Bloodletting, Sacrifice, and the Black Moment
Thank you for having me here during my blog tour. This post is part of a two week blog tour. I’ll be giving away a $5 egift card to a commenter today and at each blog stop as well as a bag full of goodies to the person who follows me to the most blogs and a gift to the host who gets the most commenters. You can find the blog tour hosts at my blog: http://www.patyjager.blogspot.com or my website: http://www.patyjager.net
The tagline for Secrets of a Mayan Moon is: What happens when a brilliant anthropologist is lured to the jungle to be used as a human sacrifice?
While the Maya didn’t use human sacrifice as often as their neighbors the Aztecs, they did dabble in bloodletting, which was their way of communicating with their ancestors. They held ceremonies with the kings, noblemen and women, and shaman or priests “communicating” with the Otherworld through bloodletting rituals.
Carvings and etchings have been found that show a Vision Serpent—that symbolizes the communication between the two worlds—rising out of clouds of incense and smoke over the temples during a bloodletting ceremony.
These ceremonies were not for the faint of heart. Stingray spines were used to pierce tongues, ears, and even the genitals. Then strips of bark paper were pulled through the holes and allowed the blood to cover the paper and drip into bowls. During these rituals the person who was bleeding would travel into the Otherworld and communicate with the gods. Bloodletting and sacrifice in the Maya world was part of their religion.
Reading about bloodletting and sacrifices in the book A Forest of Kings: The Untold Story of The Anciuent Maya by Linda Schele and Davie Freidel gave me the idea to use a sacrifice in the black moment of the book. Then I came across some drawings and carvings that fascinated me and put my “what if” writer’s brain into motion and I came up with the sacrifice ritual that had to do with a crying moon and virgin victim.
Child prodigy and now Doctor of Anthropology, Isabella Mumphrey, is about to lose her job at the university. In the world of publish or perish, her mentor’s request for her assistance on a dig is just the opportunity she’s been seeking. If she can decipher an ancient stone table—and she can—she’ll keep her department. She heads to Guatemala, but drug trafficking bad guys, artifact thieves, and her infatuation for her handsome guide wreak havoc on her scholarly intentions.
DEA agent Tino Kosta, is out to avenge the deaths of his family. He’s deep undercover as a jaguar tracker and sometimes jungle guide, but the appearance of a beautiful, brainy anthropologist heats his Latin blood taking him on a dangerous detour that could leave them both casualties of the jungle.
There they were. The symbols she’d tried to figure out the other day. They represented the name of a woman. She stared across the compound, unseeing. The woman who was sacrificed. Isabella’s stomach churned. The sacrifice of the virgin made the moon god cry. What about this particular woman left sorrow rather than hope? For the sacrifices were gifts to the gods to bring good weather and crops.
Sadness for this woman wrapped around her heart. Clutching the book to her chest, Isabella returned to her tent and lay down. She needed to sleep. That had to be why this information caused her so much grief. She was tired.
But sleep eluded her. Her mind spun with the drawings, the sadness, and restlessness. Finally, unable to shake the images and unease, Isabella rose, crossed the compound, and entered the dig site. Something compelled her to read the glyphs and look at the carvings in the altar chamber once more.
The workers glanced up as she entered. Virgil eyed her and then the book clutched in her arms.
“What are you doing?” he asked, stepping forward.
“I need to see the carvings on the wall in the other chamber.” Without missing a step, she continued into the chamber. Virgil’s footsteps echoed behind her. Isabella placed the book, open to the pages she had read, on the sacrificial altar. She stepped to her left and studied the drawings on the wall with more interest than on the day before.
The story made more sense after connecting the urn, the glyphs she didn’t know, and then this artwork. It played out in her head as if she stood watching the event.
“What are you finding?” Virgil stood next to her.
Her skin grew cold and her heart raced with fear. He means you harm. He brings evil. A voice in her head warned. The voice and her reactions to Virgil were illogical, but her intelligence knew there were some things that couldn’t be explained. Like her drive to learn all she could about the native people of the Americas.
The urgent voice felt more a friend than Virgil at this moment. She shook her head. “Nothing. I thought I’d found something that connected, made sense of the stone and glyphs. I-I was wrong.”
Wife, mother, grandmother, and the one who cleans pens and delivers the hay; award winning author Paty Jager and her husband currently ranch 350 acres when not dashing around visiting their children and grandchildren. She not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.
Her contemporary Western, Perfectly Good Nanny won the 2008 Eppie for Best Contemporary Romance, Spirit of the Mountain, a historical paranormal set among the Nez Perce, garnered 1st place in the paranormal category of the Lories Best Published Book Contest, and Spirit of the Lake, the second book of the spirit trilogy, was a finalist in the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence.
You can learn more about Paty at her blog; www.patyjager.blogspot.com her website; http://www.patyjager.net or on Facebook; https://www.facebook.com/#!/paty.jager and twitter; @patyjag.