Tag Archives: education

Religion #13: Zoroastrianism

“Zoroastrianism is one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions. It was founded by the Prophet Zoroaster (or Zarathustra) in ancient Iran approximately 3500 years ago.

For 1000 years Zoroastrianism was one of the most powerful religions in the world. It was the official religion of Persia (Iran) from 600 BCE to 650 CE.

It is now one of the world’s smallest religions. In 2006 the New York Times reported that there were probably less than 190,000 followers worldwide at that time.

Zoroastrians believe there is one God called Ahura Mazda (Wise Lord) and He created the world.

Zoroastrians are not fire-worshippers, as some Westerners wrongly believe.

Zoroastrians believe that the elements are pure and that fire represents God’s light or wisdom.

Ahura Mazda revealed the truth through the Prophet, Zoroaster.

Zoroastrians traditionally pray several times a day.

Zoroastrians worship communally in a Fire Temple or Agiary.

The Zoroastrian book of Holy Scriptures is called The Avesta.

The Avesta can be roughly split into two main sections:

The Avesta is the oldest and core part of the scriptures, which contains the Gathas. The Gathas are seventeen hymns thought to be composed by Zoroaster himself.

The Younger Avesta – commentaries to the older Avestan written in later years. It also contains myths, stories and details of ritual observances.

Zoroastrians are roughly split into two groups:
-The Iranians
-The Parsis”

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/zoroastrian/ataglance/glance.shtml

Religion #11: Rastafari

“Rastafari is a young, Africa-centred religion which developed in Jamaica in the 1930s, following the coronation of Haile Selassie I as King of Ethiopia in 1930.

Rastafarians believe Haile Selassie is God and that he will return to Africa members of the black community who are living in exile as the result of colonisation and the slave trade.

Rastafari theology developed from the ideas of Marcus Garvey, a political activist who wanted to improve the status of fellow blacks.

There are approximately one million world wide adherents of Rastafari as a faith. The 2001 census found 5,000 Rastafarians living in England and Wales.

Followers of Rastafari are known by a variety of names: Rastafarians, Rastas, Sufferers, Locksmen, Dreads or Dreadlocks.

It spread globally following the success of Bob Marley and his music in the 1970s.

Rastafarians believe that blacks are the chosen people of God, but that through colonisation and the slave trade their role has been suppressed.

The movement’s greatest concerns are the repatriation of blacks to their homeland, Africa, and the reinstatement of blacks’ position in society.

It is an exocentric religion – as Haile Selassie, whom adherents consider as God, is outside the religion.

Rastafari religious ceremonies consist of chanting, drumming and meditating in order to reach a state of heightened spirituality.

Rastafarian religious practice includes the ritual inhalation of marijuana, to increase their spiritual awareness.

Rastafarians follow strict dietary laws and abstain from alcohol.

Rastafarians follow a number of Old Testament Laws.

There is a separate code of religious practice for women in Rastafari.

Rastafarians believe reincarnation follows death and that life is eternal.

Rastafarians are forbidden to cut their hair; instead, they grow it and twist it into dreadlocks.

Rastafarians eat clean and natural produce, such as fruit and vegetables.

Rastafarians try to refrain from the consumption of meat, especially pork.

Rastafarians are opposed to abortion and contraception.

The Rastafarian colours are red, green and gold. Sometimes black is added. These colours are chosen because:

-Red signifies the blood of those killed for the cause of the black community, throughout Jamaican history.
-Green represents Jamaica’s vegetation and hope for the eradication of suppression.
-Gold symbolises the wealth of Ethiopia.
-Black signifies the colour of the Africans who initiated Rastafari.

The Rastafarian symbol
The lion is the symbol of Rastafari.

This lion represents Haile Selassie I, who is referred to as the ‘Conquering Lion of Judah’. Rastafarians’ dreadlocks represent the lion’s mane.”

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/rastafari/ataglance/glance.shtml

Religion #10: Shinto

The essence of Shinto is the Japanese devotion to invisible spiritual beings and powers called kami, to shrines, and to various rituals.

Shinto is not a way of explaining the world. What matters are rituals that enable human beings to communicate with kami.

Kami are not God or gods. They are spirits that are concerned with human beings – they appreciate our interest in them and want us to be happy – and if they are treated properly they will intervene in our lives to bring benefits like health, business success, and good exam results.

