Day of Wrath, 11

An encounter of psychoclasses

Julian Jaynes wrote:

I have endeavored in these two chapters to examine the record of a huge time span to reveal the plausibility that man and his early civilizations had a profoundly different mentality from our own, that in fact men an women were not conscious as we are, were not responsible for their actions, and therefore cannot be given credit or blame for anything that was done over these vast millennia of time.

In his book Jaynes complains that the translators of the texts of the Ancient World color their translations with abstract words absolutely incompressible for the bicameral mentality of other times. Personally, once I realized that psychoclasses exist, the Hollywood movies that retroproject our modern psyche onto epic adventures of the historical past look rather silly, as if man had always been the same.

The indigenistas talk wonders of the Mexica herbalist medicine in spite of the fact that it was impregnated with paleologic thinking. Most of the cures were oriented to expel the evil spirits. If the ailment was “the cold disease,” offerings were performed on the particular mount that aroused special devotion. The diagnosis did not rely on empirical observation, but on divination; and if a god had sent the disease offerings to that deity had to be performed. As Silvano Arieti wrote, his schizophrenic patients interpreted everything that occurred as wished by external agents. Far more disturbing was the propensity of Mesoamericans to perform trepanations to let the evil spirits go. The record of this practice on trepanated skulls is an Indian skull with five large holes.

Most interesting is the first act coming from a frightened Moctezuma when learning about the arriving of strangers: he dispatched a delegation offering fresh human flesh to them. When the Spaniards still were in the Veracruz shore, Moctezuma’s representatives visited Cortés; killed the captives they had brought with them, and began to prepare their bodies for a cannibal feast. The Spanish did not believe what they had before their eyes. “When they saw it, it made them feel sick, they spit out, they rubbed their eyes,” wrote Bernal Díaz. It is true that in a disobedient plot Cortés ordered to cut the feet’s fingers of the pilot Gonzalo de Umbría. The Spanish captain was capable of attacking a village of unarmed Tlaxcallans and commiting a massacre, as well as amputating the right hands of the Indian spies. He ordered the killing of defenseless men, women and children during the siege of Tenochtitlan, “one of the most shameful scenes that the life of that man registers,” wrote his biographer Salvador de Madariaga. It is also true that he ordered that Qualpopoca and his sons be burned alive for having killed a rearguard of Spaniards. He even ordered the hanging of two of his own, and in another plot where he feared for his life he hanged Cuauhtémoc himself. But Cortés did not indulge himself in self-harming practices. Nor did he sacrifice children. Compared to the Amerindians, the rustic soldiers belonged to a completely new dimension of the evolution of the human psyche, as distinct from the infanticidal psychoclass as a butterfly from the worm.

Those who, through history and prehistory, have belonged to the infanticidal psychoclass invariably get schizophrenized: be Indians, Caucasians, Africans or Orientals. A noise coming from Nature or an animal that passes on the way is interpreted as an omen. For these people there is no individuation, free will in the broadest sense, and much less cognition or Aristotelian thought process. In the case of the Mexicas, destiny was determined by the birth date and escaped the will of the individual. The psychic climate was charged of pessimism and threatened with annihilation. The Amerindians protected themselves by making offerings to their demonic gods. When Mesoamericans felt threatened by something they punctually offered blood and hearts as an attempt to placate what, in fact, were their inner demons.

In Cempoala, writes Bernal Díaz, frightened by the bearded teules (a corrupted word from teteuh, gods) that came from the East, “each day they sacrificed in front of us three or four or five Indians.” When Cortés begins his resolute advance to the great Mexican capital Moctezuma fell seized with panic. “And they sacrificed each day two boys so that [the gods] answered what to do with us.” When they arrived to Cholula “we knew that [Moctezuma] was shut away with his devotions and sacrifices for two days, together with ten principal papas [high priests].” A little after that page there appears something unbelievable in Bernal’s story. The response of the high priests was that the emperor should “let us in.”

Take note that, analogously to the magical thinking of pre-Hispanic medicine, the emperor or Huey Tlatoani did not think in Aristotelian logic. It is true that, just as Ahuítzotl, before becoming monarch Moctezuma had been high priest. But he also had been a successful general. Despite of it, in the crucial year of his reign he did not ask advice from his military chiefs but from his priests, and what is worse: he let the Spanish enter knowing that they had just perpetrated the massacre of Cholula; the city being plundered by the Spanish allies, the Tlaxcallans, and the temple of Huitzilopochtli burnt for two days, in addition that Cortés ordered the destruction of all effigies of worship. Tenochtitlan was not Cholula. Located as the only lacustrine city of the continent, it was well protected. The Mexicas could easily have lifted the bridges that led to the empire’s capital. Instead, they let enter not a mere Cortés delegation, but the captain along with all of his army (including the horses, never seen before)!

