It is significant for me to refer to a quote by Do n Mario Roso de Luna in his Book That Kills Death, of an account by friar Diego Dur\u00e1n\u2019s remarkable work on the history of Mexico.
The History of the Indies and New Spain and Islands of Firm Land (a beautiful book written right after the Spaniard colonization of that vast empire) by friar Diego Dur\u00e1n relates that emperor Moctezuma, then reigning in full wealth and glory, believed himself to be almost a god. The wizards and priests of his kingdom, much wiser and richer than him since they dominated their inferior desires, told him: \u201cOur lord and king! Do not boast of what you reign over. Your ancestors, the emperors you believe dead, surpass you in their world the same way as the sunlight surpasses any firefly.\u201d
Then the emperor Moctezuma, moved more by curiosity than pride, decided to send a high commission loaded with presents to his ancestors\u2019 land, that is, the blessed Dawning Mansion. This is beyond the seven Pacaritambo caves from where the Aztec people reputedly came from, and which is praised so much in their ancient traditions. The obstacle consisted, however, in obtaining the proper means and the way to reach successfully such an obscure and mysterious region. This way seemed to be known by no one.
Then the emperor appointed Tlacaelel, his minister, and said: \u201cYou ought to know, O, Tlacaelel! that I have gathered a host of my best heroes and leaders to send them, fully loaded and furnished with much of the wealth that the great Huitzilopochtli has decided to provide us for his glory, to carry all this and reverently deposit it at his majestic feet. We also have faithful news that the mother of our god, still living, may be pleased when knowing about our greatness and splendor, which we, her descendants, have gained with our arms and heads.\u201d
Tlacaelel replied: \u201cPowerful lord: by speaking the way you have spoken, your heart has not been moved either by mundane business or by its own majestic goals; rather, an excelsior deity moves you to begin such a tremendous adventure as the one you intend. You must know, O great lord, that what you have determined to do is not for strong or valiant men, politicians, or cunning men; no, you must look for wizards and sorcerers, who will be able to find, with their art, the way that will lead us to those places.
Because you must know, O great prince, that, according to our ancient history, such a path has been broken for a long time, and from this side, it is covered thickly with thorny bushes and with great brambles, and these are full of invincible beasts. All of it is in the midst of deep lagoons and swamps, which are filled with reeds and rushes. Anyone intending such a bold adventure will lose his life.
Seek then, lord, as a solution to such impassable obstacles, those wise people I am telling you about; they, with their magical arts, will be able to overcome such human barriers, and will bring you accurate news about such a region. It is accurately said that when our
ancestors lived there, before coming to the lakes of Mexico where they saw the prodigy of the cactus or burning bush, it was a marvelous and pleasant mansion. There, they enjoyed peace and leisure, and everything was happiness as in dreams; they lived for centuries, never becoming old or weary. They knew not about sickness, pain, physical and enslaving necessities that we suffer so much. But after our ancestors departed such a paradise to come here, everything became thorns and thistles: the bushes became prickly, the stones became sharp and wounded them, the trees of the land became hard, thorny and barren. Everything there turned against them so that they never would be able to turn back, and would then be able to fulfill their mission in this side of the world.\u201d
Moctezuma agreed to accept the advice of Tlacaelel, and called the royal historian Cuauhcoatl, \u201cEagle Serpent,\u201d (it means \u201cDragon of Wisdom,\u201d and it is constantly mentioned by the \u201cRight Hand\u201d adepts or white magicians) a venerable old man whose age no one knew. He went to his quarters in the mountain, and, after reverent salutations, addressed him: \u201cO ancient and noble father, I desire to know the true story, the knowledge that is hidden in your books about the Seven Caves from which our ancestors came forth. I wish to know about the place wherein dwelt our god Huitzilopochtli, and out of which he led our forefathers.\u201d
\u201cO mighty lord,\u201d answered Cuauhcoatl, \u201cI, your unworthy servant, can answer you. Our forebears dwelt in that blissful, happy place called Aztlan, which means Whiteness. In that place, there is a great hill in the midst of the waters, and it is called Coihuacan because its summit is twisted; this is the Twisted Hill. On its slopes were caves or grottoes where our fathers and grandfathers lived for many years. There they lived in leisure, when they were called Mexitin and Azteca. There they had at their disposal great flocks of ducks of different kinds, herons, water fowl, and cranes. Our ancestors loved the song and melody of the little birds with red and yellow heads. They also possessed many kinds of large beautiful fish. They had the freshness of groves of trees along the edge of the waters. They had springs surrounded by willows, evergreens and alders, all of them tall and comely. Our ancestors went about in canoes, and made floating gardens upon which they sowed maize, chili, tomatoes, amaranth, beans and all kinds of seeds, which we now eat and which were brought here from there.
However, after they came to the mainland and abandoned that delightful place, everything turned against them. The weeds began to bite, the stones became sharp, the fields were filled with thistles and spines. They encountered brambles and thorns that were difficult to pass through. There was not a place to sit, there was no place to rest; everything became filled with vipers, snakes, poisonous little animals, jaguars and wildcats and other ferocious beasts. And this, O powerful king, is the answer I can give you to what you ask of me.\u201d
The king replied to the elder that such was the truth since Tlacaelel gave the same account. He then ordered to be found, in all the provinces of the empire, as many sorcerers and wizards as could be found. Sixty men, old and proficient in the arts of magic, were brought to him. Once reunited, the emperor spoke to them: \u201cFathers, elders: I have determined to find the place were Mexicans lived long ago, and to know it, who inhabits it, and to know our god Huitzilopochtli\u2019s mother. Therefore, prepare to go there in the best way you judge and return here soon.\u201d
Now bringing you back...
Does that email address look wrong? Try again with a different email.