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From: mary whalen <marewhalen@yahoo.com>
Subject: (whorl) Names, animals and meanings (Q)
Date: Thu, 30 Jul 1998 22:48:16 

This is Sean Whalen (prion).

Quetzal.  Plural quetzals or quetzales.  Also spelled quezal or
quesal.  From the Nahuatl word quetzalli (large bright tail feather). 
A species (Pharomachrus mocinno) of family Trogonidae (the trogon
family [trogon means "one who gnaws" in Greek]) of order
Trogoniformes.  The trogons are brightly plumed tree-dwelling birds
(the males are brighter than the females).  Their feet have two toes
in front and two in back, like most tree-dwelling birds, but they are
the only birds who have the first and second toes in front, rather
than the first and fourth.  The quetzal has green feathers on top and 
and at the throat and crimson ones on the bottom.  The top of the head
has a puffy crown of feathers.  Males have long green tail feathers
that can be over two feet long and are regrown after each breeding
season.  The birds themselves are only about a foot long.  They live
in the lower layers of tropical forest trees in Mexico and Central
America. They are semi-solitary.  They are very fond of fruit and also
eat insects, small frogs, lizards, and snails. Males and females
alternate sitting on the eggs.  The long feathers were used in
ceremonies by the Mayans and Aztecs, who believed the quetzal was
sacred, and associated it with Quetzalcoatl, the plumed serpent god. 
The quetzal dance is performed by the Totonacs of Mexico to honor the
quetzal as a sun symbol.  The men perform the dance and where disk
headdresses to represent the sun.  They dance longways by two-steps
and knee-raisings.  The advance, withdraw, and follow the leader down
the center and around, split up, cross over, cross back, and and
finally the lines wind back and forth through each other in a
serpentine path.  The quetzal is the national bird of Guatemala. 
Quetzal is also the name of the basic money unit of Guatemala.  The
god Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent, was worshipped all over
Central America.  He was known as Eecatl (Aztec for wind) when
functioning as a wind god. He was called Ce Acatl (One Cane) as lord
of the planet Venus.  He was also the creator god, the sun during one
of the previous incarnations of the world.  He went to Mictlan, the
underworld, and brought the bones of the people of the previous worlds
to Earth.  He sprinkled his blood over them, making them into humans. 
He gave them corn, art, weaving, polishing jade, making feather
mantles, and taught the calendar and astronomy.  He was described as
light-skinned and bearded.  The worship of Pas on the Whorl seems
similar to the Aztec worship of Quetzalcoatl.  Qu. was supposedly
bested by Tezcatlipoca (Smoking Mirror), and sailed east on a raft
made of snakes in humiliation.  He said that he would return in the
year Ce Acatl, and when Cortes landed in that year (1519) he was at
first thought to be Qu. returning.  Tezcatlipoca, by the way, was an
earlier sun who Qu. knocked from the sky and turned into a tiger.  He
was god of witches, thieves, night, dark, evil, and warriors.  He was
omnipotent, invisible, and gave and took life as he wanted.  Quetzal
is an inhumu from Green who came onto the Whorl and became Prolocutor
of Viron.

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