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order, or the same with those who chose the political head of the empire. The high-priests of Mexico were distinguished by a tuft of cotton which hung from their breast; and at the principal feasts they were dressed in splendid habits, upon which were represented the insignia of the God whose feast they celebrated. On solemn festivals, the high-priest of the Mixtecas was clothed in a short coat, on which the principal events of their mythology was represented; above that he had a surplice, and over all a large capuchin; on his head he wore plumes of green feathers, curiously interwoven with small figures of their Gods ; at his shoulder hung one tassel of cotton, and another bung at his arm.
Next to this supreme dignity of the priest-lood, the most respectable charge was that of the Mexicoteohuatzin, which was conferred by the high-priests. The employment of this officer was to attend to the due observance of the rites and ceremonies, and to watch over the conduct of those priests who had the charge of seminaries, and to punish them when guilty of a misdemeanor. In order to enable him to discharge all the duties of so extensive an appointment, he was allowed two curates or deputies, the one named the Huitznahuatechuatzin, the other the Tepaneohuatzin. The Mexicoteohuatzin was the superior-general of all the seminaries; his chief badge of distinction was a little bag of copal, which he always carried along with him.
Four times a day they offered incense to the idols, namely, at day-break, at mid-day, at sun-set, and at mid-night. The last offering was made by the priest whose turn it was to do so, and the most respectable officers of the temple attended at it. To the sun they made daily new offerings, four times during the day, and five times during the night. For incense they generally made use of copal, or some other aromatic gum; but on certain festivals they employed Chapopotli, or Bitumen of Judea. The censers were commonly made of clay; but they had also censers of gold. Every day the priests, or at least some of them dyed their whole bodies with ink made of the foot of tbe Ocotl, which is a species of pine very aromatic, and over the ink they painted themselves with ocre or cinnabar, and every evening they bathed in ponds which were within the inclosure of the temple.
The dress of the Mexican priests was no way different from the dress of the common people, except a black cotton mantle, which they wore in the manner of a veil upon their heads; but
a those who in their monasteries professed a greater austerity of life, went always clothed in black, like the common priests of other nations of the empire. They never shaved, by which
means the hair of many of them grew so long as to reach to their legs. It was twisted with thick cotton cords, and bedaubed with ink, forming a weighty mass not less inconvenient to be carried about with them than disgusting and even horrid to view.
Besides the usual unction with ink another extraordinary and more abominable one was practised every time they went to make sacrifices on the tops of the mountains, or in the dark cayerns of the earth. They took a large quantity of poisonous insects, such as scorpions, spiders, and worms, and sometimes even small serpents, burned them over some stove of the temple, and beat their ashes in a mortar together with the foot of the Ocotl, tobacco, the herb Ololiuhqui, and some live insects. They presented this diabolical mixture in small vessels to thoir gods, and afterwards rubbed their bodies with it. When thus anointed they become fearless to every danger, being persuaded they were rendered incapable of receiving any burt from the most obnoxious reptiles of the earth, or the wildest beasts of the woods. They called it Teopatli, or divine medicament, and imagined it to be a powerful remedy for several disorders; on which account those who were sick, and the young children, went frequently to the priests to be anointed with it. The young lads who were trained up in the seminaries were charged with the collecting of such kind of little animals; and by being accustomed at an early age to that kind of employment, they soon lost the horror which attends the first familiarity with such reptiles. The priests not only made use of this unction, but had
. likewise a ridiculous superstitious habit of blowing with their breath over the sick, and made them drink water which they had blessed after their manner. The priests of the god Ixlilton, were remarkable for this custom.
The priests observed many fasts and great austerity of life; they never were intoxicated with drinking, and seldom ever tasted wine. The priests of Tezcalzoncatl as soon as the daily singing in praise of their god was over, laid a heap of three hundred and three caves on the ground, corresponding to the number of fingers, of which heap only one was bored; every person lifted one, and he who happened to take up
the cane which was bored, was the only person who tasted the wine. All the time that they were employed in the service of the temple, they abstained from all other women but their wives; they even affected so much modesty and reserve, that when they met a woman, they fixed their eyes on the ground that they might not see her. Any incontinence amongst the priests was severely punished. The priest who, at Teohuacan, was convicted of having violated his chastity, was delivered up by the priests to the
people, who at night killed him by the bastinado. In Ichcatlan, the high-priest was obliged to live canstantly within the temple, and to abstain from commerce with any woman whatsoever ; and if he unluckily failed in any of his duties, he was certain of being torn in pieces, and his
bloody limbs were presented as an example to his successor. They poured boiling water on the head of those who, from laziness, did not rise to the nocturnal duties of the temple, or bored their lips and ears, and if they did not correct that, or any other such fault, they were ducked in the lake and banished from the temple during the festival, which was made to the god of water in the sixth month. The priests in general live together in communities, subject to superiors who watched over their conduct.
The office and character of a priest among the Mexicans was not in its nature perpetual. There were certainly some who dedicated their whole lives to the service of the altars; but others engaged in it only for a certain time, to fulfil some vow made by their fathers, or as a particular act of devotion. Nor was the priesthood confined to the male sex, some women being employed in the immediate service of the temples. They offered insense to the idols, tended the sacred fire, swept the area, prepared the daily offering of provisions, and presented it with their bands to the idols; but they were entirely excluded from the office of sacrificing, and the higher dignities of the priesthood. Among the priestesses, some were destined by their parents from their infancy to the service of the temples ; others on account of some particular vow which they had made during sickness, or that they might ensure from their gods a good marriage, or the prosperity of their families, entered upon such offices for one or two years.
