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Mayas, The, and Masonry

At a time when little or nothing was known about the Mayas, and to take advantage of that general ignorance while he could, LePlongeon wrote a book to prove that the Mayas (or Quiches) had invented Freemasonry "20,000.years ago." Now that the veil has been lifted from that great and fine people, LePlongeon's book is exposed as either a hoax or as one of the most exquisite masterpieces of ignorance ever penned. A curator of the Maya Museum at San Diego made a special study of two or three details in the replicas of Maya monuments exhibited there from which the dreamful Le Plongeon had woven his fantasy; not one had even a remote connection with Freemasonry. Thus, to mention only one of them, the bas-relief figure of a Maya chieftain of ceremony is wearing a garment faintly resembling an apron; even if it were an apron the fact would signify nothing because liturgists in thousands of cults and religions have worn aprons; none of the emblems on it was Masonic.

The Mayas were an American Indian people, who centered in what is now Yucatan and Guatemala. They built large cities, had schools, hospitals, doctors, the arts and sciences (very little engineering), mathematics, astronomy; a few of their descendants continue to speak the Maya tongue. They reached their heyday about the same century as Charlemagne. From their center went out waves of civilizations, the Aztecs, Peruvians, Mexicans, and, finally, the Pueblo Indians who still live in Arizona and New Mexico.

It is believed that each and every North American Indian tribe or people descended from the Mayas; the symbol of the plumed serpent which had so prominent a place among Maya emblems and symbols (representing a river, clouds, rain) is still in use, though altered almost out of recognition, among Indians in America and in Northern Canada. (See History of Mayas, by Gann and Thompson. People of the Serpent, by Thompson. The largest and safest source of materials for a student are in the reports of archaeologists and of the special societies, bureaus, and institutions devoted to Indian history. Except for what they obtained from American Lodges, no trace of Speculative Freemasonry has ever been found among Indians in general; still less, among the Mayas.)

See Kukulcan; The Bearded Conqueror (New Mayan discoveries), by T. A. Willard; Murray and Lee; Hollywood; 1941. This book by a Maya enthusiast who quit the manufacture of electric storage batteries to live in Yucatan and join Moler and Thompson in the recovery of Maya ruins admittedly is by an amateur of archeology who writes for laymen; for all that, he writes no dreams of his own like Le Plongeon but relates for the non-technical what the specialists have found. What the specialists have found is that the Maya sculptures, so mysterious in appearance, are no more mysterious than a daily paper.

The Mayas are not vanished but live still in Yucatan, talking Maya; until 619 A.D. there were two peoples in Yucatan, the Itzaes and the Chicans--hence Chichen-Itza--vixen they were conquered; in 1027 A.D. they founded their capital of Mayapan--hence "Maya"; in that gear a Toltec named Eukulcan came down out of Mexico and conquered them--"a white man with a beard"- the Spaniards first arrived in 1520, and conquered the Mayas in 1541, whereupon--in 1549--a Franciscan friar named Landa, afterwards bishop, began to destroy their books, religion, science, schools, art. The famous quetzal bird is not extinct, but flourishing; the sculptures and writings are little more than a chronicle of Mayan history. Of "secrets," and esoteric knowledge, and above all of Freemasonry, there is nowhere a trace. They got the great stones up to the top of their temples and pyramids by pulling them on rollers up temporary dirt ramps. The earliest authentic, recorded Maya date is 179 A.D.

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