Several of the early philosophic thoughts of Western Man originally had four elements. They were: Earth, Fire, Wind or Air, and Water. In ancient Greek times, Aristotle added a fifth called Aether (now you know where ‘ether’ gas comes from). He figured that the first four were all corruptible and the stars in the heavens weren’t and were subsequently set in and were part of ‘The Aether.’
After that all sorts of folks got involved with the fifth element thing. One of the oldest I can find comes from Taoism where the fifth element is Metal. They prioritized their elements by strengths. For example: Metal concurs Wood which concurs -Well, you get the idea. Other philosophers assigned body functions to the four or five elements. Then it spread from there again and again.
Meanwhile on the other side of the Atlantic river the Aztecs seemed to copy the five elements thing but with a marvelous and somewhat unique twist. Instead of having all the elements all at once, the Aztecs built everything into a creation parable where each element (called Suns) replaced the one before it.
The first Sun was the Sun of the Ocelot or Jaguar: Nahui-Ocelotl (Jaguar Sun: The genus containing the cougar and the jaguarondi is a large cat also known as a cougar, mountain lion, panther or catamount). During this time the humans lived without reason or proper thought and were giants compared to today’s man. The world was without light and the humans lived by instinct which apparently wasn’t very highly developed because eventually they all were tracked down and eaten by ocelots.
The second sun was the Sun of Air: Nahui-Ehécatl (Wind Sun). It was a world of flighty, mystical things such as spirits and transparent beings. The projection from this Sun is that these ghost like beings and Halloween ghouls and goblins may return some day. When? You’ll never know until it’s too late. Our humans of this time could not understand the necessary principles to be redeemed from their sins as they had just gained ‘reason’ so the gods changed them all into monkeys. This world was destroyed by the father of all hurricanes.
The third was the Sun of Fire: Nahui-Quiahuitl (Rain Sun). During this period, people were still ignorant of the gods which didn’t settle too well in the Aztec version of Mount Olympus. They created a world of roaring fire. It dried up all the rivers, lakes, streams and oceans. All the land and water creatures were killed by these flames. All the birds were spared because they could and did fly to safety Along with any other creature which suddenly found they could learn to fly. [When I read this I thought of all the brightly colored parrots and wondered if there was a connection between their color and the Sun of Fire.
The fourth sun was the Sun of Water: Nahui-Atl (Water Sun). This Sun was formed by the god of rain, Tlaloc. There isn’t a lot to be told here except he destroyed all the people in a giant flood as he turned them all into fish. Two of them got away only to be turned into dogs.
The fifth is our own period: Nahui-Ollin (Earthquake Sun). This is the sun where the other four principles, animal energy, air, fire, and water, are combined and in balance. We can’t take it for granted that this sun will last forever; our continued existence is dependent upon following the “ladder of redemption” that is contained in the Aztec calendar and observing rituals. The Aztecs considered themselves “the People of the Sun” and therefore their duty was to nourish the Sun god through blood offerings and sacrifices. Failing of doing this would have caused the end of their world and the disappearing of the sun from the sky. If the gods are again ignored, then this sun too will die and all of us with it in a giant earthquake.
By Kirby Vickery
Manzanillo Sun’s eMagazine written by local authors about living in Manzanillo and Mexico, since 2009