I am going with it, if for no other reason then I am bored today at work! lol!) are not uncommon. They range in color (from crystal clear to smoky or colored quartz) and in size but nearly all are thought to have originated from Mexico and South America. Most of the popular legends about the crystal skulls involve 13 of them - and suggest that bringing them all together will trigger some sort of world changing event. And then there is the link between the skulls and the end of the Mayan calendar... |
And, the Calendar which is the central main featured icon is a drawing of the Aztec Calendar Stone currently found at the National Museum of Anthropology and History in Chapultepec Park, Mexico City.
Some info on the figures in the stone/calendar:
|The face of the stone contains various mythological and astrological figures and signs in geometrical order. The outer border contains two serpents which represent time and the chief Aztec gods. Within this border are the rays emanating from the central figure which represents "Tonatiub," the Sun god. Again, according to legend, Tonatituh's heaven was the highest place attainable by those who had reached fulfillment here on earth. Surrounding the central sun figure are seven rings of varying dimensions. Above the face of the Sun god is an arrowhead symbolizing the wind. In the rectangles above and below the eagle's claws, at the right and left of the sun's face, are symbolic representations of the four elements, air, fire, water, and earth. An interesting legend surrounds these four symbols. It is called the legend "del Quinto Sol." The legend of the Fifth Sun. |
More on the face (from another source, so info is slightly different) Additionally, The face of Tonatiuh is surrounded by the Nahui-Ollin or Four Movement and they represent the ways that the four previous suns (or worlds) ended - buy animals, then wind, then fire then flood. The Aztecs believed they were living in the fifth and last world.
And with this calendar, there are lots and lots of links to a large number of Atzec Gods depending on the date. So we have lots of possibilities for new characters!
And finally, bringing all of it together...
|Beyond reflecting the calendar, the stone describes the colorful but violent Aztec cosmology. The glaring face of the Sun god at the center of the stone (see image above) is surrounded by a six-lobed symbol for Ollin, or "movement." Also reproduced at the head of this page, the Ollin symbol is the only one of the twenty day signs to represent an abstract concept as opposed to "Reed," "Wind," or "Water," for instance. It refers to the movement of the Sun through the sky but also to earthquakes.|
The four squarish panels within the Ollin symbol depict the four cosmological epochs thought to have preceded the current era of the Aztec empire. During each of these, the gods struggled to nurture mankind on Earth only to be defeated by a catastrophe. The date and nature of each cosmic holocaust is given in the panels: 4 Jaguar, 4 Wind, 4 Rain, and 4 Water---the numeral 4 being a bad omen.
Here is a description of the cosmological panels on the Sun Stone from Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico by Anthony F. Aveni (1980, p. 143):
The concept of the cyclic destruction and rebirth of the world is a common theme in Mesoamerican religion and mythology. On the famous Aztec calendar stone, surrounding the face of the Sun God, about whom all periodic phenomena in nature take place, we see four rectangular panels symbolizing the destruction of the world on each of the previous epochs through which it has passed. In the most remote epoch (upper right), giants who inhabited the earth were attacked and devoured by jaguars. At the upper left, the god of wind symbolizes the hurricanes that carried away the people of the second epoch. The third cosmogonic epoch, symbolized the god of fire-rain at the lower left, was destroyed by lava and fire in a great volcanic eruption. The few survivors were those who were able to transform themselves into birds. Storms and torrential rains epitomized by the water god ending the fourth epoch (lower right panel) caused men to be changed into fishes. In the present, or fifth, epoch destruction by earthquake is said to await us.
The fifth, and current, cosmological era began with the self-immolation of the god Nanhuatzin on behalf of mankind and his reappearance in the sky as the Sun god. Four small circles at the corners of the large Ollin symbol give the date 4 Ollin on which the transformed god, now the "Fifth Sun," began moving through the sky. But the date also predicts the earthquake catastrophe that will end the fifth cosmic epoch.
The cosmic cycles of birth and destruction were identified with periods lasting 13 "baktuns" in the remarkable Maya "Long Count" calendrical system. A baktun is 20x18x20x20 days long, or 144,000 days. A cosmic cycle of 13 baktuns is therefore slightly over 5100 years. Based on the best evidence for its starting date, the current, "fifth," epoch will end in December 2012. That is only three years from now---but it is over 1100 years since the collapse of the Maya empire.
I find in interesting that the skull on the bottom replaces the snakes facing each other... so much to research with this new cover!!