The Legend of the Tepozteco as the Cosmology of Tepoztlán


Material Information

The Legend of the Tepozteco as the Cosmology of Tepoztlán
Physical Description:
Mixed Material
Vargas-Betancourt, Margarita
Publication Date:

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved by the submitter.
System ID:

This item is only available as the following downloads:

Full Text


MAY AUG SEP 30 2010 2011 2012 3 captures 5 Jun 10 30 Aug 11 Clos e Help The Legend of the Tepozteco as the Cosmology of Tepoztln by Margarita Vargas Betancourt Prof. Anthony Aveni March 8, 2002 Comparative Cosmologies The Legend of the Tepozteco and its relation to the Cosmology of Tepoztln The purpose of this paper is to present the cosmology of a town in the state of Morelos (Mexico) called Tepoztln. This t own existed since pre Hispanic times, and up to this moment its inhabitants have preserved one legend, that of the Tepozteco, which explains the mythological origin of the local god, of many of the topographical traits of the region, and of its political i mportance. However, this legend has undergone many changes as Tepoztln passed through different historic moments, such as the conquest and the colonization. This paper deals with the information about the Tepozteco registered in colonial documents that de scribe pre Hispanic beliefs. There is not a lot of information, and it is neither cohesive nor orderly, but the aim of this study is to join the different threads of the story. The first part of the paper includes a brief discussion on the role that myths, rites and geography played in the cosmology of Mesoamerican peoples, as well as general information about Tepoztln, such as geographic location, weather, agriculture, and political information. Then follows an account of the pre Hispanic Tepoztcatl, myt hs related to the origin of pulque, a discussion of the significance of pulque in Mesoamerican thought, and finally an explanation of the importance of the four hundred gods or the Pleiades. Myths, rites and geography: cosmovision.


Johanna Broda defines cosmovision as the way the Mesoamerican people structured their ideas this manner, nature was a cultural perception and construction through which man explained th e world and his place in universe (Broda, 2001: 166). Myths and rites are the ultimate expressions of cosmovision. Agricultural rites constituted the core of Mesoamerican religion. They integrated man with nature (landscape, seasons, agriculture), and ori ginated social cohesion and thus a sense of community (: 228). They also structured and legitimized social institutions such as kingship, war and trade (Townsend, 1992: 183). "Great public religious spectacles" brought people together because they transmit ted "a powerful emotional and imaginative appeal" through "common experiences and beliefs and a shared grammar of visual symbols" (: 172). During the fifteenth hey conquered. These cults and their deities acquired a new meaning and helped to create and preserve the Aztec "specialized, stratified, and heterogeneous society" (: 172). Therefore, art, architecture, festivals and rites had the aim of achieving social cohesion among a "diversified population" (: 172). The basic cycles of Aztec ritual were related to rain and maize. The purpose of these rites was to demand sufficient rain to keep the agricultural cycle going. The different stages of maize growth were c elebrated in specific rituals (Broda, 2001: 215). Sacrifice was the most important part of to be a primary ritual nourishing agent, assuring the arrival of water at the change of the dry to the rainy season and the regeneration of the earth for the annual planting" (Townsend, 1992: 179). Sacrifice was performed in trouble or critical months of the year, for it symbolized and at the same time brought about "th e transformation of death into life" (: 178). The most important rites were those that marked the beginning of the agricultural cycle as well as the passing from the dry to the rainy season and the ones that indicated the end of this cycle, and thus the ti me of harvest. Mesoamerican people oriented their temples to the special events that took place in the sky during the dates that marked the beginning of those specific periods (Broda, 2001: 225). The authority of Aztec kings and lords came from the fulfi llment of their obligation "to assure the coming of the rains and the regeneration of nature" (Townsend, 1992: 185). Consequently, performing rites served to legitimate kingship. Rites, especially those to Tlaloc, followed the structure of myths. When the world was still incomplete and the land was dry and unproductive, a hero emerged. He undertook an odyssey in search of a life giving gift. As soon as he found it, he made an offering and then took the present home (: 183). During rituals, rulers reenacted the saga of the hero. Conquest and colonization did not alter the geographic, climatic and agricultural conditions and cycles of Mesoamerica. Since these factors determined the Mesoamerican cosmology and the calendar, they persisted (Broda, 2001: 168). Ho wever, the conquest did bring about a major change. In pre Hispanic times, the agricultural cult and calendar were part of the state and its ideology. When the Spanish government replaced the Indian one, agricultural rites became local cults of peasants (: 169). As Christianity expanded, the setting of these rites moved from the


