Popol Vuh

by

Dennis Tedlock

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Popol Vuh can help.
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 light around his tree—though he believes that the light from his nest and from his face are capable of lighting the entire world, and he therefore tries to impersonate the moon and sun and become an object of worship for the wood people. Hunahpu and Xbalanque understand that this self-magnification is evil, so they shoot Seven Macaw in the jaw with their blowguns. They then trick him into allowing Great White Peccary and Great White Coati to pull his turquoise teeth and pluck out the metal from around his eyes, depriving him of the things that made him a lord. Seven Macaw then dies of shame. His two sons, Zipacna and Earthquake, are similarly boastful and self-important.
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Seven Macaw Character Timeline in Popol Vuh

The timeline below shows where the character Seven Macaw appears in Popol Vuh. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part One
Origins, Customs, and the Mayan Culture Theme Icon
Heroism vs. Villainy Theme Icon
Names, Power, and Memory Theme Icon
At this time, everything is still dark; there is no sun. However, a god called Seven Macaw "magnifies himself" and impersonates the sun and moon, giving light to the flooded wood people.... (full context)
Part Two
Origins, Customs, and the Mayan Culture Theme Icon
Heroism vs. Villainy Theme Icon
Names, Power, and Memory Theme Icon
Two twin boy gods named Hunahpu and Xbalanque understand that Seven Macaw 's self-magnification is evil, so they decide to try to take him down. The boys... (full context)
Heroism vs. Villainy Theme Icon
Seven Macaw has two sons with his wife, Chimalmat: Zipacna and Earthquake. Zipacna spends his time building... (full context)
Heroism vs. Villainy Theme Icon
What It Means to be Human Theme Icon
The narrator describes Seven Macaw 's tree, where the bird god eats. One day, Hunahpu and Xbalanque hide under Seven... (full context)
Origins, Customs, and the Mayan Culture Theme Icon
Heroism vs. Villainy Theme Icon
Names, Power, and Memory Theme Icon
As Seven Macaw schemes, Hunahpu and Xbalanque make plans of their own. They ask two gods, Great White... (full context)
Origins, Customs, and the Mayan Culture Theme Icon
Heroism vs. Villainy Theme Icon
Names, Power, and Memory Theme Icon
When Great White Peccary, Great White Coati, Hunahpu, and Xbalanque pass by Seven Macaw 's house, Seven Macaw is yelling in pain. When Seven Macaw sees the "grandparents" walking,... (full context)
Heroism vs. Villainy Theme Icon
Names, Power, and Memory Theme Icon
What It Means to be Human Theme Icon
Seven Macaw asks if that's actually a good plan, since his status as a lord is dependent... (full context)
Origins, Customs, and the Mayan Culture Theme Icon
Heroism vs. Villainy Theme Icon
The story shifts to Seven Macaw ’s son Zipacna. One day, as he bathes on the shore, the Four Hundred Boys... (full context)