Shinto is a very local religion, in which devotees are likely to be concerned with their local shrine rather than the religion as a whole. Many Japanese will have a tiny shrine-altar in their homes.

However, it is also an unofficial national religion with shrines that draw visitors from across the country. Because ritual rather than belief is at the heart of Shinto, Japanese people don’t usually think of Shinto specifically as a religion – it’s simply an aspect of Japanese life. This has enabled Shinto to coexist happily with Buddhism for centuries.

The name Shinto comes from Chinese characters for Shen (‘divine being’), and Tao (‘way’) and means ‘Way of the Spirits’.

Shrine visiting and taking part in festivals play a great part in binding local communities together.

Shrine visiting at New Year is the most popular shared national event in Japan.
Because Shinto is focussed on the land of Japan it is clearly an ethnic religion. Therefore Shinto is little interested in missionary work, and rarely practised outside its country of origin.

Shinto sees human beings as basically good and has no concept of original sin, or of humanity as ‘fallen’.

Everything, including the spiritual, is experienced as part of this world.

Shinto has no place for any transcendental other world.

Shinto has no canonical scriptures.

Shinto teaches important ethical principles but has no commandments.

Shinto has no founder.

Shinto has no God.

Shinto does not require adherents to follow it as their only religion.”

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/shinto/ataglance/glance.shtml

Religion #7: Christianity

“Christianity is the name of the religion, and its followers are known as Christians.

Christianity is focused on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe to be the Son of God. Jesus was born in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago.

Today, there are over 2.2 billion Christians around the world, making Christianity the most followed religion.

Religious symbol

The cross is the symbol of Christianity. Jesus Christ was executed by the Romans and died by being crucified on a wooden cross. Christians remember his death and resurrection by wearing crosses. Sometimes crosses will have a figure of Jesus on them. These are called crucifixes.

Christianity - the cross


Christians share many beliefs, but they don’t all agree on everything. This has resulted in the development of different groups within the religion called denominations. Examples of these include Anglican, Methodist, Baptist and Catholic.

Different Christian denominations worship in different ways. Anglicans, Catholics and Orthodox Christians have a set form of worship. It is a formal ritual based around the sacraments, particularly Holy Communion. This type of worship is called liturgical worship.

Other Christian churches, such as Baptists and Quakers, practice non-liturgical worship. This kind of worship has no set form and often does not involve Holy Communion. Non-liturgical worship is usually centered on Bible readings, a sermon, music and prayers.

As well as worshiping in different ways, Christian churches do not always look the same. For example, many Orthodox and Catholic Churches are more ornate and detailed, whereas Baptist or Methodist chapels are usually much simpler buildings.

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/z4tb4wx/articles/zk4fxyc

Religion #6: Sikhism

“Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak around 500 years ago in a place called the Punjab. This is an area which spans part of India and Pakistan in South Asia today.

What do Sikhs believe?
Sikhs believe in one God who guides and protects them. They believe everyone is equal before God. Sikhs believe that your actions are important and you should lead a good life. They believe the way to do this is:

-Keep God in your heart and mind at all times
-Live honestly and work hard
-Treat everyone equally
-Be generous to those less fortunate than you
-Serve others

Guru Nanak
Guru Nanak is the founder of Sikhism. Guru means ‘Teacher’.

Sikhism is still based on his teachings and those of the nine Sikh Gurus who followed him.

The Five Ks
The Sikh community of men and women is known as the Khalsa which means the ‘Community of the Pure’.

In order to become a Sikh and join the Khalsa, people need to follow the Five Ks.

What is the Sikh holy book?

The Sikh holy book is called the Guru Granth Sahib. The tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, said that after him there would be no other living gurus. Instead, Sikhs could look at their holy book for guidance. This is why Sikhs call their holy book a Guru.

The Guru Granth Sahib is a collection of lessons from the ten gurus as well as Sikh, Hindu and Muslim saints. It is written in Punjabi and is greatly respected by all Sikhs as the living word of God. It is kept on a raised platform under a canopy in the Sikh place of worship. All Sikhs take off their shoes when they are near it.

Where do Sikhs worship?

The Sikh place of worship is called a Gurdwara which means ‘Gateway to the Guru’. A Gurdwara is any building where the Guru Granth Sahib is kept.

In the UK, Sikhs usually go to the Gurdwara on Sundays. During the services they listen to teachings based on the Guru Granth Sahib. They also chant and say prayers from the gurus. These are called Keertan.

