Mircea Eliade "From Primitives to Zen": THE AZTEC CEREMONIAL BATHING OF THE NEWBORN

FROM BERNARDINO DE SAHAGUN


The priest addresses the Goddess of the Flowing Waters:

'Merciful Lady Chalchiuhtlicue, thy servant here present is come into this world, sent by our father and mother, Ometecutli and Omeciuatl, who reside at the ninth heaven. We know not what gifts he bringeth; we know not what hath been assigned to him from before the beginning of the world, nor with what lot he cometh enveloped. We know not if this lot be good or bad, or to what end he will be followed by ill fortune. We know not what faults or defects he may inherit from his father or mother. Behold him between thy hands! Wash him and deliver him from impurities as thou knowest should be, for he is confided to thy power. Cleanse him of the contamination he hath received from his parents; let the water take away the soil and the stain, and let him be freed from all taint. May it please thee, 0 Goddess, that his heart and his life be purified, that he may dwell in this world in peace and wisdom. May this water take away all ills, for which this babe is put into thy hands, thou who art mother and sister of the gods, and who alone art worthy to possess it and to give it, to wash from him the evils which he beareth from before the beginning of the world. Deign to do this that we ask, now that the child is in thy presence.'


H. B. Alexander, The World's Rim (Lincoln, Neb.: University of Nebraska Press, 1953), P. 177; translating Bernardino de Sahagun, Historia de las Cosas de la Nueva Espana (Mexico, 1946), bk. VI, chap. XXXII

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