If this is not suicidal magical thinking coming from bicameral minds, what is it? The conquest of America is the chapter of history that catches the attention as no other conquest of the history of mankind. Although Carthage suffered a similar fate of Tenochtitlan, the Romans had to fight through three very costly Punic wars throughout 120 years before razing the city. It took Cortés a tiny fraction of that time to do the feat: he initiated his campaign in 1519 and by 1521 he had taken the double city of Tlatelolco-Tenochtitlan. Jaynes’ observation quoted above about Pizarro, “How could an empire whose armies had triumphed over the civilizations of half a continent be captured by a small band of 150 Spaniards in the early evening of November 16, 1532?” may be said about Cortés too.

“Never did a captain with such a small army perform such a feat, nor achieved so many victories or hold a grip of such a great empire,” commented the chronicler Francisco López de Gómara. If there is something apparent in Bernal’s story it is that the captain wanted to bring to an end the practice of sacrifice in each town he passed through in route to Tenochtitlan. A semi-Indian friend of mine who has read the chroniclers commented that the historicity of their stories is way above the excuse that, mantra-like, we have heard a thousand times from other Mexicans: “Winners write history.” What actually happened is that the Tlaxcallans hated the Mexicas, who through a century had been raiding them to obtain captives for the sacrifice. Had the inhabitants of Tenochtitlan been popular in the so-called Aztec Empire the Spanish would have been repelled in Mexico. A pitiful sensation produces in the reader an illustration of the book by Diego Durán with humble Indians carrying, on their bended backs, the backpacks of the newcomers in their advance to Tenochtitlan while a Spaniard appears comfortably on his horse. The same can be said of another illustration of Indians building brigantines that would be decisively used in the battle of the Lake Texcoco. Obviously, the conquest of Mexico was also a civil war.

As implied above, my father feels an excessive admiration for the Indian world. On several occasions he has argued that the fact that the poetry of Nezahualcóyotl, the most refined representative of the Nahua culture, is so humane that it refutes the vision of the culture as barbaric. But poetry is no reliable standard. The basic, fundamental principle in psychohistory has childrearing as the relevant factor, and from this point of view even the refined monarch of Texcoco was a barbarian.

In a courtier intrigue Nezahualcóyotl consented using garrote to execute his favorite son, the prince Tetzauhpilzintli. The Nahua characters were seized with fratricide fits. Moctezuma I (not the one who received Cortés) ordered the killing of his brother and something similar did Nezahualcóyotl’s heir, Nezahualpilli: who also used capital punishment with his first born son and heir. Soustelle says that this family tragedy was one of the causes of the fall of the Mexican empire since the blood brothers that rose to the throne flipped to the Spanish side. But Soustelle’s blindness about what he has in front of his nose is amazing. Like León Portilla, for Soustelle “there is no doubt that the Mexicans loved their children very much.” But that is not love. Nezahualcóyotl’s mourning after letting his son be killed reminds me the “Pietà” of my first book, my mother, who suffered for seeing me in wretched conditions when she did nothing but escalate her abusive behavior against me. More disturbing is that some upper-class Mexicas delivered their little children to the Tláloc priests to be sacrificed. This piece of data demonstrates that motivation was more than mere economics, as rich people are not desperate for money.

The above image of the chronicler Diego Durán, which shows the tláloques, is in the Library of Madrid. Note the child in the water with the chest opened.

From a considerable distance the Spanish soldiers saw how their companions were sacrificed at the top of the pyramid of Tenochtitlan, whose heads would later be found impaled in a tzompantli together with the decapitated heads of the captured horses. When I mentioned for the first time the tzompantlis I omitted to say that they were structures on parallel crossbeams. Through holes on the temples, the stakes supported the enormous files of decapitated human heads, one after another. (Only in Tenochtitlan there were seven tzompantlis; the Spaniards had seen a tzompantli in Cempoala, not very far from the Veracruz shore, and some time after in their journey another one in Zautla, which also contained femurs and other parts of human bodies.) Bernal Díaz writes: “In that state of affairs, very frightened and wounded, we did not know about Cortés or Sandoval, nor of their armies, if they had been killed and broken down [chopped into pieces], as the Mexicans told us when they threw into our camp the five heads they grasped by the hair and beards.” The demoralized soldiers wanted to flee to Cuba after the battle of La Noche Triste, when most of the Spaniards died: a great defeat for the Spanish arms on Mexican soil.

I the middle of a skirmish the Indians captured Cortés himself, but they did not kill him. When taking him over to be sacrificed their men rescued him. From the military viewpoint, this magical thinking of not killing the fallen captain but attempting to take him to the pyramid was a gross blunder: Cortés would be the man who harangued the Spanish not to flee to Cuba after the catastrophic Noche Triste. Thereafter, with the Tlaxcallan support, the war turned over and the Mexica capital was lost. Cuauhtémoc, the last Huey Tlatoani rejected the peace proposals that, day after day, Cortés offered the Mexicas. (Cuauhtémoc had been the same noble who led the signal to stone Moctezuma after the massacre ordered by Pedro de Alvarado, inspired by the massacre of Cholula ordered by Cortés.)

