collapse

* "Unable to verify referring url. Please go back and try again" Problem Logging In?

If you get an "Unable to verify referring url. Please go back and try again" error when you try to log in, you need to be sure you are accessing the board with a url that starts with "https://ecauldron.com".  If it starts with https://www.ecauldron.com" (or "http://www.ecauldron.com") you will get this error because "www.ecauldron.com" is not technically the same website as "ecauldron.com". Moving to the more secure "https" means it is more picky about such things.

Author Topic: Ritual Schedule for the Lone Mexica  (Read 518 times)

Yei

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: May 2012
  • *
  • Posts: 550
  • Country: au
  • Total likes: 137
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Mexica Reconstructionism
  • Preferred Pronouns: He/Him/His
Ritual Schedule for the Lone Mexica
« on: June 19, 2019, 10:16:24 pm »
Ritual Schedule for the Lone Mexica


Introduction:


One of the most challenging, and ironic, part of my current practice, is that I follow a communal religion, but I have to worship individually. This makes keeping a ritual schedule very difficult, and it is easy to forget important festival dates. To further complicate matters, it is quite a challenge to even know how to go about celebrating a ritual that is supposed to involve feasting, dancing, and other group activities. In response, I have decided to do a study of the major Nahua festival days and distil their core elements into something an individual or small group can manage. Hopefully, I will make these ritual accessible to people while retaining their core identities. Nevertheless, I wanted to share some of my ideas with the community here to see if any improvements can be made, and to gain some feedback from other solo practitioners, who are already experienced in these matters.


Ritual Basics:


Before I pick a ceremony to recreate, I want to examine the basic elements of a ritual and understand how they can be used and adapted for modern small group worship. In ‘Religions of Mesoamerica,’ Davíd Carrasco identifies three core ritual elements of Mesoamerican religion: Worldmaking, Worldcentering, and Worldrenewing. These are difficult concepts to explain succinctly, especially without reference to Mesoamerican theology. However, to put it shortly, Worldmaking refers to a concept of how the cosmos (including the Earth) was organized by supernatural forces, Worldcentering to the places of worship (temples and sacred sites) and those centres were to be maintained by specialists who managed the supernatural forces (priests or lords). The last one, Worldrenewing, referred to the purpose of the ritual. This was to recreate and reorder the cosmos, thus ensuring continued fertility/prosperity.


To this list I would like to add two of my own: Mythic Recreation. Most rituals, in one form or another, were a symbolic recreation of a primal myth. The New Fire Ceremony is a good example of this, as it was intended to recreate the birth of the 5th sun. The second one is Performance and Participation. This is relatively simple. Rituals were essentially performances (including actual performances), and people could participate in them. So, they were active events. Of course, the concept that underpinned all of this was Nextlahualli, which means debt-payment. The idea is that life and the earth were given to humanity as a gift from the gods (at great cost), and that humans had to repay that debt with offerings and rituals. All these elements combine to give Mesoamerican religions their unique character.


What does this mean in practise? To be honest, many of these values are timeless, and really serve as principles to ensure a modern ritual is functioning the correct way. For example, Worldcentering would dictate that each ritual should occur in a set sacred space, and be led by a priest. This isn’t surprising, most modern polytheists have altars and a few even have priests. The hard part is Performance and Participation. Obviously, being an individual would make participating in a collective event quite difficult. I mean, you could dance in front of an altar, but I don’t think it would have quite the same effect. Therefore, this element will have to be carefully adapted on a case by case basis.


So now that we have the plan, let’s pick a ritual. I have decided on:


Tozoztontli – Lesser Perforation


This is one of the lesser known Nahua festivals. It likely began on April 4th, which was also the main feast day, and continued until April 23rd. This festival was dedicated to earth deities, in particular Coatlicue. Let’s begin with a recap.


