Religion in ancient Mexico occupied a central and prominent place of life for all Anahuac inhabitants. In part by ancestral mysticism and spirituality; and partly because the social system was totally immersed in the moral and ethical religious values of Cem Anahuac. All activities: family life, government, agriculture, health, education, art, sport, etc. was intricately linked to religious aspects. As any ancestral religion, ours sought the transcendence of the spiritual "self" beyond death. The eternal life from consciousness.
?Where will I go?
Where will I go?
The path of the Dual God.
is by fate your house at the place of the gaunt?
Perhaps inside heavens?,
or the place of the gaunt is only here on earth?
Is it for a fact we live on earth?
not forever on earth: just a little here.
even if it is jade, it breaks,
if its gold it breaks,
even if it is quetzal feathers, they tear off,
not forever on earth: just a little?.
(Mexican folk songs)
To understand ancient Mexico, it is highly recommended to understand the ways of life and values of people called "indigenous" that until today jealously maintain millenarian values and spiritual principles, engendered since the agriculture invention, eight thousand years ago and in essence seek to get humans closer to the sacred and divine, the transcendent and immeasurable.
"Finally we reach the worship of God in an ideal self-chosen form. Hindus have represented God in countless ways and, they claim, it is appropriate. Each representation is not more than a symbol pointing to something beyond, and as none diminishes the true nature of God, a full range is needed to complete the figure and manifestations aspects of God... As we have seen, life goals are to transcend the smallness of the finite being. This can be accomplished by identifying oneself with the transcendental absolute that resides deep in one's self or displacing interest and affection towards the personal God that feels as an entity different to our own." (Huston Smith. 1997)
All civilizations and their cultures point in their top vertex to achieve the transcendence of our material?carnal shape to a luminous?spiritual eternal life. Prepare for physical death and be spiritually reborn for an eternal life; this has been the challenge of all conscientious human beings in mankind history. This perennial challenge has shaped all civilizations and cultures of the world, as well as religions.
"...men is the beginning of the world creation and responsible for its preservation and development towards perfection. Over this concept builds himself and builds the world around. This is how was built the culture that of which, until today, we are exclusive heirs." (Ruben Bonifaz Nuño. 1992)
The supreme divinity.
To our ancestors there was only a single representation of the supreme divinity, it was invisible and impalpable, had no name and no one had created it. In ancient Mexico did not exist the Judaea-Christian concept of "God" and this is why many mistakes developed from the times of Hernán Cortez up to our colonized contemporary Mexico researchers. The ancient Mexican supreme divinity conception is closer to the Hindu than the Christian. Maintaining the basic principle that the supreme divinity is inaccessible and unknowable to human beings, the "flexibility" to represent the many aspects of such a complex concept.
"The uniqueness principle inherent to religion ?principle that has little to do with the quality and quantity of gods? means that man has discovered a center in him and conceives the universe from that center. Hence that the essence of any religious system lies in the revelation of an individual soul closely linked to the cosmic soul: it is, in short, the divinization of man.
These are nothing but perishable intellectual productions subjected to social circumstances, the gods are secondary and considered as an end in itself, can only lead to an error. Thus, if we don't want that a religion hides under bunches of inert technical details, it is necessary to strive to rediscover the revelation that, inevitably, is in its origin". (Laurette Séjourné. 1957)
We must take into account how little is indeed known about our ancestors religion. Partly because during the postclassical period (850 to 1521 CE.) the decadence leaders, transgreded the religious norms that the Toltec masters had polished, that provided a millennium of peace and harmony for the Anahuac peoples. Moreover, when Tlacaelel and the Aztecs had reforms eighty-one years before the conquest, that dramatically changed the religious spiritual mystical sense, to a warrior imperialist material sense.
