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(Information provided by Janine Donnellan)
According to Diego de Landa, Ixtab, or 'Rope Woman', was the Yucatec Mayan goddess of suicide. In Yucatec society, suicide, especially suicide by hanging, was under circumstances considered an honorable way to die. It was believed that those who committed suicide or died by hanging, together with slain warriors, sacrificial victums, priests, and woman who died in childbirth, went straight to eternal rest in paradise. Ixtab gathered them and brought them there. Ixtab would accompany such suicides to paradise (thus playing the role of a psychopomp).
This goddess can be seen in the Dresden codex, where she appears hanging from the sky by a rope which is coiled around her neck. Her eyes are closed in death and on one of her cheeks is a black circle which represents the discoloration of the flesh due to decomposition. She is also associated with the deceitful goddess Xtabay, who appears at night in the form of a beautiful long-haired woman offering pleasure to young men, and then loses them in the woods. Those who return go mad pining for her love, and others are lost forever in the forest. Since Ixtab's portrait appears in pages concerned with eclipses, it has been said that she may be a variant of the moon goddess, who is directly connected with eclipses. Due to her malevolent customs, she is also considered to be a manifestation of Cizin, the Devil.
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