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The Maya Moon Goddess, Ix Chel


The popular Maya Moon Goddess Ix Chel ("She of the rainbows") was patron of childbirth and healing, and the art of weaving. A Postclassic shrine to Ix Chel on the island of Cozumel was much visited by Mayans, and was probably still active when the Spaniards first arrived in 1518-19 during the voyages of Grijalva and Cortés.

The Temple of the Frescoes at Tulúm has a small colonnaded lower gallery with murals in the Mixteca-Puebla style, dating from about AD 1450. One of the paintings shows the goddess Ix Chel holding two small Chacs or rain deities.The central theme of these murals is fertility, maize and associated ceremonies of death and rebirth. Among the fertility symbols are water lilies.

[Fig.1: Detail of fresco at Tulúm, with Ix Chel holding the rain deities, or Chacs (photo: Athena Review).]

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