Tepoztecatl: Archaeology, Sources and Paintings

The archaeological evidence of Tepoztécatl, mention in the Spanish sources, presence in colonial documents of indigenous origin as well as its relationship with the rest of the pulque deities.

Tepoztecatl: Archaeology, Sources and Paintings
Fragment of Tepoztécatl stela. Credit: INAH

In the same way that the sanctuary of the God Teoztécatl dominates the entire valley of Tepoztlán from its rocky outcrop, Tepoztécatl, the ancient patron god of the Tepoztecans, is a living and acting presence for the original inhabitants of this town. In spite of the strong attempts carried out by the Dominican friars and the secular clergy from the XVI century until today, to make the Tepoztecans forget their patron God, his presence is a constant.

Its presence in the speeches of the settlers is reiterated, the candidates to Municipal President go up at the beginning of their political campaigns with the purpose that the Tepozteco favors them in the elections. Whether it is a resistance to government policies, environmental conservation, children's education, any event can be a reason for Tepoztécatl to be named and be present.

Perhaps the most evident moment of the presence of this pre-Hispanic deity in the community life of this town is during the main festivity, on September 7 and 8, where "Nuestra Señora de la Natividad" is officially celebrated, however, the preamble of her festivity is the representation of the "Reto al Tepozteco" (Challenge to Tepozteco), the preamble of her festivity is the representation of the "Reto al Tepozteco", representation that consists of the baptism of Tepoztécatl, no longer God, but king of Tepoztlán, and that later is challenged by the lords of Cuauhnáhuac, Oaxtepec, Yautepec and Tlayacapan, who reproach him for his renunciation to the religion of his ancestors.

Tepoztécatl through his power and strong arguments manages to convince the lords of the error of remaining in the old religion, and ends up converting all these lords to Christianity. In the present writing, we will concentrate on the existing evidence of this important God, we will leave for other articles, the importance of the festivity of Our Lady of the Nativity, and its concordance with the pre Hispanic festivity of Tepeíhuitl, main festivity that involves all the deities of pulque, and relates them with the cult of Tláloc.

His function as Patron God of Tepoztlán, the analysis of the myth that initially supported his function as Patron God, and the additions made by the friars with the purpose of converting the Tepoztecs, and finally the characteristics of this deity as Man-God in Tepoztlán will be established, and how this institution has caused multiple confusions. In this way, the archaeological evidence of this divinity, its mention in the main Spanish sources, its presence in two colonial documents of indigenous origin as well as its relationship with the rest of the deities of pulque will be briefly discussed. The following is the archaeological evidence of Tepoztécatl.

The Temple of Tepoztécatl and its sidewalk

Undoubtedly, the pyramidal structure located on the hill of Tlahuiltépetl "hill that illuminates" is for the people of Tepoztlán the clearest evidence of the existence of their patron god, as well as the cult that was professed, however, why the temple located in the rocks would not be dedicated to Tláloc, like many other similar shrines, or why not to the lighting of the new fire, as is the temple located in Iztapalapa?

Although we cannot absolutely rule out that the cult of the god Tepoztécatl is associated with the cult of Tláloc, which is particularly evident in the feast of Tepeíhuitl, nor can we rule out that the new fire ceremony for the inhabitants of Tepoztlán took place on that base, the sidewalk of the temple of Tepoztécatl allows us to establish without a doubt the cult that was performed to this deity in the temple. Currently, four reliefs are preserved that leave no doubt about the cult to Tepoztécatl, inside the temple, and in the drawings made by Edward Seler, one more relief is preserved, now lost.

Of the reliefs that are preserved and that evidently are part of the cult to Tepoztecatl, the first one is located in the southeast corner of the east wall of the sidewalk, inside the temple chamber. It is the relief of a shield. The relief is composed of two panels that are forming the shield of the god Tepoztécatl, as can be seen in both the Tudela codex and the Magliabechi codex.

It is representing a rectangular shield. In the field of the shield, a "U" shaped element is observed. This central element represents at the same time, a pot, a bone and more important, the body of the moon. The ancient inhabitants considered the moon to be a pot filled with water and the bone of a hip, the place where a rabbit lived. The moon and the rabbit are closely associated with pulque, since they were all associated with the color white.

