Soustelle - Aztecs and Mexica - The building of the aqueduct
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
The Daily Life of the Aztecs – Jacques Soustelle
Tie carrying-out of this work had been preceded by a most unfortunate venture which shows the delicacy of the natural balance between the lake and the islands. The events made so strong an impression upon people's minds at the time, that the account, as we now have it, is heavily charged with magic.
Auitzotl proposed taking the water of a spring named Acuecuexatl, which welled up in the territory of Coyoacan, between that city and Uitzilopochco.
According to Tezozomoc, Auitzotl sent messengers to seek the lord of Coyoacan; he was a well-known wizard, and before their horrified eyes he changed himself into an eagle, a tiger, a snake and a whirlwind of fire. The messengers, however, managed to slip a rope about his neck, and so throttled him.
The work was begun at once, and presently the aqueduct was ready to carry the water right into the middle of the town……………….
But the Acuecuexatl began to seethe, and the water rushed out with a continually increasing violence. The aqueduct overflowed, and by the end of forty days the situation was grave; the lake was continually rising. The fishermen gave the alarm, and then the flood began, destroying houses and even menacing the emperor, who was obliged to take refuge in the great temple. On the shore and the islands, the fields of maize were ravaged, and there was the prospect of famine: many people were drowned, and others began to leave the city.
……….Auitzotl, brought to this pass and fearing that the discontented Mexicans would rebel, went to ask the help of his ally, Nezaualpilli, king of Texcoco. Nezaualpilli said, 'You would never have had this misfortune, if you had followed the advice of the lord of Coyoacan in the first place, instead of having him killed.'
He then took command of the technical and magical operations: the guilty high officials were sacrificed and their hearts thrown into the spring, together with gems, gold and embroideries; then fifteen divers went down and succeeded in blocking the holes by which the water came out with such violence. Following this a kind of cement casing was built over the dangerous pool, to shut it in for ever.