Huracan was one of the major gods in the Mayan pantheon. He was identified as the god who caused natural catastrophes by invoking natural elements such as the wind, fire and earth. He is considered one of the major gods who were involved in the creation of the world and mankind, according to the Mayan mythology. He played an active role during the different phases in which mankind on Earth was created and destroyed. In Mayan mythology, he is identified as the god with one leg.
Huracan was among the earliest and most ancient Mayan gods who were involved in the several cycles of creation. In one of the cycles, Mayan mythology says that a Great Flood was sent to Earth which ravaged all land and eliminated the second generation of Gods. Huracan caused this Great Flood and afterwards, when the second generation had perished, he invoked the Earth to rise. According to mythological sources, he kept invoking the Earth until it rose out of the seas and land was again visible on Earth.
Mayan mythology states that when the second generation of mankind was created, it eventually corrupted into a kind of manikins. These manikins angered the Mayan gods and as a result, it was decided that they should be destroyed. According to the mythology, Huracan helped achieved this end. He gave dogs and turkeys, and pans and mortars and stones the ability to speak. The dogs and turkeys demanded to avenge the dogs and turkeys slain and eaten by the manikins. The pans and mortars decried their mistreatment at the hands of the manikins. The stones flung out of the fireplaces and hit the manikins. In this way, different objects became animated and helped destroy the manikins. This phase of destruction is attributed to Huracan.
After the manikins had been destroyed, Huracan decided to create a new race of human beings. He walked through the Earth until he found corn and this corn was turned to dough. Out of this dough, four men were created. They were named Jaguar Night, Jaguar Quitze, Dark Jaguar and Not Right Now. These humans were created with super-human abilities, so that they could see through the oceans, fly in the air and look across mountains with ease. But then Huracan sought to limit their vision and clouded it so that they could no longer see very far.
Although Huracan played a central role during the creation phase of the Mayan mythology, he didn’t enjoy a very central role among the Mayans. He was rather regarded merely as the god of wind and storm in later Mayan periods. It is worth noting here that the word “hurricane” was derived from Huracan’s name and is today the popular word used to denote a major storm.
According to Mayan mythology, Huracan possessed vast powers. He seems especially able to invoke the natural elements that constitute Earth and order them to his will. This explains how he was able to allow different objects to speak and exact revenge on the manikins. It also explains how he caused the water to rise and ravage Earth, and later invoked Earth to rise out of the water. Mayan traditionally associated him with the wind and storm. This was a curious development but it essentially limited Huracan’s vast powers stated in Mayan mythology to a single natural element, wind. The mythological sources, on the other hand, make him out as a god of storm as well as fire, which means that he could control fire, besides other elements.
Different Mayan sources provide different descriptions of Huracan’s appearance. The one trait that is common in all these descriptions is that Huracan had one leg. His name in Mayan also means “One-legged”. In the place of his other leg was a serpent, according to the Mayan mythology.
Early Mayan settlements were situated in the area where wind storms frequently occurred. It is then understandable that Mayan initially associated immense power and significance with Huracan, whom they considered the god of wind. In later periods, as Mayans began to build grander cities with more stable architecture which was virtually safe from damage during any windstorms, it seems plausible that the significance of Huracan diminished and Mayans no longer considered him a mighty enough god.
According to Mayan mythology, mankind was twice created and destroyed before the actual ancestors of the present race of mankind were created by the gods. In each of these phases, Huracan played an active and central role. In the first phase, humans were made from clay but they melted in water and so the first generation perished. The second generation of mankind was made of wood but they got burned easily and incensed the gods by their insolence. In creating the third generation, Huracan found corn and from the flour of this corn was mankind created. This generation proved to be a balanced race with which human existence continued on Earth.
Huracan was one of the most powerful deities in the Mayan pantheon. He was a god actively involved in the creation phase of Earth and mankind. He could command wind, storms, fire and other elements of the Earth. He ravaged the Earth during the second phase after destroying the manikins and helped create mankind during the third phase. In Mayan mythology, he was actively associated with winds and storms and it is from his name that the word “hurricane” is derived.
Early Mayan sources seem to have laid significant importance with the person of Huracan whereas his importance diminished in later Mayan periods. This may be a result of the stronger stone structures which Mayan built in later periods. These structures enabled Mayans to withstand hurricanes and windstorms without any significant damage. It is possible that this development led to the perception of a diminished power of Huracan.