It is not my intention to vituperate the Mexicans of my childhood. As I revealed in my previous book, the memories of Mexico City’s beautiful neighborhoods where I lived in the 1960s, before the city disintegrated, still feed my deepest nostalgias. Nor is it my intention to vituperate the ancient Mexicans. As I have also said, the psychoclass of the Mexicas was far more evolved than the Chichimeca: the Nomads from the north who still ate raw meat because they could not use fire; could not build houses, and lived in the caves. The Amerindian hunter-gatherers were in a more dissociated state of mind than the inhabitants of the big cities, like the refined Nahuas. And taking into account the inconceivable sadism of the Mayas with the prisoners, undistinguishable from that of the cruelest serial killers of today I have not the slightest doubt that, even though the pictographic form of Mexica writing before the syllabic Mayan represents a technical regression, the psychoclass of the ancient Mexicans marks a psychogenic advance compared to their southern neighbors.

Gotten to this point I must confess that it is painful to read almost anything related to Moctezuma. And it is painful in spite of the fact that Bernal Díaz says that the Huey Tlatoani himself shared the cannibalism of his age. “I heard them say that they used to cook for him the flesh of small boys,” and on the same page it can be read that “our captain reprimanded him the sacrifice and the eating of human flesh, and Moctezuma ordered that that delicatessen be not cooked for him anymore.” Despite of his culinary habits, the reading of the Bernaldine pages is painful because we can see a very human Moctezuma. Both Bernal Díaz and Cortés were fond of Moctezuma; and his candid, fearful and superstitious personality moves the reader to sympathize with him too. It is very difficult not to feel a particular affection for Moctezuma. It is true that before Cortés and the Spanish the Huey Tlatoani behaved like a güey (a Mexicanism that when I was a boy meant stupid). Today’s Mexicans are not as güeyes as the Mexicas. But even after almost five hundred years it is a disturbing experience to discover how the historical Moctezuma behaved.

Before the Spanish expedition reached Tenochtitlan, the most powerful man of the empire had clung to his papas of long, tangled and gluey hair with blood scabs. We can imagine the mental state of those who, time after time, stuck their hand in living bodies digging through the vital organ. They had ash-colored faces because they too had to bleed themselves once a day. When Moctezuma fell seized with panic as the alien expedition was in route to the empire’s capital, besides the priests he also consulted fortune-tellers and sorcerers. Once the Spaniards arrived it is disturbing to learn how these men, who represented a more integrated psychoclass, took over the empire from Moctezuma: like an adult snatching the ice cream from a little boy, who had been a magnificent host for Cortés and his enormous military escort.

The common people were as psychologically dissociated as their governor. During the long period of time that goes from the Moctezuma kidnapping by Cortés to the massacre perpetrated by Alvarado, with the exception of Cacama and a few nobles the Mexicans did not rebel against the invasion. They did not even react when Cortés ordered that Qualpopoca, his sons and fifteen chiefs be burned alive at the stake, humiliating the emperor who, with chains, had to witness the execution in the plaza of the Great Pyramid. Moctezuma was even taught to learn, in Latin, prayers like Our Father and the Hail Mary. Cortés left temporarily Tenochtitlan to stop Pánfilo Narváez in Cempoala. Narváez arrived from Cuba with a great army; he wanted to place Cortés under arrest and liberate Moctezuma. Only the massacre of Mexico where the blond Alvarado (nicknamed Tonatiuh, the sun) slaughtered the flower of the Mexican aristocracy during the “Aztec Easter” made the Mexicas wake up. Their long lethargy reminds me an eighteenth-century observation by a Jesuit that Amerindians were grownup children, “bambini with beards.”

Unlike the Peruvians, who constantly clean the great statue of Pizarro—who behaved worse with Atahualpa than Cortés with Moctezuma—, in half a century of living in the Mexican capital I have not seen a single statue of Cortés, his Indian wife, or Moctezuma. So deep did the trauma of the conquest impregnate the Mexicans’ psyche that its tail can be felt half a millennium later. It is true that, after the Alvarado massacre, what had been a sort of picaresque conquering story turned into an apparent infamy, although Salvador de Madariaga qualifies the Nahua vision of the conquest by pointing out that Alvarado “was right in thinking that there existed a conspiracy” from the Mexica to attack the Spaniards after the holyday. On the other hand, through a sense of black humor even a dark-skinned Mexican has dared to see the cruelties committed by his ancestors. In An Autobiography the Mexican muralist José Clemente Orozco wrote:

According to them [the indigenistas] the Conquest ought not to have taken place as it did. Instead of sending cruel and ambitious captains, Spain should have sent a great delegation of ethnologists, anthropologists, archeologists, civil engineers […]. Very tactfully it might have been suggested to great Moctezuma that he should establish democracy for the lower orders, while preserving the privileges of aristocracy, thus pleasing everyone. In this way the three abhorrent centuries of Colonial Period could have been side-stepped, and the Great Teocalli would still be standing, though thoroughly disinfected to keep the blood of sacrifices from going bad, and to enable us to turn it into blood pudding—in a factory standing where, for want of it, the National Pawnshop inadequately serves.

