Imagens da página

point in the middle,—it conveys always a mystical significance of deep import, and reveals Votan as a true adept, because seven predominates likewise in astronomy, magic, and science.

The serpent-hole mentioned by Votan is not a fanciful expression, but refers to the crypts known to exist even now, under the palaces and temples of the ruined cities of Mexico and Central America, and there are also found under the decaying monuments of Troy and Egypt, those subterranean habitats which belonged exclusively to the different brotherhoods of the serpents of wisdom.

When-Votan returned from his long peregrinations to his adopted land, he met with powerful invaders who had intruded upon his conquests. They were called Tzequils, or men who wear women's skirts, and they had usurped his authority, creating an opposing power of their own in his states. Votan settled all difficulties with the utmost wisdom, and divided the monarchy into four kingdoms, of which he gave one to those strangers whom he presented also with the beautiful city of Tulha which he had founded, and which became their capital. Its ruins are still to be seen in the state of Chiapas.

The astronomical religion founded by the great Quiche legislator is repeatedly illustrated in the few sentences containing the acts of his life, and in the mysteries he instituted. It is well known that the sanctum sanctorum, the adytum of the ancients was a quaternary, emblematic of Life, and facing the four cardinal points. It was enclosed on three sides by walls leaving, on the fourth side, an aperture overhung by a curtain that hid from the worshiping multitude the holy of holies. In order to comprehend fully the allusion found in the narrative, relative to the Tzequils, we must remember that the ancient Chaldean priests officiated always in women's garments, the male, dressed as a female, being in this case a phallic glyph,and thus it becomes obvious that this passage of Votan's book must refer to an exoteric system of worship established by strangers, to whom he gave one kingdom, while keeping three for himself. That is to say, he remained in possession of Spiritual Light, emphasized in the triangle, and the knowledge of an Archetypal World.

His four journeys refer also to the great mysteries of his initiation, when after the inost cruel trials, he emerged from the dark crypts in which he had been confined, and appeared as the Sun-god, a symbol of resurrection recognized by almost every ancient nation.

Votan's book is so coördinated that the later part of it confirms the former. Thus, for example, it is stated that Votan, having founded the city of Nachan, or of the Serpents (identified with Palenque by some writers), connected it with Tusha by means of a subterranean passageway of extremne length. He had it bored under the mountain that divides the valleys in which the two cities, (now relics of the past,) were situated. The native chronicler makes an especial mention of this underground passage-way, remarking that “ Votan had it bored in memory of the one into which he was admitted as a Serpent-Son, in order to reach the root of Heaven.” It implies evidently that a subterranean crypt existed somewhere in the valley, in a retired nook far from the intrusion of profane eyes, and that its secrets were known only to Votan and his disciples.

One of the latest and best proofs that the whole history of the great Quiche master rests upon a solid basis of truth, but must be interpreted

esoterically, lies in the following assertion from the pen of Nuñez de la Vega, archbishop of Chiapas : “ Votan erected a temple in one breath.” Here the illustrious writer expresses his own opinion that it was done in a very short time, forgetting, undoubtedly, that the name of the first god in the Quiche calendar is Ikor,— breath-synonymous with spirit. It is simply an illustration of the superior occult powers possessed by the Serpent of Wisdom, Votan.

The archbishop continues his narrative as follows : “This wonderful sacred building was situated on the shores of the Huehuetan River in Soconusco, and commanded a magnificent view of the Pacific Ocean. It was intended for secret purposes, for it was dug under-ground and contained such long dark halls and labyrinths, that it was known by the name of the

Dark House.' Thither the great adept brought the sacred animals called tapirs, and deposited them in the water of the river, where they multiplied rapidly, and are still found in large numbers.

"In the dark recesses of the temple he concealed a large treasure, and also the archives of the nation he had civilized. He established also a sacred college of old men who were under the direct command and orders of a high priestess, and to them he entrusted the care of the Holy Temple."

The archbishop accompanied by many priests went to the Dark House” in 1691, as he relates himself in an authentic document; and he ordered the priestess and the old guardians of the sacred precincts to deliver to him everything that had been committed to their care. The treasure consisted only of a few large urns of pottery which were empty and, in one of the halls, they found the statues of the gods and heroes who presided over the days of the month. Among the latter was a statue of exceedingly hard green stone which they recognized as Votan’s. The priests, believing that everything they perceived was the devil's work, hurriedly obliged the helpless guardians of the precious relics to drag from their mysterious abodes the last of the sacred remnants of their ancestor's religion. The manuscripts were burned publicly, and the statues destroyed. The archbishop adds that the guardians and the priestess helped him in his iconoclastic work, but his last words are very significant; “ Those Indians still hold in great veneration that Votan whom they call the People's Heart!”