According to Sahagún, this festival had several key elements. Following on from Tlacaxipehualiztli, flowers were offered at the Temple of Yopico, after which the people feasted on tamales of wild amaranth seeds. This was also an opportunity to clean-up after the previous ritual. The decaying remains of the left-over human skins were left to decay at Yopico, while the priests washed themselves. Incense was then carried through the temple with incense ladles, partly to honour the gods, and partly to remove the smell. This incense was presented to the four directions and to the sky. Older people were permitted to drink heavily, and there was singing at the temples.


Diego Durán adds that people went out to plant certain early-harvest crops on their fields. This was accompanied by several rituals that occurred within the fields and surrounding forests. Usually, this took the form of effigies, or cotton figures (paper figures in modern Mexico), which were hung from trees. Farmers then purified their fields with incense as well as rubber, food, pulque, and of course, flowers. He also adds that there was a general fast until midday, after which there was feasting among the populace.


They not a highly detailed descriptions, compared to some other rituals. Its not a particularly complex ceremony either. But that can be an advantage as we can focus on a few key elements which we can use for adaptation. The first step is to find a location (Worldcentering). In the original ritual, Yopico was the focus. However, that was for the imperial ceremony. Citizens celebrated in their fields, and we can do the same. The performance element of the ritual is the feasting on tamales, the presentation of incense to the four directions, and the creation of paper effigies. Rubber, food, flowers, and pulque serve as the material for debt-payment.


So, what would a modern variation of this ritual look like? It would begin with the creation of paper effigies, cut in the vague shape people (I believe that Alan Sandstrom’s Corn is Our Blood has some examples). This could be done before the ritual day, or even on the morning. The historical records were unclear about exactly what time, but we can get some idea of the order. Durán explicitly states that the main feast happened at midday, before which the people fasted (tortillas and water was permitted). The putting up on effigies seemed to happen before this, followed immediately by offerings. The waving of incense to the four directions probably happened at this time. I’m guessing that the feast continued with drinking, dancing, and singing late into the night. These are all activities that can be done either alone, or in a small group, thus allowing a reconstructionist to participate in structured worship.


There is one other element, bloodletting. The name of the ceremony refers to the bloodletting of children under 12 years old. Since none here should be under 18, and the bloodletting occurred within a society prepared to deal with it, this part of the ritual probably should be skipped. Although, blood offerings can be included as part of the offerings, as a substitute.


Concluding Thoughts:


I plan to transform this brief analysis into a kind of recipe card for a ritual. Something easy to follow and perform. In turn, I would like to do this for several rituals, maybe even all of them. This way, I plan to create a ritual book that can be used for small scale celebrations by individual practitioners. In the meantime, I’d welcome any thoughts, feedback, and suggestions.

Yei

SunflowerP

  • Host
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Calgary AB
  • Posts: 8312
  • Country: ca
  • Total likes: 266
  • Don't teach your grandmother to suck eggs!
    • View Profile
    • If You Ain't Makin' Waves, You Ain't Kickin' Hard Enough
  • Religion: Eclectic religious Witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: sie/hir/hirs/hirself
Re: Ritual Schedule for the Lone Mexica
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2019, 11:21:08 am »
In the meantime, I’d welcome any thoughts, feedback, and suggestions.

I enjoyed reading it (I like observing how others hack - in the original, positive sense - ritual systems); of the top of my head I only have one remark:

The hard part is Performance and Participation. Obviously, being an individual would make participating in a collective event quite difficult.

Or from a different angle - in solitary ritual, 'every'one present is necessarily participating to the fullest that ritual allows. That might seem like just playing word games, except that IME it's the thing that keeps many solitaries at the 'novice' level, not even really solitary practitioners, sometimes for years: the thought of being the person leading the ritual and taking all ritual roles, providing all the expertise, is daunting and even terrifying, even if there's no one else there (except the deities, perhaps) to see if they flub up.

That doesn't sound like it's an issue you'll have (though the work you're doing with this will likely be very helpful to any solitary Mexica practitioners who do have it), but the concept does perhaps give a different perspective to 'solitary participation'.

