‘See!’ Chimalis addressed the pilgrims. ‘At Huracan’s first creation, the gods created humans from mud. But mud has no voice to worship the gods, and so the gods destroyed them in a deluge.’
The pilgrims knew the story, yet the priestess repeated it. For the story would lead her to their blood.
‘See! At Huracan’s second creation, the gods created men from wood and women from reeds. But wood and reeds have no souls to worship the gods, and so the gods destroyed them with boiling water.
‘See!’ She looked behind her at the mountain. Need she say the words? Couldn’t they guess it? ‘At Huracan’s third creation, the gods created humans, and gave them blood from their own bodies. Now the gods have enlisted Kisim, The Flatulent One, to destroy this creation … unless you give me your blood.’
Written for What Pegman Saw: Santa Ana, El Salvador
Close by Santa Ana, lay the ancient Mayan settlement of Sihuatehuacan, a name which translates as The Place of the Priestesses. While priestesses served many functions, they most often worked as oracles at sites of pilgrimage. In the fifth century CE, many Mayan cities, including The Place of the Priestesses, were destroyed in a powerful pyroclastic flow when the volcano Ilopango erupted. It seems to me that Kisim, god of death and decay, as the Flatulent One, would have been accorded prime responsibility.