One of the most important aspects of Maya culture is their worldview. Since its inception, they have handled the concept of a world divided into three overlapping parts: heaven, the earthly world and the underworld (Xibalba). Therefore the underworld lies under our world, is a place of nine levels, inhabited by beings and gods who control natural phenomena, who provide life but in turn are treacherous and envious. Xibalba is accessed through the caves and water bodies such as lakes and cenotes. The underworld is full of plants, animals, humans, aluxes, nawales and other supernatural beings. The Nawal is the link of the person with nature and can be an animal, a plant, or another entity. It consists of a twin spirit or “co-essence” that the Prehispanic Maya called way and was represented on vases and inscriptions.
The Mayan deities have demanded the obedience of the human beings and punish those who forget them. For this reason the first two creations are destroyed in Popol Wuj. Formerly the gods demanded blood offerings in appreciation of his own sacrifice that allowed the creation of men and women, so animal and human sacrifices were made. At present, the role of some of these gods has been taken by the “patron saints”, to whom “favors“ must be done constantly to keep them satisfied, and in this way prevent suffer and evil.
The nature is central in the world view of the Mayan peoples, considering the narrow relation that exists between the sacred ground (loq’alaj ulew) and the human being (winaq). A distinction does not exist between both, since all the beings are a part of the same living system called qanan ulew (Our Mother Earth). Everything has life, nothing is inert: a tree, a stone, the sky or the wind, everything possesses the same blow of life that makes it deserving of deepest respect. Having lived in deep contact with nature, balance with her is sought. The Earth is considered to be a mother of whom it is necessary to take care, as she provides us. Any natural disaster, for example, is product from our negligence towards Mother Earth. The planting is also considered a very special event in which Mother Earth becomes pregnant by the man’s work and thus, provides sacred corn, of which was made the flesh of man. In pre-Hispanic art, the most common forms come from nature: jaguars, monkeys, birds and reptiles mythological, where the hills, trees and water nymphs represent the sacred landscapes.