There are 8 thoughts on “Celestial Visits in the Scriptures, and a Plausible Mesoamerican Tradition”.

  1. Diane, this is a great article. You have brought together some very interesting and important concepts. Concerning Stela 2 from Izapa, Karl Taube identifies the descending figure as the Principle Bird Deity (Taube, 1993, Aztec and Maya Myths, p. 93) and from the San Bartolo murals on the west wall the Principle Bird Deity “exhales red breath volutes from its snout. The base of the skyband is lined with swirling black elements, probably denoting dark clouds filled with rain. An early precursor to the line of cloud scrolls on the underside of the San Bartolo celestial band appears on Altar 3 at Middle Formative La Venta (see de la Fuente 1977; illus. 69). Skybands with clouds are fairly common in Late Preclassic sculpture, with one example appearing on Izapa Stela 21, here with the scrolls tipped with points (See Norman 1973: plates 33-34).” (“The Murals of San Bartolo, El Peten, Guatemala: Part 2: The West Wall,” 2010, Ancient America, No. 10, Karl Taube, William A. Saturno, David Stuart and Heather Hurst, Boundary End Archaeology Research Center, p. 46). The infant Maize God, the Maize God rising (resurrecting) out of the turtle shell and the Diving (descending) Maize God are also portrayed on the San Bartolo murals (Ibid. 69-83). These murals show that there is apparently a common Mesoamerican religious connection that links Olmec, Izapa and Maya beliefs surrounding the Maize God (as a baby, as descending and as resurrecting) and the Principle Bird Deity (possibly Itzamna), the God who lives in the sky as represented as being in the top of trees or in the heavens represented by clouds. Your article shows that even though clouds are natural formations, they also may serve to represent divine contact ‘celestial visitations’ with man, not only in the Biblical tradition but also in Mesoamerica.

  2. Robert you are absolutely right. I’ve read hundreds of books, but can’t get around to them all. I even have Skousen’s book and will get to it eventually. Thanks for the correction.

  3. Another fine article, Diane, but I do want to take issue with your statement on page 69 that “in Malachi, the ‘Sun of righteousness’ has a dual meaning acknowledged by most Christians, understanding this verse as referring to Jesus Christ, the son of righteousness meaning the son of God.”
    The source of the confusion can only take place in English due to homonymous “sun” and “son,” leading to scribal errors at 3 Nephi 25:2 (Malachi 3:20 [KJV 4:2]), and Ether 9:22 — erroneously reading “Son” for “Sun.” The words are very different in Hebrew, and Royal Skousen has corrected those mistakes in his 2009 Yale Edition of the Book of Mormon.

    • I’ve understood Stela 2 at Izapa to be the falling Principle Bird Deity, Vucub Caquix, falling from the sky after the Hero Twins defeated him (from the Popol Vuh). Stela 10 has a small person in the clouds, which may be a pre-mortal spirit being sent to the woman below who is giving birth. Just a thought! The Maya most definitely believed in souls being sent from the Creators to human mothers.

    • Mark: The spikes of the Ceiba Tree protrude from the trunk, almost like Hershey Kisses, not curved up like fangs. In between these fangs are the scalloped edges that denote flesh. However, behind these elements we see a rope, which also couples as an umbilical cord which was a common motif for a connection from heaven to earth, the “kuxan sum” (see Tozzer, A comparative Study of the Mayas, etc., 1907:153-154).

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