Mesoamerican mythos

Discussion in 'Ancient History and Mythology' started by seattlegal, Nov 9, 2007.

  1. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Anyone want to talk about Mesoamerican mythos, specifically the group of Huitzilopochtli/Tlaloc, Xipe Totec/Tonatiuh, Tezcatlipoca, and Quetzelcoatl?

    Here's a thumbnail of each: Direction, color, etc. (Yellow was the color of sacrifice in Mesoamerica.)

    Huitzilopochtli/Tlaloc
    blue
    west or south
    (sun, war, hunting, nobility, unvanquishable by the night gods, also controls rain and thunder, floods, frosts, lightening.)

    Xipe Totec/Tonatiuh
    red
    east
    (goldsmiths, jewelers, pulque, springtime and renewal, 'he who drinks at night,' dresses up in flayed skins)

    Tezcatlipoca
    black
    north
    ('Smoking Mirror,' night god, omnipotent and omnipresent, can assume any shape. Patron of hiwaymen, sorcerers, and mysterious goings-on. Avenger of secret sin, punisher of crime, can bring good or evil, but often takes offence and becomes destuctive as a result. Enemy of Quetzelcoatl and Huitzilopochtli.)

    Quetzelcoatl
    white
    west
    (inventor/teacher, among other things)

    The Mesoamerican ball game symbolized the struggle between Quetzelcoatl and Tezcatlipoca.

    More here.
     
  2. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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  3. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

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    Hi SG...excellent stuff. There is a set of parallels in Judeo-Christian thinking expressed in the writings of the dead sea scrolls wherein it is repeatedly stated that the primary struggle on Earth, as well as in the cosmos, was/is between "the sons of light, and the sons of darkness".

    Also. I always thought that Quetzelcoatl was popularly known as "the rainbow serpent" Of course white light is a "rainbow" of colors when it is broken down and projected under prismatic conditions.

    And now we know where the term "smoke and mirrors" comes from. Holy Politicos !

    flow....:rolleyes:
     
  4. Pathless

    Pathless Fiercely Interdependent

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    I'm also interested in how the Mesoamerican societies were organized. What was the human face of these civilizations, and what was everyday life like?

    Incas
     
  5. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

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    Hi Pathless...Most of my reading and study over the years has been centered on the Olmec/Toltec/Mayan 3,000 year story.

    There is a similar history being uncovered in the Chilean/Ecuadorian/Peruvian area with roots going back 4,000 years or so. This would include Incan history. In fact a Temple complex was just announced recently which had vivid 4,000 year old murals on its walls. This region also bears some similarities to the Egyptian civillization in that the Andean tribes used mummification rites, although it varied in the ways it was instituted and practiced over the centuries.

    The Mayans, as you'll discover in this article, led their collective lives much as we do. Over consumption practiced and promoted by the elite classes, intersocietal warfare, sacrificial offering of captured hostages, and the destruction of the local environments seemed to all contribute to their eventual disappearance about the same time that Europe was much of the way through the Dark Ages.

    Interesting stuff ! Back to the future ?

    flow....;)

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUKN1248947920071112
     
  6. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    I thought I'd bump this thread, just for the heck of it. :)
     
  7. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    I lived in Mexico for a year and toured through some Aztec & Mayan ruins. Also studied some Inca and Toltec culture in college in my Spanish coursework.

    One thing that really strikes me about these cultures was their advanced knowledge of astronomy, without the use of a telescope! Makes me much more observant of our night skies... Really dig the temples which were precisely designed and aligned so certain celestial events were visible during the solstices and/or equinoxes. I would like to see the undulating serpent on the Chichen Itza Kukulcán pyramid during an equinox someday.

    The Incas were fascinating in that they developed such a refined culture, and such exquisite architecture, without use of the wheel. I can picture in my mind the "runners", similar to the Pony Express but on foot, that ran fresh seafood from the coast to the royalty on their extensive trail system. I also like the Inca version of a "flat tax," where all members of society were required to contribute a certain number of days of public service each year. What a shame they had no written language, there is so much that we'll never know about their society.

    Another thing that strikes me is the human nature towards self-fulfilling prophecy. Cortez rolls into town to conquer and the Aztecs welcome him into the city, thinking he's the Quetzlcoatl they've been waiting for :( I always wonder what cultural treasures are buried deep below Mexico City, as the Spaniards just developed on top of Tenochtitlan. Last time I was in Mexico City, near the zócalo, there were some excavations taking place. It’s cool to see ruins uncovered right next to modern architecture!

