Copal is an incense used throughout Mesoamerica that is prepared from the resin (often a blood-red color) from different trees of the Burseraceae family, including Bursera fagaroides, Bursera bipinnata and Bursera simaruba (called Jiñocuago in Nicaragua).
“And here is the dawning and showing of the sun, moon, and stars. And Jaguar Quitze, Jaguar Night, Not Right Now, and Dark Jaguar were overjoyed when they saw the sun carrier.
It came up first.
It looked brilliant when it came up, since it was ahead of the sun.
After that they unwrapped their copal incense, which came from the east, and there was triumph in their hearts when they unwrapped it.
They gave their heartfelt thanks with three kinds at once:
Mixtam Copal is the name of the copal brought by Jaguar Quitze.
Cauiztan Copal, next, is the name of the copal brought by Jaguar Night.
Godly Copal, as the next one is called, was brought by Not Right Now.
They were crying sweetly as they shook their burning copal, the precious copal.”
The three of them had their copal, and this is what they burned as they incensed the direction of the rising sun.
From the Popol vuh (The Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life)
Translated by Dennis Tedlock