History did not occur that way. The soldiers razed Tenochtitlan and a clergy coming out directly from the Counter-Reformation and the Reconquista took care of the statues and the codexes. A melancholic Mexica poem says: “Our lifestyle, our city, is lost and dead.” The infamous pyramid that enclosed the remains of the boy whose photo I included way above was blown up with 500 barrels of powder. Conversely, in the sarcastic scenario by Orozco, in the world’s most beautiful city the tourists would utter wonders when escalating the Teocalli to see the great Uichilobos without any knowledge of the sacrificed child and his remains, still enclosed under the rock, dozens of meters below their feet.

After the fall of Tenochtitlan Bernal Díaz tells us that “land, lagoon and bargekennings were full of dead bodies, and it stank so much that there was no man who could endure it.” In contrast to the Manichaeism of contemporary Mexicans, whether hispanophiles or indigenistas, Martin Brown drew some irreverent cartoons published in Terry Deary’s pamphlet The Angry Aztecs. One of them illustrates the stone blocks of the recently destroyed city: colored stones of the temples that would be used for the construction of the Christian buildings. In Brown’s cartoon there is a dialogue between two pubescent Nahuas, a boy and a girl sitting in the great city on ruins:

Boy: The Aztecs killed my mum.
Girl: The Spanish killed mine.
Boy: I wonder who is deader?

But Brown omitted the crux: Moctezuma and his folk ate the kids of that age, something that the Spaniards never did. What destroys the mind to the point of making an entire continent inhabited by easy-to-conquer güeyes is to carry the burden, in the innermost corner of the soul, that our beloved totatzin sacrificed one of our siblings; or that this happened in the families of friends and acquaintances and that nobody condemned it. Using the language of my previous book, since the sacrifices were part of the social tissue nobody counted with an “enlightened witness,” let alone a “helping witness” when the poisonous pedagogy was being inculcated. Let us remember the ethnologic study of the twentieth century about the New Guinea tribes. The children avoided their parents when they ate one of their little siblings. The rates of child suicide among such peoples, a more disturbed society than the Mexica, were very high.

The Spanish destruction may be compared in some way to the destruction by king Josiah in 641 B.C. according to II Chronicles 34, about which Jaynes comments that had it not occurred more archaeological evidence of the ancient Hebrews’ speaking idols could have been found. Though objectionable for the standards of our time, such measures of cultural extermination were necessary during the attempts of the superior psychoclass to eliminate the sacrifices: be them sacrifices of children to Baal or to Tláloc.

 
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The objective of the book is to present to the racialist community my philosophy of The Four Words on how to eliminate all unnecessary suffering.

If life allows, next time I will reproduce another chapter. Those interested in obtaining a copy of Day of Wrath may visit: this artcle.

Day of Wrath, 9

The Bernaldine pages

 
La Santa Furia by C.T. Sr., my father, is a music composition in honor to Bartolomé de Las Casas for an orator, a soprano, three tenors, baritone, mixed chorus and orchestra, which at the moment of my writing still has to be premiered. Las Casas, whom my father greatly admires, wrote:

Into these meek sheep herd [the Amerindians], and of the aforesaid qualities by their Maker and Creator thus endoweth, there came the Spaniards who soon after behaved like cruel wolves, tigers and lions that had been starved for many days.

Las Casas is considered the champion of the indigenous cause before the Spanish crown. Those who condemn the Conquest take note of the investigation conducted against Antonio de Mendoza, the first viceroy of New Spain, accused of having lined up several Indians during the Mixtón War and smashing them with cannon fire. As a child, an illustration piqued my interest in a Mexican comic, about some Indians attacked by the fearful dogs that the Spaniards had brought (there were no large dogs in pre-Columbian America). Motolinía reported that innumerable Indians entered healthy the mines only to come out as wrecked bodies. The slave work in the mines, the Franciscan tells us in Historia de los Indios de Nueva España, killed so many that the birds that fed from the human carrion “darkened the skies,” and let us not talk about the slavery in the Caribbean islands with which, originally, Las Casas had so intimate contact. In La Española (Santo Domingo), Cuba and other islands the native population was virtually exterminated, especially due to the epidemics the conquerors had brought. These and many other facts appalled Las Casas, and in his vast literary corpus the tireless friar always tried to expose the excesses of the Spanish conquest.

English- and Spanish-speaking liberals are fond of quoting Las Casas. But was he right? In contrast to another friar, Diego de Landa, Las Casas always omitted speaking out about the cruelties that the Indians committed against themselves. In fact, Las Casas is often accused for having originated the Black Legend. For example, his quotation cited above is a lie: the Mesoamericans were everything except “meek sheep.” While the conquest was a calamity for many Indians, it benefited many others. Only thanks to it the children would not receive anymore the schizogenic shock of learning that their folk had sacrificed, and sometimes eaten in a glamorous party, one of their little siblings. In his role of spiritual adviser, Las Casas wrote a biased and polemical sermon, A Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies, as well as more scholarly texts, to force Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, to take the necessary measures in favor of the natives. His goal was to protect them before the trendy scholastic doctrine that they were born slaves.

