The ancient Mexicans were part of one whole ivilization, but a different culture than those that xisted in time and space in the Anahuac. However, fundamentally, they all shared the same philosophy with others; that is, the ideas and beliefs that explain life and death in relation to nature, the universe and the divine.
This philosophy was not different from any of the other five ancient civilizations in the planet. As a matter of fact, when human beings and cultures arrived to a superior state of development and when their basic needs were met, invariably they turned to define and to understand their purpose in life, and sought the spiritual fulfillment and knowledge of the divine.
Agriculture was invented in Cem Anahua in the sixth millennium before the Christian era. The Mother Culture appears with its own personality, between the now states of Veracruz and Tabasco, approximately 1,500 B.C. The Olmec left testimonies of the civilization of the Anahuac. In the period known as the Formative or Pre-Clasic, the Old Grandfathers developed and perfected the systems of nutrition, health, education, and social organization and these would be the structural foundation which further down in history, would be known as the Period of Splendor or commonly known as the Classic. ( 200 B.C. to 850 A.D.)
The Toltec, in turn, took the philosophy of Cem Anahuac, initiated by the Olmec, to its zenith. The cultural philosophy of the divine and the sacred can be appreciated in the iconography and symbolic designs in sculptures, paintings, and engravings. For example, the eagle, the feathered serpent, the jaguar, and the representation of the divine duality in humanity. This is clearly manifested by two profiles of two snakes in opposite positions or represented by two quetzal birds.
We must also mention the supreme construction of truncated pyramids and temples, ball courts, stela, and many three-dimensional works of art. However, few people are aware that the same similarities were maintain, for at least three millennia, not only in Cem Anahuac, but surprisingly, it also took place among the indigenous peoples all the way from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. This observation was never accepted in the European vision of the colonizers. They denied that in the ?new world? existed, before their invasion, cultures with more advanced civilizations than theirs. It is also amazing to find the conquerors never found, or chose to ignore, the fact that all the indigenous peoples shared the same philosophies in their cultures, and in the realm of the divine and the sacred.
The point we want to make is that there is a necessity to know and to understand the philosophical and theological structures of Cem Anahuac. This is, of course, a titanic challenge to visualize the character of our Mother culture. The challenge lies in changing the conditioning of our minds and disregard the interpretation and views inculcated in all of us by erudite foreigners about our culture. The Hermeneutic of Old Mexico is, therefore, presented to us, as an urgent task to clear our minds of foreign concepts and sometime erroneous interpretations of our culture.
There is an urgency to get educated in our own history, study the past, and learn about the lives our ancestors. We must see and accept the fact that after achieving the satisfaction of their basic necessities, our ancestors they did not stop there, but focused their capacity, ability and knowledge to transcend the human spirit and enter the vast universe of the divine and the sacred. This was their mission. It is also ours. It is our turn to embrace a consciousness of the duality of humanity. Cem Anahuac reveals this duality in mankind. Its humanity and its divinity. The other old civilizations of the world, Egypt, China, Mesopotamia, India, and Peru, together Mexico?s, show how all these civilizations accomplished this tremendous task.
The knowledge of the Old Grand Fathers is a legacy to all Mexicans. We are heirs to this millenary evolution and cultural and historical development of this ancient civilization that our ancestors called TOLTECAYOTL. Yet, despite this fountain of information we still live in a materialistic culture. We are a pragmatic society blinded by the mental, cultural, and spiritual results of colonialism. We have lived under its hold for over five centuries, but we must stand up for ourselves, reclaim our past, and take responsibility for the desecration of cultural heritage and to the earth. Yes, this earth, part of the universe. We all are intimately linked to both because it is our sacred legacy.
This concept is explained to us in the myth of the creation of the Fifth Sun. Where time ceases to be ordinary and becomes sacred. Where we accept our responsibility and mission to maintain the balance in our environment.
Our manifestations of who we are and what we believe, are only partial expressions of our European indoctrination. Only fragments of the same totality. The Moon, Sun, Venus and the Milky Way together with elements of water, wind, fire, and earth, are represented in their duality by the feathered serpent, the jaguar and other symbols. These are not only metaphoric symbols of divine duality but expressions of their inter-action with human beings. These interactions entered our material body through the umbilical cord, believed, by our ancestors, to be the unifying center of human existence. The four cardinal directions, believed to be the four different paths of our existence, each has a philosophical, esoteric, and religious significance. These are a few fundamental elements given as examples, to understand the complex and vast ancient religious concepts and system, that taught our ancestors to believe that humanity was created for the purpose to serve, to worship, and to sacrifice to our gods. These laws were for the sole purpose of helping the gods to maintain order and balance in the world. Was this system wrong?
