maximal tilt and “the increasing light of a widening dialogue”

The primeval scene:

“The problem is not that light needs to be created, as in Genesis, but that it is hidden, enclosed in blue-green quetzal feathers (lv.26). In the Popol Vuh, the movement from hidden light to a false dawn to the rising of the morning star and of the sun itself is a lengthy allegorical counterpoint to the movement from incomplete or false approximations of human beings and their speech to a fully articulate and religious humankind. in Genesis, the story of light (first day) and of the heavenly bodies (fourth day) is all over before Adam is even created (sixth day), and the nearness of the divine is signaled not by light but by wind.”

Creation and the Popol Vuh (p. 268-269)
The Spoken Word and the Work of Interpretation
Dennis Tedlock 1983

Scientific background: an astronomy of the seasons. “The dates of maximum tilt of the Earth’s equator correspond to the summer solstice and winter solstice.” Watch a quicktime movie of the earth’s annual wobble. ­čÖé
Tedlock continues (pp. 269-271):

“The first quoted dialogue in Genesis – and here we come to the bottom of the hole, the canyon that separates the Judeo-Christian and Toltec-Quichean cosmogonies – is the disastrous dialogue between Woman and Serpent, and in the second dialogue God vents his wrath upon Adam. In the Popol Vuh, dialogue is a positive force, necessary before the creation can even be conceived, and it is the first step beyond the meaningless murmurs and flickerings of the primeval scene. The Heart of Sky – or ‘they’ who are the Heart of Sky – come to the deities of the sea (lv.36-41):

‘They spoke now, then they thought, then they wondered
they agreed with each other, they joined
their words
, their thoughts:
then it was clear, then they reached accord in the light,
and then humanity was clear. . . .’


“Here we have the description of a dialogue, and the first direct quotation in the Popol Vuh comes from the same dialogue. The first sentences of this first quotation are not commands but questions: ‘How should the sowing and dawning be? Who will be the provider, nurturer?’ (2r.6-8), and the discussion goes on from there. . . .
“In sum, the continuing growth of creation requires not a series of commands from a single source but an ever-widening discussion . . . in Quichean (and Mesoamerican) thought, dualites are complementary rather than oppositional, contemporaneous rather than sequential . . . the creation moves not according to the gusty wind of God’s will and the clandestine questioning of a miserable serpent, but according to the increasing light of a widening dialogue.”

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