Order of Quetzalcoatl
Master Artisan Degree
All performers, staff, and supreme officers are in
the staging area.
Conch shell players announce that it is time for master artisan degree by sounding conch shell in hospitality room and surrounding areas.
Candidates should be gathered in a separate room prior to the ceremony. They are to remove their shirts so that they are bare to the waist.
Candidates are then instructed to place their right hand on the right shoulder of the artisan in front of him, with the guide in the lead.
The guides will seat the artisans with the exception of the active candidates. The escorts will remain watchful of the class.
Quetzalcoatl was a mysterious figure through all of Mexico and the Yucatan. That he once lived can, and must, be assumed. But we find it most difficult to separate the man from the myth. Quetzalcoatl landed on the east coast of Mexico in the year 63 AD near what is now Veracruz. His boat was propelled by serpents and his appearance was that of a white man with a beard.
Quetzalcoatl was a creator, priest, and ruler. He assumed leadership of the "Toltecas" and taught them how to grow corn properly. Under his guidance, they became skilled artisans.
Quetzalcoatl and his tribe became famous. His name became one of veneration. To many, he became a god. The significance of this combined name: quetzal (a beautiful feathered bird) and coatl (a serpent) revealed divinity. Quetzalcoatl would permit no human offerings in his name. Only flowers and fruit were laid on his altars as sacrifice.
The God, Quetzalcoatl, is not himself "the feathered serpent," but the one who emerges from the serpent; just as the morning star rises from the horizon. He is identified with the wind and the planet Venus. Quetzalcoatl stood for all that was good and light in this world: peace, art, wisdom, and prosperity. He invented the arts, sciences and the calendar. In fact, everything connected with wisdom and culture was attributed to Quetzalcoatl as he lived many centuries ago.
While Quetzalcoatl is entering the auditorium with the spots on him, the lights are lowered on the backdrop and the crew sets up the cot with its own small backdrop (8' high x 10' long ???) and the low floods behind the backdrop to take away the effect of the large backdrop.
Young Quetzalcoatl quietly enters his sanctuary.
QUETZALCOATL: Much time has passed since I visited the place of my youth and where I labored so many days and nights growing into manhood. It will be
satisfying to see the old playgrounds, the palaces, and the pyramids before
retiring to my celestial abode.
Excuse me, young man. Why are you not preparing for the feast of fires?
ARTISAN: Forgive me old man, but I did not know that the great Tlalocs are already assembling. May I join you on your journey to the city?
QUETZALCOATL: You may but this is a very great journey for one so young. What do you expect to accomplish at the feast of fires?
ARTISAN: I will be made a master artisan.
QUETZALCOATL: Oh! Many have wished that, just to be disappointed for lack of preparation.
ARTISAN: Are you one of the white bearded followers of Quetzalcoatl that I have heard of?
QUETZALCOATL: Yes, artisan.
ARTISAN: Then will you help to prepare me?
QUETZALCOATL: I can assist in a small way, but if you have not worked hard in the past, it will be of no avail. There are many things for you to see and many things for you to learn. Time is short so I will be able to explain but a few of the important things you may be interested in. We must move slowly for you to understand fully how our people have benefited from all the things. Do you know of the history of our people?
ARTISAN: I have been told some of the history of our people but am not sure it is correct.
QUETZALCOATL: We must start at the beginning, with the mother culture, the Olmecs who lived in the eastern lowlands about 3000 years ago.
ARTISAN: Were they a skilled people?
QUETZALCOATL: They were great craftsmen, who created stone heads, some of which were larger than 100 men could move. The Maya were next; they occupied the Yucatan and created the calendar. Their system of mathematics was an achievement unequaled even today. They also cultivated corn. Their greatest accomplishment, however, was Uxmal with the pyramid of the magician. The Mayas were invaded by the Kulkulcan which brought the Toltecs into the Mayan culture.
ARTISAN: Oh, wise one. I am anxious to learn about all things a master artisan must know.
QUETZALCOATL: Learning takes much time and much training. First, it is necessary to learn of your roots. Then, you must labor beside those who are masters of their trade for many years. Let your eyes see the temples and the beauties it exemplifies with the great designs to make it beautiful. Then, let your mind imagine what the great master artisans envisioned that make it be so.
ARTISAN: How is it that an old man has such knowledge? What is your name, old one?
QUETZALCOATL: My name is Quetzalcoatl.
ARTISAN: Forgive me, oh great one, for being so arrogant. I did not know that I was in the presence of one so great. Please proceed.
QUETZALCOATL: The Toltecs were next and they made their capital at Tula after the fall of Teotihuacan. They were wonderful artisans of stone and smelters of metals, and they discovered the intoxicant pulque.
ARTISAN: Is there more to the story?
QUETZALCOATL: Yes, my son. The Aztec followed. They became an influence when they founded their capital at Tenochtitlan seasons ago. And for a long period ruled Mexico. Engineering, art, astronomy, sculpture, metal work and music were among some the of skills that were developed. This continued until Cortes invaded and conquered Mexico. I see that the workmen are few today for they are preparing for the great feast of fires.