cities to the landscape (hills, caves, maize fields) (: 169). The "syncretic" religion that was formed during the colony incorporated parts of pre Hispanic cult and religion, especi ally the cult that revolved around agriculture. For instance, the Indians used the festivities of the Santa Cruz (May 3rd), Da de Todos Santos and Da de Muertos (November 1st and 2nd) to mark the beginning and the end of the rainy season and of the agric ultural cycle of maize (: 204). The Indians retained their rites as well as the pre Hispanic sacred landscape formed by sanctuaries on hills and caves. In this manner, communities preserved their cultural identity and succeeded in their resistance to accul turation. Tepoztln is a great example of this process. General information Tepoztln is located northeast of Cuernavaca, the capital of Morelos. A group of mountains separates the Valley of Mexico from the state of Morelos. Tepoztln is found below the Ridge of Tepoztln, which rises from the southern slope of these mountains. Rare formations and capricious shapes caused by corrosion of rains and wind characterize the ridge. Each of the peaks that make up the ridge has a different name: The Tlahuiltep etl, the flaming mountain, the Ehecatl, the windy mountain, the Papalotzin, Cihuapapalotzin, or Zuapapalotzin, the butterfly mountain, the Tlamintepetl, the wounding mountain or the trench from which people are hurt; the Chalchiuhtepetl, the emerald or tre asure mountain, the Ocelotepetl, the tiger mountain, and a kind of needle or obelisk many metres in height, which is called Topiltzin, that is staff or little son (Salinas, 1936: 8). The people of Tepoztln erected a temple for their local god, known in p re Hispanic times as Tepoztcatl and nowadays as Tepozteco, in the Cerro del Viento or Ehecatepetlicpac (Mateos Higuera, 1994: 43). Today this peak is known as the Tepozteco. This cerro lies to the north of Tepoztln. At its base there is a spot called Axi tla. "This means where the water rises, and in truth, a small spring gushes out there" (Salinas, 1936: 30). On the peak, there is a platform divided into two parts; one to the west; the other, to the east. The western part forms the porch of the temple. On the pyramid one can see the ruins of the shrine "erected in honour of Tepoztcatl, the god of pulque" (: 34). Although the access to the temple was and still is very difficult, r, flowers, food and pulque. It is said that pilgrims came from remote regions, such as Chiapas and Guatemala, to honor him (Mateos Higuera, 1994: 44). In the region of Morelos, the year is made up of two seasons, the dry season, which takes place during January, February, March, April, November, and December; and the rainy season, which takes place during June, July, August, and September. There is little rain during May and October (Grisby, 1992: 111). The passing of these two seasons has shaped the life of the inhabitants of Tepoztln since pre Hispanic times, for they, like the rest of the population of Morelos, were an agricultural community. The crops grown in Morelos were the standard ones for Mesoamerica: maize, beans, squash, tomatoes, and chiles ( Haskett, 1991: 9). Like the rest of Mesoamerica, Morelos was organized in "units made up of a dominant altepetl (a compound made up of atl, water, and tepetl, hill or mountain) to which other altepetl, each retaining its own rulers owed economic and poli tical services. There were six dominant altepetls:


Cuauhnhuac "probably the most significant power" (: 9), Oaxtepec, Yautepec, Yecapixtla, Totolapan, and Ocuituco. Tepoztln was a "largely independent altepetl" which constituted "a seventh significant pow er in the region" (: 9). During the colony this organization continued to be so: Spanish were the same altepetl that had been able to make the most of the earlier M exica The pre Hispanic Tepoztcatl The inhabitants of Tepoztln claim to have kept the traditional legend since pre Hispanic times through oral tradition. Unfortu nately, there are no records of the legend either in codices or in colonial accounts about the Nahua culture. However, the god Tepoztcatl is mentioned in two codices: the Codex Magliabechiano and the Florentine Codex. In these codices, he is associated wi th pulque and with the four hundred gods of pulque. Many other elements derive from these associations. In the Codex Magliabechiano, Tepoztcatl is one of the four hundred gods related to pulque. The text that accompanies its image, though it describes an other of the pulque gods, is the following: Esta fiesta es de un demonio q esta aqui q se llama papaztac q era unos de quatrocientos dioses. borrachos. q los yndios tenian de diversos nonbres. pero en comun. se llamavan todos totochti quiere dezir conejos y quando los yndios tenian segado y coxidos sus mahizes se enborrachaban y bailavan invocando a este demonio. Y a otros destos quatrocientos ansi de las figures q van adelante hazian lo mismo (Codex Magliabechiano, 48 verso). The text that should go wi th the illustration of Tepoztcatl is the following: Esta es una figura de una gran vellaqueria q un pueblo q se dize tepuztlan. tenia por rrito y era q quando algun yndio moria borracho. los otros deste pueblo hazian gran fiesta con hachas de cobre. con que cortan la lea en las manos. este pueblo es par de Yautepeque. Vasallos del seor marques del Valle (Codex Magliabechiano, 49 verso). According to Elizabeth Boone, the inscription "vasallos del seor marques del Valle" indicates that "the year 1529 may be considered the earliest date for a portion of the text" (Boone, 1983: 151) because in 1529 Corts received the lands mentioned in this text. Later on, Boone adds "the last year in which the prototype could have been painted and written was 1553" (: 152). This indicates that the first written records of the Tepoztcatl were very early. In the Magliabechiano, he appears as a green warrior, with gold, jade, feather and plant ornaments. He wears a nose ring identified by Mateos Higuera as a yacametztli, nose ring with a moon shape. His shield is that of the pulque gods: its border is blue; inside it, two black bands surround a red one. On the red band, there is a yacametztli and it is surrounded by four petal like figures (Mateos Higuera, 1994: 45). In f ront of him there is a copper ax, which is related to his name. Tepoztcatl means "native of Tepoztln", and Tepoztln means place of copper, for tepuztli is copper (: 44. See Fig. 1).


