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Sunday, 1 March 2015

The Five Suns

The Five Suns

Hi dear friends and followers.

I have been asked to research the myths and legends of the Natives of Central and South America. I am pleased to take this request and I will do my best to fill it.

It's too easy to get off-track when taking on a subject as large as the legennds and myths of indigenous peoples spread over an area as large as Central and South America. Many people have heard of the Aztec, the Maya, and the Inca. These recent occupants of that part of the world accoount for little of its population. As it was in North America, there are many tribes spread out over a land area as large as that which extends from Mexico in the north to Chile in the south.

I will look into the myths and legends of the indigenous peoples of each nation, starting with Northern Mexico, from its ancient inhabitants to those who were there when the first Europeans found them. From there I will go south towards Chile. I have no idea of how much material I will find to share with you but I will do my best to give you something new to consider.

The Olmec People

It appears to me that the most ancient of all Mexican peoples are the Olmec. Evidence of of thier civilization goes back to about 2600 B.C.E. They flourished from then to about 1400 B.C.E. and were an influence upon the Mayans and Aztecs who followed. I found no source for their myths and legends, however, if you are interested in learning more about this ancient people, here is a link to a blog that seems to be good at aggregating information about them:

The Five Suns
We are presently in the period of the fifth sun, but what were were the earlier periods like?

The first of the five suns was the Sun of the Ocelot. At that time the world was shrouded in darkness and humans lived by animal instinct alone, without the benefit of reason. Lacking thought, they were eventually all eaten by ocelots. The second sun was the Sun of Air, a world of spirits and transparent beings that may return some day. But the humans of this time did not understand the necessary principles to be redeemed from their sins and the gods changed them all into monkeys.

The third was the Sun of Fire. During this period, people were ignorant of the gods. All the rivers dried up and all creatures were killed by roaring flames, with the exception of the birds, who flew to safety. The fourth sun was the Sun of Water, Tlaloc, the rain god, who destroyed all the people in a flood.

The fifth is our own period. This is the sun where the other four principles, animal energy, air, fire, and water, are combined and in balance. We cannot take it for granted that this sun will last forever; our continued existence is dependent upon following the "ladder of redemption" that is contained in the Aztec calendar and observing rituals. If the gods are again ignored, then this sun too will die and all of us with it.

Tata and Nena

During the era of the fourth sun, the Sun of Water, the people grew very wicked and ignored the worship of the gods. The gods became angry and Tlaloc, the god of rains, announced that he was going to destroy the world with a flood. However, Tlaloc was fond of a devout couple, Tata and Nena, and he warned them of the flood. He instructed them to hollow out a great log and take two ears of corn-one for each of them-and eat nothing more.

So Tata and Nena entered the tree trunk with the two ears of corn, and it began to rain. When the rains subsided and Tata and Nena's log landed on dry land, they were so happy that they caught a fish and ate it, contrary to the orders of Tlaloc. It was only after their stomachs were full that they remembered Tlaloc's command.

Tlaloc then appeared to them and said, "This is how I am repaid for saving your lives?" They were then changed into dogs. It was at this point, where even the most righteous people were disobedient, that the gods destroyed the world, ushering in the present era of the Fifth Sun.

Quetzalcoatl - Feathered serpent deity in Mesoamerica

A feathered serpent deity has been worshiped by many different ethno-political groups in Mesoamerican history. The existence of such worship can be seen through studies of iconography of different Mesoamerican cultures, in which serpent motifs are frequent. On the basis of the different symbolic systems used in portrayals of the feathered serpent deity in different cultures and periods, scholars have interpreted the religious and symbolic meaning of the feathered serpent deity in Mesoamerican cultures.

The earliest iconographic depiction of the deity is believed to be found on Stela 19 at the Olmec site of La Venta, depicting a serpent rising up behind a person probably engaged in a shamanic ritual. This depiction is believed to have been made around 900 BC. Although probably not exactly a depiction of the same feathered serpent deity worshipped in classic and post-classic periods, it shows the continuity of symbolism of feathered snakes in Mesoamerica from the formative period and on, for example in comparison to the Mayan Vision Serpent shown below.