In the 1930s and ’40s Harvard historian Lewis Hanke found as fascinating the figure of Las Casas as my father would do in more recent times. After reading a magnificent book by Hanke, that my father himself lent me from his library, I could not avoid comparing Las Casas to the anthropologists who have kept secret the cruelty of the aboriginals in their eagerness to protect them. A single example will illustrate it. Las Casas went so far as defending the indigenous cannibalism with the pretext that it was a religious custom, which Las Casas compared to the Christian communion. It seems strange to tell it, but the first seeds of cultural relativism, an ideology that would cover the West since the last decades of the twentieth century, had been sown in the sixteenth century.

The Mexicas had only been the last Mesoamericans providers of an immense teoatl: a divine sea, an ocean of poured-out blood for the gods. Just as the pre-Hispanic aboriginals of the Canary Islands, the Olmecs performed sacrifices with a fatal whack on the head. Of the Mayas, so idealized when I was a boy, it is known much more. They were the ones who initiated the practice of caging the condemned before sacrificing them and, after the killing, throwing the bodies down from the pyramids. In 1696, with the eighteenth century coming up, the Mayas sacrificed some unwary missionaries who dared to incursion into a still unconquered region. When I visited the ruins of Palenque I went up its pyramid and down through the internal steps surrounded by a warm and humid weather, to the tomb of the famous sarcophagus of stone. I felt such place gloomy and inconceivable. I now remember an archaeologist in television talking about a drawing in a Maya enclosure: a hanged prisoner maintained alive in state of torment.

The Mayas treated more sadistically the prisoners than the Mexicas. Diego de Landa recounts that they went as far as torturing the captive kings by gouging their eyes out, chopping off their ears and noses and eating up their fingers. They maintained the poor captive alive for years before killing him, and the classic The Blood of the Kings tells us that the Mayas tore the jaw out from some prisoners still alive. Once more, not even Mel Gibson dared to film these atrocities, although he mentioned them during an interview when defending his film before the criticism of politically-correct reporters and academics. Unlike them, I agree with Gibson that the disappearance of such culture should not sadden us but rather revalue the European culture. And I would add that, when I see in a well-known television program a native English speaker rationalizing the Maya sacrifices, it is clear to me that political correctness in our times exemplifies what in psychology is known as “identification with the perpetrator.”

Both the Teotihuacans and the Tolteca-Chichimecas were bloodthirsty. The Tenochcas, who greatly admired them, killed and flayed a princess in the year 1300: an outrage that the indigenistas sweep under the rug since this and similar murders are related to the stories of the foundation of Mexico-Tenochtitlan. Like their ancestors, the Mexicas established wars which only purpose was to facilitate captives for the killing.

Let us tell the truth guilelessly: Mesoamerica was the place of a culture of serial killers. In the raids launched into foreign territory, sometimes called Flower Wars like the one seen in Apocalypto, the principal activity was oriented toward the sacrifice. In fact, it was impossible to obtain political power in that society without passing first through the business of the sacrifice. Preventing adolescents from cutting their nape hairlock unless they captured a victim for sacrifice conveyed a message: If you don’t collaborate with the serial killing you won’t climb up the social hierarchy.

An explosive catharsis and real furor was freed in the outbreak of war as the Amerindians sheltered something recondite that had to be discharged at all costs. In 1585 Diego Muñoz Camargo wrote in History of Tlaxcala that, accompanied by the immense shouting when rushing into combat, the warriors played “drums and caracoles [percussion sticks] and trumpets that made a strange noise and roar, and more than a little dreadfulness in fragile hearts.” The Anonymous Conqueror adds that during the fighting they vociferated the eeriest shrieks and whistling, and that after winning the war only the young women were spared. To contribute with live bodies for the thirsty gods, not the killing in situ, was the objective. Behind there came the specialized warriors who tied up the captives and transferred them to the stone altars.

With a stabbing which purpose was not to kill the victim, the sacrificer, usually the high priest of one of the innumerable temples, opened the victim’s body: a dull blow at the diaphragm level or on the chest. The sacrificer then stuck the hand into the viscera poking until finding the heart. Grabbed and still beating, he tore it out with a strong pull. This eventration and ablation of the heart is the form in which the sacrifice was practiced, in identical mode, thousands upon thousands of times in Mesoamerica. The last thing that the victim saw in the instant before losing consciousness were his executioners. By tearing out the heart in such a way the body poured out virtually all of its blood, from five to six liters: the strongest hemorrhage of all conceivable forms.

Diego Durán was startled that, according to his estimates, in the pre-Hispanic world more people died in the sacrifices than from natural death. In contrast to how the Second World War is taught to us, academics are reluctant to point out that the sacrificial institution in Mesoamerica was a true Holocaust. The year 1487 signaled the climax of the sacrificial thirst. In four consecutive days the ancient Mexicans indulged themselves in an orgy of blood. The warriors had taken men from entire tribes to be sacrificed during the festivities of the reconsecration of the last layer of the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan. Through four days the priests, their assistants and the common citizens uninterruptedly tore out hearts on fourteen pyramids. The poured-out blood stained of red the plaza and the stone ramps that were constructed to throw the bodies down. The exact figure is unknown but the Codex Telleriano-Remensis tells that the old people spoke of 4000 sacrificed humans. It is probable that the propaganda of Mexica terror inflated the official figure to 84,400 sacrificed victims to frighten their rivals.

