General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 20 Apr 2021/4 Wind
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Old fire warming a man Codex Vindobonensis fol. 8

Ritual fire on a mountain summit: ancient signals...

According to ancient Mesoamerican custom, lighting a fire on the summit of a sacred mountain was the final act in a ritual sequence - that included planting a sacred bundle, making offerings, performing blood sacrifices - prescribed by the gods for taking possession of (new) lands. (Compiled by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore)

‘The ritual included a lord climbing a mountain; shooting arrows from the summit in the four world directions in the sequence west, east, north, south; tying long grasses (malinalli in Nahuatl) into bundles, piling them up, and lighting a fire to them - a fire that would be seen by everyone. The lord would then descend the mountain and climb to another to repeat the sequence. In this fashion, the boundary markers were made on each mountaintop.’ The lighting of the fire on the summit ‘completed a prescribed ritual sequence of foundation and taking possession’ of sacred lands.

Info and quote from the chapter by Carlos Rincón Mautner ‘Cave, Mountain, and Ancestors’ in Mesoamerican Memory: Enduring Systems of Remembrance edited by Amos Megged and Stephanie Wood, University of Oklahoma Press, 2012
Image of a man lifting his cape to receive the warmth of a fire set atop a sacred mountain; Codex Vindobonensis, fol. 8 - image scanned from our own copy of the ADEVA facsimile edition, Graz, Austria, 1974.

This article was uploaded to the Mexicolore website on Apr 15th 2018

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