prev - home - next

Behind the base of the cross is a crudely-drawn village representing Santiago Atitlan with the familiar façade of the church and its domed belltower. Surrounding the village are three volcanoes and the jagged shoreline of Lake Atitlan. Heavy clouds above the town emit lightning bolts. In Atiteco myth, lightning is the force that breaks open the germinating maize seed and helps it to grow out of the earth. In addition, lightning charges the earth with its life-giving power so that whatever is buried within it can rise from the dead. As such, lightning functions in a manner similar to ancient Maya theology in which it cracks open a portal into the underworld to allow the world to emerge (D. Tedlock 1996:65; Schele and Mathews 1998:410).

Drawing based on the painting behind the crucifix of the left altarpiece.