Elizabeth Boone indicates that Francisco Cervantes de Salazar might h ave used the Codex Magliabechiano as a source for the Crnica de la Nueva Espaa written between 1558 and 1566 (Boone, 1983: 93). This is especially obvious in his descriptions of the pulque gods Papaztac and Tepoztcatl, for they are very similar to the t exts in the Codex. Nevertheless, an interesting fact is that Cervantes de Salazar included this information among the "calendrical and festive material" (: 94). Consequently, the celebrations of the pulque gods, as well as that of Tepoztcatl, might have b een part of the cyclic festivities. The creation of pulque Even though the Codex Magliabechiano does not give further information about the four hundred pulque gods or about Tepoztcatl, there are certain elements that it presents that are related to oth er Mesoamerican myths about pulque and creation: Tepoztcatl was one of the four hundred pulque gods. These were identified with the rabbit (tochtli), and they were related to agriculture, for they were honored after harvest with ritual mass drinking. Abou t Tepoztln, we know that drunkenness and copper axes had a special meaning, for the Indians celebrated with copper axes when one of them died of drunkenness. The figure of the rabbit, eighth of the twenty day signs, was the symbol of the pulque gods. Acc ording to one legend, a rabbit discovered pulque when by accident it scratched the heart of the maguey and tasted its juice. The rabbit came back the next day because it enjoyed the sweetness of the liquid, but by then the juice had already fermented, and the rabbit got drunk (Mateos Higuera, 1994: 25). The rabbit might symbolize fertility, for, as it is common knowledge, rabbits reproduce themselves in great numbers. Moreover, in the Nahua culture the rabbit was intrinsically linked to the moon. When the f ifth sun was created, two suns rose from the fire at Teotihuacan. The gods threw a rabbit to dim the light of the second sun. Since then, there is a rabbit inside the circumference of the moon, visible at plain sight. According to Patricia Anawalt, rabbits were related to maguey because they lived among them, and both were related to the moon and to fertility: fertility, probably because the menses suggested a lunar cycle. In addition, the white, viscous pulque evoked milk and seminal fluid. Linked to the moon and the maguey plant, rabbits thus 8). Mesoamerican people linked the moon to fertility a nd to creation because the gestation period is the same as the moon phase cycle. Mateos Higuera indicates that the yacametztli (nose ring) that the Centzontotochtin (the four hundred rabbit gods of pulque) wore had a moon shape to denote the influence of t his celestial body in the quantity of juice produced by the maguey (Mateos Higuera, 1994: 28). James Cordova indicates that these iconographic features also referred to the day sign rabbit (Cordova, 2001: 7). Furthermore, the calendrical date "One Rabbit w as the day sign of the earth; here the earth rebels against humanity by withholding her fruits" (Burkhart, 1989: 77). The association between pulque, fertility and agriculture is more evident in the pulque goddess


Mayahuel: "an earth mother form with fou r hundred breasts and whose headdress in the Mixtecan Borgia Codex seems to link her with Tlaloc" (Taylor, 1979: 31). The connection Borgia (Cordova, 2001: 7). Ma yahuel is depicted pointing at the day sign Rabbit, whereas a vessel with pulque is pictured over her. In this manner, she "is represented as the patron deity of the day idea of death and rebirth, which relates to the cycle of life and death, of dry and rainy season, of planting and harvesting, of "dawning and sowing". The legend also brings together the plant of the maguey with the natural forces that bring it into being : wind and water. As soon as the gods had created man, they decided to make something that could provide him with joy. Ehcatl Quetzalcoatl, the wind god, went to the second heaven, to look for the virgin goddess Mayahuel. He kidnapped her from the monstr ous Tzitzimime spirit that guarded her, and took her to earth. There, Ehcatl and Mayahuel transformed each into one branch and joined one another in one tree. (This event in the story might have been an attempt of the Nahua people to explain sex). But the went after her. Mayahuel tried to flee, but in the attempt, "her grandmother" captured her, broke her apart, and gave the pieces to other Tzitzimime spirits. They devoured them, but left s ome crumbles behind. When they had left, Quetzalcoatl picked up these pieces; as soon as he touched them, they became bones. He buried them and cried over them. Some time later, a plant with a very peculiar shape grew from that spot. The tears of the wind god had given new life to Mayahuel. Moreover, the tears became the juice in the heart of the plant, which would later be turned into pulque. This heart was surrounded by bone like leaves with lateral thorns that looked like bloody teats, in order to recall 21). The tears of the god gave way to pulque, just as the tears of the children sacrificed during the rite of Atlcahualo attracted rain (Broda, 2001: 187). Perhaps this analogy indicates that for the Aztecs, pulque represented and evoked rain. In the Florentine Codex, Sahagn explained that there was an intimate relationship between Ehecatl Quetzalcoatl (the wind god) and Tlaloc (the rain god), for the former prepared the way for the latter (: 180). Richard T ownsend makes the same association: "In the metaphoric great wind storms that brought rain" (Townsend, 1992: 182). Thus, wind originated and preceded rain, an d both brought about agriculture, just like Quetzalcoatl (representing wind) and his tears (representing water) gave life to the maguey and to pulque. The section of the Florentine Codex that is about the Mexica people (Book ten, chapter twenty nine) incl udes another myth of the origin of pulque; furthermore, it presents many elements in common with other myths, including that of the Tepozteco. Fray Bernardino de Sahagn explained the origin of the word Mexicatl or Mexica from the combination of two words: me, maguey, and citli, rabbit (Sahagn, 1961: 189). The priest that led the Mexica was called Mecitl: It is said that when he was born they named him Citli. And they placed him in a maguey leaf, where he grew strong; wherefore was he named Mecitli. And t his one, when he matured, became a priest, a keeper of the god (: 189).


