Review: “Gods and Goddesses of the Ancient Maya” by Leonard Everett Fisher

As a lover of colors and shapes, I was immediately drawn to Gods and Goddesses of the Ancient Maya by Leonard Everett Fisher while browsing the shelves at my local library.  The mix of earth tones and primary colors encapsulated by thick black lines pop off the page and stirred the indigenous roots of my inner being.  I further found the book interesting, informative and easy to read.  While some of the deities (Goddess of Suicide and God of Human Sacrifice) featured may bring up questions from the youngest audience members, I felt that the book was quite accessible for children.  However, parents may want to edit out content they feel uncomfortable with presenting to their children.  I decided to feature the top five Mayan gods and goddess I felt were particularly interesting and beautifully drawn.


God of All

  • The most high god and god of creation
  • Ruler of day, night, and the heavens
  • Invented writing, mathematics, and the Mayan calendar
  • Organized the geographical boundaries of all Mayan villages, towns, and cities
  • Could become anyone or anything he wanted to be
  • Refused to have anything to do with destruction such as death, sacrifice, and war
Ix Chel
Ix Chel

Ix Chel
Goddess of Childbirth, Wife of Itzamna

  • Protector of pregnant women and child-birth
  • Invented and taught weaving to women
  • When her husband became god of the sun, she would become goddess of the moon
  • When not with her husband, viewed as a goddess of destruction

God of Rain

  • Drawn in a ferocious image but actually a kind and benevolent god, also god of fertility
  • Brought water to the earth and stimulated the growth of all life
  • Four gods in one as he was also god of north, south, east and west
  • Protector of all Mayan lands
Ix Tab
Ix Tab

Ix Tab
Goddess of Suicide

  • Welcomed people who had killed themselves through hanging and had lived good lives
  • Suicide was not always viewed in a negative light
  • Maya who led evil lives or committed suicide not by hanging would not be greeted
  • Black circles drawn on her face and chest are marks of death
Yum Kaax
Yum Kaax

Yum Kaax
God of Corn

  • Important god as Mayan life centered around corn – the staff of life and a staple food
  • Provided seed for corn and protected the fields and farm animals
  • Maya viewed him as kind, friendly and benevolent
  • Characterized by an ear of corn growing out of his head

If interested in purchasing this book, it is available on Amazon at

Want to find out more about the author and illustrator?  Visit

Eye-and-eye mantra: Be the woman you want to be at all times.

Photographs by Ajua Hawkins.

Copyright 2012-2013 Ajua Hawkins

6 Replies to “Review: “Gods and Goddesses of the Ancient Maya” by Leonard Everett Fisher”

  1. Very interesting post! I’m not familiar with Mayan gods/goddesses but have read a bit about Quetzalcoatl before. Would love to talk more about this topic with you soon!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s