Teotihuacan Mysteries Solved?
In order to appreciate the deeper meaning of Teotihuacan’s religion, we need to bear in mind that incredible things seem to have happened on this planet in the distant past. Throughout the Early World, there were legends about a great civiliser who taught people agriculture and many useful arts. Some said that he had appearance of a bearded white man who wore a long white robe and who was associated with the Pleiades, He was also as I will explain later, because of his mode of transport, linked with a serpent. After Christianity and Islam arrived in the Old World, these traditions were suppressed but they were still popular in the Americas when the Europeans arrived 500 years ago. The Maya and Aztecs called Man’s civiliser Kukulcan, and Quetzalcoatl, AKA – ‘The feathered Serpent,’ and as Osiris in Egypt, he was associated with the Creation beginning when Primeval Land rose from the Primeval Sea. With regard to the Pleiades, they featured in numerous traditions in the Americas and some tribes placed their origin in them. They were also linked with the Creation and the dawn of a new age.
Teotihuacan dates to around 2,200 years ago in what’s now San Juan Teotihuacan municipality 25 miles north-east of Mexico City. The identity of its founders is a mystery but advanced planners, and astronomers, were responsible for the greatest city in the Americas which had an estimated population of 125,000 up to 200,000. Only a section of the vast site has been excavated but the city had residential areas, several plazas, palaces, pyramids and temples. At one end of the wide highway, known as the Avenue of the Dead, there is the colossal Pyramid of the Moon (200-250 c.e.) and on one side of this avenue is the huge Pyramid of the Sun (150-225 c.e.). Along the opposite side of the avenue there are several small temples, and at the other end it’s crossed by another route.
Near the junction of the two roads, there is a huge sunken square, Ciudadela (citadel), where major festivals were celebrated, and whose important feature is the Pyramid Temple of Quetzalcoatl- the Feathered Serpent. (150-200c.e) The watery serpent symbolism on this pyramid and its sacred architecture, versions of which are also found elsewhere in the Americas and in the Old World, tells us that it represents the Primeval Land rising from the Primeval Sea and that it’s dedicated to Man’s great civiliser.
Deep beneath the huge Pyramid of the Sun there’s a west facing tunnel which ends in four natural lobed chambers. Caves were of special significance in Central American Native tradition and this one, above which the pyramid was constructed, is known as the womb of the Earth. Dr Rene Millon, who supervised the University of Rochester’s Teotihuacan mapping project, states that around 2,000 years ago, when the pyramid was built, the cave was aligned to the Pleiades and the Sun, on 29 April and 12 August. The second date corresponds with the day in the Mayan calendar, in the year 3114 b. c. e. In other words, it links these stars with the beginning of the Mayan present age when much of the world was in upheaval and when several civilisations rose fully developed.
I had a memorable visit to Mexico many years ago and I was thrilled to see Teotihuacan a site which I previously researched. When I reached the magnificent Pyramid of the Sun, I climbed its 248 steps and stayed for a while on the summit where there was once a sanctuary. This was where the priests would have enacted their rituals here, high above the congregation of worshippers gathered the pyramid below. From what the local guide told me, I knew that there were Pleiades symbols on the altars in some of the small temples below along the Avenue and I wondered if on a major festival of renewal, a magnificently garmented priest, representing Quetzalcoatl, emerged from the sanctuary when the Pleiades were aligned to a point on the horizon.
The Pyramid of the Moon, so named by the Aztecs, is the second largest pyramid in Teotihuacan and it’s the last of a series of seven phases. It rises on high ground at the beginning of the Avenue of the Dead. Behind it is the Cerro Gordo hill whose shape it reflects. Its plaza is surrounded by twelve small pyramid platforms and there’s an altar in the centre where bloodthirsty human sacrifices appear to have taken place. The platform on its summit and, a sculpture at the base, were dedicated to the Spider Goddess, also known as the Great Goddess. This ‘deity ‘needs an explanation because this advanced civilisation is hardly likely to have dedicated a huge pyramid to a spider. In the Early World, inner traditions were passed on by initiates, and priests, from generation to generation and they were usually explained to the public in the form of allegorical stories and symbolism and often as animals and birds and especially the serpent.
The spider featured in many Early World legends where it was sometimes regarded as the Creator or ‘his emissary’. Spider symbols have been found in the North American mounds and one with a circled cross on its body signifies the centre of everything. It’s also a popular character in North American Native myth. A 4,000-year-old spider temple has been found in the Lambayeque Valley, along Peru ‘s northern Pacific coast, and it’s the third one discovered in the area in recent years. The spider often appears in Peruvian Moche iconography and is often found in Peruvian art. There is a large one carved in Peru’s Nazca Desert and it’s thought to be astronomically aligned Many African tribes believe that a spider’s web links Heaven and Earth and the Yoruba, in West Africa, claim that the god Ogun descended to this planet on a spider’s thread. Could it be, I wonder, that the Teotihuacan Spider Goddess represented a craft (that of Quetzalcoatl who these people revered) which descended to Earth from somewhere above, like a spider on a thread, and is it linked with a Hopi legend which says that ‘Spiderwoman created mankind’ and helped save the survivors of the destruction of the previous age? Furthermore, bearing in mind the city’s Pleiades astronomical alignment, we can note that the Egyptians associated these stars with a goddess who was associated with a spider.
The Aztec city of Tenochtitlan was built hundreds of years after Teotihuacan was deserted but they had two important things in common. Quetzalcoatl was revered in both of them. The latter was aligned to the Pleiades and the sighting of these stars heralded the beginning of a new Aztec 52-year cycle.
From the summit of the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan, there was a spring equinox alignment to the serpent mouth entrance of the Quetzalcoatl sanctuary and thousands of people still throng around Teotihuacan’s Temple of the Sun on that day. According to Burr Cartright Brundage, the Aztec New Year might have begun on February 2 or the March equinox. The latter seems more likely because that’s when Quetzalcoatl was deemed to be ‘reborn’.
Berrin & Pasztory. Teotihuacan. .Thames & Hudson. 1993
Burr Cartwright Brundage.The Fifth Sun University of Texas Press.1983
Leonard Farra. The Pleiades Legacy (The New World). Blurb 2010.
Donald A. Mackenzie. Myths of Pre-Columbian America. The Gresham Publishing Company.
R.T. Rundle Clark. Myth and Symbol in Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson.1959
Jacques Soustelle. Daily Life of the Aztecs. Phoenix Press.2002
Frank Waters. Book of the Hopi. Penguin Books.1977
by Leonard Farra author of the Pleiades Legacy series.
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