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a Visitor

Aztec thought and culture had a broader concept of ideas than us. Unlike English, which in its borrowing from other languages has attempted to give distinct description to slighter and slighter shades of experience, the Aztec language reached for fullness by combining two separate ideas into a single, fuller concept for discussion. For example, “face”, meaning one’s public self, and “heart”, meaning one’s character, were combined into a single term, “face-and-heart”, which was used to address the full notion of an individual person. This type of linguistic concoction is called a difrasismo, and it proliferates in Aztec philosophy.


In xochitl in cuicatl, or “flower-and-song”, was such a difrasismo, employed metaphorically to suggest the notion of poetry. To the Aztecs, the speaking of a poem was akin to a sacred act, as close as rough humanity could mimic the divine Giver of Life. The poem, they believed, was an auditory beauty, let forth into the world on one’s own breath. It was, in essence, a means for humanity to create its own reality, become its own Great Creator.


When depicting the action in their visual art, they did it via a flower, erupting from a figure’s mouth as part of a cloud of breath, a kind of sixteenth-century word balloon.


That flower is what you see on the left of this page, and throughout the Rabbit Hero site as a whole.  It is the Path of Flower-and-Song.

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