It is for this reason that the pulque gods carry the lunar nose on the nose and on the shield. In the lower part of the external rectangle there are two rows of feathers that decorate the shield. Behind the shield is the representation of four arrows or arrows, which indicate the condition of the God as a warrior. In the high part of the shield, it is possible to perceive a pennant finished off with long feathers, as it is in the representation of the codices.

The second sign associated with the god Tepoztécatl is to the right of the shield and, as in the previous case, occupies two stone panels. In this case, it is the first representation of the axe of the god that appears on the bench. The handle of the tool is decorated with four paper bows forming a single arrangement. In the upper part there is a stone that crosses the handle and that is the edge of the axe. This tool is carried by the Gods of Pulque and is part of Tepoztécatl's attire. Above and below the axe, there are two scrolls that surround the axe, blood that is dragging the axe towards the center of the sidewalk.

The next sign associated with the God Tepoztecatl, is a second axe, which is found in the northeast corner of the east wall of the temple chamber, there, once again, it is a flint axe. On the tip of the handle, there is a starry eye. The handle is also decorated with a quadruple bow from which two tassels hang. As in the previous case, it is the axe carried by the god Tepoztecatl. Behind the axe there are at least four jets of blood that are pushing this element.

The last element that is preserved in the sidewalk is a third axe, this one appears in the part of the sidewalk that is outside the chamber. According to Seler's drawing, as in the previous cases, the sign was on two panels, of which only one is preserved. In this case, it is clearly observed how the blade is made by a flint. The head of the tool is very wide and is topped by a stellar eye. As in the previous cases, it is decorated by a paper ornament with four bows and a scallop at the end. Behind this sign, there are three jets of blood and smoke in the lower right corner.

The fifth sign associated with the cult of the god Tepoztécatl has been lost, however, in the drawings made by Edward Seler a sign in the shape of a pulque pot decorated with butterfly wings can be observed. It is a pot, filled with pulque, like the ones mentioned in the Magliabechi codex for the rituals performed in honor of the pulque god.

Although the regular consumption of pulque was restricted to the elderly and some nobles, on that day most people were allowed to drink it. It was placed in large pots decorated with the lunar nose, and many reeds were placed for people to sip it. In the case of the relief, the pot has a circular body, while the rim is shown as the part that protrudes from the circle, above it, the waves of pulque, which overflows from the pot, are observed.

The motif at the center of the circle is once again the lunar nose ring associated with the god Tepoztécatl. The handles are very large and elaborate, emulating the wings of a butterfly. Finally, it has three supports that end in eyes, like those that were made to represent the stars. Behind the pot, some scrolls can be seen in the register.

In such a way, the sidewalk that decorated the Temple, allows to establish an association between the God Tepoztécatl and his elements of power, in this case: his shield, his axes, the lunar nose ring and the pulque pot. If we also have the strong certainty that we have in the narratives of the current inhabitants of Tepoztlán, as well as the written references of the sixteenth century, we can conclude without a doubt that the temple was a central place for the worship of the God, and most likely in this place was both his effigy and his sacred bulge, fundamental elements of the Mesoamerican cult.

The Stela of Tepoztécatl

In the Postclassic room of the Cuauhnáhuac Regional Museum, a small fragment of a stela, found by Mr. Gaudencio Vicente Gómez in the 1970s, is on display. The stela fragment has reliefs on at least three of its faces. Unfortunately it is so small that only parts of the reliefs are preserved and it is not possible to establish with absolute certainty which gods are found on the stela.

The first face shows the left profile of a character, mainly the head, the headdress, the shoulder and part of the left arm. From bottom to top, the pupil is observed. Above the forehead there is also the hair. Above the hair, the headdress is very elaborate, and is composed of a diadem with 6 bands.

At the upper and lower ends hang eight beads, four at the top and four at the bottom. The diadem is held by a knot made of the same material as the band, most likely paper, and was folded as if it were a fan. Above this diadem is a headdress of 11 short feathers.

