What was probably the most remarkable thing about the Mayan religion was their belief in the repetition of time and history. Their obsession over such inventions and methods of recording time, such as calenders, came from deep within their theology. A significant event that happened on a certain day was always seen as an omen to a similar event on the same day in the future. Likewise, that event would be looked at in retrospect to see if it was portended to in the past.
Of course, the most notorious part of the Mayan theology was human sacrifice. This was almost always brutal, with the victim’s limbs bound before a priest tore out their still-beating heart as an offering to the gods. You can view a plentiful supply of Mayan drawings of this ritual in museums throughout Latin America, if you ever want to visit or volunteer in Latin America.
Interestingly enough, the Mayan theology actually holds some similarities to modern Judeo-Christian belief, most notably of which is the belief in the afterlife. Much like the aforementioned Judeo-Christian theology, the Mayan afterlife has both a Heaven and a Hell; the Mayan underworld is a network of tunnels deep underground in the earth, inhabited by the gods of death and decay. The Heaven, however, was a little more similar to the modern image of Heaven.
What is probably the most interesting part of the characterisation of the Mayan deities is their moral ambiguity. Instead of having ‘good’ gods and ‘bad’ gods, all of the Mayan gods can be described as morally grey, which is fascinating when you compare this to the rest of the world’s religions.
Nowadays, the impact of the Mayans can still be felt through the 2012 apocalypse theory, though this is fairly dubious for several obvious reasons that I won’t bother to explain in much detail. There are still plenty of ruins, albeit crumbling ones, to be found in Central America, where you can still soak up your fair share of the history of the ancient Mayans. I recommend that you volunteer in Costa Rica.