The Langar

The service ends in a langar (a shared meal). Everyone is welcome to share the meal.

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/zsjpyrd/articles/zkjpkmn

Religion #5: Hinduism

“Hinduism is the religion of the majority of people in India and Nepal. It also exists among significant populations outside of the sub continent and has over 900 million adherents worldwide.

In some ways Hinduism is the oldest living religion in the world, or at least elements within it stretch back many thousands of years. Yet Hinduism resists easy definition partly because of the vast array of practices and beliefs found within it. It is also closely associated conceptually and historically with the other Indian religions Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism.

Unlike most other religions, Hinduism has no single founder, no single scripture, and no commonly agreed set of teachings. Throughout its extensive history, there have been many key figures teaching different philosophies and writing numerous holy books. For these reasons, writers often refer to Hinduism as ‘a way of life’ or ‘a family of religions’ rather than a single religion.

Defining Hinduism
The term ‘Hindu’ was derived from the river or river complex of the northwest, the Sindhu. Sindhu is a Sanskrit word used by the inhabitants of the region, the Aryans in the second millennium BCE. Later migrants and invaders, the Persians in the sixth century BCE, the Greeks from the 4th century BCE, and the Muslims from the 8th century CE, used the name of this river in their own languages for the land and its people.

The term ‘Hindu’ itself probably does not go back before the 15th and 16th centuries when it was used by people to differentiate themselves from followers of other traditions, especially the Muslims (Yavannas), in Kashmir and Bengal. At that time the term may have simply indicated groups united by certain cultural practices such as cremation of the dead and styles of cuisine. The ‘ism’ was added to ‘Hindu’ only in the 19th century in the context of British colonialism and missionary activity.

The origins of the term ‘hindu’ are thus cultural, political and geographical. Now the term is widely accepted although any definition is subject to much debate. In some ways it is true to say that Hinduism is a religion of recent origin yet its roots and formation go back thousands of years.

Some claim that one is ‘born a Hindu’, but there are now many Hindus of non-Indian descent. Others claim that its core feature is belief in an impersonal Supreme, but important strands have long described and worshipped a personal God. Outsiders often criticise Hindus as being polytheistic, but many adherents claim to be monotheists.

Some Hindus define orthodoxy as compliance with the teachings of the Vedic texts (the four Vedas and their supplements). However, still others identify their tradition with ‘Sanatana Dharma’, the eternal order of conduct that transcends any specific body of sacred literature. Scholars sometimes draw attention to the caste system as a defining feature, but many Hindus view such practices as merely a social phenomenon or an aberration of their original teachings. Nor can we define Hinduism according to belief in concepts such as karma and samsara (reincarnation) because Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists (in a qualified form) accept this teaching too.

Although it is not easy to define Hinduism, we can say that it is rooted in India, most Hindus revere a body of texts as sacred scripture known as the Veda, and most Hindus draw on a common system of values known as dharma.

-Hinduism originated around the Indus Valley near the River Indus in modern day Pakistan.
-About 80% of the Indian population regard themselves as Hindu.
-Most Hindus believe in a Supreme God, whose qualities and forms are represented by the multitude of deities which emanate from him.
-Hindus believe that existence is a cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, governed by Karma.
-Hindus believe that the soul passes through a cycle of successive lives and its next incarnation is always dependent on how the previous life was lived.
-The main Hindu texts are the Vedas and their supplements (books based on the Vedas). Veda is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘knowledge’. These scriptures do not mention the word ‘Hindu’ but many scriptures discuss dharma, which can be rendered as ‘code of conduct’, ‘law’, or ‘duty’
-Hindus celebrate many holy days, but the Festival of Lights, Diwali is the best known.
-The 2001 census recorded 559,000 Hindus in Britain, around 1% of the population.”

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/hinduism/ataglance/glance.shtml

Religion #4: Judaism

“Judaism began nearly 4,000 years ago in a place called the Middle East. This is a large area on the border of Asia, Africa and Europe.

What do Jews believe in?
Jews believe that there is only one God. They believe they have a special agreement with God called a covenant. Jews promise to obey God’s laws to say thank you to him for looking after them.

Jews believe a man called Abraham was the the first person to make a covenant with God. Abraham was a Hebrew. Jews believe God named Abraham’s grandson Israel. After this, the Hebrews became known as the Israelites. Abraham is considered the father of the Jewish people and the Israelites are his descendants.

