An outer space tribute, heavily lunar, to Neil Armstrong (Aug. 5, 1930-Aug. 25, 2012).
The Ancient Mayans are, of course, known as masters of astronomy. Chichen-Itza is abundant with evidence of the civilization’s remarkable grasp of the workings of the solar system. The ancient city site’s most famous landmark is the pyramid at the center of these postcards. Although it’s called El Castillo in Spanish, it was not a castle, but an observatory of sorts. At three p.m. on the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, the sun hits the balustrades of the western stairway, giving the effect of a chain of triangles. Visible in my unfortunately blurry photograph of the first postcard, this chain runs down to a carved stone serpent’s head at the base of the stairs! This is Kukulkan, the feathered serpent, apparently signaling the time for spring and fall agricultural practices.
image from http://www.chichen-itza.co.uk/
In the foreground of the second postcard above is a Chac Mool, a Toltec-influenced human stone figure, looking out at El Castillo. Chichen-Itza is also home to the Platform of Venus, a site of ceremonies in honor of Earth’s neighboring planet.