Pre-Columbian Religion in the Americas: Background information when reading Black Sun

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Black Sun

Between Earth and Sky #1

by Rebecca Roanhorse

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse X
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
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  • Published:
    Oct 2020, 464 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Debbie Morrison
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About this Book

Pre-Columbian Religion in the Americas

This article relates to Black Sun

Maya temple of Kukulcán, a stone step pyramid in what is now the Yucatan state of MexicoOne of the most spectacular elements of Rebecca Roanhorse's Black Sun is its deep dive into pre-Columbian culture and beliefs. In a stark departure from the usual medieval European landscape used as a foundation in fantasy novels, Roanhorse instead uses the ancient landscape and religions of the Americas as the blueprint for her work. In Black Sun, there is a conflict between the ruling cult of the Sun Priest and one of the old gods in the city of Tova. But readers learn that even this returning god is only one of many that the people worship.

As demonstrated in the novel, religious traditions in the pre-Columbian Americas were not monolithic. However, the major pre-Columbian civilizations — Aztec, Maya, Inca, Toltec, and Olmec — did have striking similarities. These similarities include a large, overlapping pantheon of gods; focus on celestial events and calendars; and ritual sacrifice. Just as many Greek deities had Roman counterparts, pre-Columbian gods in the ...

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