Order of Quetzalcoatl
What dazzling beauty there is in the myth of Quetzalcoatl! It is the complete fairy tale in which all things change perpetually into something else and are forever elusive, yet profoundly true.
The Great Bird-Serpent is the most powerful figure in Mexican mythology. From Teotihuacan (Mexico City) on the high plateau to Chichen Itza in Yucatan, he is a dominate motif on ancient monuments. Sometimes with his jaws open, bifid tongue, and articulated spinal column, he is easily recognizable. At others, he seems to have been coded in an almost infinite variety of formalized patterns derived from his famous scales, or feathers. Although no one knows the exact age, it is generally accepted on the basis of archeological evidence that the pyramids date anywhere from 600 B.C to 800 A.D.
Like all great symbols, he is misused and misunderstood. You find him popping up in the corniest modern sculpture friezes, mosaics and paintings. What the Statue of Liberty is to the United States, what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, even so is Quetzalcoatl to modern Mexico.
Almost certain there was more than one historical Quetzalcoatl, because in ancient Mexico the name was given to any priest who was supposed to have attained enlightenment. It is believed that Quetzalcoatl was a king, living about the time of Christ. If it was he who discovered that corn was a good staple diet for humans, then he must certainly have existed much earlier.
So, let's look at the myth itself, or at the collection of myths. To begin with there is the name, which was analyzed many years ago. It is formed of QUETZAL, the name of a rare bird with green feathers inhabiting the highlands of Chiapas and Guatemala, and COATL, which is the Nahuatl Indian language means snake, but which in its essence is a combination of CO, generic name for serpent or snake in the Maya language, and ATL meaning water. The Quetzal was a great bird, regarded as the most graceful of all. Its name means the most precious, or the beautiful bird. Quetzalcoatl is symbolized by the plumed serpent that may be seen depicted on many ancient temple ruins in various parts of Mexico.
Quetzalcoatl was known and accepted as a god in ancient Mexico. Accordingly, he dominated the great early American civilizations, from the land of the Incas in South America, to the Pueblo Indians of our southwestern desert. Quetzalcoatl became the force for understand the universe, as it was known before the introduction of modern religion by the Conquistadors of Spain. The god, Quetzalcoatl, represented to the ancients the very essence of life.
It was said by the Aztec priests that after leaving the world of the living, Quetzalcoatl would reappear from the east as the morning star, preceding the sun. Therefore, when the Conquistadors landed at Veracruz, from the east, in the year 1519, Montezuma was sure that Cortez was Quetzalcoatl, returning to take possession of his kingdom. Because of this mistaken belief, Cortez, with a small force, conquered an empire. Archaeologists uncovered the Temple of Quetzalcoatl early in this century at the ancient ruins of Teotihuacan, just north of Mexico City. The Toltecs may have been the builders of the Temple of Quetzalcoatl at Teotihuacan, about ten thousand years ago, where the pyramids of the moon and sun rival those of ancient Egypt.
In the ancient rites and legends practiced by the Toltec tribes under the leadership of their prophet and guide, Quetzalcoatl, we find many parallels to our Masonic ways of life. Here is a code of conduct native to the North American continent worthy of emulations. Everything he taught was for the betterment of the people.
Whether Quetzalcoatl was a myth, a man, or a god, remains a mystery. Nevertheless, Quetzalcoatl stood for all that was good in this world: Peace, art, wisdom, and prosperity.
The Order of Quetzalcoatl was founded on March 14, 1945, by the late Arthur J. Elian, Recorder of Anezeh Temple in Mexico City, who was an outstanding student of Mexican lore as well as an active 33rd degree Mason. His profound interest in all Masonic affairs crowned his efforts with all honors due him, having been Grand Master of the Muy Respectable Grand Logia Valle de Mexico, Emeritus Registrar of the Scottish Rite bodies, Recorder Emeritus of Anezeh Temple, and was fondly considered "Mr. Mason."
The Order is based upon authentic Mexican legend and depicts the eternal struggle between the forces of good and evil. This is the only Order of American origin, following the Masonic Tenets of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, which were exemplified in the life of Quetzalcoatl. Members of the order are known as Coates (KO-AH-TAYS) or Artisans, an Indian word which means twin brothers. Artisans are truly the "workers" of the Temple.
There are now in existence numerous Teocallis in the United States of America and Canada organized under the umbrella of the Supreme Teocalli which exercises general control over the affairs of the Order. Teocalli is the Aztec word for lodge, or Temple. The jurisdiction of the Supreme Teocalli is the See of North America. The Order of Quetzalcoatl is recognized throughout Shrinedom, and is enjoying phenomenal growth. a large number of Shrine officers on the local as well as on the Imperial Divan are "Coates" of the Order. Although the Order of Quetzalcoatl is a forum for fun and fellowship among the Artisans of the Temple, the Order has a serious side: Our philanthropy is to assist the Supreme Teocalli and the local Shrine Temples in extraordinary activities with financial and moral support, particularly in the area of transportation funds for the Shrine Hospitals for Children.
The Order of Quetzalcoatl is a very unique organization of Shrine Masons. The Order is composed of only those who have distinguished themselves in their service to the Temples - who have associated together, for fun and fellowship. Local Teocallis are virtually autonomous, subject only to conformance to the Supreme Teocalli bylaws. Each set is own membership qualification, meeting and attendance requirements, rules for elections of officers, fees and dues, in accordance with the general guidelines established by the Supreme Teocalli. Local Teocallis are combined into regional associations, similar to Imperial Shrine Associations.
The ritual is divided into three distinct parts. Once accepted into membership an individual is a Coate (or tribesman) of the Order and is given an obligation in which he promises that he will avail himself to receive the two degrees of the Order, that of Initiation (Artisan degree) and that of Consecration (Master Artisan). Upon initiation through a ritualistic full feathered ceremonial, a candidate is made an Artisan. Thereafter, by consecration ceremonies either at the annual "Feast of Fire", or upon a pilgrimage to the pyramids in Mexico, primarily the Temple of Quetzalcoatl at Teotihuacan (Mexico City) or Chichen Itza (Cancun), a candidate may be consecrated a Master Artisan. The one with the other would be incomplete and it is urged that the candidate by informed that although initiation is highly instructive and of great interest, it is desirable that all candidates should, whenever possible, make the pilgrimage to the Ancient Temple of Quetzalcoatl.
Accordingly, although fun is the name of the game, fun and fellowship, with a purpose, is truly the name of the game.
Any interested group of at least fifteen Shrine Masons, residing in the same jurisdiction and in good standing, who are truly "Artisan of their Temple", having rendered outstanding conspicuous and unselfish service to their Temple, and Shrinedom, may petition for dispensation to establish a new Teocalli in the jurisdiction of their Temple; provided that there is no pre-existing Teocalli in the same Temple.
The Order of Quetzalcoatl is independent from our Shrine Temples. However, our membership is based on requisite membership in the Shrine. Membership in the Order is a high privilege and by invitation only.
To initiate an application for dispensation to establish a new Teocalli, or for more information about the Order of Quetzalcoatl, e-mail the Supreme Tlacuilo (Secretary) at Tlacuilo@supremeq.com or call toll free 1-888-648-49121-888-648-4912 or mail inquires to P.O. Box 12487; Overland Park, KS 66282.