IXTAB – Mayan Goddess of Suicide

Ixtab, recorded in a Mayan Codex. (Image source www.luminousinsect.tumblr.com).

Ixtab, recorded in a Mayan Codex. (Image source www.luminousinsect.tumblr.com).

Goddesses have long been an integral part of the spiritual world within many cultures, they are often thought of as aspects of the divine feminine (the flip-side of the more popular divine masculine force). Often feminine deities are seen as mother forms, beings we humans can turn to in a time of need, sadness, loneliness or illness. Equally often people have sought out a Goddess figure when there are times of celebration, rejoicing and happiness. In most cases these female divine aspects were seen to be generally uplifting and positive, but what if you were to discover that at least one of them, from the ancient Mayan world-view, was available only through a specific and rather grim form of death?

The Yanxcha Sacred Tree of the Maya. (Image source mmancilla.1990.blogspot.com).

The Yanxcha Sacred Tree of the Maya. (Image source mmancilla.1990.blogspot.com).

Ixtab, known as Rope Woman or the Hanging Woman in the Yucatan region of Mexico, was the goddess of suicide by hanging. It was once considered honourable to die at the end of a rope, especially if your defeat was imminent, she would come to accompany you to the afterlife paradise but only if you died by her favoured means, hanging yourself from the Yanxcha Tree, the sacred tree of the Maya.  The idea of strangulation was also related closely to fertility, conception and other cultural factors that designated when it might be beneficial for that person’s to die in the view of the rest of the community. This phenomenon was also highly related to times of drought.

Ixtab taking a mortal soul to paradise. (Imge source mmancilla1990.blogspot.com).

Ixtab taking a mortal soul to paradise. (Imge source mmancilla1990.blogspot.com).

Ixtab also had links to the lunar and solar eclipses, the lunar eclipse was believed problematic for a pregnant woman, if her child was born then it might cause dire consequences for the child (especially if the lunar eclipse was at its highest peak) bringing the risk of being born with deformities or even death.

Incredibly even to this very day it seems Ixtab wields her strange attraction, the Yucatan region has the highest suicide by hanging rates in the whole country.

 

REFERENCES:

Wikipedia Summary Information http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ixtab

Ixtab the divine Goddess http://mmancilla1990.blogspot.com/

One comment

  • John

    Saying it was “recorded in a Mayan Codex” isn’t helpful. There are 6 legible Mayan codexs, and an additional six that may become legible with additional technology.

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