Twins | Kerbedanz


The myths about twins are common for many nations of the world. In some of them the twins appear as brothers (rivals, later allies), in others - as brother and sister (male and female elements, for example Osiris and Isis in ancient Egypt). The subject of twins is quite typical for the mythologies of Mesoamericans.

That's why the sign of the twins on the dial has acquired a figurative interpretation, non-traditional for the European zodiacal horoscope, based on an archaic part of the epic of the K'iche' -Maya "Popol -Vuh" called the myth of "heroes-avengers", which refers to the most common subjects in the mythology of the Mesoamericans. In this myth the fight of divine twins against antagonists is solved in the form of a ball game.

The twins of the epic of K'iche' incur the displeasure of lords of the underworld- Xibalba, because the whole days they were playing ball on the road to Xibalba, over the heads of its lords; the gods of death take it for a direct challenge and the desire to conquer them. The gods invite the twins to the competition to posses their equipment and to kill the brothers. The heroes hide their equipment and descend to Xibalba without it. At night, the twins run the danger of death in the "Houses of tests," and during the day they play ball with the gods of death. Heroes are defeated, and the gods of death kill them on the playground.

The little twins find the attributes for ball games of their killed father and uncle; they clear the field and anger again the gods of death by the noise and knock of the ball. The lords of Xibalba offer to the boys to participate to the competition. Thanks to the ingenuity and magical abilities – both of their own and of their assistants - the heroes pass the test, die, reborn, kill the main rulers of Xibalba, and deprive the other lords of their power, divine dignity, and their privileges and favorite activity- ball games. Thereupon, the brothers turn into the Sun and Moon.

From the structure of the myth about the heroes-players, it follows, a priori, that it reflects the ritual of a ball game. The twins’ tests in the underworld, leading the hero's death and their subsequent rebirth (for the first couple - in their children, for the second - in the heavenly bodies) are mounted to the initiation ceremonies. It corresponds to the data of ethnography, according to which, all across South America, where the game had an important meaning in the ritual life and where the myths about the players were widespread (especially in Mesoamerica, the lowlands of Colombia and Venezuela, in Mato Grosso), the game was associated with initiation rites.

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