The Europeans gave us a similar system with the only difference in the Western culture and doctrine that God created humans into his own image and He delivered the earth and everything in it to his human creation. This resulted in the wrong interpretation that man was given the earth for his own, and because of the power given from above, he assumed it was, and still is, alright to do as he pleases without regard to other human beings and nature itself.
In contrast, our ancestors regarded the earth as a Mother, who nurtured its inhabitants. Therefore, the earth was considered sacred. Not theirs to possess, but to take care of it and leave it in good condition to future generations. This concept of historical and collective responsibility continued to be manifested in the Post-Classic, even at the time when the society began to crumble and decline and the system saw a reform by what the Mexica called Tlacaele.
This was the case with Monte Alban, which initiated its construction in 500 B.C. It was abandoned in 850 A.D.
The second object in the civilization of the Anahua, known to the Toltec as the Flowery Wars, was for the purpose of engaging the individual to search within his inner-self. The weapons of the warriors were the song and the flower. In other words, the song and the flower represented the beauty of wisdom. Peasants, artisans, public servants, those who practiced medicine and architects, were all guided by an elite dedicated to the study of the potential spiritual energy based on solid social, moral, and religious teachings.
In the XVI century colonizers did not accept that the fathers and sons of the old cultures possessed human qualities and much less that they had an advanced civilizations. The truth is that even in the Post-Classic Period, a time of decadence, the peoples of Cem Anahuac had a better standard of living than Europeans. The invaders viewed us as inferiors and therefore, discarded our culture as advanced and worthy of admiration. Even our daily nutrition, left to us by our Old Grandfathers, was ridiculed, but in fact, it had better nutritional values and variety.
Our old agricultural technology produced all year round the desired results. This is so even today.
Through a process of biogenetic transformation, our ancestors developed corn from Teozintle.
We had an efficient health system where medicinal plants were widely used and the complicated method of trepanation was known.
Hygiene was practiced by all. A concept not commonly practiced by any European. Our old educational system was more advanced that those in existence in Europe.
In short, when the Europeans arrived in Tenochtitlan in the XVI century, they found a city with libraries, schools, markets, parks, zoos, sports courts and cultural and religious centers. This was the result of seven thousand years of wisdom left to us by our Old Grandfathers.
Our culture is not found in the archaeological ruins of our ancient civilization, nor in the treasures exhibited in art or anthropology museums. The richness and roots of our Mother Culture is found in the heart of each descendent of the Old Grandfathers. In this way, Toltecayotl reveals to us that we are heirs to an ancient culture and spirituality. This is manifested in our traditions, fiestas, and customs.
Unfortunately, investigations and discoveries in archeology and history, only reveal the material and profane world of Ancient Mexico. It is high time we practice spiritual archeology and begin to reconstruct the sacred history of the Anahuac. It is necessary to recapture the wisdom, knowledge, and legacy of our ancestors. We must revive the traditions, legends and teachings to understand the cultural patrimony as tangible and intangible. The sacred essence of our civilization and its people, as well as the principles and values must be acknowledged because we have been made to think that there is no connection between modern Mexico and the Mexico of our Old Grandfathers.
It is time we learn to recuperate the historical and spiritual legacy; a valuable legacy that teaches us who we really are. The Europeans robbed us of our true identity. We let them and still believe who we think we are. Our sacred vision and mission in this life, is to reclaim our identity found in the teachings of TOLTECAYOTL, because they represent the HIEROPHANIES OF THE ANÁHUAC.
Guillermo Marin is a cultural promoter concerned with the complex process in cultural identity.
He is the director of Cultural Development, a project in the states of Oaxaca, Guerrero, Morelos and Mexico City.
He is the author of Daany Beédxe: the spirit of the warrior; The True History of the Profound México; And To Read Carlos Castañeda; The Basic Manual of the Cultural Promoter; Calmecac: A Cultural Alternative; and Cultural Administration.
He is also the author of various tourist guides like: Monte Alban; Mitla, the City of the Death; The Sacred Valley of Tlacolula ; and, The Treasures of Monte Alban and Oaxaca: spiritual reserve of Mexico.