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Quetzalcoatl and its legend

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The world of mythology of the indigenous peoples of South America contains many fascinating stories about the reality around us. Quetzalcoatl also known as Kukulkan or Feathered Snake can sit on one of them.

People have always explained phenomena incomprehensible to themselves. The existence of supernatural forces directing the fate of the world. It is worth noting how the existing reality affects the shape and image of gods in various cultures. The gods of the northern peoples were more selfish, malicious, and slothful. Southern peoples, on the other hand. Living in an environment rich in fertile lands and numerous natural resources. They believed in deities that were helpful and conducive to life. It is no different in the case of the Indian Gods.

South America is a lush and diverse environment. It can be seen in the culture and beliefs of the indigenous people. Indian mythology is abundant in various deities and mystical creatures. The world itself, as legends say, was created by many gods. Quetzalcoatl – Mural by Diego Rivera Quetzalcoatl – Emily K. Grieves

One of the world's creator was a Mesoamerican deity whose name comes from the Nahuatl language and means "feathered serpent"." Depending on the region, he had different names and nicknames. In Aztec culture, he was known as Quetzalcoatl, Gucumatz, Votan, Ehecatl, as the god of the wind, or Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, as a representative of the morning star. In Mayan culture, he was known as Kukulcan. Quetzalcoatl sat in the pantheon of Aztec gods, alongside Tlaloc, Tezcatlipoca and Huitzilopochtli. He was considered the god of wind, heaven, earth, water, fertility, dawn, merchants, arts, crafts, and knowledge. He was also the patron saint of the Aztec priesthood. The great importance of this God is evidenced, among others, by the pyramid located in the ancient city of Teotihuacán in Mexico. It is the third largest building and one of the oldest in Mesoameria. [1] Quetzalcoatl – Codex Telleriano-Remensis

It is not known exactly when and which people created the cult of the Feathered Serpent. This is due to the culture of the time, which created its own states on the basis of previous ones. She blurred their memory and presented their achievements as her own. It is known, however, that the Olmec civilization was the first civilization of Mesoameri, whose origins are dated to 1500 BC. She worshipped the image of the feathered dragon, who was the deity of land, agriculture, fertility and fire. The Olmec dragon was probably the progenitor of the Aztec god Quetzalcoathla.

The myth of the origin of the world

It is in Teotihuacán in Mexico according to beliefs. After the expiration of the fourth sun, which heralded the end of the world. The gods met to debate which of them should become the fifth sun. Thus prolonging the life of the world. Tecuciztecatl, a haughty and proud god, declared himself to sacrifice. However, the other gods favored Nanahuatzin, the smallest and most modest of them. The gods lit a great fire. At the last second, Tecuciztecatl refused to jump into the fire, defeated by fear of pain. Instead, Nanahuatzin jumped in. Embarrassed by Nanahuatzin's sacrifice, Tecuciztecatl followed him. Two suns rise in the sky, but together they were too bright. The gods threw the rabbit into Tecuciztecatla to dim its light. This is how the moon was formed. [2] One legend says that Quetzalcoatl went to the underworld of Mictlan and created the present world of the fifth sun from the bones of previous races using his own blood. Quetzalcoatl – Sculpture in Teotihuacan

The influence of colonization on mythology

Quetzalcoatl appeared taking the form of a white bearded man. According to legends passed from mouth to mouth, he gave people a calendar denoting the days of the fifth sun. He created astronomy and mathematics. He taught people to grow corn and cotton. It is worth noting some similarities in the history of the creation of the world to the Christian religion. Except for the image of a white bearded man resembling Jesus. Quetzalcoatl was also born to a virgin. However, in this case she was a goddess. In 999, Quetzalcoatl left the Indians with prophecies. The feathered serpent predicted the arrival of white conquerors from across the ocean, who would overthrow the Indian gods by replacing them with their own, unspecified deity. He also announced his re-arrival in the year of the reed, falling every 52 years. A little over 500 years later in 1519 during the year of the reed. In the place where Quetzalcoatl foretold his return. A ship appeared. Spanish conquistadors under the leadership of Hernán Cortés came to America [3]. The prophecy came true in a perverse way. From the sixteenth century, it was believed that the Aztec emperor Montezuma II initially considered the landing of Hernán Cortés. For the return of Quetzalcoathl. This view has been challenged by historians, who claim that it was not found in any document that was created independently of Spanish influence. Links between Quetzalcoathle and Cortés. [4] Nevertheless, this prophecy may have been the reason for excessive trust in the invaders and their easy entry into the hinterland. Quetzalcoatl – Diego Rivera's Mural

