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Class 13

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  • 1. Class 13 The Americas
  • 2. Quetzalcoatl “snake”), the Feathered Serpent, one of the major deities of the ancient Mexican pantheon. Representations of a feathered snake occur as early as the Teotihuacán civilization (3rd to 8th century ce) on the central plateau. At that time, Quetzalcóatl seems to have been conceived as a vegetation god—an earth and water deity closely associated with the rain god Tlaloc. With the immigration of Nahuaspeaking tribes from the north, Quetzalcóatl’s cult underwent drastic changes. Quetzalcóatl, (from Nahuatl quetzalli, “tail feather of the quetzal bird [Pharomachrus mocinno],” and coatl, The subsequent Toltec culture (9th through 12th centuries), centered at the city of Tula, emphasized war and human sacrifice linked with the worship of heavenly bodies. Quetzalcóatl became the god of the morning and evening star, and his temple was the centre of ceremonial life in Tula. In Aztec times (14th through 16th centuries) Quetzalcóatl was revered as the patron of priests, the inventor of the calendar and of books, and the protector of goldsmiths and other craftsmen; he was also identified with the planet Venus. As the morning and evening star, Quetzalcóatl was the symbol of death and resurrection. With his companion Xolotl, a dog-headed god, he was said to have descended to the underground hell of Mictlan to gather the bones of the ancient dead. Those bones he anointed with his own blood, giving birth to the men who inhabit the present universe.
  • 3. • Tezcatlipoca The legend of the victory of Tezcatlipoca over the Feathered Serpent probably reflects historical fact. The first century of the Toltec civilization was dominated by the Teotihuacán culture, with its inspired ideals of priestly rule and peaceful behavior. The pressure of the northern immigrants brought about a social and religious revolution, with a military ruling class seizing power from the priests. Quetzalcóatl’s defeat symbolized the downfall of the Classic theocracy. His sea voyage to the east should probably be connected with the invasion of Yucatán by the Itzá, a tribe that showed strong Toltec features. Quetzalcóatl’s calendar name was Ce Acatl (One Reed). The belief that he would return from the east in a One Reed year led the Aztec sovereign Montezuma II to regard the Spanish conqueror Hernán Cortés and his comrades as divine envoys, because 1519, the year in which they landed on the Mexican Gulf coast, was a One Reed year. (See alsoAztec calendar.)
  • 4. Coyote In the antics of the Coyote Trickster, people sometimes learn more about their own weaknesses and foolishness. This figure teaches through his mistakes and by being a bad example for the Indians. Through Coyote’s actions, the Native Americans learn to laugh at themselves and their occasional acts of self-deceit. Jill Stefko has this to say about the Coyote Trickster: “He is often fooled and astonished by the outcome of his own pranks. He survives this, then goes onto not learning by his mistakes and makes bigger ones. He denotes both folly and wisdom and the balance of the two. Wisdom is hidden in the foolery. He may have lost the skirmish, but remains unbeaten. Coyote is keeper of magic, teacher and creator... Trickster[s] of Native American tales often gets duped, but he always rebounds and, at some point, even teaches himself lessons he learns from.” However, because he is a Trickster figure, he is not all bad. He brought fire to the Native Americans, but can also cause floods. Coyote is a very chaotic neutral figure, more seen as a force of nature (or maybe a deity) than a particular, mortal person or figure. Coyote is sometimes seen to be a shapeshifter or an opportunist. He is also seen to be cunning and stealthy. “He can represent white and dark magic, creativity, illumination, experience, and new life” (Stefko). Tricksters dissolve boundaries and break taboos. They delight in the ambiguous and in confusion.
  • 5. Raven, The Trickster God There is more to RAVEN than meets the eye. And how many of you have met the eye of a raven? He is known by many tribes under many names. Ravens have always been associated with Godliness. Few people know that the first bird out of NOAH's ark was a raven. It just didn't return. It didn't feel the need. ODIN relies on his two ravens to fly round the world every day and keep him informed. Edgar Allan Poe's raven shrieked 'Nevermore' but what that has to do with anything only Poe knows. In the beginning, RAVEN was first and foremost a Creator and Trickster God — especially of the Haida tribe, who claim he discovered the first humans hiding in a clam shell and brought them berries and salmon. A bit of a tricky God himself, he's also the long-suffering victim of archrival in trickery, COYOTE.
  • 6. Sedna • is the goddess of the sea and marine animals in Inuit mythology, also known as the Mother of the Sea or Mistress of the Sea. The story of Sedna, which is a creation myth, describes how she came to rule over Adlivun, the Inuitunderworld. Generally considered a vengeful goddess, hunters must placate and pray to Sedna to release the sea animals from the oceans depths for their hunt.
  • 7. pp. 609-613 Quetzalcoatl pp. 616-620:The Emergence Presentations Each Group will Present one of the stories using a thorough method of analysis, Bierlin’s Trickster characteristics or Campbell’s hero’s journey pp. 622-624 Lodgeboy and Thrown-away pp. 635-636 Raven and the Sources of Light pp. 638-641 Sedna pp. 644-652 String Caught By A Hair
  • 8. Print up Cupid and Psyche under myths on the website. Read it. Homework Read Classic Fairy Tales: Beauty and the Beast pp. 25 – 42 Urashimathe Fisherman pp. 66 – 68 The Frog Princess pp. 68 – 72 Bluebeard pp. 144 – 148 The Robber Bridegroom pp. 151 - 154