John Pohl, THE CODICES John Pohl's

ANCIENT BOOKS: Borgia Group Codices

Who Used Codex Borgia?

From Spanish Colonial historians we learn that books like Codex Borgia were primarily divinatory manuals.

(a) We know that the Borgia Group codices were used by palace diviners, mid-wives, and curers as a means of invoking the prophecies of the gods. A diviner gives the prophecy for the birth of a child on the day 10 Rabbit in an illustration from the Florentine Codex.

Image - (a) Diviner.
Image - (b) Maquil Cihua.

(b) The supernatural patrons of diviners who used the codices were five male and female couples called the Maquiltonaleque and the Cihuateteo appearing on Borgia 47-48, together they formed part of a larger group of spirit beings called Tzitzimime (Tzitzimitl, sing.)

(c) In manipulating the books, male practioners invoked the spirit forces of their patrons through the tips of their fingers which they addressed as the "Maquiltonaleque." Maquil means five, signifying the numeral in each of their names.

Image - (c) Maquil.
Image - (d) Midwife.

(d) The Cihuateteo were said to be the spirits of women who had died in child-birth. They were patrons of mid-wives and curers. An early 20th century mid-wife of Puebla with the medicinal plants, bark-paper images, and other tools of her profession.

Click on the images to enlarge.

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