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Toltecs and Toltecáyotl


(La versión en español se encuentra en la sección de Filosofía del Anáhuac de esta página)



Much has been written about the "Toltecs" and really little is known about them. It has been (wrongly) stated that they were a "people or culture" and generally get confused with histories of the Anahuac decadent postclassical period (850-1521 CE.)


The Toltec were an ancient wisdom knowledge lineage of Cem Anahuac. In other words, Toltec is a "knowledge degree" of Toltecáyotl. All ancient civilizations with autonomous origin had a "knowledge structure" that allowed them to develop the "cultural scaffolding" with which to transform the world and give meaning, both for material and immaterial. The Toltecáyotl is systematized sum of the anahuaca civilization knowledge to achieve a "balance", both for the exterior material plane, as well as the immaterial internal.



Toltecáyotl would then be the "art of living in balance" and this is why "Toltec" is, symbolically, "the artist" among artists. The one who makes real faces and true hearts sprout, who illuminates like a smokeless torch, "the master" amongst masters.



So there were a handful of Toltec in Cem Anahuac from all peoples and cultures. These knowledgeable men and women studied and practiced the Toltecáyotl wisdom during the classical period, in what we know today as "archaeological zones" and that never were palaces, fortresses, cities, or "ceremonial centers". But, research centers and study of energy parameters, that today western science begins to perceive.



The Toltecáyotl and the Toltec probably originated from the preclassical period. Evolved from being nomadic hunters-gatherers; becoming sedentary farmers until they managed to develop and build a complex knowledge system and values that allowed them to resolve their material existential issues efficiently, then raised existential problems of immaterial order or transcendence, with the so-called Olmec culture.



Indeed, the Olmec or connoisseurs of the "movement measure" were the first "masters" who began to structure what we know as Toltecáyotl. It is interesting to note throughput anahuaca history from approximately six or eight thousand years BCE, existed a line of unifying thought that structured and permeated through the three mesoamerican periods (preclassical, classic and postclassical) with the same cultural philosophical root, that can be seen in architecture, iconography, rituals, values, uses and customs of all anahuacas peoples, although totally diversified through the peoples and cultures in the anahuaca space and time.



For this reason, Quetzalcoatl was neither a persona nor much less "a God" as told by some anahuaca peoples during the postclassical period and the conquistadors respectively. Quetzalcoatl is a philosophical symbol and a human archetype, just as other ancient mankind civilizations had similar figures.



Because we can observe in the Olmec culture in 1200 BCE in Chalcatzingo, Morelos the "Feathered Serpent" sculpted in the large crags of the archaeological zone. But also can be appreciated at Teotihuacan in 200 CE during the classical period, and then in Tenochtitlan during the postclassical period with the Aztecs in 1500 CE. So he could not have been a human being. Nor was he a "God", because we know that in anahuaca religion there were no gods. They only perceived a supreme deity which did not have form, name and could not be represented. However, there were multiple manifestations of his immeasurable power and presence. These multiple avocations of the unknown, unnamable, invisible and impalpable, colonizers from yesterday and today, from ignorance or malice have called them "gods" to justify its eradication and the imposition of their gospel, and researchers, their flawed and unfortunate works to reduce the Toltecáyotl to a handful of idolatry and "primitive beliefs".



But reality is different. "The Quetzalcoatl" talks about a philosophical figure or a human aspiration to reach a "balance" through the correct use of the "measure". For the Toltecáyotl humans are divided in four parts metaphorically from their “center”, called "co" in Nahuatl, which means "navel". From the navel to the head symbolizes the sky, and the spirit, represented by the Quetzal, as the most beautiful bird that flies at height desired by humans. From the navel to the feet symbolizes the earth and matter, symbolized by a snake, in Nahuatl "cóatl". So philosophically "Quetzal-cóatl" means unity and balance between spirit and matter. The two other parts come from a longitudinal human division, the right side or tonal and the left side or nahual, which represent the world and the individual respectively: the Sun, the masculine and reason; the Moon, the feminine and intuition.



Quetzalcoatl, the Toltecáyotl and the Toltec are more filtered part, the "flourished fruit", of the Anahuac civilization and that to date, little is known of this prodigious knowledge which gave wisdom, direction and continuity over 3500 years of human development in Cem Anahuac.



