The Female Power Woven into the Popol Wuj

The Female Power Woven into the Popol Wuj

The teachings of Ixkik’ and menstruation

The Popol Wuj, sacred book of the Maya K’iche’, is a powerful tool that can serve as a compass that guides our life, a light in darkness. Weaved through the story are many teachings that might not be obvious at first glance, but that are very present. The significance in its words is that these teachings can be worldwide or very individual, relating to our own personal stories.

The ancient Maya have walked through this world acknowledging that there are dual forces present, always interacting with one another in their eternal dance of symbiosis. When we manage ourselves through consciousness and take the time to truly see the world around us, we can see their interconnectedness, as throughout creation they have been woven to one another. This is the case of fire and earth, air and water, light and darkness, sun and moon. It is how our world was formed and what makes it so perfectly in balance.

As human beings, this wonderful aspect of existence is also present in us. Within, we carry the union of two vital energies, the feminine and the masculine. In their duality, these forces are complementary, and need each other to live. We all carry them in different levels in our being. 

The Popol Wuj shows us the essentiality of these forces within its stories. Through the lives of different heroes, such as Junajpu and Xb’alamke, or Xpiyakok and Ixmukane, we can get many teachings about these forces, as well as many other aspects of life. In this case, we will lead our focus to the teachings of princess Ixkik’.

Ixkik’ is one of the most powerful in this story. She was the daughter of one of the lords of Xib'alb'a, the underworld, and grew up in the darkness that exists within our Mother Earth. This was all she ever knew. In her life, she was able to overcome her own trials, as her own father wanted to sacrifice her, and she rose to the light, breaking with the cycles of her family. 

While getting to know the world of light, she was also met by trials. She was obliged to use her own magic to make a full harvest of corn appear from just one stalk. Ixkik’ was so powerful that she was also able to transcend this trial of light, and live in this part of the world. In this way, she is able to meet with duality, and overcome the trials both had for her.

Her magic did not stop there. Within her womb, she carried her legacy, and gave birth to the twin heroes, Junajpu and Xb’alamke. The fathers of these heroes were Jun Junajpu and Wuqub’ Junajpu, beings of light. As Ixkik’ is the daughter of Xib’alb’a, and the twins’ fathers were sons of light, she gave birth to the first beings that carried light and darkness in themselves, representing duality.

When talking about the power of Ixkik’, whether that is her capacity of transcending trials, her magic, or her great ability of creation, there is an essential aspect to notice. It was once taught by an elder that Ix means feminine, and Kik’ means blood, making her name be Blood Woman. In this way, she actually represents the power of women, of the feminine, especially of menstruation.  

For the Maya, this was a sacred moment in the cycles of women, as their power is heightened. Tata Carlos Barrios used to say, in a jokeful way, “never make a menstruating person mad, as their power is so big that if they unconsciously send bad energy, it will really hit you.”

So, this is one of the many lessons of Ixkik', to realize the sacredness that exists within us. Even if we do not menstruate, we all have feminine energy inside us and can tap into the incredible power it contains.

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