…which got me thinking about Supernatural and the Popul Vuh. Of course. :)
So we’ve already done to death the Christian mythology about heaven, hell, the afterlife, etc, right? Think of all the fun we could have if we started tooling about in other religions’ versions of the afterlife.
Like, for example, what if Purgatory were actually the pre-Colombian Mayan “underworld”, Xibalba (which means “place of fear”)? Xibalba was a place of monsters and demons, ruled over by the 12 Lords of Xibalba, who had control over all sorts of human misery and suffering:
Xibalba seemed to be rife with tests, trials, and traps for anyone who came into the city. Even the road to Xibalba was filled with obstacles: first a river filled with scorpions, a river filled with blood, and then a river filled with pus. Beyond these was a crossroads where travellers had to choose from between four roads that spoke in an attempt to confuse and beguile. Upon passing these obstacles, one would come upon the Xibalba council place, where it was expected visitors would greet the seated Lords. Realistic mannequins were seated near the Lords to confuse and humiliate people who greeted them, and the confused would then be invited to sit upon a bench, which was actually a hot cooking surface. The Lords of Xibalba would entertain themselves by humiliating people in this fashion before sending them into one of Xibalba’s deadly tests.
Pretty sexy and gruesome, no?
What’s more, pre-Colombian Mayan mythos already sets up a precedent for two mortals who get trapped in Xibalba and don’t really belong there and have to fight their way out. They’re even confronted by the souls of their brothers, who they’d killed. It’s called the myth of the Hero Twins (or, well, it’s part of it, at least) and it’s covered in the Popul Vuh.
Hunahpu and Xbalanque were two all-around badass brothers (twins, which you could argue Dean and Cas are kind of like) whose daddy and uncle used to be really, really good ball-players. (Ballgames in pre-Colombian culture were kind of a big deal, and it wasn’t unusual for ceremonial games to be staged in which one team lost their lives; very bloody, very battle-like.) They were the best ballplayers, like, ever; so good that the Twins would never be able to live up to their example (which should sound very John Winchester-y) Anyway, Daddy and Uncle get summoned to Xibalba to play ball for the Lords there, but they never make it out.
Lots of things happen in the Hero Twins myth, but eventually the Twins are summoned, like their Daddy/Uncle before them, to go play ball in Xibalba. So they hop on down, and on the way they’re confronted with the souls of the half-brothers they murdered in another myth, and have to fight off all sorts of monsters.
They play with the Lords (IIRC, Huanhpu loses his head at one point, and it becomes the ball for the next round of the game. I told you this was hardcore.) and ultimately, they win. The Xibalbans, who are sore losers I guess, burn the boys and grind their bones into a fine paste and cast that paste into a river. But the boys are reborn in the River, first as catfish and then as people who run around doing miracles in the underworld like killing people and bringing them back from the dead.
The Lords of Xibalba hear about these miracles, get impressed, and invite them to perform at the Court. The boys oblige, of course. A couple of the Lords say, “hey, do one of those resurrection miracles on us”, and the Hero Twins are like, “sure” and do it, except forget all about the bringing-you-back-from-the-dead part. Oops.
Then they find the souls of their dad and uncle and recreate them out of the mud to bring them home. But Daddy’s body isn’t really stable, and so he tells his boys to go home without him. So with heavy hearts they do — and the boys climb their way out of Xibalba, and just keep on climbing, until they become the Sun and the Moon.
Okay, so bringing it back to Supernatural, how awesome would it be if Purgatory = Xibalba? Like, the 12 Lords of Xibalba were all Angels that Dean & Castiel killed (Uriel, Anna, Rachel, Balthazar, Hester, Gabriel, Raphael — that’s seven right there), and the Xibalban citizens were all the monsters and demons they’d fought and killed over the years?
And the Lords of Xibalba set up all these traps for Dean & Cas, and they die and get reborn in a river (because hello CAS AND WATER AND REBIRTH it’s kind of his thing) and omg what if they found Chuck and John recreated out of Purgatory dust but Chuck tells them to leave him there because he can’t be taken out of Purgatory and oh my god i’m going to have a fanon aneurysm someone please take this speculation away from me before I hurt myself