If we listen to the Codex Magliabechi, once again, these short feathers were most likely white. Above this first level of feathers, a second band of paper or cloth was placed, composed of 3 strips of a material similar to that of the headband. Above this band, there is a row of 16 small feathers, on which 15 long feathers emerge.

Again, according to the Codex Magliabechi, these long feathers were also of green color, and therefore, of Quetzal. Above all these elements, there are at least seven Maguey stalks, which are sprouting from the highest part of the headdress.

Based on all this information, it is not possible to determine unequivocally whether it is the God Tepoztecatl or the Goddess Mayahuel, since there are elements to associate the iconography to both Gods. Especially the diadem and the general form of the headdress, since this element is carried by most of the gods associated with rain and water, in such a way, it is shared by Tlaloc, Chalchitilicue, several deities of pulque, among them Tepoztécatl and of course the Goddess Mayahuel.

On the one hand, she carries the same pennant that Tepoztécatl carries, and yes the fragment of a bundle that can be seen on the stela is a bundle of reeds; it is probable that they are arrows. This would make the relief represent a warrior version of the god. On the other hand, the Maguey is the most characteristic element of the Goddess Mayahuel, although it is not impossible that the Maguey was also part of the elements associated with the paraphernalia of Tepoztécatl.

On the second face, we can see another character, which is represented on the right side, which makes the two characters are looking in the same direction. The piece is very damaged at the bottom, so it is impossible to determine the position of the trunk and arms. The shape of the face can be seen, although the mouth is also very deteriorated. However, it is possible to see that the character is wearing something under the nose. It is possible that it is a lunar nose ring.

The lower part of the headdress is also very deteriorated; however, it is possible to observe a zig-zag element, similar to the one worn by Quetzalcoatl, and also by the Pulque God Patécatl. On the front, there is what appears to be a cloth or paper ribbon. Above the ribbon of the headdress, there are three other hemispherical elements on which a diadem of16 feathers was placed. This type of headdress is the same one worn by Patécatl, God creator of pulque.

Apparently, on the stela there is a duality of pulque gods. It is possible that it is Patécatl-Tepoztécatl or Patécatl-Mayahuel, since the evidence of the first God is not enough to establish if it is a God or a Goddess. Either way, it is evident that we are dealing with a duality, whether it is that of the God creator of Pulque and the Patron of Tepoztán, or whether it is the pair of Gods of Pulque; Patécatl and Mayahuel.

In any of the two cases, these three characters are integrally related, both by the sources, as mentioned by Sahagún for the creation of pulque, as well as the legend itself that is preserved in Tepoztlán. Whether it is the fathers of Tepoztécatl, a duality of Patécatl/Quetzalcóatl with Mayahuel, or a duality of the pulque gods Patécatl-Tepoztécatl, it is more than evident that this second element is integrally associated with the cult of pulque and its gods, thus establishing more firmly the presence of Tepoztécatl in his sanctuary.

The Relief of Ometochtli (Two Rabbits)

In the Pellicer Museum of Tepoztlán, three fragments of a relief from the town of Tepoztlán are preserved. The tradition says that this relief corresponds to the fragments of the effigy of the God Tepoztécatl that was in the sanctuary, however, Fray Agustín Dávila Padilla, in his writing " History of the foundation and Discourse of the Province of Santiago of Mexico of the Order of the Preachers", describes how Fray Domingo de la Anunciación brought down the image, which fell "two thousand stadiums high" and that due to its hardness or the work of the devil, the statue did not break, so Fray Domingo was forced to order it to be broken and finally the fragments were taken to the town of Oaxtepec, where they were buried and placed in the foundations of the convent of that place. It is noteworthy that according to Fray Agustín, once the "idol" was taken away: "The devil felt the loss of this figure very much, and lamented it with great regret; shouting through those mountains and saying, as the Indians heard many times. Oh, my children, they have been taken from my hands, and I cannot save them. Alas, my children, I see you outside my palaces and dwellings".

