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Burning Water: Thought and Religion in Ancient Mexico Paperback – Import, 1978

4.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Language Notes

Text: English, French (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson; 1st edition (1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500271224
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500271223
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,738,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By MysticJaguar VINE VOICE on June 13, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There has generally been an unfavorable impression of this book within conventional archeological circles. Although the author was active in multiple digs at Teotihuacan she did not always follow the conventional historical or interpretative lines (or lies?). It is surprising that in the beginning of this book she tows the historical line that the Aztecs were a bloodthirsty lot, a view that must be considered in light of the Spanish/Vaticanal desire to somehow morally justify their exploits and own cruelty in the New World.

However conventional this book begins starting with the chapter on Quetzalcoatl the author makes an unexpected shift (starting at page 70) into some deep material. She discusses topics such as the union of spirit and matter, fire and water (hence the title Burning Water). She also later gets into deep mystical thought discussing the idea of the four directions around a unifying center and how this relates to the mystical development of the heart.

If you read this book as just another diatribe on Aztec history you could easily miss what is really here. I can understand why those who hold to conventional historical and archeological views would miss, or malign (even wryly by Pasztory), what the author is saying here. After studying various forms of mysticism for years, and having been to Teotihuacan, I can say clearly that this book is an important gateway into the mystical stream that has lived, and continues to be expressed in this area of the world through both it's monuments to current living spiritual guardians. There are deep truths here if you are prepared to see them.
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Format: Unknown Binding Verified Purchase
This is a very detailed study of the religion and Spiritual beliefs of ancient Mexico, which includes a transformation of the author herself, much like the subjects she is studying. I noticed this transformation, or was looking for it due to the excellent review by "Mystic Jaguar"! (thank you, it made this book a bit more enjoyable) Once this change happens the book shifts gears from a scholarly report, to a genuine, heartfelt search, and quest for a higher understanding of this complex and intricate subject. This is an important literary, and spiritual quest, and it provides the reader of an example of "writing and researching with passion and an open mind" results in pure art !!! The contents are:
I. The Conquest of Mexico !!. The Nature of Aztec Society III. Human Sacrifices IV. Sources of the History of Ancient Mexico V. The Formation of Aztec Culture VI. The Toltecs VII. Quetzalcoatl VIII. Quetzalcoatl's Betrayal IX. Causes of the Fall of the Aztec Empire
I. Magic II. Religion and the Quetzalcoatl Myth
I. Ancient Tollan II. Teotihuacan, City of the Gods III. The Law of the Centre IV. The Paintings of Teotihuacan V. Union of Water and Fire VI. Union of Heaven and Hell VII. The Heart and Penitence
I. The Free Spirits II. Quetzalcoatl III. Xochipilli, Lord of Souls IV. Xipe Totec, Lord of Liberation V. Huizilopochtli, The Fifth Sun VI. Tezcatlipoca, Lord of the Smoking Mirror VII. Conclusion
My copy of the book is from 1957, and contained several high quality black and white plates, along with the numerous drawings which contributed incredibly to the entire experience ! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED !!!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For those with an anthropological interest in ancient Mexico this is probably must reading. For those with more esoteric interests it will probably fill in some blanks. But much of it seemed highly speculative to me. It's not hard to find a brujo in the vicinity of Teotihuacan with a much different view of the ancient Toltecs, and their corrupted Aztec descendants, and also one both more complete and more coherent.
One of the modern Toltec teachers has a cute story about how the Aztecs got so deeply into human sacrifice. Their rationale was this: the ancient teachings say one should give his/her heart to Spirit. Well, the Aztecs took that literally, and since they owned a good many hearts, beating in the chests of their slaves and captives, they cut those out and gave them to the gods. That works for me, and it is a near perfect example of fundamentalist thinking. But I digress.
This book is well worth a read.
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