ARTISAN: I have heard stories of the great rooms within the temple. Some are decorated in gold and emeralds and sea shells and silver, and others are decorated with red stone and jasper. They must be very beautiful.
QUETZALCOATL: Yes, my son, but beauty must be in the eyes and mind of the master artisan to make it so. Remember this when you choose your craft. Just realize, beauty can be shown many ways. Let your mind wonder again, my son, about those master artisans whose measurements had to be true and exact for all the rooms, stairs, doors, windows, and all the other parts of the temple to fit properly. This also is beauty. Those master artisans should be proud of what they accomplished.
ARTISAN: Now that I see what is required of a master artisan, it amazes me even more.
I did not know how important knowledge was, or why one must labor so long to learn his craft and learn it well.
QUETZALCOATL: I must be leaving soon, as you already know. However, if you listen and labor with true masters of the craft, you shall soon learn the path you will want to follow. If you look at the pyramids, you will see other forms of beauty. The difficulties are many and much planning must be done before beginning such a task. See how the blocks are cut to fit exactly and the precision of the faces of the gods and the prophets as they decorate the walls.
ARTISAN: I see! I see old, great one!
QUETZALCOATL: 'Tis well my son that you begin to understand. When you choose, choose wisely for others will see the beauty you have created. The time has come to join your fellow artisans for the training and the preparation necessary to become a master artisan. I must leave you now and summon the great Tlalocs so that the feast of fires may begin.
Quetzalcoatl leaves the artisan in the audience and goes forward to the altar and kneels to summon the Tlalocs.
Spotlight is on Quetzalcoatl, as he chants. The spotlight slowly goes out and the backdrop lighting fades to night.
QUETZALCOATL: Oh, Great Tlalocs! Grant us your presence so that we may teach these lowly artisans to become Master Artisans of their trade.
GUIDE: Oh, Supreme Tlaloc. Repeats 3 times - each time louder.
GUIDE: Those you see before you are artisans of the order of Quetzalcoatl who have studied hard and all, except for three, have gained much knowledge and have for some time before this ceremony been worthy of advancement to Master Artisans.
These three have studied hard by had acquired little knowledge. They have
traveled, but their fun came before their learning. They could not teach others for they had not the knowledge. Therefore, I personally counseled them for many hours and under my leadership, they have gained much knowledge. Each of them has promised to faithfully and fully comply with the requirements of their obligation. I do, therefore, confirm that these three are now ready to join their fellow Artisans in becoming Master Artisans.
ACTING CHIEF SUPREME TLALOC: Welcome my friends and brothers. With these words of welcome, you were first greeted upon your arrival in a teocali for initiation into our order.
You were told that now instead of the customary Masonic ritual and legends inspired by the eastern hemisphere, you would participate in a ceremony founded on an ancient legend of the west in which the dominant figure was that of the prophet and leader, Quetzalcoatl.
You were privileged to witness an allegorical play depicting the arrival of the "morning star," and learned of the early history of the Toltec tribe and of the philosophical battle between good and evil.
You then took a solemn oath and pledge of fulfillment to accomplish your mission on earth by striving to improve your knowledge of the liberal arts and sciences and to study the history and all other subjects bearing on the early inhabitants of this continent. All this, each of you promised to do, in order to be worthy of consecration as an artisan in the ancient order of Quetzalcoatl.
Since that time, you have traveled a great distance constantly adding to your store of knowledge.
Now, you again find yourselves in the presence of the great Tlalocs.
ACTING SUPREME CHIMALMA: Artisan Guide, have these petitioners been purified as required by our ancient rules of obligation?
GUIDE: Yes, Supreme Chimalma, each artisan has been purified by the elements of fire, water, wind, and earth.
ACTING SUPREME CAMAXTLI: Have these petitioners faithfully performed that which was required of them in their first obligation?
GUIDE: Oh! Supreme Camaxtli. Why must I, the lowly guide, still be questioned.
Did I not satisfy the Supreme Chilmalma and her concern of their purification? And still, Supreme Camaxtli, you question me about the knowledge and the integrity of these artisans, some of whom I personally have counseled.
Oh! I search my mind for the answer to your question.
Oh! Supreme Gods, help me, the lowly guide to find the answer to the questions.
After much searching and with the help of the Supreme Gods, I find there can be only one answer and it being thusly:
They have studied long and hard and acquired knowledge. They have traveled far and wide and have learned much. And Oh, yes, they have taught others. They have fulfilled and fully complied with the requirements of their obligation.
Must I say more?
CHIEF SUPREME TLALOC: Do you Artisan Guide dare to vouch for the integrity of these artisans, and do you know them to be worthy of consecration?
GUIDE: I do, Chief Supreme Tlaloc.
SUPREME CAMAXTLI: It is well. As Artisans, you were admonished to make a study of the early inhabitants of this continent. To help you fulfill this pledge, some of that history will be revealed to you at this time.
