Monday, October 31, 2011

Guest - Gabriella Hewitt

Good morning all! We've got one of the most interesting writer combinations we've ever had on Star-Crossed Romance. Gabriella is writing about ancient Aztecs and their customs. It's a little scary so make sure all your lights are on, LOL.
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Sacrificial Blood to Appease the Gods

Happy Halloween! Today is a day to get dressed up, have fun and scare the pants off you. I don’t know what’s more frightening than to talk about human sacrifice.

In the course of researching for my Shadow Warrior’s series, I’ve run across numerous references to sacrifice amongst the Aztecs. While there’s still dispute on the numbers—was it thousands, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of victims in a year—evidence dug up during excavations tell us that sacrifices did take place.

According to the Aztec calendar there were eighteen months each lasting twenty days. In each month a festivity was held and on each festivity a sacrifice was made. Furthermore, the Aztecs believed that the universe ran on a fifty-two year cycle and that the universe would collapse at the end of this cycle if the gods were fed enough blood over the course of this period to sustain them. The gods sacrificed themselves to give life to man; therefore, it was up to man to sacrifice in return to keep the gods appeased and strong enough to maintain the universe’s existence. The gods required blood. They received it in the form of sacrifices and bloodletting on the part of the Aztecs. So, at the end of the fifty-two year cycle a big fire was lit and at midnight it was extinguished and a sacrifice made. If at dawn the sun rose, this meant a new fifty-two year cycle would begin. The priests lit the body of the victim and then fire was carried to all the houses throughout the town.





Sacrifices were also made to particular gods to achieve a desired result. Here are some:

Huitzilopochtli
In the case of a sacrificial offering to the Aztec sun god, the victim was placed on a stone slab in the temple. Several priests would hold down the limbs of the victim. One priest would take an obsidian blade or flint and make an incision in the rib cage. He would then rip out the still beating heart with his hands and hold it up to the sky. The victim’s body would be burned or given to the warrior who had captured the victim. If the warrior took the body, he would cut it into pieces to give to important people or us it in rituals of cannibalism. This would ensure his rise in status in Aztec society.

Tezcatlipoca
The god of night, sorcery and destiny was considered all seeing and all knowing. He had the ability to change man’s destiny, but being a trickster, he was more likely to cause a reversal of fortune. Each year a youth was chosen to dress up as Tezcatlipoca. Throughout the year he would be treated as a living incarnation of the god. He was given four beautiful women to accompany him. He spent his days walking the streets and playing his flute. During the Aztec month of Toxcatl, he would be sacrificed. On the day of the sacrifice he attended a banquet in his honor and ate a huge feast. When it was finished, he climbed the temple steps, broke his flute and surrendered himself to the priests for ritual slaying.

Huehueteotl
The fire god was responsible for light in the darkness. The Aztecs would hold a great feast and at the end they would burn their captives. Before the victims died, they were pulled with hooks from the fire and their hearts cut out. To do otherwise risked the wrath of the fire god, who might take offense and burn down the villages.

Tlaloc
It was important for the Aztecs to keep the god of rain appeased. Without the benevolence of this god, the people might suffer from droughts, or diseases such as leprosy and rheumatism. For this god, they believed in the need for tears of the young. Priests made children cry on the way to their immolation. One researcher I read of during my studies estimates that one in five Aztec children were sacrificed to the gods.

These tales are only some of the kinds of sacrifices that took place. The Aztecs were a fierce people, whether in life or in death.

Happy Halloween! Have fun and stay safe!


The Aztecs are a fascinating culture and I had a lot of fun weaving them into my SHADOW WARRIORS series from Samhain Publishing. Sacrifices and tzitzimime are both featured in OUT OF THE SHADOWS, the first novella in this series. Keep your eye out for SHADOW VISIONS coming in March 2012!



When the last shadow warrior falls, so will all humanity.
With each demon he vanquishes in service to the Aztec sun god, Tom├ís fulfills his duty to defend humankind—and surrenders another piece of his humanity to his wolf spirit. All hope seems lost until a mission leads him to the door of the one thing he thought he’d never find…his spirit mate. The only woman who can save him from oblivion.

When Carolina hears the wolf’s howl, it pierces the very core of her lonely heart. Yet she dare not answer. As the last guardian of her land and the secret it contains, she is haunted by the mistake that cost the lives of her family. Never will she repeat that mistake, especially with a warrior who is more beast than man.
Chasing away the demon is easier than breaching the barriers around the heart of the young woman who possesses a strange power over water—and his very soul. But if they are to survive the night, he must convince her they are destined to stand together.


