The first magic war begins with the family of Wuqub Kak'ix, which according to Nahum Megged and Rafael Girard, represents the “horizonte primitivo” (Los héroes gemelos 59). They bespeak ignorance through and through. That is why, in the words of Girard, “El gigante [Vucub-Caquix] ignoraba la manera de curarse y por esto gritaba de dolor, ofreciendo, un cuadro patético en el que se quiso destacar la ignorancia de los primitivos en el campo de la medicina, en contraste con los conocimiento de una época mas avanzada” (El Popol-Vuh, fuente histórica 79).
This primitivism is also revealed in Sipakna’s and Kabraqan's wish to occupy the place of their father and be praised. If, as it has been suggested by Megged, the family of Wuqub Kak'ix is a universal theme of the war against primitive beings (Los héroes gemelos 59), the giants’ size embodies both their arrogance and their ignorance. The pride of Wuqub Kak'ix derives from this desire to usurp the place of a sun deity: “I am great. I dwell above the heads of the people who have been framed and shaped. I am their sun. I am also their light. And I am also their moon” (Christenson 92). In declaring himself sun and moon, he assumes for himself a civilizational role; by revealing Wuqub Kak'ix's pride in such physical objects (sun, moon, precious stones), and his desire to usurp the true place of the Hero Twins, the Popol Wuj shows offers an important lesson about material goods and things that matter. Or, as Megged puts it: "La lucha contra le guacamayo y su muerte es un extraordinario proceso de desacralización y destrucción de una estatua deica, de un teozoo, donde el totem y el símbolo del dios forman una unidad. Los gemelos quieren acabar con las riquezas que confieren poderío al dios contrincante; por ello necesitan acabar con su cuerpo compuesto de piedras verdes, metales preciosos, esmeraldas y alhajas" (Los héroes gemelos 68).
In this way, the punishment of Wuqub Kak'ix consists of what Megged calls a “castración ritual” (Los héroes gemelos 71) since he is to be disposed of every element from which he draws his pride; castration, in other words, is the means of desacralization. Although the war against Wuqub Kak'ix begins and ends with a violent attack against his body, the power of the word is needed in order to deceive him and castrate him. Megged notes that “Si en los textos yucatecos es el dios solar el que lucha contra la usurpación y su caída, […] en el Popol Vuh, esta figura es la usurpadora, no noble y plebeya que trató de engrandecerse con títulos deicos que no le corresponden, siendo un reflejo celestial de una situación social” (Los héroes gemelos 73). Justice and punishment then is linked to a process of desacralization meant to dispose of the any and all manifestations of primitivism.
In sum, Wuqub Kak'ix, Sipakna and Kabraqan are representations of individualism, a concept that appears as unacceptable in the Popol Wuj. The episode of the 400 young men is of utmost significance to its cosmovisión because it depicts two conflicting concepts. Girard explains it in the following manner: “Tal episodio muestra un vivido cuadro del antagonismo entre dos conceptos sociales: el colectivismo, personificado en los 400 muchachos que trabajan al unisón y el individualismo encarnado en la figura de Zipacná que ‘actúa solo’” (81). This, Girard argues, is significant because it exemplifies the particularly Maya concept of work, since working was considered a collective activity, not an individual one. Thus, the cycles of transgression and punishment are not just meant to establish equilibrium; they also elucidate the meaning of other elements of the cosmovisión of the Popol Wuj. Individualism cannot be cherished in a world where collectivism is to take precedence. Hence, any form that goes against the established rule has to be punished. Punishment then is first about establishing the patterns that are to rule life, and second about making accountable those who do not follow them.
Something to note, however, is that even those who have been wronged and avenged by the Hero Twins are not exempt from a punishment of their own. Sipakna is turned to stone for his arrogance, for killing the 400 young men, and and for violating the law of collectivity. The 400 young men are punished for their indulgence in alcohol. Their excess has consequences: it leaves them unconscious and unable to fight and discern the intentions of Sipakna. The difference between them and Sipakna, however, is that whereas the giant is blinded by an inherent pride, the 400 young men are blinded by a substance that is foreign to them. In addition, the 400 young men cannot be punished by Junanpu and Xbalanke'/Ixbalanqué because in spite of their ethical prolapse, they represent the path towards civilization. Their collectivism elucidates the manner in which work is to be done and the fact that they work to build something that is communal.
Additionally, in contrast to the 400 young men, Sipakna and his brother “evocan el tiempo en que el hombre primitivo dependía de un sistema económico parasitario” (Girard 84). They are gatherers not farmers. As Cabracán demonstrates, punishment derives not only from a concerted pride, but also from the baseness of materialism. He is concerned with bodily satisfactions, whereas Junanpu and Xbalanke'/Ixbalanqué represent the elevation of man, of the mind, or as Girard explains it “el materialismo grosero de los primitivos que contrasta con el elevado espiritualismo de la cultura maya” (87).
In conclusion, the Popol Wuj shows consistently, and in a variety of ways, how Wuqub Kak'ix, Sipakna and Kabraqan embody the destructive qualities of the primitive world. That is why, in the words of Megged: “La idea del asesinato es llevarlo a las bases mismas de la construcción, al mundo inferior, desde el cual brotan las voces de las individualidades que pugnan por exteriorizarse” (El universo 92). The figures of this war represent the individualism, the ignorance, and the materialism of a previous era, which needs to be punished through both physical violence and the power of the word.