In the deserts of the still independent tribes of the Lacandons is a high mountain called Excuruchan. It was on the top of that mountain that Votan used to sacrifice to the Sun, and his descendants continued to perform the same rites, on the same spot, from generation to generation. Even to the present day, no native would pass by without ascending to the top of Excuruchan, in order to burn a few grains of copal, in remembrance of the glorious "People's Heart."

Votan was known among the Tzendals as the “ Lord of the Sacred Tunkul.” The same archbishop Nuñez de la Vega says in his memoirs : “ They call him · Lord of the hollow stick or tepanaguaste.'' Whatever the original name of this odd instrument may have been, it is but just to state that the Catholic priests appropriated it for their own religious ceremonies. They invented even a Spanish name for it, marimba, because the word “tunkul” originated in a sacred dance which was a part of the mysteries instituted by Votan at Huehuetan, and is derived from the Quiche “ Xahoh-Tun,” or the “ Ballet of the Sacred Sayi” (Tapirs). The famous ruins of the magnificent city of Zayi testify to the present day to

the mystic importance attached to sacred animals (particularly amphibious ones on account of their dual nature), by every civilized nation of antiquity, or, it is at least one more testimony added to the many we have already gleaned. That the Quiche legislator adopted the then universal symbological myths, is graphically illustrated in the ballet itself, which is still performed on certain special occasions. It is executed in a pompous and solemn style by a number of venerable men, who turn in a circle around a musician seated in the centre thereof. Every old man who takes part in the performance holds a green palm in his hand, and bows from time to time very respectfully to the musician who plays upon the tunkul in a measured cadence, and with such a demeanor as to recall to the memory of the audience the stately and majestic appearance of the “ Lord of the Sacred Tunkul,” who used to play upon the sadly sonorous instrument during the allegorical ballet.

A few years ago a learned French author, who saw the Indians dancing the “ Baile del Tun,” asked the descendant of a noble Quiche family, who was also present at the ceremony, to dictate to him the words and music of the ancient ballet. To his amazement he found it to be an historical drama, describing the rivalry existing ages ago between two princely native families. He was enthusiastic over his discovery, because it contained very interesting details concerning the mode of living at the time when the drama was written. It is probable that the words were unly a “blind,”—an allegory of two antagonistic forces,—of the eternal feud existing between Heaven and Earth, Spirit and Matter, Attraction and Repulsion, or Good and Evil.

Here we are forced to make a necessary digression, for many writers have gone so far as to assign to Votan's advent in Central America a rather fanciful chronology, of course diversified, varying from the Tower of Babel to nascent Rome, and even Spain, but still not ludicrous enough for certain compilers to refrain from repeating such erroneous assertions as possibilities.

The Quiche manuscripts mention a very important fact, namely, that “Votan brought the first tapirs (perissodactyle) to the Huehuetan River where they multiplied rapidly, and where they are still to be found in large numbers.” Now, during the miocene period, tapirs were widely distributed. Remains indistinguishable generically and specifically, have been found to extend even to France, Germany and England, though, before the pleistocene period they seem to have become extinct in Europe. At present tapirs still abound in two widely separated regions of the earth, namely in Malaysia and in America, but in no intervening places. Another very strange fact to observe is that those closely allied animals have not undergone any amount of variation in forms during such an enormous period; and while, since the miocene period, all other mammalian forms (including horses and rhinoceri which belong to the same group as the tapirs) which existed, have either become extinct, or undergone extensive modifications, tapirs have remained practically unchanged. It is then very plausible to conclude that Votan's arrival in Central America could be easily traced back to some remote epoch corresponding to the great cataclysm that changed the face of the earth, and swallowed up a continent which must have extended from Oceanica to certain parts of America, say Yucatan, to which Votan imported the tapirs from his Atlantean home.