EXCERPT

 A wolf’s howl pierced the desert silence, causing the animals to stir restlessly in their stalls. Wolves had been reintroduced into Arizona, but she had yet to see or hear one so close to her ranch. Was it an omen?

Carolina paused in her chores to stare out the open barn door into the gathering darkness.

For a moment, she let herself get caught up in the long, solitary note. It felt like a kindred spirit. She knew loneliness intimately. Only her loneliness did not come from the vast miles of the sun-parched Sonoran desert that surrounded her, but out of the necessity to protect her goddess, her land’s secret. As one of the few amongst her people to become a guardian, her choices were limited.

The one occasion she’d invested herself in another, he’d betrayed her. She’d foolishly placed her hope and trust in Billy and she’d paid a horrendous price. Her desire to find someone to share the workload, her joy and sadness, and the burden of her secret—just as her parents had done—had blinded her to the trap she’d walked into. By the time she understood what was happening, it was too late. Her parents were dead.

Her heart weighed heavy in her chest as if it had happened recently and not five years ago. The memory of her parents lingered too close to the surface today. This had been their land, their dream, and now it was hers to fight for. She’d vowed never to fail them again. Above her own needs came the higher purpose of protecting her goddess at all costs.

Her mare, Mariposa, snorted and reared up, pulling Carolina from her thoughts. The animals had been growing edgier with each passing minute. They sensed the evil that blew in with the warm desert breeze. She berated herself for not paying more attention to them.

Goose bumps prickled her skin. Her tattoo, a gift from the goddess, began a slow burn on her shoulder, a sure sign that evil was approaching. She felt the heat radiating through the fabric of her denim shirt. The last time she’d experienced the odd sensation, her world had fallen apart.

Cautiously, she turned her head, seeking the source.

Her breath came out in a gasp.

Less than ten feet away sat a magnificent gray wolf, watching her. Waiting.

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So tell me what scares you?


Leave a comment with your email address and be entered to win an ebook copy of OUT OF THE SHADOWS, a contemporary paranormal romance based on Aztec mythology.

Gabriella Hewitt is the pen name of creative writing talents Sasha Tomaszycki and Patrizia M.J. Hayashi. Together they weave tales of romantic suspense and dangerously sensual paranormals. Check out the website www.GabriellaHewitt.com to find out about upcoming releases and events on her blog.

 

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-- Lynda Again
      What a fascinating post! Leave a comment for our guest with your email addy so she can contact you if you're selected as the winner...and 

      Happy Halloween!
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12 comments:

Pauline B Jones said...

I guess we see in our world today, how it is possible to get people to blow themselves up, but still I'm surprised that someone go willingly to their own death! Creepy stuff!

Congrats on your book!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

I agree with Pauline. The Aztecs were a bloodthirsty bunch. Congrats on the new novel.

booklover0226 said...

Congratulations on your release!

I'm adding Out of the Shadows on my must have list.

Thanks,
Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot con

Gabriella Hewitt said...

Pauline, I totally hear you. You have to wonder if people really accepted it or if the social conditioning was so strong that it was almost considered an honor.

Thanks for stopping by!

Gabriella Hewitt said...

Jaqueline, I'm really loving this series and I totally agree that the Aztecs were a very fierce lot.

Thanks for commenting!

Gabriella Hewitt said...

Tracey D, if you pick up Out of the Shadows, I hope you enjoy it. I've had a blast researching for it. I've learned a lot about the Aztecs and for all their "blood thirstiness" they were also very advanced in other areas.

mystichawker said...

Great post for Halloween. Love the list of the different Gods, it must have been very interesting doing the research.
Thanks for sharing.
AM Burns
www.amburns.com
andy@amburns.com

Gabriella Hewitt said...

Love the handle mystichawker. Unusual. The Aztecs are a fascinating people to research, very hierarchical in social structure with their lives centered around the gods. I still have a lot to learn.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment.

desitheblonde said...

wow i like that one and then the pic was cool and so is the cover ww pretty
desithelbonde@msn.com

Gabriella Hewitt said...

desitheblonde, thanks for the comments. I love my cover too. :-) Thanks so much for stopping by.

Gabriella Hewitt said...

There's still time to leave a comment and be entered in the drawing for a copy of Out of the Shadows. I'll be picking a winner around 8pm EST. ( :

Gabriella Hewitt said...

And the winner is....

TRACEY D!

Congratulations. I'll be sending you an email soon. ( :