Figure 12.10. The structure of the Dresden Venus Table, with deity names. Glyphs drawn by Sean Goldsmith.

Figure 12.10. The structure of the Dresden Venus Table, with deity names. Glyphs drawn by Sean Goldsmith.

Figure 12.11. From a Maya pot: Hun Hunahpu and the other gods emerging from a water lily vine. There is a brief text that opens with the date 13 Muluc 8 Zotz. A two-headed serpent and the Bird of Heaven are also seen. Drawn by Sharon Hanna.

seems entirely acceptable to DHK. Sprajc further argues that the assocation of these ideas in a complex is an ancient feature of the mythology of Mesoamerican farming groups, extending perhaps as far back as the beginning of Mesoamerican agriculture. He recognizes that the association of Venus and warfare was very important from at least the Classic period onward, but regards it as a secondary development, associated with the rise of social hierarchies. Carlson, on the other hand, sees the relationship among rain, fertility, blood sacrifice, and warfare as natural and basic to even the earliest Venus iconography. Both of them tend to see such major deities as the Corn God, the Rain God, and the Merchant God as mere aspects of Venus—a view that was conventional with regard to the many deities mentioned in the Venus table of the Dresden codex. They also tend to see any use of star glyphs as referring to Venus. DHK acknowledges that "the star" was a term that might sometimes be applied to Venus but thinks that much of the iconographic evidence applies to other stars and planets, and that most of the major deities were separate from Venus, important as that planet was.

Among specific figures, a star scorpion deity is of interest. At Cacaxtla, a male figure with a star "kilt" and a scorpion tail is paired with a female figure with a star skirt, unfortunately, badly damaged. Carlson compares these with representations of Chaac, the Maya Rain God, with a scorpion tail and of the aged goddess of Madrid (p. 11a). He also shows a Maya plate depicting a scorpion-tailed man with arms and legs through the circles of a Maya star/Venus glyph (Carlson 1991, pp. 19-26 and 8a-k). They might also be com pared with the Nahua myth of the ascetic Yappan, who after being seduced by the goddess Xochiquetzal, became a black scorpion and whose wife, Tlahuitzin, became a female red scorpion (Ruiz de Alarcon 1629/1984, ed. Andrews and Hassig, pp. 204-207).

Another figure tied into the Venus-rain-maize complex by both Carlson and Sprajc is the Star-Jaguar. Sprajc (1993a, pp. 42-43) draws attention to a carving from Chalcatzingo belonging to the Palangana Olmec phase, which shows felines, presumably jaguars, attacking people. One has an ear in the form of the Maya "star/Venus" and has symbols that have previously been interpreted as referring to maize and agricultural symbolism in general. The connection of these Chalcatzingo reliefs with various "star-jaguars" and "net-jaguars" at Teotihuacan seems very reasonable. As will be shown (§12.22), some Jaguar depictions at Teotihuacan refer to the Pleiades and, in DHK's opinion, to Jupiter. Carlson (1991, p. 43) discusses paintings of a toad and a turtle shown at Cacaxtla wearing jaguar skins and quotes with approval ideas that the Aztec Earth Mother originated as a "Jaguar-toad.""The toad sheds its skin in the spring," which Carlson associates with ritual flaying. Below the toad and the turtle are streams of water marked with half-stars, making both toad and turtle heavenly denizens.

An important component of the postulated Venus-war cult is the owl, depicted with the fertility goddess and with rain deities at Teotihuacan. The owl is directly associated with various conquests and sacrifices in the Maya area.

None of them discuss the identification of Venus as an iguana among the Cora nor the possible translation of the name of Itzamna, the Maya culture hero, as "Iguana House," although Sprajc does emphasize the many similarities between Quetzalcoatl as Venus and Itzamna. The Cora reference makes Iguana the morning star, and the owner of fire, which was stolen from him by Opossum (Munn 1984, p. 29).

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