but a maguey leaf protected him and fed him with its juice. In both instances, th e plant of maguey is identified as a "mother with the migration of the Mexica. One climactic point is the creation of pulque. The woman who discovered "the boring of the maguey was Mayahuel" an d the man "who discovered the stick, the root, with which wine was made was Patecatl" (: 193). Then other gods intervened in the creation of pulque: Tepuztecatl, Quatlapanqui, Tlilhoa, Papaiztac, Tzocaca. In the mountain Chichinauhia, they prepared a wine that excelled and that foamed up, because of this they called the mountain Popoonaltepetl (Sahagn, 1961: 193). Since pulque is related to fertility, and Tepoztcatl is one of the gods that created and perfected it, then Tepoztcatl might also be related to fertility. After creating pulque, the gods summoned "all the rulers, the leaders, the old men, the experienced men. They went there to Mt. Chichinauhia" (: 193). There they drunk in honor of the gods, but they only received four cups of wine, for they would get drunk if they drank the fifth The first four made up an "evolutionary, cumulative process" that culminated with the fifth sun: "when this age ended ther e was to be no other" (Burkhart, 1989: 74). The figures four and five also represented the structure of Nahua space: "The number four symbolized wholeness: the four quadrants that composed the earth. The number five, adding the center to the four direction s, was also a symbol of wholeness, but here wholeness passes into completion, fullness, and excess" (: 74). The importance of pulque It is essential to analyze the importance of pulque, in order to understand the significance of Tepoztecatl as a pulque god. Along with maize, the maguey was fundamental in the life and religion of the Aztecs. The liqueur produced from it was used as an intoxicant, as a dietary supplement, for it was rich in vitamins, as a medicine against diarrhea and other stomach disease s (Taylor, 1979: 30), and it was "essential to replace water during the dry season, and useful in the fields where it was drunk by workers to revive themselves from the heat of the day" (Haskett, 1991: 182). Above all, pulque had a ritual significance: "Ri tual the formal, symbolic expression of values, attitudes, and expectations permeated the use of alcohol just as it, along with a view of the insignificance of humanity in the face of Nature, personified, permeated pre Hispanic life in general" (Taylor, 1979: 34). In the Historia de las Indias de Nueva Espaa, Fray Diego Durn explained that pulque was one of most prized offerings to the gods. Furthermore, he stated that the Nahuas revered maguey as divine and celestial, and that they considered its ferme nted juice, i.e. pulque, as a god known as Ome tochtli (two rabbits). According to him, drinking pulque was restricted to those who understood its significance. Young people could not drink, just as Catholic children could not take communion, because they had not been initiated in the special rites (Durn, 1967: 272). Therefore, the occasion and the person who was allowed to drink, restricted alcohol consumption: "On ritual occasions when drinking was permitted, adult male participants could apparently dr ink themselves into a stupor without shame" (Taylor, 1979: 30). In general, drinking was ritual, periodic and restricted to the nobility, to the old, and to the sick. Commoners as well as alcoholic nobles were punished with "death, whipping or public humil iation" if they


