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Thursday, July 13, 2006

When birds were gods

There is a long American tradition of rulers or priests pretending to be birds in their rituals--going back at least to the Izapan culture in southern Mexico before 300 BC. These and similar rituals continued through Mayan and other cultures, including the birdman cult of the Mississippian cultures in Eastern North America up to nearly the time of European contact. Birds, with their ability to fly, seemed to represent many divine powers to these peoples. Some people still believe that the Mesoamerican Principal Bird Diety is important, and that it figures into prophecies concerning cosmic changes to occur in 2012. Apparently, the mystery of living with birds continues, with the bird symbols of the Ancients encouraging additional ways to experience birds beyond the evolutionary ecological paradigm of Western science.

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