The consecration of the first was made in the following manner. As soon as the girl was born, the parents offered her to some god, and informed the rector of that district of it; he gave notice to the Tepanteohuatzin, who, as we have already mentioned, was the superior-general of the seminaries. Two months after they carried her to the temple, and put a small Lroom, and a small censer of clay in her little hands, with a little copal in it, to shew her destination. Every month they repeated the visit to the temple and the offering, together with the bark of some trees for the sacred fire. When the child attained her fifth year, the parents consigned her to the Tepanteohuatzin, who lodged her in a female seminary, where children were instructed in religion, and the proper duties and employments of their sex. The first thing done to those who entered into the service on account of some private vow, was the cutting off their hair. Both the latter and the former lived in great purity of manners, silence, and retirement, under their superiors, without having any communication with men. Some of them rose about two hours before mid-night, others at midnight, and others at day-break, to stir up and keep the fire burning, and to offer iocense to the Idols; and although in this function they assembled with the priests, they were separated from each other, the men forming one wing and the woman another, both under the view of their superiors, who prevented any disorder from happening. Every morning they prepared the offering of provisions which was presented to the idols, and swept the lower area of the temple, and the time which was not accupied in these, or other religious duties, was employed in spinning and weaving beautiful cloths for the dress of the idols, and the decoration of the sanctuaries. Nothing was more zealously attended to than the chastity of these virgins. Any trespass of this nature was unpardonable ; if it remained an entire secret, the female culprit endeavoured to appease the anger of the gods by fasting and austerity of life ; for she dreaded that in punishment of her crime her flesh would rot. When a virgin destined from her infancy to the worship of the gods arrived at the age of sixteen or eighteen, at which years they were usually married, her parents sought sor a husband to her and after they found one, presented to the Tepanteohuatzin a certain number of quails in plates curiously varnished, and a certain quantity of copal, of flowers and provisions, accompanied with a studied address, in which they thanked him for the care and attention he had shewn in the education of their daughter, and demanded his permission to settle her in marriage. The Tepanteohuatzin granted the request, in a reply to the address, exhorting his pupil to a perseverance in virtue, and the fulfilment of all the duties of the married state.
Amongst the different orders or congregations, both of meu and women, who dedicated themselves to the worship of some particular gods, that of Quetzalcoatl is worthy to be mentioned. The life led in the colleges or monasteries of either sex, which were devoted to this imaginary god, was uncommonly rigid and austere. The dress of the order was extremely decent ; they bathed regularly at mid-night, and watched until about two hours before day, singing hymns to their god, and observing many rules of an austere life They were at liberty to go to the mountains at any hour of the day or night, to spill their blood; this was pernitted them from a respect to the virtue which they were all thought to possess. The superiors of the monasteries bore also the name of Quetzalcoatl, and were persons of such high authority, that they visited none but the king when it was necessary. The members of this religious order were destined to it from their infance. The parents of the child invited the superior to an entertainment, who usually deputed one of his subjects, The deputy brought the child to him, upon which he took the boy in his arms, and offered him with a prayer to Quetzalcoatl, and put a collar about his neck, which was to be worn until he was seven years old. When the boy completed his second year, the superior made a small incision in his
breast, which, like the collar, was another mark of his destination. As soon as the boy attained his seventh year, he entered the monastery, having first heard a long discourse from his parents, in which they advertised him of the vow which they had made to Quetzacoatl, and exhorted him to fulfil it, to behave well, to submit himself to his prelate, and to pray to the gods for his parents and the whole nation. This order was called Tlamacazcajotl, and the members of it Tlamaeazque...
Another order which was called Telpochtliztli, or the youths, on account of its being composed of youths and boys was consecrated to Tezcatlipoca. This was also a destination from infaucy, attended with almost the same ceremonies as that of Quetzalcoatl ; liowever, they did not live together in one community, but each individual had his own home. In every district of the city they had a superior, who governed them, and a house where they assembled at sun-set to dance and sing the praises of their god. Both sexes met at this dance, but without committing the smallest disorder, owing to the vigilance of the superiors, and the rigour with which all misdemeanors were punished.
Among the Totonacas was an order of monks devoted to their goddess Centeoil. They lived in great retirement and austerity, and their life, excepting their superstition and vanity, was perfectly unimpeachable. None but men above sixty years of age who were widowers, estranged from all commerce with women, and of virtuous life, were admitted into this monastery Their number was fixed, and when any one died another was received in his stead. These monks were so much esteemed, that they were not only consulted by the common people, but likewise by the first nobility and the high-priest. They listened to consultations sitting upon their heels, with their eyes fixed upon the ground, and their answers/were received like oracles. even by the kings of Mexico. They were employed in making historical paintings, which they gave to the high-priest that he might exhibit them to the people.
But the most important duty of the priesthood, and the chief ceremony of the religion of the Mexicans .consisted in the sacrifices which they made occasionally to obtain any favour from. heaven, or in gratitude for those favours which they had already received. This is a subject which we would willingly pass