The 1487 reconsecration aside, we should not forget the perpetuity of the sacrificial Mexican holyday, except the feared five days at the end of the year. The blood of the victims was spilled like holy water (something of this can be seen beside Gibson’s vertical tzompantli). The reverberation of such a butchery reached the unconscious of the youth I was centuries after it. I will never forget a dream I had many years ago in which I saw myself transported to the gloomiest moment of a night in the center of the old Tenochtitlan. I remember the atmosphere of the dream: something told me, in that dense night, that there was an odor and a deposit of bodies that made my flesh creep for the inconceivable amount of human remains: a very close place where my soul wandered around. The horror of the culture was captured in the oneiric taste that is impossible to describe in words. The filthy stench of the place was something I knew existed, though I do not remember having smelled anything during the dream.

The second month of the Mexica calendar was called Tlacaxipehualiztli, literally “the flaying of the men,” during which only in Tenochtitlan at least seventy people were killed. Sometimes the condemned to be sacrificed were led naked covered with white chalk. The victims of Xippe Tótec, an imported god from the Yopi region of Guerrero-Oaxaca, had been presented to the public the previous month of the sacrifice. In Mesoamerican statuary Our Lord the Flayed One is always represented covered with the skin of a sacrificed victim, whose features can be guessed on Xippe’s skin. In that holiday, writes Duverger, the beggars were allowed to dress with the skins “still greasy with the victim’s blood” and they begged at the homes of Tenochtitlan “with that terrifying tunic.” According to the Florentine Codex, those who had captured the victims also wore the skins. After several days of using them “the stench was so terrible that everybody turned their heads; it was repulsive: people that encountered them covered their noses, and the skins already dry became crumbly.”

These offering acts were the opposite of the Hollywood images of a secret cult that, clandestinely, sacrifices a young woman. Mesoamerica was the theatre of the most public of the cruelties. In contrast to the Christian cathedrals which spirituality lies in a sensation of privacy and inwardness, the Mesoamerican temple showed off the sacrifice at the universal sight of the sun, and the average people participated in a communal event. In the holiday called Panquetzaliztli the dancers “ran at the top of their speed, jumped and shook until left breathless and the old people of the neighborhoods played music and sang for them.” The exhausting marathon was a hallucinating spectacle and the ritual murders marked the height of the Mexican party. In another of their celebrations, Xócotl huetzi, the celebration of the fire god, the victims were thrown over an immense brazier while the crowd contemplated speechless. Sahagún informs us that the Mexicans took them out of the brazier with their fleshes burnt and swollen, and that after their hearts were torn out “the people dispersed and everybody went to their homes to celebrate, since it was a day of great rejoicing.”

All sacrifice was surrounded by popular parties. Personally, what shocks me the most is the second month of the Mexica calendar, the month that I most relate to my dream, because in real life those who would be killed and skinned fainted, and in this panic-stricken state they were dragged by the hair to the sacrificial stone.

The priests also dressed themselves with the yellow-painted skins of the victims; the skin’s exterior turned inwards like a sock. Our Lord the Flayed One was invoked with these words: “Oh my god, why do you play too hard to get it? Put your golden vestments on, put them on!” The body of the flayed victim was cooked and shared out for its consumption. The Florentine Codex has illustrations of these forms of sacrifice, including an illustration of five Indians skinning a dead body. The xixipeme were the men who dressed themselves with the skin of the victims personifying the deity.

The evidence in both the codexes and on the mural paintings, steles, graffiti and pots are witness of the gamut of the human sacrifices. Even zealous indigenistas like Eduardo Matos Moctezuma and Leonardo López Luján have stated publicly that there is iconographic evidence of the sacrifices in Teotihuacan, Bonampak, Tikal, Piedras Negras and on the codexes Borgia, Selden and Magliabechiano, as well as irrefutable physical evidence in the form of blood particles extracted from the sacrificial daggers.

A warrior and his captive, grabbed by the hair and crying (note the tears on the face). In addition to the extraction of the heart, in the last incarnation of this culture of serial killers the victims were locked up in a cave where they would die of thirst and starvation; or were decapitated, drowned, riddled with arrows, thrown from the precipices, beaten to death, hanged, stoned or burned alive. In the ritual called mitote, the still alive victims were bled while a group of dancers bit their bodies. The mitote culminated with the cooking and communal consumption of the victims in a stew similar to the pozole. In the sacrifice performed by the Matlazinca the victim was seized in a net and the bones slowly crushed by means of twisting the net. The ballgame, performed from the gulf’s coast and that aroused enormous passions among the spectators, culminated in the dragging of the decapitated body so that its blood stained the sand with a frieze of skulls “watching” the sport.