SUPREME CHILMALMA: We start with the Olmecs who existed around 1200 BC and occupied an area about 350 miles east of the Tehuacan valley northwest of the Yucatan peninsula. They have long since disappeared, but they left architectural, intellectual, and artistic accomplishments far beyond the capabilities of earlier societies in that area. This includes the building of pyramids, a calendar, a concept of numbering, hieroglyphs, and sculptures of the plumed serpent, Quetzalcoatl.
The next major race to emerge was the Maya, who were a major power from 300 AD. They improved the calendar and started major trade routes, which expanded their influence and religion.
Chimalma starts to walk back to his position, stops and turns toward the candidates and admonishes:
Aaah, but remember human sacrifice and torture were also part of their culture.
Spotlight on the Acting Supreme Chimalma out.
Acting Supreme Chimalma returns to his position.
Spotlight on Acting Supreme Camaxtli.
Acting Supreme Camaxtli advances toward the front of the stage.
SUPREME CAMAXTLI: Along with the Mayans came the inhabitants to Teotihuacan, which is located 25 miles northeast of Mexico City. The Teotihuacans began about 150 BC and lasted for 10 centuries. At its height, its population was 125,000. It had broad avenues, waterways, pyramids, apartments, workshops, and market places. But the most magnificent structure was the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, with the great stone head of the plumed serpent god jutting out from the base. Also, along the Avenue of the Dead were the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon. This was the city of artisans, traders, hunters, farmers, etc. The Teotihuacans greatly expanded trade routes and colonization of its neighbors, but they fell into decline around 800 AD.
Next came the Toltecs and the Aztecs, who would build on the Teotihuacan's experience. They would finally succumb to Spanish invaders in their 16th century. However, before their decline, some of their cultures, customs, and handicrafts would filter north to the southwest United States and the Mississippi Valley.
SUPREME CHIMALMA: One staple that ran through all of these civilizations and promoted their growth was corn. As you see this corn, let it remind you of those early inhabitants, and of the four great Tlalocs who control the four great elements, fire, wind, water, and earth, which provide for the growth of all things. Also, when you see corn, let it remind you of the valuable lessons, you have learned in both the artisan and the master artisan degrees.
CHIEF SUPREME TLALOC: Artisans, representing as each of you do, the immortal spirit of Quetzalcoatl, and in the flesh have taken on the human form, I bid you welcome to our midst. It becomes my great privilege to consecrate you as master artisans so that you may go forth into the world fully qualified to bring all good men into our fold.
The class will please rise, you will fold your arms across your chest, stand erect and raise your eyes toward the heavens. You will pronounce your name in full, an artisan in good standing of teocali number … and then remain silent.
Having fulfilled my vow to journey to this place of consecration, do now, pledge upon my honor that I shall always uphold and promote the ideals and purposes of our order, and shall endeavor, to the best of my ability to teach others the great and lasting truths, which since time immemorial have brought peace and happiness to mankind.
I further pledge upon my honor that I shall not be present at, nor give my consent to the consecration in our order of any artisan not in good standing, nor to anyone except it be in a place approved by the supreme teocali, and in the presence of a supreme officer and sacred artifact.
Binding myself emblematically by no less a penalty than having my foreskin pierced with the spine of a sting ray, my blood taken thence and burned on the sacrificial altar, should I ever violate my solemn obligations in either the artisan or master artisan degrees. All this I subscribe to on my honor.
The class will repeat after me. As it has been repeated unto me so do I solemnly promise and vow.
You will now unfold your arms and place them at your sides.
CHIEF SUPREME TLALOC: Supreme officers, would you please perform the ceremony of consecration.
Chief Supreme Tlaloc or his deputy will approach each artisan, point to their heart, and say: I now consecrate you into the order of Quetzalcoatl and thus elevate you to the high rank of Master Artisan.
As consecration takes place, Tlalocs leave the stage.
Spotlight washes audience then goes out.
ARTISAN: Oh, great one! Oh, master! Oh, great one!
Artisan rushes forward from audience and falls at Quetzalcoatl's feet.
QUETZALCOATL: Yes, my son . . . Ah, I see by your mark that your wish has been fulfilled.
Rise, stand erect, and show the pride of a Master Artisan.
ARTISAN: Yes, great one. I have accomplished my dream.
QUETZALCOATL: What will you do now?
ARTISAN: I have plans to go into the mountains where I am needed and teach what I have learned. I have heard that there is a great master there who may teach me even more.
QUETZALCOATL: Then, I see that you have learned well from the great Tlalocs.
ARTISAN: Yes, master. This is just the beginning of a long and fruitful journey.
QUETZALCOATL: It is well, my son. May you remain well. May you teach many and learn much more.
May the spirits of your forefathers be with you all until we meet again at
the next feast of fires.
Quetzalcoatl and Artisan go off stage.
SPIRIT: May the blessing of our ancient prophet accompany you on all your future wanderings.
TITLACAHUAN: Well, well, little brother Quetzalcoatl, old Titlacahuan is still around. I told you I'd follow you through eternity.