Thus we can say that "Olmec Toltec" masters had continuity with "Maya Toltec, Zapotec and Nahua" masters, to mention just three of the different Anahuac cultures. However, from the "collapse of the classical period" around the 850 CE, the "Toltec" disappeared from tlaltipac or face of the earth, destroying their numerous knowledge centers and concealing their millennial knowledge. Leaving the prophecy that they would return to restore Anahuac harmony and balance in the year “uno caña”, that repeats every 52 years.



The myth or metaphor that Quetzalcoatl was deceived and defeated by his counterpart Tezcatlipoca, who managed to overcome the defenses protecting him in his palace, and gave him a mirror as a gift, when Quetzalcoatl saw himself, we saw "an old man" and thus broke the rules and sinned, losing his purity. Reason why he left Anahuac.  The metaphor suggests that knowledge "aged" and had to "withdraw" temporarily with the promise that he would return to restore harmony and balance.



Sometime later, Quetzalcoatl memories and his teachings begin to transform and corrupt after successive generations. Some peoples transformed the ancestral myths and adjusted them to "their story", in which Quetzalcoatl appears as a character or a God. This new period is known as the postclassical and Quetzalcoatl memory will be processed according to the interests of groups in power. In fact during the classical period there was a period of peace and peoples lived in harmony and balance for more than ten centuries guided by the venerable Toltec masters and the wisdom of the Toltecáyotl. Culture flourished in all its diversity, but maintained its philosophical root and above all, an amazing cultural unity.



This "unity in the cultural diversity," not only manifested in multiple languages, religious manifestations, architecture, iconography, art, food, clothing, etc. But fundamentally in the philosophical aspect. A region as extensive as Cem Anahuac and with so many different peoples, maintained cultural unity based on the cultural philosophical matrix representing the Toltecáyotl. The Toltec, didn't care if you spoke Nahuatl, Maya or Zapotec, as he spoke the same philosophical concepts and maintained the same values and principles. Allowing all peoples to be different but part of a brotherhood with the same higher existential aspirations.



From the 10th century, the Anahuac began trying to "rebuild" the amazing cultural unity that lasted for a Millennium, but not with wisdom, but with weapons and alliances between peoples and family lineages. In the absence of the Toltec some peoples and leaders tried to reunite this cultural totality. The Mayans, the Mixtec, the Purépecha and finally the Aztecs tried them, but with partial and limited achievements in time and space until the arrival of the European invaders.



However, it is important to note that the Toltec only "disappeared" from the tlatipac, but never became extinct or ended the Toltecáyotl. The Toltec continued with the Toltecáyotl development but outside the daily and immediate world. The Toltec have continued their knowledge lineages through time. Their ability and impeccable ways have made them "invisible" in the midst of the colonial turmoil and independent Mexico arriving to our days impeccable and immaculate.



Finally colonial historians from Clavijero and contemporaries, national and foreign, have converted the "Toltec" into a people and culture. Which is a sample of the misunderstanding and a contemptuous disregard used to "investigate and study" the ancestral past of our civilization. Currently the multi-ethnic mosaic of the nation, the "Toltec" do not appear as part of the 62 Aboriginal peoples. If they were a people and culture, and if it was so important, how it is possible it does not exist today, when we find people like the tacuates who, despite its relative importance in the "indigenous past of the nation", remain and have been able to survive a historical death. The Toltec have never been a people or a culture, but a knowledge degree of the Toltecáyotl.



The truth is that the Toltec hid their knowledge. We do not know why, but the destruction of what we know today as archaeological zones of the classical period, not only represented a tremendous effort, but is the irrefutable symbol that their knowledge was “covered", but that has remained in full and permanent development. The fact that the dominant culture cannot know it and manipulate its wisdom does not necessarily imply that it does not exist. Only has maintained itself outside of "reality or known world" of the dominant culture.



The Toltecáyotl and the Toltec are the best resource we have to build a nation of justice, equality and humanity. Represents the most important cultural heritage that we have inherited from over seven and a half thousand years that make up the past of the Anahuac. The prophecy of their return is still alive in the subconscious and the heart of the peoples that make up the "Mexico" of our day.



Translator: Raúl Gutierrez 




Recommended bibliography on the topic:

“Toltecáyotl: Nahuatl cultural aspects”.

Miguel León-Portilla FCE. Méx. 1983.


“True history of the profound México”.Guillermo Marín. www.toltecayotl.orgBook section.