There is no point in making a scholarly, Sahagunesque encyclopedia list, about the names of the gods or the months of the calendar that corresponded to each kind of these sacrifices. Suffice it to say that at the top of the pyramids the idols were of the size of a man and even larger, composed by a paste of floured seeds mixed with the blood of the sacrifices. The figures were sitting on chairs with a sword on one hand and a shield on the other. What I said above of the great Uichilobos could be told once more: how I would like to contemplate the figures of the so-called Aztec Pantheon. Sacrifices were performed to gods whose names are familiar for us who attended the Mexican schools: from the agrarian, war, water and vegetation deities to the gods of the death, fire and lust. Most of the time the sacrifices were performed on the temples, but they could be done in the imperial palace too. We already saw that children were sacrificed on mounts and in the lake. Now I must say something about the sacrifices of women. According to the Florentine Codex, during the rituals of the months Huey tecuíhuitl (from June 22 to July 11) and Ochpaniztli (from August 21 to September 9) women were deceived with these words:

Be merry my daughter, very soon you will share the bed of emperor Motecuhzoma. He will sleep with you, oh blessed one!

The Indian girl voluntarily walked up the temple’s steps but when she arrived she was decapitated by surprise. In similar sacrifices at the arranged time and date according to the calendar’s holiday, women were decapitated, flayed and their skins used like a trophy. Besides men, women, children and occasionally old people, the Mexicas sacrificed dogs, coyotes, deer, eagles and jaguars. The Florentine codex informs us that sometimes they went up the pyramid with the human victim tied up by the four extremities, “meaning they were like the deer.”

The writer who best transports us into this unheard-of world and who most reaches my dream of “machines to see the past” is Bernal Díaz del Castillo and his The Truthful History of the Conquest of New Spain. The spontaneous testimony of the infantry soldier differs from the dry reports by Cortés. It also differs, as a memorialist work, from the treatise that Hugh Thomas wrote half a millennium later, considered a standard reference about the conquest. It tells a lot about our primitive era to focus on the literary form of the Quixote, which is fiction, instead of the real facts that Bernal recounts: extraordinary experiences where he often was very close of losing his life. (The attitude of the people of letters reminds me precisely a passage of Cervantes’ novel: the hidalgo only lost his nerve when he run into the only real adventure he encountered, in contrast to his windmills.) The discovery of the Bernal chronicle impressed me considerably. His work was an eye-opener about the charlatanry in the Mexican schools with all of its silences, blindness and taboos about cannibalism and the cruelty and magnitude of the pre-Columbian sacrificial institution. It seemed inconceivable that I had to wait so long to discover an author that speaks like no other about the distant past of Mexico, someone whose writing I should have met in my adolescence. I am increasingly convinced that the true university are the books; and the voice of one’s own conscience, more than the voice of the academics, the lighthouse that guides us in the seas of the world.

Humboldt said that the joy experienced by the adventurer facing the newly discovered world was better transmitted by the chronicler than by the poets. In 1545 Bernal moved to the Old Guatemala, where he lived the rest of his life, although he would not write down his memories until he was close seventy. The Guatemalan poet Luis Cardoza y Aragón said that Bernal’s chronicle is the most important work about the conquest. He considers it superior to the chronicles of the military campaigns in Peru or the campaigns against Turkey, Flanders or Italy. Those who in more recent times have read Bernal in translations tell similar things. In an online book-review it can be read: “In every page of this book lies the plots and the characters for [every] single Spielberg movie. But no movie, no adventure, no science fiction, and no Goth novel can even come close to Bernal Diaz’s first-hand account of the initial defeat [of the Spaniards] and final conquest of New Spain.” And Christopher Bonn Jonnes, author of Wake up Dead, wrote: “This story might have been rejected as too far-fetched if it were offered as fiction, but it is history.”

Unlike the soporific scholarly treatises, in the Bernaldine pages one really feels how pre-Hispanic Mexico was. The narrative about the shock that the Europeans felt when running for the very first time in history with the sacrificial institution is very illustrative. It happened in an island near Veracruz. Due to the novelty that the ritual represented for Bernal and his comrades they baptized it Island of the Sacrifice.

And we found a worship house with a large and very ugly idol, called Tezcatepuca [Tezcatlipoca], with four Indians with very large dark cassocks as its companions, with capes like the ones of the Dominicans or the cannons. And they were the priests of that idol, commonly called in New Spain [the Aztec Empire] papas, as I have already mentioned. And that day they had sacrificed two boys with their opened chest, and their hearts and blood offered to that cursed idol. And we did not consent they gave us that odorous [offering] smoke; instead we felt great pity to see those two boys dead, and such a gigantic cruelty. And the general asked the Indian Francisco, already mentioned by me, whom we brought to the Banderas River and who seemed to know something, why they did it, and only by means of gestures, since by then we didn’t have any translator, as again I have said.

Those were the times before the Cortés expedition. In the Grijalva expedition, Bernal and his comrades had been the first Europeans to notice that beyond Cuba and La Española there were no more islands but immense lands. In the expedition after Gijalva’s, now way inland into the continent in what today is the state of Veracruz, Bernal tells us:

Pedro de Alvarado said they had found every dead body without arms and legs, and other Indians said that [the arms and legs] had been taken as food, about which our soldiers were amazed at such great cruelties. And let us stop talking of so many sacrifices, since from that town on we did not find anything else.

