Mayan Myths And The Cosmic Boulder

  1. Introduction
  2. The Role of Asteroids in Maya Cosmology
    1. Mayan Gods and Creation Myths
    2. Astronomy and Astrology
  3. Asteroid Beliefs in Other Ancient Cultures
    1. Greek Mythology
    2. Egyptian Religion
  4. FAQs
  5. Conclusion
  6. Additional Resources


Asteroids have fascinated people throughout history, inspiring countless myths and legends about their origin and meaning. The Mayans, an ancient civilization that flourished in Central America from around 2000 BC to the time of Spanish conquest in the 16th century, were no exception.

In this article, we will explore the beliefs of the Mayans and other ancient cultures about asteroids. We will examine their cosmological ideas and how they saw these celestial objects as part of larger systems of meaning and symbolism. By doing so, we can gain insight into the ways that asteroids have shaped human culture and imagination.

The Role of Asteroids in Maya Cosmology

A breathtaking view of our solar system, teeming with asteroids in their celestial dance around the majestic Saturn and Mars

Mayan Gods and Creation Myths

According to Mayan cosmology, the world was created by a group of gods who descended from the sky. These beings, known as the K'iche' gods, used a cosmic boulder called the Heart of Sky as a tool to shape the earth and bring forth life. The K'iche' also saw the cosmos as divided into three parts: the upper world, the middle world (where humans lived), and the underworld.

This creation myth reflects the importance of asteroids in Mayan culture, as the Heart of Sky was believed to be a representation of an asteroid or meteorite. The Mayans saw these objects as symbols of divine power and creativity, capable of shaping the world as we know it.

Astronomy and Astrology

The Mayans were skilled astronomers and astrologers, and they used their observations of the sky to develop a complex system of timekeeping and divination. They believed that the movements of celestial objects, including asteroids, could reveal important information about the future.

One of their most famous works of astronomy is the Dresden Codex, a book of Mayan hieroglyphs that contains detailed information about the movement of celestial bodies. The Codex includes a section on the Venus calendar, which tracks the orbit of the planet Venus and its connection to other celestial events, including asteroid sightings.

Asteroid Beliefs in Other Ancient Cultures

I need an ALT text for an image that captures the essence of the Mayan sun god surrounded by an explosion of golden light rays emanating from an asteroid embedded in the forehead, with Mayan pyramids in the background

Greek Mythology

The ancient Greeks believed that the gods lived on Mount Olympus, and that the sky was inhabited by various beings and creatures. They saw asteroids as messengers of the gods, and believed that they carried important messages or warnings for humans.

One of the most famous Greek myths involving an asteroid is the story of Phaethon, the son of the sun god Helios. According to the myth, Phaethon drives his father's chariot across the sky without permission, causing chaos and destruction. Zeus then strikes him down with a thunderbolt, and he falls to earth, creating the river Eridanus.

Egyptian Religion

The ancient Egyptians were also fascinated by the cosmos, and they associated different constellations and celestial objects with various deities and concepts. In particular, they believed that the sun and the stars were representations of the god Horus, who embodied the power of creation and renewal.

Some scholars have suggested that the Egyptian deity Osiris, who was associated with resurrection and rebirth, may have been linked to the asteroid belt. This is because the belt is made up of fragments of a larger object, which some have likened to the dismembered body of Osiris in Egyptian mythology.


Amidst a lush backdrop, the image showcases the grandeur of the Mayan civilization with colossal pyramids and stone temples
  • Were asteroids seen as omens of doom or destruction in ancient cultures?

    While some cultures did associate asteroids with negative events, such as Greek mythology's story of Phaethon, most saw these objects as symbols of creativity and divine power.

  • Did any ancient cultures attempt to mine or exploit asteroids for resources?

    While there is no direct evidence of this, some scholars have suggested that the Mayans may have used meteoritic iron to create tools and weapons.

  • What impact did the discovery of asteroids have on modern scientific thinking?

    The study of asteroids has helped scientists gain a better understanding of the formation and evolution of the solar system, and has also provided important information about the potential dangers of asteroid impacts on earth.

  • Are there any current scientific studies or missions focused on asteroids?

    Yes, NASA has several ongoing missions focused on studying asteroids and their potential impact on earth. One of the most famous is the OSIRIS-REx mission, which aims to collect a sample of the asteroid Bennu and bring it back to earth for analysis.

  • What can we learn from the beliefs of ancient cultures about asteroids?

    By studying the beliefs of ancient cultures, we can gain insight into the ways that people have been fascinated by the cosmos throughout history, and how they have sought to make sense of the mysteries of the universe.


Asteroids have played an important role in human culture and imagination, inspiring myth and legend across many different civilizations. By examining the beliefs of ancient cultures like the Mayans, we can gain a deeper understanding of the ways that these objects have shaped our worldview and inspired our curiosity about the universe around us.

If you want to learn more about asteroids and their significance in human history and science, be sure to check out the wide range of resources available at Asteroid Realm.

Additional Resources

A majestic Mayan temple, illuminated by the golden light of the sun, sits amidst lush green vegetation and a clear blue sky

Here are some additional resources for those interested in delving deeper into the topic:

If you want to discover more articles similar to Mayan Myths And The Cosmic Boulder, you can visit the Asteroid Mythology category.

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