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Soustelle - Aztecs and Mexica - The three routes on death

Identifier

011468

Type of spiritual experience

A description of the experience

The Daily Life of the Aztecs – Jacques Soustelle

Other dead people had been selected by fate for a very different kind of eternity: those upon whom Tlaloc had set his mark and who had been drowned or struck by lightning or who had died of a disease thought to be brought about by water - dropsy, for example. The peasant god had reserved his own paradise for them - Tlalocan, an idealised vision of the eastern tropics, a green country of flowers and warm rain; it was a garden of repose and plenty, where the blessed lived for ever in a peaceful happiness.

In this way the two ideologies of the two elements that had formed the Mexican people came together; the first element hunters and warriors, worshippers of a sun-god, and the second settled peasants whose deity was the god of the rain and the moon.

For the first there was the brilliant road from the orient to the zenith, and for the others the mild happiness of abundance without trouble or labour in the moist green tropical paradise.

But what happened to the others, to those who were not singled out either by Uitzilopochtli or Tlaloc? It was but a dreary outlook for these undistinguished corpses, for they had nowhere to go except Mictlan, the underworld which lay beneath the great steppes of the north, in the cold, twilit country. Mictlantecuhtli and his wife Mictecaciuatl reigned there: the Mexican Pluto's face was covered with a bony mask, and he sat among owls and spiders.

The source of the experience

Aztecs and the Mexica

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image

Activities