Death is a part of life. In fact, in some Mesoamerican cultures, life is described as a dream, and what happens after death is the person’s awakening from that sleep. In Christianity today, we are led to believe that if we do good things and follow Christ, we will go to a beautiful upper world we call heaven.
To the ancient Maya, life and death is represented by the corn god planting the corn, and directly behind him is the death god breaking that corn plant. The ancient Maya believed that when someone passed away, they came upon a river waiting for them. On the river was a canoe with two paddler gods, one in the front and the other in the back, and your place would be in the center. They would then paddle you into a cave and then to your afterlife. In the Yucatan, the Maya believed that you fell down into the opening of a sinkhole that lead the soul to the afterlife. The Maya also described the afterlife, Xibalba, as two places: a place of eternal rest and a place of fright, giving us reason to believe in a heaven and a hell as Christianity describes it, the difference being that for the Maya, both places are under the earth.