June 13, 2015 Dr. Gabrielle Vail, New College of Florida:
Workshop: "Eclipse Records in Postclassic Maya Texts and Iconography"      
    The workshop focused on identifying calendrical, iconographic, and/or hieroglyphic references to eclipses in codices and murals painted by Maya scribes during the Postclassic period.

Lecture: Dr. Gabrielle Vail, New College of Florida: "Eclipses, Period Endings, and World Renewal Rituals among the Postclassic and Colonial Period Yucatec Maya"
      Close correspondences have been documented in accounts of world destruction and renewal from the Postclassic Maya codices and colonial period texts deriving from various parts of the Maya area, including the Yucatecan Books of Chilam Balam and the Popol Vuh. Although various triggers can be identified, floods associated with eclipses, Venus deities, and earth monsters appear to be key components of narratives of world destruction in each of the sources examined. By incorporating references to these mythological episodes in divinatory texts, Maya daykeepers could protect against their recurrence by undertaking the appropriate ritual actions at times of celestial danger. Such ritual action was especially important at the time of period endings relating both to the annual (haab’) cycle and to the twenty-year k’atun period.  Cyclical world renewal rituals helped prevent the forces of darkness and chaos from overwhelming the world and represented a time of rebirth and renewed  life.

Dr. Vail specializes in the study of Maya hieroglyphic texts, with an emphasis on prehispanic Maya ritual and religion as documented in screenfold manuscripts painted in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Her research is highlighted in numerous print and online publications, as well as the online Maya Codices Database (www.mayacodices.org). 

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