Cosmovision is a Mesoamerican philosophy and belief system that is deeply embedded in their culture and has influenced their anthropology, ethnography, and theology. The idea of cosmovision is supported by parallelism or duality according to which universe has been categorized into macrocosmos and microcosmos. The macrocosmos is what we call divine powers up in the universe while microcosmos is the life on earth. The idea of cosmovision is that all life on the microcosmos is interconnected with the greater forces that govern the universe that is macrocosmos.
The buildings and monuments were created by the Mayan and Mesoamericans in order to organize ceremonies and rituals which used to be attended by the residents of the towns and villages and it was believed that the divine powers would come and visit them at these places of ceremonies. Cosmovision did not only help them navigate through their day-to-day life and helped them build one of the greatest civilizations in the world but it also contributed to creating a deeper meaning out of their life that is more spiritually fulfilling.
For thousands of years, they used celestial bodies to navigate around the globe and stayed connected with nature. In central Mexico, people lived in a rural area that was close to constant warfare. Therefore, these communities built strong relationships with the heavens above and Earth itself. They believed that the sky above was an extension of their gods, and those from below were dependent on nature for survival.
The idea of cosmovision is extensively recorded in the book of Popol Vuh which is an ancient mayan book. The book repeatedly talks about the mayan belief system. The importance of deities, rituals, and rulers are some of the major themes that you will get to see in the book. This is the book that talks about duality and parallelism.
The cosmovision has mainly three themes:
The cosmovision is indeed more than just a belief system and works as the unifying factor for civilization. The archaeological sites that have been discovered throughout the Mesoamerican civilizations, could be seen depicting this. The pyramids and temples were all created around the idea of cosmovision and they have been referred to as “world-making” places, and world beliefs are embodied in them visually. These urban sites center the Mesoamerican world by providing access to rulers’ cosmovision through the urban centers themselves. They also allow for a renewal of the world while promoting ritual ceremony and sacrifice which is required to maintain a calm state of the universe.
Although one can argue that this school of thought was similar to various European and Eastern schools of thought such as the Platonic idea of abstracts and the Indic idea of dharma and honestly, every culture has its own cosmovision. But upon digging deeper, we will find that the Mesoamerican worldview differed from the worldviews of other cultures in several ways. Among many Mesoamericans, spirituality was fundamental to the basic understanding of the world. Mesoamericans viewed the world as having been created in a series of five or six acts (the Aztecs believed that the fifth act was still in the future). These five or six “acts” were known as “Suns”. All creation occurred during the first four acts, which were all very similar. In the first three “Suns”, the world was created from the primordial ocean and then recreated one Sun later. In the fourth Sun, the gods created all of the heavens, the Earth, and all things in it. In the fifth Sun, the gods and mankind will die, and the world will once again be destroyed and recreated, making the fifth Sun the sixth “Sun” and the start of a new era. The world will be destroyed during the sixth “Sun” because it is believed that the gods and all living things will be taken to a far-off place and new earth will be created.
The cosmovision was developed over a period of 3500 years and it still plays a major role in cultural unification. The contemporary manifestation of cosmovision could be seen in a variety of ways. One is the celebration of “Day of the Dead”. This is the day where the actual ceremony, during which the dead ancestors come together with living descendants, represents the concept of world renewing. Through this process, the Mesoamerican world is renewed.