Thursday, August 9, 2018

From The Interfaith Prayer Book: “Reading of Popul Vuh”.


An ancient prayer from the Popul Vuh is further down below in this blog post. This ancient prayer is from a compilation of prayers by author Ted Brownstein and the Lake Worth Interfaith Network* in the 2014 expanded edition of The Interfaith Prayer Book:

This Expanded Edition adds prayers from eight additional traditions; Native African, Native American, Zoroastrian, Taoist, Confucian, Shinto, Jain and Sikh.

Additional information about the Popul Vuh.


According to Joshua J. Mark writing for the Ancient History Encyclopedia the Popol Vuh† is,


[T]he story of creation according to the Quiche Maya of the region known today as Guatemala. [emphasis added] Translated as ‘The Council Book’, ‘The Book of the People’ or, literally, ‘The Book of the Mat’, the work has been referred to as “The Mayan Bible” although this comparison is imprecise. The Popol Vuh is not regarded by the Maya as ‘the word of God’ nor as sacred scripture but rather as an account of “the ancient word” and the understanding the Quiche had of cosmology and creation before the coming of Christianity. The Quiche referred to the book as an Ilb′al — an instrument of sight — and it was known as “The Book of the Mat” because of the woven mats the people would sit on to hear the work recited at the council house. One such building, at Copan, features stone lintels ‘woven’ to look like such matting.


A prayer from the Popul Vuh is included in the chapter titled, “Native American Prayer” in The Interfaith Prayer Book:


Harmony with nature is a predominant theme in many native traditions, ranging through North, Central and South America. The world is structured according to the four cardinal compass points, east, west, north and south, and by the vertical axis linking Mother Earth below with Father Sky above. All of creation, mountains and plains, plants and fruits, humans and animals are seen as interconnected sacred elements. The well-being of each is dependent upon the whole. 


Now to the “Maya prayer for visitation to sacred sites and reading the creation epic, Popul Vuh” from p. 23 in author Ted Brownstein’s prayer book:


Make my guilt vanish,
Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth;
Grant me a favor,
Give me strength, give me courage
In my heart, in my head,
Since you are my mountain and my plain;
May there be no falsehood and no stain,
And may this reading of the Popul Vuh
Come out clear as dawn,
And may the sifting of ancient times
Be complete in my heart, in my head;
And make my guilt vanish,
My grandmothers, grandfathers,
And however many souls of the dead there may be,
You who speak with the Heart of Sky and Earth,
May all of you together give strength
To the reading I have undertaken.


*The Lake Worth Interfaith Network (LWIN) is a group of individuals and faith-based communities dedicated to promoting acceptance and understanding among our diverse spiritual traditions through devotions, education and compassionate action. . . . LWIN hopes that sharing our experience will be helpful to other communities who desire to create similar local interfaith organizations. This publication of interfaith prayers is one step towards that end.

Note the two different spellings: “Popol” in the Ancient History Encyclopedia and “Popul” in The Interfaith Prayer Book. On the history of ‘Popol Vuh’ in Wikipedia there is a section on the “Story of Hunahpú and Xbalanqué in Popul Vuh”. So both spellings appear to be accurate.