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From: Michael Andre-Driussi <mantis@sirius.com>
Subject: Re: (whorl) A question concerning etymology and Wolfish intent...
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 2001 08:32:27 

M.D. Smith wrote:
>I'm not sure if this has been discussed yet...but I've been pondering the
>etymology and significance of Patera Quetzal's name for a while. Could it
>have something to do with Quetzalcoatl? Perhaps some ties with the Aztecs,
>since they were involved in bloody rituals (the inhumi connection?)? I know
>Wolfe is familiar with American mythologies("Native American" would seem too
>inclusive, I think), besides every other classical mythology out there.

Yes, Quetzal's name has a definite connection to the Toltec/Aztec god
Quetzalcoatl.  (To me at least: I wasn't familiar with the quetzal bird
when I first read NIGHTSIDE THE LONG SUN, but I certainly knew about

The parallels between the god and the character are open to debate.  For
me, the primary ones are: a "reptilian" nature (the god is called "plumed
serpent" and the inhumu has snake-like features); a dual nature (the god,
for one reason or another, is also a mortal hero; the character is an
inhumu posing as human); an aversion to human sacrifice (the god is
noteworthy as being one of the few, if not the only one, of the Aztec gods
who did not want human sacrifice; the character has halted human sacrifice
on the Whorl); one who fights on the side of light/life against the forces
of dark/death (the god as mortal was killed by the treacherous warrior of
dark/death; the character seems to have been struggling against inhumi who
were preying upon the humans on the Whorl).

As it turns out, the quetzal bird really was the animal symbol of
Quetzalcoatl (as owls to Athena, peacocks to Hera).


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