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You conquer with your serpent

Most people consider Teotihuacan to be a day trip, but we found it a pithy move to allow two. In this way, we enjoyed clear, photogenic weather on the second day, and had time to (almost) thoroughly explore the site at our ease. On the second day, we perambulated around the back of the Pyramid of the Moon to explore un-un-earthed pyramids, then to the nearby Jaguar palace that had been blocked by restoration work the previous day. This series of domiciles are named for the frescoes that survive on some walls. It truly is a shame our forebears were so obsessed with frescoes for so much of history; the technique just doesn't preserve well.

Next, we moved south along the Avenue of the Dead to the citadel, with its defensive walls adorned with 15 pyramids, and internal Temple of the Feathered Serpent pyramid devoted to Quetzalcoatl, meso-American plumed snake god. This god was a rising star, beginning as merely a supernatural entity to the Olmecs (another group of guys whose real name is lost), before the folk of Teotihuacan made him a god, after which to the Aztecs he was not chief of the gods, but most important to the people, his ways encoded into every aspect of life. If Cortes hadn't fronted, he might be running the show. However, if one takes the alleged view of Moctezuma that Cortes was in fact Quetzalcoatl, or the king of the same name the myth of the god was somehow folded in with, returning from the east as prophesised, and on floating towers to boot, maybe the snake god is running the show. I had considered making this bloke my personal god (as good as any other made-up sky wizard) until I found out he created the race of men in the fifth world (this one, apparently) by cutting his doodle and flinging the blood on the bones of dudes from the fourth. Fearing what rituals this god might then require, I renounced my faith. As a consolation for not getting my soul, I bought an icon of the head of Quetzalcoatl as it appears on the Teotihuacan pyramid; it doesn't contravene my principles to buy the paraphernalia of some superstitious cult after it becomes academic and anthropological.

The citadel also has, at this time, an active archaeological dig, which is fascinating to watch: all mapped out by plum-lines into squares, with great views afforded from the top of the Adosada platform (it means leaning, apparently) in front of the temple.

Finally, we investigated the site museum, which houses sculptures and burials found on the grounds, along with a large room filled with a scale map of the city during its zenith, that one traverses via an elevated catwalk. This brings the enormity of Teotihuacan into focus.

This lunar cycle

April 2015
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