And also partially by the denial and inability of the spaniards invaders and missionaries to understand a religion that was completely different to theirs. And in addition weighed the epithet of demonic and primitive. Contemporary researchers continue taking as "scientific" basis? what the ?defeated said and was interpreted by the victors", without developing an un-colonial mentality in trying to decipher our millenary religious heritage. As behind it we find a vast philosophical treasure, full of eternal universal wisdom. "Now: in this religious condition, the Spaniard invasion occurred. Ensuing disaster follows. Missionaries arrive, who wisely seek something to escape, and seek to preserve testimonies of the defeated religion through information from those who had practiced it. And the defeated, understandably, do not reveal, because they don?t have it or because they do not want to share the greatest knowledge, of those I have called experts. Then they only communicate what is cognitive knowledge of the community: physical traits, general qualities such as that the Tlaloc entity is the God of rain or fertility promoter. This is what is registered in the texts collected then.
Chroniclers and historians later take this decidedly mutilated image, since when the religious community was destroyed, the expert knowledge cease to transfuse within it, and left it foundationless and with a fragmented truth.
Then the next scholars arrive. Possibly driven by their inability to understand the so-called archaeological testimonies, that is images where their secrets were drawn by members of the community, have gone to what is understandable to them: written sources. And have taken as the full truth the superficial rootless knowledge contained in the texts. Hence the poor information, incessant error repetition, contradictions and repeated superficiality manifested in their works.
And also, as a consequence of their misunderstanding of images, false iconographic attributions, that came, thoughtlessly repeated, to integrate an inescapable network of lies and confusion, proven very difficult to escape." (Ruben Bonifaz Nuño. 1986)
The Supreme divinity had many representation forms, of what is erroneously known as minor gods, but which were different avocations of the same reality. As the Virgin Mary in the Catholic religion that is one, with multiple representations of the same reality. This advanced ?God? interpretation, was poetically named by our ancestors as the, "owner of the near and the together, He for whom we live, night wind, He who invents himself". Poetic attempts to refer to the unpronounceable, divine, immeasurable, unnamable. A concept more philosophical than religious, that surely was handled as esoteric knowledge by persons living in what we now know as archaeological sites and which were devoted to the study and research of the human energetic possibilities.
?Master our Lord, Tloque Nahuaque, Yoalli Ehécatl, that can see and know the interior of the tree and stone, and in truth now also know our interior, listen in our interior; hear and know what we say inside of us, what we think; our face and heart as smoke and fog rise before you." (Sixth book of the Florentine Codex)
This same philosophical figure is represented in a more accessible plane, called "Dual divinity, divine duality or two God", as a dual divinity half male and half female, understanding that everything created on earth, arises from a pair of complementing opposites, one male one female, life death, hot cold, dark light, black and white, Ying Yang, etc.
Ometeótl is a profound philosophical metaphor. The universe itself consists of a pair of complementary opposites. The dialectical principle is conclusively present in the ?divine duality". Repetitively occupies the most relevant iconographic spaces. As two serpent heads facing each other, or as two quetzal heads facing each other.
"First of all, therefore it behooves to consider the generally accepted idea, of the dualistic conception of the existing world among ancient Mexican.
Originating from a dual divinity, according to authors, the world was conceived by them as a result of this principle; as a perpetual struggle between opposites that would engender new stages of existence". (Ruben Bonifaz Nuño. 1996)
This supreme divinity representation in the next inferior plain of Tloque Nahuaque or He for whom one lives, perhaps was managed by the high priests and the high religious hierarchy. The truth is that this dual representation of serpents or quetzals can be found in all cultures of the three periods, as an important and central iconography element. It is the struggle of opposites in the universe creation and life in the Anahuac. A religious?philosophical figure that speaks about the need of humanizing the world, through the mission assigned to mankind.
"We will now reflect on what was noted thus far.
It has been noted that the ?actions of two opposing principles that fight?, of ?opposing side?s fight?, of ?the idea of the fight?, of ?clash of opposing forces?... The said third element, by necessity, at the same time is not one or other of the two, but has something from each of them and something different at the same time, by which its transmutation is provoked and its unity with the creative action. By intervening, given that this element can be called neutral, within the positive and negative elements, gives rise at that point to the possibility and necessity of something that did not previously exist." (Ruben Bonifaz Nuño. 1996)