Popol Vuh

by

Dennis Tedlock

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Hunahpu

Hunahpu is one of the hero twins in the Popol Vuh. With his brother, Xbalanque, he rids the pre-human world of all manner of villainous gods, including Seven Macaw, Zipacna, Oneread analysis of Hunahpu

Xbalanque

Xbalanque is one of the hero twins in the Popol Vuh. He and his twin, Hunahpu, dedicate their lives to taking down any characters who seek to "magnify themselves" and attempt to appear… read analysis of Xbalanque

One Hunahpu

One Hunahpu is Xmucane and Xpiyacoc's son, and the father of Hunahpu, Xbalanque, One Monkey, and One Artisan. He and his brother, Seven Hunahpu, love to play a traditional Mesoamerican… read analysis of One Hunahpu

Seven Hunahpu

Seven Hunahpu is One Hunahpu's brother; his parents are Xmucane and Xpiyacoc. Though One Hunahpu fathers children, Seven Hunahpu never takes a wife and, according to the narrator, remains "a boy" and a… read analysis of Seven Hunahpu

Xmucane

Xmucane is one of the oldest deities in Mayan theology. She's known as the grandmother and the midwife, and is sometimes referred to as "plate shaper, bowl shaper." Xmucane is the mother of One Hunahpuread analysis of Xmucane
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One Death

One Death is one of the most powerful lords of Xibalba, along with Seven Death. Both lords enjoy their peace and quiet, which leads them to summon One Hunahpu, Seven Hunahpu, Hunahpuread analysis of One Death

Seven Death

Seven Death is a powerful lord of Xibalba who works primarily with One Death. The lords are skilled ball players, though they detest when non-Xibalban gods play ball, as it makes a great deal… read analysis of Seven Death

One Monkey and One Artisan

One Monkey and One Artisan are the sons of One Hunahpu and Egret Woman. These two dedicate their lives to becoming great artists, writers, and musicians. Both brothers are also very skilled at a… read analysis of One Monkey and One Artisan

Seven Macaw

Seven Macaw is a bird god who "magnifies himself." Before the first dawn, he decorates his teeth with turquoise and places gleaming metals around his eyes. His nest is also made of metal, which casts… read analysis of Seven Macaw

Zipacna

Zipacna is the first son of Seven Macaw and Chimalmat. Like his father, he believes that he's extremely important. He outsmarts the Four Hundred Boys when they try to kill him by burying him… read analysis of Zipacna

Earthquake

Earthquake is the second son of Seven Macaw and Chimalmat. Like Zipacna and Seven Macaw, Earthquake has an overblown sense of his own importance. With a tap of his toe, he can bring down… read analysis of Earthquake

Blood Moon

Blood Moon is Blood Gatherer's daughter, and the mother of Hunahpu and Xbalanque. She's overwhelmingly good, pure, and resourceful. When she hears that the calabash tree bore fruit after One Death and Seven Deathread analysis of Blood Moon

Sovereign Plumed Serpent

Sovereign Plumed Serpent is one of the most powerful gods in Mayan theology. He's also known as the maker, modeler, bearer, and begetter, and is a part of the group of gods known as Heart… read analysis of Sovereign Plumed Serpent

The Owl Messengers

The Owl Messengers are the four messengers of Xibalba. They are Shooting Owl, One-legged Owl, Macaw Owl, and Skull Owl, but they always function as a group. They're tasked by One Death and Seven Deathread analysis of The Owl Messengers

Jaguar Quitze

Jaguar Quitze is the first human created by Sovereign Plumed Serpent and Xmucane out of cornmeal. He is handsome, devout, and at first, all-knowing. With his wife Red Sea Turtle, he becomes the… read analysis of Jaguar Quitze

Jaguar Night

Along with Jaguar Quitze, Not Right Now, and Dark Jaguar, Jaguar Night is one of the first men created out of cornmeal by Xmucane and Sovereign Plumed Serpent. Jaguar Night… read analysis of Jaguar Night

Not Right Now

Not Right Now is the third man created from corn by Xmucane and Sovereign Plumed Serpent. He and his wife, Water Hummingbird, go on to found the Quiché line of Mayan people, which… read analysis of Not Right Now

Dark Jaguar

Dark Jaguar is the fourth man that Xmucane and Sovereign Plumed Serpent create out of corn. Though they also make him a wife, Macaw House, the couple only has daughters and therefore do… read analysis of Dark Jaguar

