Life is but a mask worn on the face of death. And is death, then, but another mask? ‘How many can say,’ asks the Aztec poet, ‘that there is, or is not, a truth beyond?’– Joseph Campbell
Once Upon A Time
In the beginning, there were four cycles of the sun that were devastated by horrific fires and floods. After the fourth cycle was completely destroyed, the plumed serpent god named Quetzalcoatl descended into the underworld to ask for the bones of the previous races. In this dark realm, he approached the Lord and Lady of Mictlan, or the Land of the Dead. The blood-splattered skeleton lord pondered Quetzalcoatl’s request. And finally, he agreed on one condition — Quetzalcoatl had to sound the conch-shell and circle the kingdom four times.
This wasn’t as simple as it sounds. You see, the shell didn’t have a hole to create a sound. And so, the clever serpent asked the worms to pierce the shell. As soon as they did, bees flooded through the hole, making a loud sound.
Mission accomplished. Quetzalcoatl started to gather the bones, but not without resistance from those in charge. And so, he used a body double (aka his twin Xolotl) to trick the Lord of the Dead. While his twin was telling the Lord that the bones would stay in the underworld, Quetzalcoatl gathered the bones in a split second and fled.
Of course, it wasn’t an easy escape out of the underworld. There was a giant trap that Quetzalcoatl literally fell right into. When he fell to the bottom, the bones shattered on the ground. In grief, Quetzalcoatl took the broken bones to the gods.
A beautiful woman named Quilaztli put the bones in a precious clay vessel. Quetzalcoatl then bled his member, and poured the blood over the bones. Imbued with his divine life force, he gave birth to the men who inhabit the fifth world today. He then gave his people maize, writing, astrology and music. Till this day, Quetzalcoatl is remembered for bringing a civilized fifth world filled with knowledge and abundance.
Quetzalcoatl, or the Feathered Serpent, illuminates the mind. Equivalent to the Egyptian god Thoth, the Mesoamerican god of air comes with sparkling gifts — knowledge, new skills, the calendar and books galore! But all of these priceless gifts don’t come without a giant gust of change.
Quetzalcoatl, who is also Venus’s morning and evening star, must die to be reborn from the ashes with enlightening change. Likewise, we must also go through this transformation to receive the fruits of knowledge. Knowledge hidden in the sanctuary of the heart.
- Tobacco absolute