Early Guatemala Urban Planning,
Heavenly or Terrestrial?

In the essay on the Sacred City of Teotihuacán, Gateway of Gods, a case was made to demonstrate the alignment of an urban grid to the Milky Way. The assumption was that the sacred site would reveal the heavenly coordinates toward which the city planners were guiding the citizens who would call the place home. As the essay indicates, there is an incredible metaphor associated with the urban grid alignment at Teotihuacán, which demonstrates the heart of the Mesoamerican mythology. Through the Archaeological Institute of America information subsequently became available from Dr. Erin Browder of the University of San Diego on the urban archeological site at Ujuxte, Guatemala, which was dated to 650-400 BC. A quick calculation of many 24 degree east urban grid alignments in the Ujuxte area revealed the equivalent metaphoric celestial alignment to the ultimate destination of the indigenous religious mythology. These two locations are 4.3 degrees separated in latitude, and represent a possible verification of the correspondence between the mythology and the celestial metaphors.

Teotihuacán Celestial Mythology Coordinates

The Teotihuacán celestial mythology metaphor identifies the moment when the souls of the faithful will return to the Milky Way. This is the place where the eagle carries the image of a king back from the bottom of the cosmos to the disk of the galaxy. This is the essence of the beliefs of most of the peoples of the Americas, and many other places around the world. From a pragmatic psycho-spiritual perspective, a soul comes back to life when the wisdom of ancient ancestors is reincarnated into the living flesh of a descendant. The celestial scene depicts the story of the hero twins and their victory at the cosmic ball court.

Urban planning coordinate orientations at the Southeast Pacific Coast can be estimated from the following figures adapted from Archaeological Survey in Santa Rosa 1996, and Survey in Jutiapa, Southeastern Pacific Guatemala, 1997, by Francisco Estrada Belli and Laura J. Kosakowsky of Boston University.

Santa Rosa Survey Area

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Ujuxte Location

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La Nueva Alignment

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La Nueva Archaeological Map

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Ujuxte Seaward ALignment

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Ujuxte Urban Grid

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To make a celestial orientation check we need to establish the global and celestial coordinates. The astronomy program, Redshift, allows for direct determination of the global coordinates shown below.

Redshift Astronomy Program Global Coordinates

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To evaluate the potential mythological coordinates we take the urban northern grid orientation of 24 degrees east and then establish the transition at the galactic Gateway of Gods. The following is a SkyGlobe star chart with the La Nueva grid alignment.

Santa Rosa, Gateway of Gods

This star chart reveals that the zenith above the Santa Rosa survey site passes through the head of Antinous when the Milky Way is aligned 24 degrees east of north. This is precisely the same celestial location for the Sacred City of Teotihuacán. It strongly supports the continuity of the myth, and archaeologically dates it to the Santa Rosa location, circa 1300 BC, at least one millennium before Teotihuacán was planned. It can be assumed with significant probability of correctness that celestial based theological/mythological systems do not experience great fundamental changes in periods as short as a millennium. The importance of the Aquila/Antinous astronomical position is inherent in most world mythologies going back to Ancient Egypt and the Chaldeans.

Meaning of the Eagle|

The celestial location demonstrates the return to the galactic plane (Tree of Life) by the prodigal son (Antinous) on the wings of the eagle (Aquila). There the spirit of the prodigal son is taken as a serpent (Serpens) by Father Sky (Ophiuchus) above wisdom (Sagittarius) and desire (Scorpio). The meaning of this image is that the unbalance desire (Great Red Dragon) of the prodigal son is tempered as Father Sky "opens the way" for balanced (Libra) desire (Scorpio) from the ouroborus (Serpens) of self desire (Great Red Dragon). Maya initiates of the celestial metaphor follow Hanahpu back to the place where Hanhanahpu first created the world. No other place carries such profound wisdom in the pictorial form of the asterisms.

Gateway of Men

The opposite zenith location on the galaxy has substantial metaphorical cosmic wisdom. This side is where Orion "falls" into the under world, or the realm of the Lords of Xibalba. There is an important constellation at this galactic alignment which reveals a Gateway of Men. Here we see Auriga carrying the goat and kids back up to the upper world, in a metaphor of the Good Shepherd retrieving lost sheep.

Entrance to Xibalba

The Santa Rosa alignment of the Milky Way for the Gemini-Taurus-Orion-Auriga intersection when the galactic plan is 24 degrees west of north does not align with the Santa Rosa survey site urban grid layouts. Therefore, we must conclude that the celestial correspondence is to the eagle and the serpent, as in Teotihuacán.|

Teotihuacán ALignment

The correspondence of the Maya mythology to the celestial asterisms is extremely difficult to deny, considering the number of asterisms and the holistic galactic locations of the celestial myth elements. However, the correspondence of the Maya celestial mythology to the Santa Rosa survey urban grids has one serious, and probably unsurmountable problem. The 24 degree east alignment is perpendicular to the local shoreline of the Pacific Ocean. Some might attempt to justify the orientation as a choice of shoreline for the sake of celestial correspondence and divine choice. This conjecture cannot be supported nor denied because the metaphor becomes transparent and has no unique relationship to clearly communicate beyond the ocean orientation. Additional information is needed, based upon the alignment of stele or religious sites, or areas where urban alignments clearly stand in variance with the local geological and landscape restraints. If these elements can be found to more explicitly identify the celestial correspondence, then the mythological correspondence can be reevaluated. However, the present data draws on to conclude that the Santa Rosa area urban alignments are based upon local features of the real estate.

GPS data was acquired by William Poe of Sonoma State University in 1997 which provides significant support of a Milky Way alignment of the urban grid at Ujuxte.

Ujuxte Urban Grid Axes

This data clearly show that the urban grid is not oriented to immediately local real estate. The popular view is that the orientation is aligned with seasonal markers for solstices and equinoxes of stars or mountains. However, these concepts fail to explain the important find at the intersection of the two axes of Ujuxte.

Galactic Vessels?

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Two pottery vessels were found buried on the axes of Ujuxte. They were buried with lip to lip. This strongly suggests that they represent the upper and lower regions of the galaxy. How they were buried will directly correlate with the galactic plane orientation, if the pottery vessels were buried with the plane of the lips on the 46 and 226 degree axis. Like wise a vertical burial would be a metaphor for the upper and lower worlds of the cosmos.

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To understand this relationship we simply have to look toward the heavens to determine when the galaxy aligned the 46/226 degree axis.  

|Ujuxte Cosmic ALignment

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The initial alignment check indicates that the 46/226 degree alignment occurred in 1050 BC. This is sufficiently close to the period estimated for the founding of Ujuxte to conclude that Ujuxte was aligned on the galactic plane. Assuming that the galactic alignment is the appropriate design criteria, we can evaluate the effect of time on urban grids during the pre-classic Maya period.

Regression Analysis of Ujuxte Alignment

This graph indicates that changes in the Ujuxte area urban grid alignments gave the pre-classic Maya a means to measure the relative movement of the galaxy due to the precessional wobble of the earth. It also reveals a very valid reason to orient Teotihuacan to the 15.5/195.5 degree orientation. The stars over Teotihuacan when the Way of the Dead aligns with the galaxy will be the very same stars over Ujuxte one thousand years earlier. This means that the souls of the First Fathers from Ujuxte would be remembered in the heavens as the Gateway of Gods passed over Teotihuacan.

Further development of this correspondence is in process.

February 10, 1999|

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Last Update: February 10, 1999