Skip to main content
Select Source:

Xibalba

Xibalba

In the mythology of the Maya of Middle America, Xibalba (place of fright) was an underground realm of the dead. Caves and pools of water served as entry points to the realm. During the later part of its history, the Mayan empire was sometimes called the empire of Xibalba.

A story recorded in the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Maya, tells of a visit to Xibalba by the Hero Twins, Hunahpú and Xbalanqúe. Much earlier their father and uncle, also twins, had been summoned by the powerful lords of Xibalba. Disturbed by the brothers' ball playing on earth, the lords had invited them to the underworld for a ball game and then killed them.

Later Hunahpú and Xbalanqúe were also ordered to come to Xibalba. There they passed through a series of trials in various houses, and in each house they faced a test of their wits, strength, and courage. In the Dark House, for example, they had to endure darkness. In the Razor House they "tamed" the blades that were supposed to kill them and persuaded the cutting ants to bring them flowers, which they presented to the lords of Xibalba.

underworld land of the dead

The Hero Twins eventually tricked and killed the lords of Xibalba. The people of the underworld surrendered to the twins, who sentenced them to pass their time making pottery and other humble tools rather than playing ball. The Hero Twins escaped from the underworld through their cleverness and determination, setting an example that the souls of kings and nobles could try to follow.

See also HunahpÚ and XbalanqÚe; Mayan Mythology; Popolvuh.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Xibalba." Myths and Legends of the World. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Xibalba." Myths and Legends of the World. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 25, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/xibalba

"Xibalba." Myths and Legends of the World. . Retrieved September 25, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/xibalba

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Xibalba

Xibalba

The Hades of the Kiche (or Quiché) Indians of Central America.

(See Mexico and Central America )

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Xibalba." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Xibalba." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 25, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/xibalba

"Xibalba." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. . Retrieved September 25, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/xibalba

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.