Quetzalcoatl, the Mesoamerican Feathered Serpent. Quetzal - meaning beauty, Mesoamerican bird of colours, Coatl - meaning wisdom and serpent.
As you know, I loving learning about ancient cultures and I thought I would share some info on Quetzalcoatl. I learnt so much from my awesome teachers Carlos Diaz and Maria Gonzalez last year on The Yoga People Mandala and Shamanic training! This is not my heritage, I learnt everything from my teachers and further study, I encourage you to educate yourself on these beautiful ancient cultures there is so much magic to be realised.
Those of you that have come to online classes with me may have seen this Quetzalcoatl poster in the background, designed by Alex Stillwell and inspired by the writing of Grahama Hancock in Magicians Of The Gods (prints available via his Illustrating History Etsy page. Got my eye on the Tree of Life print next).
Quetzalcoatl is probably the most important symbol, deity or essence in all of the Toltec tradition. Quetzalcoatl is seen not as a god to be revered or prayed to, but rather as a state of being or consciousness. It represents going from serpent (coal), the lower instincts which also reflect the knowledge of the body and earthly wisdom, to the higher understanding and consciousness. (Similarly, we could relate it to Kundalini). Quetzalcoatl is consciousness, the beautiful wisdom Universal Consciousness. The Feathered Serpent can be seen as a metaphor for the powerful and mysterious energy in the body called koyopa or “lightning in the blood” or Prana. Therefore, Quetzalcoatl is the archetype of an unlighted being, who is both human and divine, both present in its body and risen in its spirit. Quetzalcoatl is also the spirit/guardian of the direction east, associated with the element of Wind/Air.
Maria taught us that Mesoamerican’s did not see the serpent as western religions do. They actually saw serpents in everything: the movement of rivers, water flowing, the flickering of a fire, the flowing of wind, earth’s tech-tonic movements, etc. Even in today’s understanding of physical phenomena we can see the wave-like pattern in almost everything, seeing that all creation vibrates in certain frequencies, and as such moves upward and downward similar to a snake. This is what the Toltec sees. All of life has a serpent-like motion. It’s the “backbone” and structure (just like our own vertebra) of life’s energy.
And the quetzal, considered the most beautiful and sacred bird in Mesoamerica, represents that which is pure, colourful and true. It encompasses the knowledge of all flying creatures, the ability to look from above, to see things from other perspectives, to elevate and reach for the light.
Nevertheless, there existed a human being called Quetzalcoatl (several actually), similar to the avatars in the ancient Eastern history, with the difference that they were not gods who became humans, but humans ascended to spiritual realms. Anahuatzin (3000BC) was the founder of the 5th sun, Hueman (35BC) wrote the Teomochtli, Ce Acatl Topiltzin (900AD) was the last and best recored one. He was a human being who (just like Christ and other ascended beings) had to go through different trials and hardships, and even long time in solitude, to harness his spiritual potential. He became a leader, a guide, a king of Tula. There are many tales about his life and teachings.
Also Quetzalcoatl tells the story of the natural world, the cycles of mother earth and how she “changes” skin (autumn), hides underground (winter), grows feathers (spring) and takes flight (summer).
In the Popol Vuh (ancient Mayan book of creation) it’s said that humans DO come from monkeys, therefore being a human is the transition from the animal kingdom to the spiritual/divine realm. Being a human, we have four bodies; The physical one, which requires good food, air, water and strength. The energetic/spiritual one, that feeds out impressions and experiences, knowing which to grasp and which to not take, including sexual ones (sexuality is not prohibited or restrained in ancient cultures, rather, embraced as part of our spiritual nature)> The emotional body, which requires healthy relationships and the mental one that feeds on information and “tonal” knowledge.
Here are some of the teachings of Quetzalcoatl:
Teosentlastla - love for the divine. Adoration not to a figure or person but to life. This way we can reach Tesenmatilistli, mind focused in the spiritual.
Kateikniu’tlani - dining in peace or harmony with all living things.
Amo keketsa - not stopping, not wasting time. Be a Tekiwa or worker. Working is a gift and a social sacrament. This was a principle that socially was referred to as Tekiotl, or community service, in which everyone worked for someone’s needs once a week.
Nikan noshiktli - bing here in my navel, here in my centre. Be always in balance and finding our centre to do everything. Nino Ishikawa means I’ve lost my centre, or become unbalanced by going against myself.
There is, like in other cultures, the belief that Quetzalcoatl will come back. But, he won’t come as a human being, but as a conscious humanity. Quetzalcoatl consciousness is inside all of us.
If you want to learn more a good starting place is the Popol Vuh (ancient Mayan book of creation).