Firstly, when I started this post just now, my title came out as “How about as drunk as 400 rabbis?”, and that would have been a totally different post … But corrected now, and let’s get down to this little tale (or tail) of the 400 flopsy bunnies…
I started out on this trip down the rabbit hole while researching the use of the agave or mezcal worm in magick and witchcraft. I had a gut instinct that those little babies might be an interesting tchotchke to ramp up the power in some of the witchcraft spells and oils I put together. Heisenberg has nothing on my witchcraft “spark plug” laboratory. I pride myself on adding in little wave changers that don’t appear in your run of the mill witchcraft spells.
So on to the rabbits … I wanted to relate this tale as a kind of general knowledge post because I was so smitten by what I found.
The story begins back in the Aztec civilization, when witches were known as naguales, who were basically shape-shifters. They worshiped Tezcatlipoca, the God of Night and patron of witches. They had no equivalent of Satan, as they believed that the forces of good and evil are within us all, and the struggle is waged within ourselves.
Once upon a time, as all good stories begin, there was an Aztec Goddess named Mayahuel. One night she shared a night of passion with Patecatl, the God of healing and fertility (she should have got some clue from that really). He was also a Pulque God and the discoverer of peyote.
The result of this union was 400 rabbits. In Mexican mythology, they are known as the Centzon Tototchin. In order to feed her brood, Mayahuel was blessed with 400 breasts, from which flowed pulque.
Pulque was reserved for the elder people of the tribe, as the young couldn’t handle its potency. As a note of historical interest, it is also said that it was used to “ease the pain” of sacrificial victims – I think it would take a pretty heavy sedative to numb that kind of pain, so it gives you some idea as to the strength of this elixir.
Some of the brood of 400 rabbits have specific names (well, you try naming 400 rabbits individually). As a posse, they were named The Gods of Drunkenness. Ometochtli was named “2 Rabbits”, and some of the rest of the crew were Texcatzonal, or “The Straw Mirror”, describing the effect of being so drunk that when you look in a mirror, it may as well be made of straw. Colhuatzincatl, or “The Winged One”, Tezcatlipoca (who really should have known better, what with being the God of the Night), and Macuiltochtli, or “5 Rabbits”. Toltecatl, who was the God of Early Civilization, Techalotl, the God of Dance, and Tequechmecauiani, God of Hanging. Yep, you read that right – it would seem that accidentally hanging yourself when drunk was an occupational hazard.
As you can imagine, they all loved nothing better than mischief and merry-making. There is a fairly sad ending to all this debauchery though. One day, the rabbits made the mistake of killing Huitzilopochtli, who was the mother of the God of War and the Moon, and he showed no mercy. He embarked on a rampage, decapitating some, ripping out the hearts of others, and generally going berzerk until all of the Centzon Tototchin were dead. The myth of this bloodbath is also thought to have been how the Aztecs came to justify their ritual human sacrifices.
So next time you go out for a drinking session, maybe raise a glass or two to the 400 rabbits. Just don’t get as drunk as they did.
Writer and purveyor of the magickal arts.