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4451 - The spirit within the self. K¿awiil serpent¿s leg as his own transformation aid

As is clearly stated by the epigraphic evidence found in inscriptions from the Classic period, K’awiil’s serpent leg was his own wahy, a kind of familiar spirit that, according to Colonial sources, was used by priests and sorcerers to conjure the forces of nature and use them against their enemies. Besides this, K’awiil’s leg was a means through which he made his own avatars appear in many different mythological narratives, pictured mainly on a group of ceramics known as “codex style.” This evidence makes the concept of “animal spirit” more complicated than previously stated because it means some gods, specifically K’awiil, had animal companions as part of his own body. They were used to transform other gods or deities (some of which were other animals), or make them appear and participate in different myths. This paper will present the evidence underlying the observations outlined here, showing the transformation processes undergone by K’awiil to make his avatars materialize and the implications for the concept of rulership. K’awiil was a very important deity due to his power to make other creatures from the Maya mythological realm become visible.

Palabras claves: K'awiil, wahy, serpent, animal, companion

Autores: Valencia, Rogelio (Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Mexico / Mexiko)

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