Let us also take a leap forward on the Bernaldine route to Tenochtitlan where they did not find anything else, Tlaxcala included. When they reached Cholula, a religious city of pilgrimage with a hundred of temples and the highest pyramid of the empire, dedicated to Quetzalcóatl, the Cholulans told Cortés:

“Look, Malinche [Marina’s master], this city is in bad mood. We know that this night they have sacrificed to their idol, which is the war idol, seven people and five of them were children, so that they give victory against you.”

For the ancient Mesoamericans everything was resolved through the killing of children and adults. Once the Spaniards reached the great capital of the empire, and after Moctezuma and his retinue conducted them in grand tour through the beautiful Tenochtitlan and having seen the impressive Uichilobos at the pyramid’s top, Bernal tells us:

A little way apart from the great Cue [pyramid] there was another small tower which was also an idol house or a true hell, for it had at the opening of one gate a most terrible mouth such as they depict, saying that such there are in hell. The mouth was open with great fangs to devour souls, and here too were some shapes of devils and bodies of serpents close to the door, and a little way off was a place of sacrifice all blood-stained and black with smoke, and encrusted with blood, and there were many great ollas and pitchers and large earthenware jars of water, for it was here that they cooked the flesh of the unfortunate Indians who were sacrificed, which was eaten by the papas. There were also near the place of sacrifice many large knives and chopping blocks, such as those on which they cut up meat in the slaughter-houses. […] I always called that place the house of hell.

Sahagún and Durán corroborate Bernal’s testimony about cannibalism. As we already saw, not even Bartolomé de Las Casas denied it. In History of Tlaxcala Diego Muñoz wrote:

Thus there were public butcher’s shops of human flesh, as if it were of cow or sheep like the ones we have today.

In the chapter XXIV authored by the Anonymous Conqueror it can be read that throughout Mesoamerica the natives ate human flesh that, the chronicler adds, they liked more than any other food. It is noteworthy that in this occasion the Mexicans did not use chili peppers, only salt: which according to the scholars suggest that they had it as precious delicatessen. Human flesh, which tasted like pig, was not roasted but served as pozole. In Tenochtitlan the bodies were taken to the neighborhoods for consumption. (Likewise, there were human flesh remnants in the markets of Batak in Sumatra before the Dutch conquest.) The one who made the capture during the war was the owner of the body when it reached the bottom steps of the pyramid. The priest’s assistants gave the owner a pumpkin full of warm blood of the victim. With the blood the owner made offerings to the diverse statues. The house of the capturer was the eating-place, but according to the etiquette he could not join the banquet.

I have mentioned the festivities of the month Panquetzaliztli but did not said that, according to Sahagún, in that festivity the Mexicas bought slaves, “washed them up and gave them as gifts to be fed upon, so that their flesh was tasty when they were killed and eaten.” Even the contemporary writers who admire the Mexica world agree with Sahagún. For Duverger, cannibalism should not be disguised as a symbolic part of an ancient ritual: “No! Cannibalism forms part of the Aztec reality and its practice was much more widespread and considerably more natural than what it is sometimes presented.” He adds: “Let us open the codexes: arms and legs emerge from a pitcher placed on fire with curled up Indians who devour, by hand, the arms and legs of a sacrificed victim.”

(A scene of communal cannibalism: Codex Magliabechiano.) When the Tlaxcallans took the dead Tepeacas to the Tlaxcala butcher’s shops after the flight from Tenochtitlan, it is clear that the objective was not ritual cannibalism but the most pragmatic anthropophagy (this shows that Las Casas’s claim mentioned above that anthropophagy was a religious custom is simply untrue). Miguel Botella from the University of Granada explains that Mesoamerican cannibalism had been “like today’s bull fighting, where everything follows a ritual, but once the animal dies it is meat.” Botella points out that the chroniclers’ descriptions have been corroborated by examining more than twenty thousand bone-remains throughout the continent, some of them with unequivocal signs of culinary manipulation. Among the very diverse recipes of the ancient Mexicans, the one that I found most disgusting to imagine was an immense tamale they did with a dead Indian by grinding the remains—after a year of his death and burial!

After the massacre of Cholula the Spaniards liberated the captives from the wooden, cage-like jails that included children fed for consumption. Not even Hugh Thomas denies this. But the politically correct establishment always depicts the massacre of Cholula as one of the meanest acts by the Spaniards. They never mention the cages or how the captives were liberated thanks to the conquerors, sparing them from being eaten by the Cholulans.

However hard the nationalist Mexicans may try to palm this matter off from the school textbooks, and however hard it may seem to imagine it for those of us who were educated to idealize that culture, the ineludible fact is that only thirteen or fourteen generations ago the Mexicans consumed human flesh as part of their food chain.
 
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The objective of the book is to present to the racialist community my philosophy of The Four Words on how to eliminate all unnecessary suffering. If life allows, next time I will reproduce here the section on Aztec childrearing. Those interested in obtaining a copy of Day of Wrath can request it: here.