Later, a man named Moses saved the Jewish people from persecution in Egypt when he led them to safety across the Red Sea. After this, the Jews lived in the desert where God gave Moses a set of rules which they should live by, including the Ten Commandments. Moses is the most important Jewish prophet.

What is the Jewish holy book?
The Jewish holy book is known as the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible. The word Tanakh comes from the first letters of the three different parts of the book:

The Torah (T) which is the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. The Christian Bible also begins with these books, in the part which Christians call the Old Testament. The Nevi’im (N) which are the books of the Jewish prophets such as Joshua and Isaiah.
Ketuvim (K) which is a collection other important writings.

The Torah has 613 commandments which are called mitzvah. They are the rules that Jews try to follow. The most important ones are the Ten Commandments given to Moses.

The Torah is so special that people are not allowed to touch it. It is kept in a safe place called an ark in the Jewish temple and when people read from the Torah, they use a special pointer stick called a yad to follow the words.

Where do Jews worship?
Jews worship God in a synagogue. Jewish people attend services at the synagogue on Saturdays during Shabbat.

Shabbat (the Sabbath) is the most important time of the week for Jews. It begins on Friday evenings and ends at sunset on Saturdays. During Shabbat, Jews remember that God created the world and on the seventh day he rested. Jews believe God’s day of rest was a Saturday.

The services in the synagogue are led by a religious leader called a rabbi, which means ‘Teacher’ in Hebrew.

The Jewish emblem is the Magen David (Shield of David). It is also known as the Star of David because it is made up of two equilateral triangles that are overlaid to form a six pointed star. Each point is a sign that God rules over the universe and protects his people from harm.

These are two Orthodox Jews from Israel. Orthodox means they follow a stricter form of Judaism than other progressive or liberal Jews. They have long side-burns which are called Payot.”

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/znwhfg8/articles/zh77vk7

Spiritual Laws #6: Perpetual Transmutation Of Energy

“The Law of Perpetual Transmutation of Energy states that everything around us is in constant flux. You can’t see all of these changes because many of them exist at the cellular or atomic level, but they carry on regardless.

The reason that it’s so important to be aware of this Law is that it helps you see how you can trigger positive change. Specifically, keep in mind that high vibrations can trigger improvements in low vibrations. For example, if you’re vibrating at a low frequency, exposing yourself to the high frequency of a happy, encouraging friend will naturally trigger energy transmutation in you.”

Source: https://www.thelawofattraction.com/12-spiritual-laws-universe/

Down The Rabbit Hole – Part 2

Hey there! Welcome to Part 2 of the collaboration project brought to you by Ace at fearlessfreesoul.com and Amber at diosraw.com! We believe in love and love is truth, so, together our mission is to inspire you to see the truth! We believe it is very important to realize the truth within yourself and not what the media or outside sources tell you to believe is truth! We respect you, your journey and your opinions but we are devoted to the truth and can’t help ourselves to spread it around! We hope you use this article to grow, to see from a different perspective and to learn, because learning never stops! Comment with your thoughts or any questions you might have for us about these topics, we’d love to hear and are happy to answer!

What would the world be like without the media?

Can we trust the media?


Is the media used to control or inform us?


How big of a role does the media have in our lives?


Do we form our own opinions, or does the media form our opinions?

Is the film industry what it seems?

How do celebrities get famous?


Is there disclosure in our movies?

Are movies showing us the future?

Is there a secret agenda to the media, film and music industry?


Must Watch Documentary: Out Of The Shadows – Go look it up right now!!!!

What hertz should we be listening to in music?

Why do songs get stuck in our head?

Is our music promoting good things?

Is sports real or just a show?


Are athletes who they seem?

Does the media affect the world of sports?



What is in makeup?


What is in sunscreen?


Do we need sunscreen?

Petrolatum causes cancer, but why is it in our lotions?


What does makeup do to our souls?

Do we wear makeup for ourselves or for others?


Does the medical Industry work in our favour?


Do we really get help from our doctors?

Do we feel better and heal fully when using the medical system?

Does the medical industry gain monetary wealth from their pharaceuticals?


Does the pharaceutical industry have our best interests at heart?


Will the vaccine really make people better?



Why are pharmaceutical companies paying out billions in damages to patients?

Does the education system give us life skills?


Does the education system alter our growing mindset for an agenda?