drank (: 32). Nevertheless, drinking restrictions varied regionally. There was more control in the central valley under the jurisdiction of the Triple Alliance than in the peripheries (: 34). Mass drinking was practiced on certain occasio ns, such as "harvest and rain ceremonies, births, particular gods" (: 33). Consequently, drinking pulque was associated with the rites that commemorated the cyclic passage of time, in the form of seasons (drought followed by rain) and actions (planting followed by harvesting). It was also associated with the two elements that made agriculture possible: wind and water. Moreover, pulque was a gift from the gods, as li fe itself, and so, men had to thank the gods for it, and what a better way than drinking the divine liquid? In this manner, the following phrase from the Codex Magliabechiano is quite clear: "y quando los yndios tenian segado y coxidos sus mahizes se enbor rachaban y bailavan invocando a este demonio. Y a otros destos quatrocientos" (Codex Magliabechiano, 48 verso). The pulque god Tepoztcatl was probably, as pulque itself, a manifestation of the agricultural cycle, yet why was it venerated at Tepoztln? Th e codices do not answer this question. Moreover, Tepoztln was not an important center of pulque production. William Taylor states that Cuauhtitlan, Apan, and Tula (now in the modern states of Mexico and Hidalgo) were the districts that produced pulque in the largest scale (Taylor, 1979: 32). Therefore, the area of presentday Morelos was not an important pulque producer. According to Robert Haskett, in that region pulque was produced in a small scale. In other words, individuals manufactured and sold it in their homes (Haskett, 1991: 19). By the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the towns in Morelos with large numbers of producers were Achichipico, Atlacholoaya, Xochitepec, Xochitlan, and Yecapixtla (: 101). Consequently, not even in colonial times was T epoztln important in the production of pulque. According to Mateos Higuera, the celebration of the centzontotochtin, the four hundred pulque gods including Tepoztectl, took place in the veintena called Tepeilhuitl (Mateos Higuera, 1994: 45). Durn indic ates that Tepeilhuitl meant "fiesta de los cerros" (celebration of the mountains). During that festivity all the mountains were venerated, along with Tlaloc, god of rain, lightening and thunder, and Chalchiuhtlicuye, goddess of water, rivers, and fountains (Durn, 1967: 165, 279). According to Durn, there was one mountain named Tlaloc, like the rain god, because it was so tall that clouds always surrounded it, and from it hail, lightening and thunder came out. Actually the name Tlaloc shows this signific alludes to mist or vapor rising from the earth to form clouds around mountain tops" (Townsend, 1992: 179). This mountain was located between Coatlinchan and Coatepec on one side, and Huexotzinco o n the other (Durn, 1967: 2). Townsend explains that this mountain "is part of the forested sierra that includes the snowcapped peaks of Popocatepetl and Ixtaccihuatl on the eastern side of the basin" (Townsend, 1992: 173). In this mountain, there was a sh rine for Tlaloc. Inside the shrine there was a cult image of Tlaloc surrounded by small cult figures that represented the other mountains in the region: "Aquellos idolillos que estaban a la redonda del gran dolo Tlaloc, acompandole, como los dems cerro s acompaaban a la sierra" (Durn, 1967: 82. The following translation is mine: Those small cult figures surrounding the great cult figure of Tlaloc,accompanying him, just as the hills accompanied the great mountain). The


temple at Mount Tlaloc "represente renewal" (Townsend, 1992: 175). The procession to Mount Tlaloc took place at the peak of the dry season, when "the time of death must change to the time of rain and the rebirth of life" (: 174). Theref 172). At the same time, they connected kingship to nature. Aztec kings performed these rites in the temple, and their actions legitimated their power. By performing the ri tuals to Tlaloc at its mountain, the rulers brought about the change of seasons, specifically the arrival of the rainy earth, the abundance of crops, and th e order and continuity of society" (: 174). The rites to Tlaloc were performed on pyramids, fields and several mountains that surrounded the Valley of Mexico. (: 171), for the Aztecs considered that all mountains were related to the one known as Tlaloc, co nsidered as the source of rain. Consequently, they were all represented as water providers. For instance, Ixtaccihuatl and Popocatepetl, which are very close to Mount Tlaloc, were "also major rain producing heights that were worshiped in antiquity" (: 175) Both Durn and Sahagn explained that mountains were the places where rain was stored. Durn said that they were named atoyatl: here in New Spain, the peopl they flow there from Tlalocn; they are the property of, they issue from the sacred one, Chalchihuitlicue. (: 181). On the other hand Sahagn explained: And they said that the mountains were only magic places, with ea rth, with rock on the surface; that they were only like ollas (water jars) or houses; that they were filled with water which was there. If sometime it were necessary, the mountains would dissolve; the whole world would flood. And hence the people called th mountain of water, this river, springs from there, the womb of the mountain. For from there, Chalchihuitlicue sends it offers it (: 181). Johanna Broda and Richard Townsend state that the Nah ua people considered the mountains as empty and full of caves. These caves were considered as wombs because they contained the essential sustenance: water and maize (Broda, 2001: 212 and Townsend, 1992: 180). Furthermore, Townsend explains that mountains r epresented the "sexual act and a symbolic act of creation" because they were the sites where rain (water) fell into the earth through the caves that represented the opening to the womb. Consequently the purpose of rites was to reenact this creative event ( : 180). Mountains then, represented at the same time the male act of creation by being the location where rain was formed but also the "female earth and procreative entity" (: 180). The association between mountains and rain is especially clear in the ru ins of Chalcatzingo, Morelos. In this site, there is a petroglyph that represents the cycle of fertility, for there is a royal figure, perhaps an ancestor, inside a cave "from which cloud scrolls issue; above, rain clouds are shown with falling drops and c petroglyph "was carved on the rock face looking toward Popocatepetl", thus it emphasized the


