General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 27 Feb 2021/4 Dog
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Aztec maize goddess Chicomecoatl (Seven-Serpent), Florentine Codex Book 2

Natural forces and elements had calendrical names

Calendrical names were assigned by the Mexica (Aztecs) not just to individual humans (starting with their birth dates) but also to deities, supernatural beings, forces and elements of nature, plants, and creatures. Here we upload a short extract adapted from the superb book The Myths of the Opossum - Pathways of Mesoamerican Mythology by Alfredo López Austin, in which the author explains just how deeply rooted this tradition was...

A face (probably of Cocijo, rain deity) depicted in a mosaic of dotted pinta, jade and black stones; c. 200-500 CE, from Tomb 105 at Monte Alban, National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City
A face (probably of Cocijo, rain deity) depicted in a mosaic of dotted pinta, jade and black stones; c. 200-500 CE, from Tomb 105 at Monte Alban, National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City (Click on image to enlarge)

The beings created throughout the cycle [of the creation of the universe] were marked by the day of their creation. In the language used by Nahua magicians and priests, there were names belonging to a cycle of creation made up of 260 days [the ritual calendar].
The earth was called
Ce Tochtli (One Rabbit)
Trees and all objects made of wood, Ce Atl (One Water)
Earthy substances, Ce Miquiztli (One Death)
Stones, Ce Tecpatl (One Flint)
Structural fibres and all objects made with them, Ce Malinalli (One Twisted Grass)
Sharp objects, Ce Ocelotl (One Jaguar)
Fire, Nahui Acatl (Four Reed)
Deer, Chicome Xochitl (Seven Flower)
Agaves, Chicuei Tecpatl (Eight Flint)
Corn [maize], Chicome Coatl (Seven Serpent) [see main picture].

The gods could also be named for their calendrical signs. These terms form part of the secret vocabulary of the magic formulae [read and used by soothsayers] The calendric cycle of 260 days was a pattern and a ritual and indicated opportunities for establishing contact with the different beings of the world...

Info source:-
• Alfredo López Austin (1993) The Myths of the Opossum - Pathways of Mesoamerican Mythology, translated by Bernard R. Ortiz de Montellano and Thelma Ortiz de Montellano, University of New Mexico Press, p. 48
Picture sources:-
• Main pic: image from the Florentine Codex (original in the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Florence) (Book 2) scanned from our own copy of the Club Internacional del Libro 3-volume facsimile edition, Madrid, 1994
• Photo of stone mosaic: by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore.

This article was uploaded to the Mexicolore website on Feb 22nd 2021

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