Does the education system teach us love and compassion?

What’s the benefits of homeschooling your children?


How was the education system created?


How do we rise above the darkness?

Knowing you are an eternal spirit that lives on forevermore and love is the only thing that really exsists.

Realising that you chose to be here at this moment and that you have all the power within you to see the light.

How do we thrive rather than survive?

Knowledge is power, seek independent research and harness the love you have for yourself.

Thank you for reading! We hope this helps you realize truth or at least see from a different perspective! We also encourage you to go research, there is no harm in researching! With an open mind, eyes and heart can you truly begin to see the world! Wishing you the freedom to dive into the truth! – Ace at fearlessfreesoul.com and Amber at diosraw.com

Religion #1: Jainism

“Jainism is an ancient religion from India that teaches that the way to liberation and bliss is to live lives of harmlessness and renunciation.

The essence of Jainism is concern for the welfare of every being in the universe and for the health of the universe itself.

Jains believe that animals and plants, as well as human beings, contain living souls. Each of these souls is considered of equal value and should be treated with respect and compassion.

Jains are strict vegetarians and live in a way that minimises their use of the world’s resources.

Jains believe in reincarnation and seek to attain ultimate liberation – which means escaping the continuous cycle of birth, death and rebirth so that the immortal soul lives for ever in a state of bliss.

Liberation is achieved by eliminating all karma from the soul.
Jainism is a religion of self-help.

There are no gods or spiritual beings that will help human beings.

The three guiding principles of Jainism, the ‘three jewels’, are right belief, right knowledge and right conduct.

The supreme principle of Jain living is non violence (ahimsa).

This is one of the 5 mahavratas (the 5 great vows). The other mahavratas are non-attachment to possessions, not lying, not stealing, and sexual restraint (with celibacy as the ideal).
Mahavira is regarded as the man who gave Jainism its present-day form.

The texts containing the teachings of Mahavira are called the Agamas.

Jains are divided into two major sects; the Digambara (meaning “sky clad”) sect and the Svetambara (meaning “white clad”) sect.

Jainism has no priests. Its professional religious people are monks and nuns, who lead strict and ascetic lives.
Most Jains live in India, and according to the 2001 Census of India there are around 4.2 million living there. However, the Oxford Handbook of Global Religions, published in 2006, suggests that census figures may provide lower than the true number of followers as many Jains identify themselves as Hindu. The Handbook also states that there are around 25,000 Jains in Britain.”

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/jainism/ataglance/glance.shtml#:~:text=Jainism%20is%20an%20ancient%20religion,lives%20of%20harmlessness%20and%20renunciation.&text=The%20three%20guiding%20principles%20of,is%20non%20violence%20(ahimsa).

Civilisations #21: The Romanovs

“The House of Romanov was the second major royal dynasty in Russia, and arose after the Rurikid Dynasty. It was founded in 1613 with the coronation of Michael I and ended in 1917 with the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II. However, the direct male blood line of the Romanov Dynasty ended when Elizabeth of Russia died in 1762, and Peter III, followed by Catherine the Great, were placed in power, both German-born royalty.

Roots of the Romanovs
The earliest common ancestor for the Romanov clan goes back to Andrei Kobyla. Sources say he was a boyar under the leadership of the Rurikid prince Semyon I of Moscow in 1347. This figure remains somewhat mysterious with some sources claiming he was the high-born son of a Rus’ prince. Others point to the name Kobyla, which means horse, suggesting he was descended from the Master of Horse in the royal household.

Whatever the real origins of this patriarch-like figure, his descendants split into about a dozen different branches over the next couple of centuries. One such descendent, Roman Yurievich Zakharyin-Yuriev, gave the Romanov Dynasty its name. Grandchildren of this patriarch changed their name to Romanov and it remained there until they rose to power.

Michael I
The Romanov Dynasty proper was founded after the Time of Troubles, an era between 1598 and 1613, which included a dynastic struggle, wars with Sweden and Poland, and severe famine. Tsar Boris Godunov’s rule, which lasted until 1605, saw the Romanov families exiled to the Urals and other remote areas. Michael I’s father was forced to take monastic vows and adopt the name Philaret. Two impostors attempting to gain the throne in Moscow attempted to leverage Romanov power after Godunov died in 1605. And by 1613, the Romanov family had again become a popular name in the running for power.

