The Worldtree


According to the Ancient Maya the axis of the world was shaped as a tree. They called this tree the Wakah-Chan or "Raised Sky". This name refered to the creation story in which was told that at the beginning of our current worldperiod the gods supported the heavens with a supernatural tree. The World Tree, however, was more then just a pillar for the 13 heavens; if acted as a cosmic road which the souls of the dead could follow. Its roots penetrated the lowest layers of Xibalba (The Maya Underworld), its trunk passed the earth and the branches penetrated the upper most layers of the heavens. 

The Dresden Codex shows this tree with a thick trunk, which suggests that the Maya were thinking of a Ceiba tree, one of the largest trees in the Maya rainforest. Recently scholars came with the theory that the World Tree is a symbol of the Milky Way.

The convert to Christianity did not mean the end of the World Tree. In fact, it was integrated in the new religion of the Maya. Today the World Tree is used during Katholic holidays. The picture on this page shows a candle bracket in the shape of a World Tree. The image shows a scene from Genesis. Through this the traditional beliefsystem of the Maya found a way to integrate in modern times.