Teotihuacan

The Aztecs found this marvelous city long-abandoned and thought it had to have been the home of the gods themselves. Their mythology of the birth if the fifth Sun takes place at Teotihuacan.

The legend goes that the Sun had been formed and destroyed four times. In the darkness after the fourth destruction, the gods gathered at Teotihuacan to counsel among themselves about what to do and they decided someone of their number should sacrifice their self to restart the Sun.

A rich and haughty god stepped forward and claimed the honor. A weak and sickly god, Nanauatzin, volunteered to become the Moon. The wealthy god offered copal incense in the flames while Nanauatzin could only offer his scabs, which he picked off and threw into the flames.

When the time arrived, the haughty god approached the flames but pulled back as they rose to great him. Four times this act was replayed. The gods grumbled and urged Nanauatzin forward.

He dove into the flames without hesitation and became the new Sun. Chagrined, the rich god followed him into the flames and became the Moon.

Adrian Gilbert (The Mayan Prophecies) pictures this as the remnants of the Toltec nobles hanging around Teotihuacan after it had been abandoned. They threw themselves into the flames to try and end the drought that had caused most to leave the area. But I cannot see how a drought-stricken community would want the Sun to come back in all its glory; shouldn’t they have been praying for rain instead?

Anyway, as “the gods” to the ancients were the planets, I wonder what sort of cosmological dance they were witnessing with this large “god” approaching the flames four times before following the smaller one into the inferno.

It would certainly have been legendary… or myth creating.

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