It becomes obvious that a dance purporting to convey to the audience

the habits of a solitary, nocturnal, shy and inoffensive mammalian, should have been rendered by venerable men, as being best suited to illustrate the characteristics of the tapir. The green palms held in their hands being the food of the tapirs, who live on various vegetables, buds, leaves, etc., made the scene still more appropriate ; but the “Lord of the Sacred Tunkul” personified the musician only to emphasize the lofty truths embodied in the mystic ballet of the tapirs.

The Tapir in archaic symbology, represents the great abyss of water, space, or chaos. It is a stellar emblem, represented by Ursa Major. Under a mystical aspect, however, it becomes linked with the South, and is synonymous with Fire, Breath, or Ik, the second god of the Quiche calendar. It was one of the great symbols of the two truths, or dual principle, especially found in the relics of prehistoric races. Whether represented by the tapirs among the Quiches, or the hippopotami among the Egyptians, the glyph is the same, and conveys a meaning of deep import.

The palm-tree of the primeval world was the immediate precursor of man on earth, because it was in this shape that nature first gave the maternal milk to man; but, in the hands of the venerable ancients forming the circle, the palm indicates a new period of manifestation of matter, after a destructive cataclysm. If we consider it as an intelligencer to men, we find it in the Hebrew Genesis, underlying the myth of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Thus Votan embodied the loftiest conceptions in his esoteric teachings: as a serpent, he portrayed the circle of life and eternity, and, when seated in the centre thereof, he imaged the Celestial Sun, Imos, his father, and became a hero and a beneficial deity.


“Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.
“ In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced, nor cried aloud,
Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years

Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
“ It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the master of

I am the captain of my soul !


“God helps those who help themselves.” It is a cardinal fallacy to replace endeavor by faith. Let your faith be, not that an overruling Providence will dower the sluggard, however trusting he may be, but rather that somewhere, sometime, and in His own all-wise manner, the loving Father will suitably reward the efforts of his children.




Part First. The word beauty belongs to that very large class of words whose definitions give but the faintest reflex of the things defined. Its nature must be studied with reverent care, and apprehended with the heart, rather than dissected by the head, before its influence is recognized, or itself revealed.

Beauty is unveiled in mysterious places, it speaks with many voices, its teaching is manifold, yet subtle; simple, yet complex ;—and at its command the deeps in man are moved. Its essence is perceived by few. It is true that amongst the myriad forms of which beauty is the creative law, each nature will find some one embodiment answering its needs, even though it may heed nothing but the delight, and may remain unconscious of the soul-aspiration, and soul-satisfaction that have caused its joy. Each human being may come face to face with at least one individualized expression of beauty, and feel that the eyes have a smile in them meant for him, the hands a blessing for which he may bow his head, and the lips a message that he alɔne is to hear.

And yet it is true, in a deeper sense, that the most radiant visions are reserved for the ardent disciple who has prepared himself to see them; that the many-sided revelations are given to the student who has learned the conditions for their reception; that the sun-bursts of perfection smite the eyes of the seer who has kept watch alone upon the mountaintop, who has searched the storm-rent cloud, and cried amen to the proclamation of the thunderbolt, and who, amidst it all, has seen and worshiped the awful unity of beauty.

For in its essence beauty is one and indivisible. The mystic totality contains all the hints and gleams and partial revealments in which it gives itself to the world, through the beauty of sunset and moon-swept skies; through the silvered shimmer of the mountain, and the valleys of “living green;" through the rushing jewels of earth's water-ways; through the snow and emerald and sapphire of the sea; through the fair flesh and shining eyes of man and woman; and through the interpretation of all these by brush and chisel, by tongue and tone and pen.

This unity of beauty in variety of revelation is a truth which should be realized, for it accounts for the sometimes surprising result which awaits even the student whose aim is to extricate the primitive art-type from the multitude of derivitive forms. Apparent diversity, eventuating in resemblance, is as true of the creations of the art-world, as it is of the creatures upon the physical earth ; and so again is taught the lesson of the Omnipresent Unity, whose will is the source of the universe, and whose breath inspires it.

The moral causes which underlie the manifestations of beauty are clearly traceable, but the ethics of this subject, its import, and the influence which the earnest study of so mighty a matter must inevitably

the development of human nature, are seemingly confounded in the minds of some recent beauty-worshipers, with what is, in reality, upon a much lower level. Æsthetics bears the same relation to the ethics of beauty, as the missing link will bear to the human being when the fervent searching of the naturalists shall have been rewarded. The foundation of the senses is present in both, and also the nascent mental aptitudes

assert upon

« AnteriorContinuar »