General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 23 Nov 2017/8 Flint
Text Size:

Link to page about the Maya Calendar
Today's Maya date is: 13.0.4.17.18 - 1799 days into the new cycle!
Link to page of interest to teachers
Click to find out how we can help you!
Search the Site (type in white box):

What’s up (top)?

Our friend Gael Ollivier has come up trumps again with a perceptive little piece on the cardinal directions and their orientation in the Aztec/Mexica world...

What’s up (top)? If you were an Aztec... not North!
I’ve often found the name of Huitzilopochtli translated as “Hummingbird from the South, or from the left”, a fact which made me feel a little bit puzzled, because I just didn’t see how the south and the left could be matched.
So I was really happy when I came across a line in Soustelle’s book El Universo Azteca which shed some light on the matter. According to him “...ancient (Aztec) books represent the world as a cross, with the East on the upper side, and the South on the left” (p.13). (I guess my book must have a typo because when you put the South on the left, what you get on top is the West, not the East!)

The east on top... go figure!
I grew curious. What would one of our maps look like oriented that way? So I turned one around and stared at it. It looked wrong, very wrong. But why?
The answer was simple, yet challenging: because we take for granted that things are just the way we think they are!

However, different people, in different times and places, have their very own perspective on life. And I think this little piece of information comes to show that if we allow ourselves to open up to different perspectives, we will have a more lively approach to other people’s experiences.

Hummingbird mystery solved!

Feedback button

Here's what others have said:

Mexicolore replies: Yes I noticed that too (promise!) - I just thought perhaps Gael had chosen the image because the deity appears to be giving a thumbs-up signal!