The relief fragments preserved in the Pellicer Museum seem to be part of a text with calendrical characteristics. The three fragments that are preserved show straight lines on their edges, as if they were part of a rectangle. In the highland style of the Postclassic representation code, they are used to enclose the year sign in a rectangle. In the first fragment on the left hand side of the image, the face of unconejo can be observed, together with a round sign that forms three concentric circles. In the middle fragment, a second numeral can be seen, very similar to the one on the rabbit's head. In the fragment on the right, four smaller numerals and a fragment of another relief can be seen, although it is not possible to know what it means because of the part represented, although it could be part of the rabbit's body.

Thus, one can have a relief with the date "Two Rabbit or Ometochtli, in addition to a particular day, whose numeral was greater than four. By the disposition of the last point, most probably it is the numeral six. Thus, we have a year two rabbit, day six, sign unknown. By the characteristics of the relief, it is unlikely that it is the remains of the sculpture of the God Tepoztécatl that was in the sanctuary. It is more likely that it is a relief that refers to an outstanding event on a day now lost.We must emphasize the importance of the date Dos Conejo, which corresponds to theTonalpohualli of the Gods of Pulque.

In this case, we must not forget that the rabbit is not only one of the twenty day signs, but also corresponds to one of the chargers of the year, and in this case, it is a year Two Rabbit, which must have been very important for a population whose deity had that date as its tonalli. As already mentioned, this relief cannot be considered as part of the sculpture of the God Tepoztecatl, and therefore, it does not serve as an argument to defend the presence of the god in the sanctuary, however, it undoubtedly highlights the solemnity with which the Tepoztec took the date of the birth of their Patron God, Ometochtli.

The Malacate of Ometochtli

Within the pre-Hispanic collection that is permanently preserved and exhibited in the Ex-Convent of the Nativity in Tepoztlán, there is a beautiful large-sized pottery sealed malacate. Following the interpretation made by Arqlga. Giselle Canto Aguilar, it is an anthropomorphized unconejo with bent legs and arms.

In the neck it carries a pendant, that in the back part carries a bead from which three drops hang. It is very likely that what it represents is a drop of blood that he wears as a necklace, signifying the hot forces of the universe. His arms are decorated with bracelets and wristbands. In his right hand he carries a snake, which is with open jaws, in attitude of trying to devour the rabbit. This serpent is reminiscent of the Xochicalca Monster, which Tepoztecatl had to defeat to rescue his people.

In the left hand he carries a scroll-shaped element, which ends, like the pendant, with three long appendages. It is possible that it is a bloody weapon, a heart, or a snail. At the level of the abdomen, there is a spindle piercing that is decorated with a concentric circle, which is decorated with eight feathers on the left, while on the right, there are two different types of fretwork or xicalcoliuhqui.

These elements are once again associated with the union of the hot and cold forces of the universe. On his back and between his legs, the character's maxtlatl is observed, which is elaborated with two rows of feathers on the front, separated by two double bands, while the back is formed by four long feathers in the form of a cauda. Although the legs are human, the feet of the creature are of the rabbit. Above the eyebrow of the snake and the nose of the rabbit are the two numerals that allow the character to be denominated: Ometochtli.

Although the presence of Ometochtli is a constant in the decoration of the gourds, we cannot deny that in this case it is a work of extraordinary beauty, likewise, we have pre-Hispanic evidence that allows us to establish a connection between the death of Xochicalca, part of the legend so far preserved, and the Xochimilca settlement of the Late Postclassic.

Tepoztécatl in 16th century Spanish sources

These sources have been among the most enlightening to understand the importance of the god Tepoztécatl, and his permanence in the identity system of the inhabitants of Tepoztlán. In the case at hand, we will limit ourselves to mention three sources that are undoubtedly essential. The first is " General History of the Things of the New Spain" by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún, the second is the "Relation of the Villa of Tepuztlán, printed in the Geographical Relations of the XVI Century: Mexico" and finally, the already mentioned "History of the foundation and discourse of the province of Santiago de Mexico of the order of Preachers, by the lives of its distinguished men and notable cases of the New Spain" by Fray Agustín Dávila Padilla. Not because they are the only ones, but because in these three texts there is enough evidence to support the cult to the God Tepoztécatl in the area of the sanctuary.

The General History of Things in New Spain

Beginning with Sahagún, it is he who makes the greatest effort to record the multiple rituals that were carried out in honor of the deities of pulque, and who devotes the most space to them. It is considered that he is also responsible for the confusion generated by the deities of pulque, since the deities of pulque must be considered from a perspective that encompasses two conditions.

On the one hand, we have a God Ome Tochtli, this name corresponds to hisTonalpohualli , that is, his sacred charge that corresponds to a moment in the order in which the gods descend and appear on earth; and that can have a great regional variability, and on the other hand, the manifestation of drunkenness in which each one of the "four hundred rabbits" that take possession of a drunkard can be seen.

In the same way that Tlaloc has a whole army of helpers, the "Tlaloques", just as the Sun is helped in his function of illuminating the world every day by his Tonaleques and Cihuateteos men and women who died either in war, on the sacrificial stone or during childbirth, Ome Tochtli also has his assistants, the Centzontotochtli, his four hundred rabbits that to a certain extent "help" him to lead all the drunkards of the world.

Thus, Sahagún mentions:

The wine or pulque of this land has always been considered evil in times past because of the bad effects caused by it, because some of the drunks fall down, others hang themselves, others throw themselves into the water where they drown, others kill others while drunk; and all these effects were attributed to the God of wine and to the wine, and not to the drunkard. And moreover, they had it that whoever said evil of this wine, or murmured of it, some disaster would befall him; the same would happen to any drunkard, that if anyone murmured of him, or confronted him, even if he said or did a thousand foolish things, they said that he would be punished for it, because they said that it was not he who did it but the God, or, better to say, the devil who was in him who was this Tezcatzóncatl, or one of the others.
This Tezcatzoncatl was a relative or brother of the other gods of wine, which were called, one Yiauhtécatl, another Acoloa, another Tlilhoa, another Pantécatl, another Izquitécatl, another Tultécatl, another Papáztac, another Tlaltecayooa, another Umetuchtli, another Tepuztécatl, another Chimalpanécatl, another Colhoatzíncatl.

In this paragraph we can establish the two conditions of the god of Pulque, on the one hand, we have the deity, which in this quote Sahagún considers that Tezcatzóncatl is the main deity, while the rest of the deities are sisters of the first one. On the other hand, he mentions the different attitudes of the drunkards. Thus, it can be seen in another paragraph how the names of the gods of pulque overlap, especially during the twenty days Mázatl "One Deer" because the next day was two rabbits or "Ome Tochtli".

"The fourth movable feast. In the sign that is called Ce Mazatl, in the second house that is called ume tochtli, they made a great feast to the God called Izquitécatl, who is the second God of wine, and not only "The fourth movable feast. In the sign that is called Ce Mazatl, in the second house that is called ume tochtli, they made a great feast to the god called Izquitécatl, who is the second god of wine, and not only to him, but to all the gods of wine, who were many. On this day they decorated his image very well in his cu and offered him food, and they sang and tolled in front of him; and in the courtyard of his cu they put a jar of pulque and those who were tavernkeepers filled it to overflowing; and all those who wanted to drink went to drink; they had some reeds with which they drank. The tavern-keepers were fattening the tinajón in such a way that it was always full; mainly those who had cut the maguey again did this. The first mead they took out was taken to the house of this God as first fruits."

While in the previous paragraph the author considered Tezcatzóncatl as the first deity of pulque, he names Izquitécatl as the second god and the one who receives the main honors during the mobile festival, but why not Tezcatzóncatl who is the first, and why along with these deities all the others also receive attention? It is considered that the answer to both questions, is solved if we consider that all the gods listed by Sahagún are only other manifestations of a single deity Ome Tochtli which like other deities, has a cohort of assistants to perform their functions, thus Sahagún says:

"They also said that the wine is called centzontotochti, which means "four hundred rabbits", because they have many and diverse ways of drunkenness. Some drunkards, by reason of the sign in which they were born, the wine is not harmful to them or contrary; in getting drunk, then fall asleep or become crestfallen, settled and recollected; they do not do or say any mischief. And other drunkards begin to weep and tears run down their eyes like streams of water, and other drunkards then begin to sing and do not want to speak or hear things of mockery, but only receive consolation in singing. And other drunkards do not sing, but immediately begin to talk and talk to themselves, or to reproach others, and to speak some shameless things against others, and to brag and claim to be one of the chief honored ones, and they despise others and speak insulting words, and they rise up and shake their heads, claiming to be rich and reproaching others of poverty, and esteeming themselves very proud and rebellious in their words, and speaking loudly and harshly, shaking their legs and kicking their heads. And when they are in their judgment they are as dumb and fearful of everyone, and are fearful, and they hide themselves by saying: "I was drunk, and I don't know what I said to myself, I was drunk with wine". "And other drunkards suspect evil; they become suspicious and ill-conditioned, and understand things backwards, and bear false witness to their wives, saying that they are bad women, and then they begin to be angry with anyone who speaks to his wife, etc.; and if anyone speaks, he thinks that she murmurs at him; and if anyone laughs, he thinks that she laughs at him; and so he quarrels with everyone without reason and without cause; this he does because he is deranged from wine. And if it is a woman who is drunk, then she falls down on the ground with her legs cramped, and sometimes she spreads her legs on the ground; if she is very drunk, she sheds her hair and is all out of her mind, and goes to sleep with all her hair disheveled, etc. "In the Mesoamerican world, unlike the Judeo-Christian societies, life after death did not depend so much on a way of life, as on a selection of the gods. Thus, the sun selected his chosen ones through death in war, sacrifice or childbirth. Likewise, Tlaloc chose his servants by taking them away in floods, drowned, or with diseases thought to be associated with water, in this way, the dead chosen by Tlaloc went to Tlalocan, a paradise reserved for his servants."

Neither Sahagún nor any other chronicler mentions what happened when someone died drunk. Very probably the existence of an exclusive paradise for the drunkards was something too strong for such religious chroniclers, however, in the following paragraph that is transcribed, one can read between the lines, the conversion of the dead drunkards into centzontotoctli.

"All these ways of drunks already said they said that that drunkard was his rabbit or the condition of his drunkenness, or the demon that entered in him.If some drunkard fell down or killed himself, they said "aconejóse". And because the wine is of diverse ways and makes drunkards of diverse ways they calledcentzontotochti, which are "four hundred rabbits" as if they said that they make infinite ways of drunkards. And more, they said that when the signoume tochtli entered they made feast to the main god of the gods of wine who was called Izquitécatl. They also made feast to all the gods of wine and put a statue in the cu, and gave him offerings, and danced and played flutes, and in front of the statue a jar made of stone that was called umetochtecómatl, full of wine, with some reeds with which those who came to the feast drank the wine. And those were old men and women, and brave men and soldiers and men of war. They drank wine from that jar for the reason that one day they would be captives of the enemies, or they, being in the place of the fight, would take captives of the enemies; and so they went about drinking wine. And the wine they drank never ran out, because the tavernkeepers were always pouring wine into the jar. Those who came to the tiánquez, where the statue of the god Izquitécatl was, and also those who were again digging the magueys and making new wine, which is called uitztli, brought the wine with pitchers and poured it into the stone jar. And not only did the tavernkeepers do this on the feast, but every day they did it this way, because it was such a custom of the tavernkeepers."

Thus, once again, we can see on the one hand how the god Ome Tochtllira appears as a deity of pulque, in this case in the name of his stone vessel, the umetochtecómatl, and on the other, how the drunkards are "aconejan" not only at the moment of their death, but most probably after it.

In the selected fragments, the name of Tepoztécatl appears only once among the pulque gods, but it is by no means the only one. He was called Tepuztécatl to one of the four captives that were sacrificed in the precinct of the Templo Mayor, during the festivities of Tepehíhuitl, he also appears together with other deities creating the pulque in the crater of the Chichinahutzin hill, thus it has been possible to clearly establish the existing link between Ome Tochtli, Tepoztécatl, the rest of the deities of pulque and the Centzontotochtli.

