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Sacred seasons, Christ and Quetzalcoatl

By David A. Fernández de Taos
For The Taos News
Posted 1/3/19

This is dedicated to the children and families who are suffering and dying at the United States/Mexico border. Bless them, and may this distress be eased, in the new year.

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Column

Sacred seasons, Christ and Quetzalcoatl

Posted

This is dedicated to the children and families who are suffering and dying at the United States/Mexico border. Bless them, and may this distress be eased, in the new year.

We are again in the holy cycle, that mystical period of time centered on the Nativity of Jesus the Christ, which continues for a number of days until the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord on Sunday (Jan. 6), which is also known as Three Kings Day.

The Christian faithful celebrate this season of the birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem as the King of Peace, who entered humankind because it lacked, and still lacks, peace among the peoples. It is said that he was born into a world where the Prince of the world, who is the ancient enemy of the Most High and who is always deceiving humanity in an implacable contest for their souls, also holds sway.

It is a spiritual, supernatural, religious and mystical part of the great and ceaseless cyclical mystery of creation and existence through the human generations. People observe the holy times and the days in our customs and traditions with rituals, dances and songs.

In el Norte, including our Taos area, these customs and dances and traditional activities are beautiful and mysterious. One example is the dance of the Matachínes, which is a melding of indigenous spiritual traditions with Christian figuration.

This dance has many interpretations regarding its significance. Some say that its origin perhaps came from ancient times stemming from the conflicted relations between Moors and Christians in Spain; others say that it refers back to the events that occurred in the fall of the Aztec empire of Tenochtitlán when the Spaniards, with help from other indigenous tribes, conquered Moctezuma's empire.

The Matachines dance is exquisitely intricate and includes the figurative personages of El Monarca (Moctezuma) and La Malinche, who were part of the history of the end of the Aztec Empire, and at the same time, were part of the beginning of the epoch of Spanish Catholic Christianity, leading to our presence here in the North.

Some believed that the Spanish signified the return of the god Quetzalcoatl to the country and people of ancient Mexico on a certain day, in a certain year and fulfilled that god's own prophecy.

Quetzalcoatl, who is known by many names in the MesoAmerican regions and in el Norte, gave civilization to mankind, according to this history. But he also had a rival who was his twin brother, Tezcatlipoca, who was a malevolent force. It came to pass that Quetzalcoatl was deceived and brought low by his rival, and he decided to leave the region.

But Quetzalcoatl also promised the people that he would return at a certain time, which would be the year Ce Acatl, or the Year One Reed (of the ancient Aztec Calendar). He would return from the East to overthrow and reject the cult of Tezcatlipoca and stop the practice of human sacrifice to the other gods that had a great thirst for human blood and for human hearts.

The arrival of Hernán Cortéz to Mexico in 1519 corresponded with that Year One Reed of Quetzalcoatl's prophecy, after his long absence. And so it happened, perhaps by a "coincidence," that the Spanish arrived, and with the help of other indigenous tribes, overthrew that empire.

The rest is history, as they say. And in the meantime, the Dances of the Gods, of the Matachines and other sacred dances and song celebrations in el Norte and throughout the world, continue in this holy time and in the coming new year.

A New Year's Resolution for 2019 from those who care is that every good effort be made to end the heartless and politically cynical sacrifice of innocent children and their families at the U.S./Mexico border and those in similar tragic circumstances elsewhere.

Happy New Year, Felíz y Prospero Año Nuevo!

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