Good god, bad followers

The exact meaning and characteristics of Quetzalcoathla vary somewhat from civilization to civilization and throughout history. There are several stories about the birth of Quetzalcoatel. In one of the myths, Quetzalcoatl was born from a virgin named Chimalman, whom the god Onteol visited in a dream. Another story tells that Chimalman was hit in the womb by an arrow fired by Mixcoatel, the Aztec god of stars. Nine months later, she gave birth to a child she named Quetzalcoatl. The third story tells of the birth of Quetzalcoatel by the goddess Coatlicue, the mother of four hundred children who formed the stars of the Milky Way. According to another version of the myth, Quetzalcoatl is one of the four sons of Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl, four Tezcatlipocas, each of whom leads one of the four main directions.[5] Quetzalcoatl was often considered the god of the morning star, and his twin brother Xolotl was considered the evening star (Venus). As a morning star, he was known by the title Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, which means "master of the dawn star". Quetzalcoatl was also the patron saint of the priests and the title of twin Aztec high priests. The feathered serpent created a world full of peace and harmony, thanks to which he enjoyed respect and recognition. Some legends describe him as opposed to human sacrifice. Over time, his intentions were distorted and despite open opposition in his teachings. Human sacrifices were also offered on his altars. Quetzalcoatl ruled during one of the five eras of creation. During which he and his wife brought to life the last known race of mankind. They then taught her to obtain food, light a fire, and offer sacrifices to the gods. Quetzalcoatl – Jose Clemente OrozcoQueztalcoatl – Sculpture Vatican Museum

Precious gifts for humanity

One of the precious gifts received from the god of the wind was corn. Sacred food that forms the basis of the diet of the peoples of Mesoameria. Interestingly, corn in the form of flour was used as an ingredient in beverages. Mixed with cocoa, which is also a gift from the feathered snake, chili pepper and other spices. It created a basic liquor used daily by the Indians. Quetzalcoatl was considered the founder and patron of numerous ruling dynasties throughout Mesoamerica. [3] He also took the human form of Topiltzin Quetzalcoatal, who ruled Tollan, a Toltec kingdom idealized in Aztec mythology. Quetzalcoatl did not die with the conquest of the continent. He lives in contemporary Indian thought and has played a role in the formation of modern Mexican culture. He also wandered deep into modern cults. Some Mormons believe that Quetzalcoatl was actually Jesus Christ. According to the Book of Mormon, Jesus visited the American continent after his resurrection. Latter-day Saint scholar Brant Gardner noted that during the Spanish conquest, Native Americans and compassionate Catholic priests felt pressured to link Native American beliefs to Christianity, making Native Americans appear more human and less savage.[6] Various theories about Quetzalcoatl have circulated among followers of the New Age movement, especially since the publication of Tony Shearer's book Lord of the dawn: Quetzalcoatl and the Tree of Life in 1971.

Did the Feathered Serpent really create the world? Has our knowledge of his cult distorted over the centuries? Some questions will never be answered. Others will be answered with the help of science and the hard work of researchers and anthropologists.

[1] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/264589765_CulturalEthnology_Quetzalcoatl_and_the_Irony_of_Empire_Myths_and_Prophecies_in_the_Aztec_Tradition
[2] Doyle, Diana (2004). "Aztec and Mayan Mythology". Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute.
[3] https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1337&context=jbms
[4] Restall, Matthew (2003). Seven myths of the Spanish conquest . Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press . ISBN 0-19-516077-0 . OCLC 51022823 .
[5] LaFaye, Jacques (1987). Quetzalcoatl and Guadalupe: The Formation of Mexican National Consciousness, 1531–1813 (New ed.). University of Chicago Press. p. 140. ISBN 978-0226467887
[6] Wirth, Diane E. (2002) "Quetzalcoatl, the Maya Maize God, and Jesus Christ," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies: Vol. 11 : No. 1 , Article 3

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