The Mayan Creation Story

In a Maya tradition the heavens were created when the sky was suspended over the Earth, which is a giant World Turtle, by a god known as the First Father. The First Father was later killed by Lords of the Dark in Xibalba, the Maya underworld, and was rescued by his two sons, and they escaped through a crack in the shell of the World Turtle (the Earthís surface). On reaching the Earth's surface, First Father became the Maya corn god. He partitioned the universe into eight rooms (for eight directions), raised the heavens again, and started the rotation of the sky.

He also set three stones in a traditional Mayan hearth pattern in the sky to form the Hearth of Creation. These stones are three bright stars in the constellation Orion: Rigel and Saiph at the bottom, and Alnitak (leftmost star in Orionís belt). The bright, active star-forming Orion nebula, also known as Messier object M42, lies within the Maya Hearth of Creation. The World Turtle is also represented in the sky by the three stars of the belt, which we know as Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka.