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Toxcatl

Execution

Feast of Toxcatl

Offerings
Tributes of fire, incense and maize are made daily and nightly to the goddesses by the youth under the oversight of their masters and priests.    
Leap of Toxcatl
A choreographed dance routine with movements specific for men and women. Men would perform the dance of "The Serpent", where they link arms and went side to side while being face to face and the women danced the "Grilled Corn" intermingling between the men to the beats of drums, turtle shells and rattle gouges. During these dances there would be kissing and play between the men and women but unwanted approaches are harshly punished.   After the dances the participants are ritually scarred by the priests of Tezcatlipoca. Informally, a great many flirting and pairings occurs during the leap with marriages agreed to weeks or months later.

Participants

Incarnates

An important aspect of sang tradition is the impersonation of deities. Priests or otherwise specially select individuals who would be dressed up in the likeness of a specific deity. There are five incarnates specific to Toxcatl: the goddesses Xochiquetzal, Xilonen, Atlatonan and Huixtocihuatl and the main god Tezcatlipoca.   The Tezcatlipoca incarnate is venerated as an actual physical manifestation of the god until the inevitable end when the god's likeness is killed as the ultimate sacrifice under great circumstance and festivities. He is chosen a year in advance after the previous incarnate is sacrificed and given a 'performer's education' including courtly speech, singing, playing a musical instrument and a god's finery. During his last twenty days of Toxcatl, he would be wed to the other incarnates as the physical pleasures of life- sexual love, food, drink, and salt; and do as he desires.   On his last day, he would dine with the leader of the city, parade to the four directional edges of the city, ending near a temple where he is then stripped of all his godly decorations, his 'wives' and entourage excused, and finally climb the temple to be killed. His heart is removed with an obsidian dagger, then the body beheaded and the skull placed on the skull rack. The skin is flayed and worn by the next incarnate of Tezcatlipoca-to-be for next year and the flesh distributed among the nobles to be eaten.  

Dancers

Every night in the Toxcatl month, unmarried girls wearing their hair long and loose—which represented their unmarried status—carried young green corn in offering to the incarnated goddesses in a procession to their temples.   On the last day of the month, women paste red feathers on themselves with sticky paint and carry canes caped with colourful paper streamers. When it comes time to dance; they coil, twirl, wind and jump as individual kernels among the chain of men toasting in the friction and heat of the ceremony, creating in a sexually charged atmosphere.

Observance

Toxcatl is the name of the fifth month of the solar calendar and it is during which the month long Toxcatl festivities take place. Toxcatl month is the beginning of the dry season; and the Toxcatl festival is the priesthood's attempt to starve off droughts and encourage the renewal of the land. Its ritual is emblematic of the change of season represented as death and rebirth of Tezcatlipoca.

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Cover image: A New Era of Legend by Harkalé Linaï

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