significance of this mountain as "a primary source of rain clouds and water for this entire upla nd region" (Townsend, 1992: 185). According to Sahagn several of the pulque gods, including Tepoztcatl, completed the creation Popozonaltepetl (Sahagn, 1961: 193). This word recalls that of the Popocatepetl, the volcano that still threatens the valley of Mexico and the area surrounding it. The words Popocatepetl and Popozonaltepetl are semantically related, for the former comes from the prefix "popoca", which m eans to give forth smoke, and from the suffix "tepetl", which means mountain; whereas, the latter comes from the prefix "popozonalistli", which means foam, and altepetl, which means water and mountain and functioned as a difrasismo for pueblo (Kartunnen, 1 983: 203). The "tepetl that gives forth smoke" is associated with rain, and the "altepetl that foams" is associated with pulque. It might be that both mountains refer to the same mythic place, and in this manner, the association between rain and pulque is very clear. Mateos Higuera gives another example of the direct relationship between rain and pulque. He explains that the centzontotochtin were probably associated with the Tlaloque because the amount of juice that the maguey produced depended on the amou nt of rainfall (Mateos Higuera, 1994: 26). The mountain of the Tepozteco might be a further manifestation of this correlation. On one hand, it housed the local god of pulque, on the other, up to this day, each time it rains in Tepoztln, the water runs wit h violence down the rocks that form the mountain, giving it the appearance of a fountain. According to Townsend, the word teotl also referred to extraordinary geographic features such as "an awe inspiring mountain" (Townsend, 1992: 174). "As used by the Aztec, teotl communicates the notion of life force inherent in greater or lesser measure in minerals, plants, animals, and human beings, as well as in ritual objects and buildings" (: 174). This cosmology was animist. Everything was alive, and mountains wi th special traits, such as Mount Tlaloc, were not only alive but acquired the quality of teotl (: 174). The same could be said of the Tepozteco. Due to its rare formations, it can be described as an "awe inspiring mountain." It housed the temple of the pul que god Tepoztcatl. However, it is very likely that the mountain itself personified this "god", this teotl. The Tepozteco might be one of the pulque deities because, like the Popocatepetl, it could have been considered as a source of the vital liquid in i ts two manifestations: water and pulque. The four hundred gods because of its almost infinite variety of effects on the behavior of those who drank it" (Taylor, 1 979: 34). The myth of the four hundred gods is common to the cosmology of the Mayas as expressed in other hand, the Codex Magliabechiano relates them to the agr icultural cycle, for the Indians drank and danced to them after the harvest was completed.


In the Popol Vuh, the four hundred gods were the boys who attempted to kill Zipacna, and who later he killed burying them below the ruins of their own house. This myth resembles that of the completion of pulque by Sahagn, which narrates how the four hundred gods made pulque foam. After the boys thought they had killed Zipacna, they decided to make sweet drink, to let three days pass, and then to "drink to dedicate our hut" (Tedlock, 1996: 83). After the third day their drink was ready. They got very drunk, and Zipacna killed them bringing down their hut: "They die while in a drunken stupor, just as the four hundred rabbits of Nahua mythology do, and like those rabbi ts they were probably the patron deities of an alcoholic beverage and of drunkenness" (: 342). According to Tedlock, these four hundred boys became the Pleiades, and their death "corresponds to one of the two heliacal settings of the Pleiades, but after Hu nahpu and Little Jaguar Sun avenge them they make their first appearance as the actual Pleiades, which would correspond to a heliacal rise" (Tedlock, 1992: 235). In the Aztec mythology, the "Centzon Huitznahua, the Four Hundred (or innumerable) Southerner when they find that she is mysteriously pregnant. When they are about to do so, Huitzilopochtli is born fully armed at the mountain Coatepec. "Wielding his burning weapon, known as the Xiuhcoatl or Turquoise Serpent, he slays Coyolxauhqui and, cut to pieces, her body tumbles to Huitznahua around Coatepec and slays vast numbers of his hal f brothers, with only a few escaping to the south" (Taube, 1993: 47). Taube explains that Eduard Seler interpreted this legend as "the dawning sun fighting off the gods of darkness. With his Xiuhcoatl fire serpent, Huitzilopochtli is the newly born sun sho oting out burning rays and, clearly enough, the Centzon In the tropical latitudes of Mesoamerica, it is easy to recognize the relationship between celestial phenomena (t he movement of the sun, Venus, the Pleiades), weather, and the agricultural cycle. The Mesoamerican calendar was based on these connections (Broda, 2001: 223). The Pleiades were very important for the Aztecs. For instance, the celebration of the New Fire t hat marked the beginning of the fifty two year cycle coincided with the date when the Pleiades passed through the middle of the sky at midnight. The movement of the Pleiades was symmetrically opposite to h in the middle of May coincided with the invisibility of the Pleiades. Six months later, in the middle of November, the Pleiades passed the Pleiades marked th e beginning and the end of the rainy season. Thus, the Pleiades (as well as Venus) were associated with rain and maize (: 230). As a consequence, many temples of Mesoamerica were oriented with respect to the celestial happenings that took place during the dates that marked the beginning and the end of the agricultural cycle (: 223). In the Maya culture, the Pleiades are still closely related to the agricultural cycle: for high altitude maize, in March, is marked by evening settings of the Pleiades, which leave them invisible for most of the night; by May, when low altitude maize is planted, the Pleiades enter a period of complete invisibility (Tedlock, 1996: 246). Bro da indicates that the same association is still done in many towns in highland Mexico. The


