Examine: The Maya blessed their ball courts in rituals with hallucinogenic vegetation

A decorative ring made from carved stone is embedded in the wall of a ballcourt in the ancient Maya city of Chichen Itza.

Enlarge / An ornamental ring made out of carved stone is embedded within the wall of a ballcourt within the historic Maya metropolis of Chichen Itza. (credit score: Kåre Thor Olsen/CC BY-SA 3.0)

It is well-known that the traditional Maya had their very own model of ball video games, which have been performed with a rubber ball on stone courts. Such video games served not simply as athletic occasions but in addition non secular ones that always concerned ritual sacrifices. Archaeologists have now discovered proof that the Maya could have blessed newly constructed ball courts in rituals involving vegetation with hallucinogenic properties, in response to a brand new paper revealed within the journal PLoS ONE.

“Once they erected a brand new constructing, they requested the goodwill of the gods to guard the folks inhabiting it,” stated co-author David Lentz of the College of Cincinnati. “Some folks name it an ensouling ritual, to get a blessing from and appease the gods.” Lentz and his crew beforehand used genetic and pollen analyses of the wild and cultivated vegetation discovered within the historic Maya metropolis Yaxnohcah in what’s now Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, revealing proof of sustainable agriculture and forestry spanning a millennia.

As we have reported beforehand, there may be ample proof that people in lots of cultures all through historical past used varied hallucinogenic substances in non secular ceremonies or shamanic rituals. That features not simply historic Egypt but in addition historic Greek, Vedic, Maya, Inca, and Aztec cultures. The Urarina individuals who stay within the Peruvian Amazon Basin nonetheless use a psychoactive brew known as ayahuasca of their rituals, and Westerners looking for their very own model of enlightenment have additionally been identified to take part.

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