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[Tidbits] Tlaltecuhtli

One of the greatest things about mythologies are its similarities.
Keep Noah in mind while I speak of a god named Tlaltecuhtli. And I
will then show you a Zapotec gold pendant that holds within its
design an early form of Tlaltecuhtli–the Aztec Earth Monster.

Let us begin with technological know-how. There a monolith of
Tlaltecuhtli that measures 4 x 3.5 meters. Roughly speaking. that’s
13 x 11.5 feet. And the weight of this little fellow: 24,000 pounds.
Now I ask you. how did they get this god to where they got it? No
cranes folks. No tractors. Just human muscle. Or perhaps a wee bit
of Telekinesis. Who knows what powers lurk in the minds of men?
Perhaps Tlaltecuhtli does.

Before I tell you more about Tlaltecuhtli let me give you a quick
tour of his world. According to Aztec myth. it took five cycles of
creation to make the world as it presently exists. I will only speak
of the fourth world. It was governed by a goddess name
Chalchiuhtlicue. And how did this world end? Yup. You got it.
Through a great flood after which came the rebirth and the Sun World
which is the world as we and Tlaltecuhtli knew and know it today.
Sound familiar folks. Let me tell you something. Varied myths abound
the world over that have many. many have similar themes. But let us
leave theological discussions for another time.

Now here’s the thing of it with Tlaltecuhtli. They did not know if
he was a he or if she was a she. There are some scenes of this
god/monster that shows him/her squatting over the earth. Was she
squatting in order to give birth to the land. Or was he squatting.
jaws agape in order to swallow the earth whole? Great questions
abound. but in the end however, Tlaltecuhtli was clearly a monster
that had to be gotten rid of. How? Well. a couple of gods took it
upon themselves to handle the task. First they transformed
themselves into serpents. then they wound themselves around his body
and then they squeezed till they cut him in half. One half they
threw up to the heavens to create the sky and the stars. The other
half they left where it lay to become the earth. Which brings us to
the meaning of the word Tlaltecuhtli. which is Earth Lord. And. by
popular consensus. Tlaltecuhtli was deemed a female though her name
is that of the male gender. Androgyny anyone?

Some say Tlaltecuhtli took on the shape of a cayman and required
human blood to satisfy her rage at being torn asunder. Frankly. I
would pretty much feel the same way. though I tend to think I might
have asked for money instead of blood. There’s no accounting for
one’s penchants.

Which brings us to that Zapotec gold pendant of which I spoke a tad
earlier in this Tidbits that holds within its design an early form
of Tlaltecuhtli. Our pendant represents–as we view it from top to
bottom–the ball game. the sun. a knife representing the moon and an
early form of our dear dear friendly he/she monster/goddess.

Now here’s the thing of it. As you may all have surmised. I greatly
love ancient jewelry. As an ex-diamond setter now retired though
still occasionally running my web site. I am totally qualified–or
not–to appreciate these things. I must admit. life is at times a
bit muddling. However. as regards the description above of the
pendant. I am not able to see any of the items described. Any and
all help here would be greatly appreciated.

Okay. Boring diatribe over. On to the meat and grits of this whole
thing. You know what I’m talking about.

The trek to the source and the visit to the image… also known as
the viewing experience. You know how to get there. Home page. Scroll down. Left side. Tidbits. Click.
And there for your sensory optic pleasure you will see a Zapotec
gold pendant of magnificent workmanship.

And there ya have it. That’s it for this week folks. Catch you all
next week.

Benjamin Mark


Thank you again for another amazing history lesson.