The Tribes

The tribes refer to a number of allied, unnamed groups that exist in the mountains when the first men are created. The tribes are open about their distaste for Auilix, Tohil, and Hacauitzread analysis of The Tribes

Blood Gatherer

Blood Gatherer is one of the lords of Xibalba. He has a virgin daughter, Blood Moon, and is enraged when he realizes she's pregnant. Because he believes that her children will be bastards, he… read analysis of Blood Gatherer

The Four Hundred Boys

The Four Hundred Boys are a group of boy gods. When they try to trick Zipacna and kill him, they fail miserably: Zipacna ends up tricking and killing them. Hunahpu and Xbalanque avenge the boys'… read analysis of The Four Hundred Boys

Xpiyacoc

Along with Xmucane, Xpiyacoc is one of the oldest gods in Mayan theology. He's known as the grandfather, and sometimes is referred to as "plate shaper, bowl shaper." Xpiyacoc helps create the world, but… read analysis of Xpiyacoc

The rat

When Xbalanque and Hunahpu hide themselves to figure out what's destroying their garden, the rat is the only guilty animal they're able to catch. The twins burn the rat's tail (which is why rats' tails… read analysis of The rat

Tohil

Tohil is the god given to Jaguar Quitze's family after the first humans are created. He is the only god able to make fire at first, and he tricks the tribes without fire into… read analysis of Tohil

Lust Woman and Wailing Woman

Lust Woman and Wailing Woman are two daughters from the tribes who are sent to trick the boy gods Tohil, Auilix, and Hacauitz. Though the two women follow instructions, they also fall… read analysis of Lust Woman and Wailing Woman
Minor Characters
Xulu and Pacam
Xulu and Pacam are two Xibalban seers. Hunahpu and Xbalanque summon the seers and instruct them to grind their bones and throw the bones in the river when the twins "die."
Tamazul
Tamazul is a toad who fails to follow through on a promise to carry a message quickly. Because of this, all toads after him are destined to be food for snakes.
Zaquicaz
Zaquicaz is a snake who offers to swallow Tamazul to help him get his message to Hunahpu and Xbalanque more quickly. Zaquicaz is subsequently swallowed by a falcon, which is why birds of prey eat snakes.
Egret Woman
Egret Woman is One Hunahpu's wife; she dies when her sons One Monkey and One Artisan are children.
Chimalmat
Chimalmat is Seven Macaw's wife. She dies when he does.
Great White Peccary and Great White Coati
Great White Peccary and Great White Coati are two gods who assist Hunahpu and Xbalanque in bringing down Seven Macaw. They agree to pose as the twins' grandparents and pull Seven Macaw's turquoise teeth out, which they then replace with corn.
Red Sea Turtle
Red Sea Turtle is Jaguar Quitze's wife. Sovereign Plumed Serpent creates her, and she and her husband create the nine Cauec houses.
Prawn House
Prawn House is Jaguar Night's wife. She's created especially for him, and they become the ancestors of the Greathouse line.
Water Hummingbird
Water Hummingbird is Not Right Now's wife and is one of the first four women. She and Not Right Now's descendants become the four Quiché houses.
Macaw House
Macaw House is Dark Jaguar's wife. The two only have daughters and therefore don't create an enduring family line.
Auilix
Auilix is the god given to Jaguar Night's tribe when the first humans reach the citadel called Seven Canyons. When dawn arrives, Auilix turns to stone.
Hacauitz
Not Right Now's tribe receives Hacauitz as a god at the citadel called Seven Canyons. He turns to stone when the first dawn comes.
Middle of the Plain
Middle of the Plain is the god given to Dark Jaguar's tribe.
Newborn Thunderbolt
One of the first three gods living in the sky, along with Hurricane and Sudden Thunderbolt. Together with Sovereign Plumed Serpent they draw the land from the sea and create the first plants and animals.
Sudden Thunderbolt
One of the first three gods living in the sky, along with Hurricane and Newborn Thunderbolt. Together with Sovereign Plumed Serpent they draw the land from the sea and create the first plants and animals.
Hurricane
One of the first three gods living in the sky, along with Newborn Thunderbolt and Sudden Thunderbolt. Together with Sovereign Plumed Serpent they draw the land from the sea and create the first plants and animals.
Noble Two, Noble Acutec, and Noble Lord
The sons of the first men. After Jaguar Night, Jaguar Quitze, Not Right Now, and Dark Jaguar die, these three go east and receive the gift of writing. Then they return and become great lords.