If I think of anything else, I'll post again - I have quite a bit of experience with hacking ritual systems for solitary or small-group use, though since it's almost entirely with hacking the WMT, I can't be sure how much, if any, will apply to what you're doing.

Sunflower
I'm the AntiFa genderqueer commie eclectic wiccan Mod your alt-right bros warned you about.
I do so have a life; I just live part of it online!
“Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.” - Oscar Wilde
"Nobody's good at anything until they practice." - Brina (Yewberry)
My much-neglected blog "If You Ain't Makin' Waves, You Ain't Kickin' Hard Enough"

Yei

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: May 2012
  • *
  • Posts: 550
  • Country: au
  • Total likes: 137
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Mexica Reconstructionism
  • Preferred Pronouns: He/Him/His
Re: Ritual Schedule for the Lone Mexica
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2019, 12:21:39 am »
Or from a different angle - in solitary ritual, 'every'one present is necessarily participating to the fullest that ritual allows. That might seem like just playing word games, except that IME it's the thing that keeps many solitaries at the 'novice' level, not even really solitary practitioners, sometimes for years: the thought of being the person leading the ritual and taking all ritual roles, providing all the expertise, is daunting and even terrifying, even if there's no one else there (except the deities, perhaps) to see if they flub up.


That's actually a really good point. Do you mind if I make a note of it in my document?

In the meantime I'm going to write a 'ritual card' to follow.

Thanks Sunflower!

SunflowerP

  • Host
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Calgary AB
  • Posts: 8312
  • Country: ca
  • Total likes: 266
  • Don't teach your grandmother to suck eggs!
    • View Profile
    • If You Ain't Makin' Waves, You Ain't Kickin' Hard Enough
  • Religion: Eclectic religious Witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: sie/hir/hirs/hirself
Re: Ritual Schedule for the Lone Mexica
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2019, 05:54:44 pm »
That's actually a really good point. Do you mind if I make a note of it in my document?

In the meantime I'm going to write a 'ritual card' to follow.

Thanks Sunflower!

You're welcome, and feel free to make use of it!

Sunflower
I'm the AntiFa genderqueer commie eclectic wiccan Mod your alt-right bros warned you about.
I do so have a life; I just live part of it online!
“Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.” - Oscar Wilde
"Nobody's good at anything until they practice." - Brina (Yewberry)
My much-neglected blog "If You Ain't Makin' Waves, You Ain't Kickin' Hard Enough"

Tags:
 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
Cill Shift Schedule

Started by Juni « 1 2 ... 35 36 » Cauldron Cill

525 Replies
43385 Views
Last post November 28, 2019, 04:19:15 pm
by SunflowerP
15 Replies
2201 Views
Last post October 18, 2011, 08:44:25 am
by Asch
2 Replies
1263 Views
Last post July 17, 2012, 02:25:31 pm
by Maps
25 Replies
3898 Views
Last post January 06, 2013, 01:04:05 pm
by Jack
8 Replies
658 Views
Last post October 01, 2018, 03:21:28 pm
by PerditaPickle

* Who's Online

  • Dot Guests: 43
  • Dot Hidden: 0
  • Dot Users: 0

There aren't any users online.

* Please Donate!

The Cauldron's server is expensive and requires monthly payments. Please become a Bronze, Silver or Gold Donor if you can. Donations are needed every month. Without member support, we can't afford the server.

* In Memoriam

Chavi (2006)
Elspeth (2010)
Marilyn (2013)

* Cauldron Staff

Host:
Sunflower

Message Board Staff
Board Coordinator:
Darkhawk

Assistant Board Coordinator:
Aster Breo

Senior Staff:
Aisling, Jenett, Sefiru

Staff:
Allaya, Chatelaine, EclecticWheel, HarpingHawke, Kylara, PerditaPickle, rocquelaire

Discord Chat Staff
Chat Coordinator:
Morag

Cauldron Council:
Bob, Catja, Emma-Eldritch, Fausta, Jubes, Kelly, LyricFox, Phouka, Sperran, Star, Steve, Tana

Site Administrator:
Randall