The first culture to use the symbol of a feathered serpent as an important religious and political symbol was Teotihuacan. At temples such as the aptly named "Quetzalcoatl temple" in the Ciudadela complex, feathered serpents figure prominently and alternate with a different kind of serpent head. The earliest depictions of the feathered serpent deity were fully zoomorphic, depicting the serpent as an actual snake, but already among the Classic Maya the deity began acquiring human features.
Myths of Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca

In the days of Quetzalcoatl there was abundance of everything necessary for subsistence. The maize was plentiful, the calabashes were as thick as one's arm, and cotton grew in all colours without having to be dyed. A variety of birds of rich plumage filled the air with their songs, and gold, silver, and precious stones were abundant. In the reign of Quetzalcoad there was peace and plenty for all men.

But this blissful state was too fortunate, too happy to endure. Envious of the calm enjoyment of the god and his people the Toltecs, three wicked "necromancers" plotted their downfall. The reference is of course to the gods of the invading Nahua tribes, the deities Huitzilopochtli, Titlacahuan or Tezcatlipoca, and Tlacahuepan. These laid evil enchantments upon the city of Tollan, and Tezcatlipoca in particular took the lead in these envious conspiracies. Disguised as an aged man with white hair, he presented himself at the palace of Quetzalcoatl, where he said to the pages. in-waiting: "Pray present me to your master the king I desire to speak with him."

The pages advised him to retire, as Quetzalcoatl was indisposed and could see no one. He requested them, however, to tell the god that he was waiting outside. They did so, and procured his admittance.

On entering the chamber of Quetzalcoad the wily Tezcatlipoca simulated much sympathy with the suffering god-king. "How are you, my son?" he asked. "I have brought you a drug which you should drink, and which will put an end to the course of your malady."

"You are welcome, old man," replied Quetzalcoad.

I have known for many days that you would come. I am exceedingly indisposed. The malady affects my entire system, and I can use neither my hands nor feet."

Tezcatlipoca assured him that if he partook of the medicine which he had brought him he would immediately experience a great improvement in health. Quetzalcoatl drank the potion, and at once felt much revived. The cunning Tezcatlipoca pressed another and still another cup of the potion upon him, and as it was nothing but pulque, the wine of the country, he speedily became intoxicated, and was as wax in the hands of his adversary.

The Departure of Quetzalcoatl

The Toltecs were so tormented by the enchantments of Tezcatlipoca that it was soon apparent to them that their fortunes were on the wane and that the end of their empire was at hand. Quetzalcoatl, chagrined at the turn things had taken, resolved to quit Tollan and go to the country of Tlapallan, whence he had come on his civilising mission to Mexico. He burned all the houses which he had built, and buried his treasure of gold and precious stones in the deep valleys between the mountains. He changed the cacao-trees into mezquites, and he ordered all the birds of rich plumage and song to quit the valley of Anahuac and to follow him to a distance of more than a hundred leagues. On the road from Tollan he discovered a great tree at a point called Quauhtitlan. There he rested, and requested his pages to hand him a mirror. Regarding himself in the polished surface, he exclaimed, "I am old," and from that circumstance the spot was named Huehuequauhtitlan (Old Quauhtitlan). Proceeding on his way accompanied by musicians who played the flute, he walked until fatigue arrested his steps, and he seated himself upon a stone, on which he left the imprint of his hands. This place is called Temacpalco (The Impress of the Hands). At Coaapan he was met by the Nahua gods, who were inimical to him and to the Toltecs.

"Where do you go? they asked him. "Why do you leave your capital?

"I go to Tlapallan," replied Quetzalcoatl, "whence I came."

"For what reason?" persisted the enchanters.

My father the Sun has called me thence," replied Quetzalcoatl.

"Go, then, happily," they said, "but leave us the secret of your art, the secret of founding in silver, of working in precious stones and woods, of painting, and of feather-working, and other matters."

But Quetzalcoatl refused, and cast all his treasures into the fountain of Cozcaapa (Water of Precious Stones). At Cochtan he was met by another enchanter, who asked him whither he was bound, and on learning his destination proffered him a draught of wine. On tasting the vintage Quetzalcoatl was overcome with sleep. Continuing his journey in the morning, the god passed between a volcano and the Sierra Nevada (Mountain of Snow), where all the pages who accompanied him died of cold. He regretted this misfortune exceedingly, and wept, lamenting their fate with most bitter tears and mournful songs. On reaching the summit of Mount Poyauhtecatl he slid to the base. Arriving at the sea-shore, he embarked upon a raft of serpents, and was wafted away toward the land of Tlapallan.

Thank you very much again, dear friends, for visiting my blog. Please share your thoughts with us, if you will. have a great Week.
 ڰۣIn Loving Light from the Fairy Ladyڰۣ

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