disappearance of the Pleiades that marked the beginning of the rainy and the planting season is place on May 3rd (Broda, 2001: 223), whereas the end of the agricultural cycle and the beginning of the harvest, celebrated in pre celebration: el Da de Todos Santos and e l Da de Muertos, which take place on November 1st and 2nd (: 226). Orientation of Tepoztlan's pyramid After measuring the orientation of the temple located in el Cerro del Tepozteco (known as La Casa del Tepozteco) and analyzing the celestial events tha t probably occurred at that place during the contact period (around 1550) Prof. Anthony Aveni concluded that it is aligned with the celestial events that mark the beginning and the end of the agricultural cycle (personal communication, March 2002). In the article "Xilonen in Tepoztln: A Comparison of Tepoztecan and Aztec Agrarian Ritual Schedules", Thomas L. Grigsby and Carmen Cook de Leonard, draw a correspondence between the festivities of the veintenas as described by Sahagn ("the ritual maize cycle co ntained in book 2 of the Florentine Codex") and "the maize agrarian calendar of Tepoztln" (Grisby, 1992: 108). In the Aztec and in the Tepoztecan calendar, the agricultural cycle begins around March or April. Prof. Aveni pointed out that La Casa del Tepoz teco is oriented to the west. Furthermore, five hundred years ago in the last half of March and today in the first half of April, from the entrance to the temple but looking outwards to the west (25 NW), one can observe that in the evening, the Pleiades s et west just where the sun had set, exactly on the axis of the pyramid (Prof. Aveni,personal communication, March 2002). Grisby and Cook de Leonard indicated that "according to the Tepoztecans, the agricultural year begins (Grisby, 1992: 111). Prof. Aveni indicated another interesting phenomenon. Around the middle of the sixteenth century, at dawn on April 29, the constellation "the keys of Saint Peter", located between Pisces and Aries, can be seen on the east. That day in the evening, the sun sets exactly on the axis of La Casa del Tepozteco (personal communication, March 2002). One of the most important dates in the Mesoamerican calendar was October 30 becaus e it marked the end of the agricultural cycle and the beginning of harvest. Therefore many temples were oriented to the special events that took place in the sky during that night (Broda, 2001: 225). Grisby and Cook de Leonard stated that in the veintena T laxochimaco, which in central Mexico fell between July 15th and August 13th and in Tepoztln, between October 11th and October 30th, the corn had already reached the milk stage (Grisby, 1992: 135, 116). During this veintena, the Aztecs offered flowers to H uitzilopochtli. Durn explains that another name for this period was Miccailhuitontli, "Little Feast of the Dead". Therefore, this veintena constituted the preparation for the feast of the Dead (Durn, 1967: 269). Grisby indicates that these names imply "t he end of the growing season and the death of vegetation" (Grisby, 1992: 116). Durn also explains that the reason for this celebration was that the Indians "teman la muerte de las sementeras con el hielo, para lo cual antes se aperciban con ofrendas y o blaciones y sacrificios en esta fiesta y en la del mes que viene" (Durn, 1967: 269. The following translation is mine: they feared that the sown land would be frozen to death, to prevent this, they performed offerings and sacrifice in this festivity and i n that of the following month).


In October the time of harvest is approaching and so is the cold season. Thus, it is a time related to the death of plants and to the recollection of crops. This might be symbolized by the death of the Four hundred gods, k illed by Zipacna in the Popol Vuh and by Huitzilopochtli in the Aztec mythology. These events may be related to the belief in the Valley of Morelos that during October 18, "Mictlan is opened and the souls leave to begin their way back to their ancient home s" (Grisby, 1992: 116). These symbolic meanings manifest themselves in a very literal and concrete manner in La Casa del Tepozteco. Prof. Anthony Aveni pointed out that on October 18, at sunrise, when the sun is about to come up in the east, the Pleiades s et exactly along the axis of the building of La Casa del Tepozteco, which is oriented to the west. The Pleiades might symbolize the souls that leave Mictlan and that start their journey to the earth, which would be completed on November 1st and 2nd, as wel l as the death of vegetation, which preceded harvest. By building the temple of their main god with an orientation that coincided with the cycle of celestial bodies such as the Pleiades, the Tepoztecans very likely prepared the setting for a rite that comm emorated the "dawning and the sowing" of the death and the life cycle, reenacted in the beginning and the end of the agricultural cycle. Conclusions The conclusions of this first stage of the project can be summarized as follows: The legend of the pulque god Tepoztcatl might exemplify the cosmology of the region. There are no exact accounts of the legend in pre Hispanic documents or in colonial documents about the Nahua culture. Tepoztcatl is mentioned in the Codex M agliabechiano and in the Florentine Codex as one of the four hundred pulque gods. Pulque is related to fertility in several ways: 1. Maguey in the form of the goddess Mayahuel is represented as a mother figure. 2. In daily life, it was used to replace wa ter in the dry season. 3. The four hundred gods are related to the mountains which were consider as water providers. 4. The mythic origin of rain and pulque might be found in the same place: Popocatepetl. La Casa del Tepozteco might represent the associat ion between pulque and rain. The four hundred gods, common to Maya and Aztec cosmology, might represent the Pleiades, which in turn are related to the agricultural cycle and furthermore certain aspects of the myth may be related to the sacred geography an d sky events in that place and time. Tepoztcatl, as one of the four hundred, might be related to the Pleiades and, therefore, to agriculture. Bibliography