Report of the Villa de Tepuztlán

This document is part of a series of questionnaires that were sent by the Spanish government to the different provinces of the Spanish conquests with the purpose of obtaining relevant information about the vast empire that Philip II possessed. These questionnaires were filled out during the years between 1579 and 1585, it is relevant to the subject that concerns us, because it provides first hand information in reference to the lordship of Tepoztlán, since neither Sahagún nor Durán collected information directly from the Tepoztecas.In this document valuable information is presented regarding the foundation of Tepoztlán as well as the cult that was carried out in the sanctuary, and the name of the deity that was there.

"This town of Tepuztlan is called Tepuztlan because when their ancestors came to populate this land they found that it was already called that way, so those who first had it populated said that the great devil or god they had was called OMETUCHITL which means "two rabbits" and that the name above tenyaTEPUZTECATL, as if to say a great lord who was renowned".

Several conclusions can be drawn from this text. The first one is that it confirms that Ome Tochtli is the god of which the other deities of pulque are only regional variables, just as Tepoztécatl is one of them. The second is that the cult to Tepoztécatl does not begin with the arrival of the Nahua groups, they take it from the oldest settlers, presumably Mixtecs.

... and likewise, when it began to thunder and the waters wanted to come, they would buy two or three small boys and they would take each one of them up in a boat, and when it began to thunder and rain, they would take out his heart and his blood, and they would offer it to the waters so that it would rain a lot, and for this purpose, if they bought him, they would keep him for thirty or forty days, and if he was already a man, on the day he was to be sacrificed they dressed him very well and took him dancing and singing to where EL YDOLO was, and there, having invited many villagers as a very great feast, and there they would cut him open by the breasts and take out his heart and blood and offer it to the demon, and the body they would throw it from the rock below...

In this fragment of the relationship, two types of rituals can be distinguished. On the one hand, it refers to the cult of Tlaloc where "small boys", meaning children, were obtained and sacrificed on the rocks, and on the other hand, the cult of Tepoztectal where the sacrificed was an adult and the sacrifice was performed in the presence of the idol, that is, in the sanctuary.

In the geographic reference we were able to confirm once again that Tepoztecatles a regional version of the god Ome Tochtli, likewise we were able to establish the presence of the god Tepoztecatl in his sanctuary. Finally, a difference was made between the cult of Tlaloc, associated with the sacrifice of infants, while the cult of Tepoztecatl was associated with his rock and the sacrifice of adults.

History of the foundation and discourse of the province of Santiago de Mexico of the Order of Preachers, by the lives of its distinguished men and notable cases of New Spain

This last source, which has already been discussed in a previous quote, clarifies the deep sorrow that the loss of their deity meant for the Tepoztecans, as well as the final destiny of his effigy. It only remains to clarify the fame and importance that Tepoztécatl had as patron saint of Tepoztlán.

En el pueblo de Tepuztlan, hizo derribar vn famofo ydolo, celebrado por todoefte Reyno, y vifitado de los eftraños con peregrinaciones que hazian en fuferuiciio, y ofrendas que le traían del Reyno de Chiapa y Guatemala. Llamauafeefte ydolo Ometoxtli, que quiere dezir dos conejos: y reprefentaualos la fifuradel ydolo, porque en ella fe les auia aparecido el demonio, en vna ocación graueque los triftes ydolatras celebraron, perpetuando su aparición en piedra. Eftauael ydolo afsentado en lo alto de un cerro, y duran hafta oy algunos efcalonesde los muchos que fe fubian para llegar a èl. Por vna parte que es à la vifta delpueblo, efta la ladera del cerro muy rafa; porque las efcaleras fon à la parte delmonte: y parecia el ydolo mas venerable, firviendole como de altar todo lo rafoy efcombrado del cerro. Por efta parte le hizo derribar el bendito P.F. Domingode la Anunciación.