    I would be very interested in discussing myths of these cultures that are also present in other world religions. For example, global flood, parting the sea, etc. And of course Mesoamerica's own unique creation myths and any parallels with Western/Eastern religion.

    Seattlegal – have you read Popol Vuh? I am planning to read it later this winter, the original Spanish translation :)

    Maybe we'll find out more about Mayan religious beliefs on Dec 21, 2012... :eek:
     
  8. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Yes, I find it very interesting that Tezcatlipoca is the the one described as being omnipotent and omnipresent. ;)

    It's been a few years. I'll read it again this winter with you and we can compare notes. (yay! Someone to bounce these ideas off!) Maybe we can get our new member to help out comparing Mesoamerican beliefs with those of Ancient Egypt. I've noticed quite a few striking parallels!

    lol, you never know
     
  9. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    Nick the Pilot postulates that Mesoamerica and Egypt are linked somehow to the lost city of Atlantis. I personally haven't seen any evidence of that, but as you mention there are some other parellels. Ones I'm familiar with are Inca mummies of humans & dogs, and cocaine and nicotine (new world crops) found in Egyptian pyramids (although those cocaine/nicotine studies aren't without critics, more studies are needed to confirm this finding).

    Some folks have claimed that the pyramids of Egypt and Inca/Maya/Aztec are a link, but I know that was discussed in a previous thread here and BobX gave some strong evidence to the contrary.

    Nick - what other parallels are you familiar with between Egypt and Mesoamerica?
     
  10. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Gods of night and gods of day. I equate the Egyptian gods of night (sun passing through the underworld {Duat}) with the subconsciousness, and the gods of the day with the consciousness. I'm wondering if Mesoamerican mythos parallel that as well.

    Then there are the leopard skinned priests of Egypt and the jaguar skinned priests of Mesoamerica, to mention another. Cranial molding of 18th Dynasty Egypt and Mesoamerican cranial molding, etc.
     
  11. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    IG,

    Offhand, I am not aware of any other parrallels. Let me see what I can dig up (pun intended!)
     
  12. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Lemme know when you start in on the Popul Vuh, and I'll follow along. Maybe we can get a group discussion going on it. :)
     
  13. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Count me in (though I will have to follow in English, my Spanish limited to phrases you usually hear in bars in the SouthWest)!
     
  14. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    It's worth remembering that there was a lot of trading going on in the ancient world, but just because goods from one area appears in another, does not necessitate any cultural (political or spiritual) links between the two.

    Goods were travelling into Europe from China for millenia, but few if any meetings ever took place between Europeans and Chinese peoples. There were plenty enough intermediaries in between to help close the huge geographical distance.

    However, the potential finds of cocaine and similar South American drugs in Egyptian mummies is certainly interesting. Rather than suggesting a directing connection between these cultures, it simply highlights the extraordinary world the ancients live in, and how we tend to look down our noses to view incredulously what they may have been able to achieve without modern tools and inventions.
     
  15. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Brian, good points. Trade (especially Oceanic trade) has been sadly underestimated by most archeologists. Especially in non-white areas (the Americas, Africa, Southeast Asia). IMHO make up complex conspiracy theories to explain how cocaine bets to Egypt or how the pyramids are built.

    See, we human beings are wired for explanation, cause-and-effect, pattern recognition. The wet computer (brain) creates physics and ballistics and relativity to explain how we can hunt or throw a ball or see a star. Where our cultural sciences are lacking we create time or space travellers or an ancient city to explain things that we just cannot yet explain.

    Like in Native American studies. 50 years ago oral histories of the Nations were dismissed as ancient myths originating from timne in Siberia (because everyone knew that the Americas were unpopulated until recently, say the last 5,000 years). That was before Clovis and the paleo-Indian finds in Beringia. Now we "know" that the Siberian landbridge was used both early this interglacial period and even before (30.000 years?). Trade on a regular basis with the Chinese and Oceania seems well documented. The Guanche-Abenaki-Red Earth People-Incan hypothesis, while "out there" has some genetic and archeological evidence.

    By and large the early mythos of the Hopi or Tehuelche peoples have yet to be seriously investigated, but like those of Mesoamerica, they are ancient and discuss a lot of intercontinental trade.
     
  16. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    Hi SG, out of respect to the Mayans, I think we should start up our Popul Vuh discussion on the upcoming Winter Solstice. After all, that gives us one year until the end of the world to discuss it :)
     
  17. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Kewl. :cool:
     

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