The sacred Ceiba illustrates the close relationship between life and death for the Maya.
Like all cultures in humanity, Mayas had their own interpretation of their environment. The Maya shared some of their vision with other Meso-American cultures like the Olmec, Mexica or Zapotec. And, like them, they believed the world was divided in three horizonal levels, inhabited by divine beings, ruled by sacred forces and where real and mythical events occur. The first of these three levels of this universe is the Earth, the place of living beings and humanity. This level is separated from the heavens and the underworld by sacred trees located on all four cardinal points, plus a fifth one in the middle. The latter is is the sacred tree, the Ceiba, the axis of the world, whose roots connect the nine levels of the Xibalbá sphere and whose branches connect the thirteen levels of heaven. Itzamná was the child of Hunab K'u, an abstract, invisible deity. To the Maya, the Lord of the heavens, day and night is the creator of the universe.