We can definitely confirm that the main god was in the sanctuary of Tepoztécatl, and that it was fundamentally Ome Tochtli, to which his nickname was added. Recapitulating, through the sources consulted, we were able to establish, in addition to the above, that all the pulque gods were regional variants of a single Ome Tochtli, who, like Tlaloc and Tonatiú, had a series of assistants, the Centzontotochtli "Four Hundred Rabbits" that helped the deity in his functions, that most probably, to die as a consequence of a drunkenness, was a way by which the God Tepoztecatl obtained his helpers and finally, that the god of pulque, the rabbit and the moon were somehow related.

Tepoztécatl in the Codices Tudela and Magliabechi

Both codices are copies of an original pre-Hispanic codex that is now lost, and it is hotly debated whether each is a copy of the original or whether one was the inspiration for the other. Be that as it may, these documents are very important, since they deal extensively with the main pulque deities associated with the Tepeíhuitl festival, as mentioned by Sahagún. In addition, they allow us to know the signs that formed the attributes of these deities, both in general and in particular.

The most remarkable thing about both gods is their disposition, since while in the Tudela codex the deity with copper axe and green painted skin corresponds to Tepoztécatl, in the case of the Magliabechi codex the first deity, with green skin and copper axe corresponds to Papaztac, which is evidently an error on the part of the person who placed the gloss.

By the characteristics of the drawing, it is not possible to establish a preeminence of a representation over the other, since each one shows similar characteristics as well as different ones. Where some details are not clear in the first one, the second one presents a more exact interpretation with respect to the post-classical representation code, and in other details the exact opposite occurs.

Since the purpose of the present work is to establish the characteristics of Tepoztecatl as a god, the gloss in both codices is very important, beginning with the Tudela codex, the information regarding Tepoztecatl is as follows:

This figure is from a custom they had in a town in the Valle del Marq(ué)s that is called Tepuztlán, four leagues from Cuernavaca, between there and Mexico, and it was that these Indians of this town the main feast they had or the vocation of the town was Ometochi, which means: two rabbits, and when they sacrificed and celebrated the feast to this demon, the indigenous people dressed like this one above and got drunk, and if any native died drunk or was killed, which is on a cliff above the town, where they always died or killed each other, the inhabitant who died drunk had a great memory of him and they said that he died blessed.

The Magliabechi codex presents the following gloss:

Esta es vna figura de vna gran vellaq[ue]ria. Q[ue] vn pueblo q[ue] se dizetepuztlan. tenia por ci[e]rto y era q[ue] quando algun yndio moria borracho, los otros deste pueblo hazian gran fiesta con hachas de cobre. con q[ue] cortan la leña en las manos. este pueblo es par de Yavtepeque. Vasallos del S.or marques del Valle.

We can confirm once again that the main name of Tepoztécatl is Ome Tochtli, likewise, in these two glosses it is very clear the happiness that was produced to the relatives in the case that someone died as a result of a drunkenness. This happiness was most probably due to the fact that the soul of the dead person would become part of Ome Tochtli's retinue, becoming part of his body of Centzontotochtli.

Throughout this paper we have been able to establish, thanks to the analysis of archaeological, written and pictorial sources, the characteristics of the god Tepoztecatl. It is undoubtedly established that all the deities of pulque are none other than the manifestation of a single divine essence, which descended to earth on Ome Tochtli days and such was his calendrical name. The rest of the names by which he was known, corresponded mostly to regional variants of a single deity.

The god Tepoztécatl, was the divinity that was found in the chasm of the sanctuary, confirmed both by the graphic elements found in the temple, as well as by the evidence in the sources, codices and in the tradition of the people of Tepoztlán. And in that place was the effigy of the god, which was taken to the valley and later destroyed by Fray Domingo de la Anunciación.

Tepoztecatl, like other gods, had multiple assistants, who were selected by the god himself to serve him in his functions. As in the other cases, it was the form of death that caused the chosen ones to manifest themselves.

Author: Jarime Resendiz Machon, Source: El Tlacuache, publication of the community of the INAH Morelos Delegation, No. 757, December 18, 2016.