Job Description for a Jaguar Priest


a Jaguar Priest taunting his enemy

The following verbatim job description was found in one of the Books of Chilam Balam [1] written sometime after AD 1593 by the priests of the Classic and Postclassic Maya civilization. Obviously, the Maya priest corps had ambitious expectations for new hires, so that only truly outstanding candidates need apply. I offer this as an example to be used in recruiting Internet engineering staff and in formulating the requirements for policy-based routing. The ennumeration has been added for convenience. (ASCII text for pasting in other documents or cuecards for luncheon lectures)

  1. To impersonate and invoke the deity
  2. To offer food and drink to the idols
  3. To effect the drawing of the pebbles and regulate the calendar
  4. To read weather and other omens in the clouds
  5. To study the night sky and interpret the appearance of the celestial bodies
  6. To determine the lucky and unlucky days for various mundane activities by the casting of lots
  7. To perform the numerous rituals of the cup, plate, etc.
  8. To work miracles
  9. To concoct medicinal herbs into ceremonial drinks
  10. To predict the future
  11. To announce the times for various agricultural and other activities
  12. To insure adequate rainfall
  13. To avert or bring to a timely end famine, drought, epidemics, plagues of ants and locusts, earthquakes
  14. To distribute food to the hungry in time of need
  15. To cut the honey from the hives
  16. To determine the compensation to be placed on the crossroad altars
  17. To read from the sacred scriptures the future road of the katun [calendar round]
  18. To design and supervise the carving of stelae [stone monuments], the manufacture of word and clay idols, and the construction of temples
  19. To construct tables of eclipses and heliacal risings of planets [such as are found in the Dresden Codex]


  1. Makemson, M.W. The Book of the Jaguar Priest, a translation of the Book of Chilam Balam of Tizimin, with commentary. Henry Schuman, New York, 1951, p. 141.