Aveni, Anthony F., Calnek and Hartung. 1988. "Myth, environment, and the orientation of the Templo Mayor of Tenochtitlan" in American Antiquity 53: 287 309. --------------. 1992. "Pre Columbian images of time" in The Ancient Americas Art from Sacred Landscapes. Edited by Richard Townsend. Munich: The Art Institute of Chicago and Prestel Verlag. Pp. 171 186. --------------. 1991. "Mapping the Ritual Landscape: Debt Payment to Tlaloc During the Month of Atlcahualo" in To Change Place. Aztec Ceremonial Landscapes. Edited by David Carrasco. U.S.A.: University of Colorado Press. Boone, Elizabeth Hill. 1983. The Codex Magliabechiano and the Lost Prototype of the Magliabechiano Group. Berkeley: University of California Press. Broda, Johanna. 2001. "3. La etnografa de la fiesta de la Santa Cruz: una perspectiva histrica" in Cosmo visin, ritual e identidad de los pueblos indgenas de Mxico. Mxico: Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes and Fondo de Cultura Econmica. Burkhart, Louise M. 1989. The Slippery Earth. Nahua Christian Moral Dialogue in Sixteenth Century Mexico. T ucson: The University of Arizona Press. Cervantes de Salazar, Francisco. 1971. Crnica de la Nueva Espaa. Analysis and indexes by Agustn Millares Carlo. Madrid: Ediciones Atla. Coe, Michael. 2000. "The Hero Twins: Myth and Image" in The Maya Vase Book. A Corpus of Rollout Photographs of Maya Vases. Edited by Barbara and Justin Kerr. U.S.A: Kerr Associates. Cordova, James. 2001. "Debauchery and Devotion: Contrasting Images of Alcohol and Drunkenness from New Spain." Unpublished. De la Fuente, Beatriz. 1992. "Order and Nature in Olmec Art" in The Ancient Americas Art from Sacred Landscapes. Richard Townsend, Ed. Munich: The Art Institute of Chicago and Prestel Verlag. Pp.121 133. Durn, Fray Diego. 1967. Historia de las Indias de Nueva Espaa. Mexico Ci ty: Editorial Porra. Garibay, Angel Mara. 1961. Llave del nhuatl. Coleccin de trozos clsicos, con gramtica y vocabulario, para utilidad de los principiantes. Mexico City: Editorial Porra. Grisby, Thomas L. and Carmen Cook de Leonard. 1992. "Xilone n in Tepoztln: A Comparison of Tepoztecan and Aztec Agrarian Ritual Schedules" in Ethnohistory 39:2 (Spring 1992), pp. 108 147. Guerrero Guerrero, Ral. 1980. El Pulque. Religin, cultura, folklore. Mxico: Secretara de Educacin Pblica and Instituto N acional de Antropologa e Historia.


Haskett, Robert. 1991. An Ethnohistory of Town Government in Colonial Cuernavaca. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. Karttunen, Frances E. 1983. An analytical dictionary of Nahuatl. Austin : University of Tex as Press. Mateos Higuera, Salvador. 1994. Enciclopedia grfica del Mxico antiguo. Los dioses menores. Mexico City: Secretara de Hacienda y Crdito Pblico. Motolinia, Fray Toribio de. 1995. Historia de los Indios de la Nueva Espaa. Mxico City: Editor ial Porra. Muller, Florencia. 1949. Historia Antigua del Valle de Morelos. Contribucin al Primer Congreso de Historiadores de Mxico y Estados Unidos, que se celebr en Monterrey, N.L. del 4 al 9 de septiembre de 1949. Mxico, D.F. Julio 1949. Acta Antr opolgica. ENAH. Nuttall, Zelia. 1903. The Book of the Life of the Ancient Mexicans Containing an Account of their Rites and Superstitions. An anonymous Hispano Mexican manuscript preserved at the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, Florence, Italy. Reproduced in facsimile with introduction, translation and commentary by Zelia Nuttall. Berkeley: University of California. Sahagn, fray Bernadino de. 1961. Florentine Codex. Edited and translated by Dibble, Charles E. and Arthur J. O. Anderson. U.S.A.: the Unive rsity of Utah. --------------. 1997. Historia general de las cosas de Nueva Espaa. Edited and translated by Garibay, Angel Mara. Mexico City: Editorial Porra. Salinas, Miguel. 1924. Historias y paisajes morelenses. Primera parte. Tlalpam, D.F. (Mexic o): Imprenta del Asilo Patricio Sanz. --------------. 1936. The Ridge of Tepoztln. Translated by I. and A. Grey Jones. Mexico City: Editorial "Cvltvra". Taube, Karl. 1993. The Legendary Past. Aztec and Maya Myths. Austin: University of Texas Press. Tay lor, William B. 1979. Drinking, Homicide and Rebellion in Colonial Mexican Villages. California: Stanford University Press. Tedlock, Dennis. 1992. "The Popol Vuh as a Hieroglyphic Book" in New Theories on the Arc: Maya. Phila, U. --------------. 1996. P opol Vuh. The Definitive Edition of the Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life and the Glories of Gods and Kings. Translated by Dennis Tedlock. New York: Simon and Schuster.


Townsend, Richard F. 1992. "The Renewal of Nature at the Temple of Tlaloc" in The Ancient Americas Art from Sacred Landscapes. Richard Townsend, Ed. Munich: The Art Institute of Chicago and Prestel Verlag. Pp. 171 186.