Patriarch Philaret’s son, Michael I, was voted into power by the zemsky sober in July 1613, ending a long dynastic dispute. He unified the boyars and satisfied the Moscow royalty as the son of Feodor Nikitich Romanov (now Patriarch Philaret) and the nephew of the Rurikid Tsar Feodor I. He was only sixteen at his coronation, and both he and his mother were afraid of his future in such a difficult political position.

Michael I reinstated order in Moscow over his first years in power and also developed two major government offices, the Posolsky Prikaz (Foreign Office) and the Razryadny Prikaz (Duma chancellory, or provincial administration office). These two offices remained essential to Russian order for a many decades.

Alexis I
Michael I ruled until his death in 1645 and his son, Alexis, took over the throne at the age of sixteen, just like his father. His reign would last over 30 years and ended at his death in 1676. His reign was marked by riots in cities such Pskov and Novgorod, as well as continued wars with Sweden and Poland.

However, Alexis I established a new legal code called Subornoye Ulozheniye, which created a serf class, made hereditary class unchangeable, and required official state documentation to travel between towns. These codes stayed in effect well into the 19th century. Under Alexis I’s rule, the Orthodox Church also convened the Great Moscow Synod, which created new customs and traditions. This historic moment created a schism between what are termed Old Believers (those attached to the previous hierarchy and traditions of the Church) and the new Church traditions. Alexis I’s legacy paints him as a peaceful and reflective ruler, with a propensity for progressive ideas.

Dynastic Dispute and Peter the Great
At the death of Alexis I in 1676, a dynastic dispute erupted between the children of his first wife, namely Fyodor III, Sofia Alexeyevna, Ivan V, and the son of his second wife, Peter Alexeyevich (later Peter the Great). The crown was quickly passed down through the children of his first wife. Fyodor III died from illness after ruling for only six years. Between 1682 and 1689 power was contested between Sofia Alexeyevna, Ivan V, and Peter. Sofia served as regent from 1682 to 1689. She actively opposed Peter’s claim to the throne in favor of her own brother, Ivan. However, Ivan V and Peter shared the throne until Ivan’s death in 1696.

Peter went on to rule over Russia, and even style himself Emperor of all Russia in 1721, and ruled until his death in 1725. He built a new capital in St. Petersburg, where he built a navy and attempted to wrest control of the Baltic Sea. He is also remembered for bringing western culture and Enlightenment ideas to Russia, as well as limiting the control of the Church.”

Source: https://courses.lumenlearning.com/suny-hccc-worldcivilization/chapter/the-romanovs/

Know Thyself

There were codes of conduct by which people lived in ancient times. In Delphi, to “know thyself” was considered a key to living. Knowing thyself embodied the concept of going within and exploring versions of the multidimensional self, discovering questions and answers and access to other worlds. The codes of conduct concluded that you were to take nothing in excess, and that you were to always show respect and properly value what was around you. Today, you are pushed to consider codes of conduct and communication in order to reestablish a world in which all things are significant. Your uniqueness lies in your diversity and the innumerable ways in which you, as humans, have sought to experience and interpret reality.

Civilisations #8: The Zaptec

“The Zapotec civilization originated in the three Central Valleys of Oaxaca in the late 6th Century BCE. The valleys were divided between three different-sized societies, separated by no-man’s-land in the middle, today occupied by the city of Oaxaca. Archaeological evidence from the period, such as burned temples and sacrificed captives, suggests that although the three societies shared linguistic, cultural, and religious traditions, they also competed against one another.

Five Phases
The Zapotec state formed at Monte Albán. This consolidation of power began outward political expansion during the late Monte Albán 1 phase (400–100 BCE) and throughout the Monte Albán 2 phase (100 BCE–200 CE). Zapotec rulers from Monte Albán seized control of provinces outside the valley of Oaxaca with their superior military and political clout, which quickly overtook less-developed local entities. By 200 CE, the end of the Monte Albán 2 phase, the Zapotecs had extended their influence, from Quiotepec in the North to Ocelotepec and Chiltepec in the South. The religious and cultural city of Monte Albán had become the largest city in what are today the southern Mexican highlands. This powerful city retained this status until approximately 700 CE.

Expansion And Decline
Between Monte Albán phases 1 and 2 there was a considerable expansion of the population of the Valley of Oaxaca. As the population grew, so did the degree of social differentiation, the centralization of political power, and ceremonial activity. Another effect of this population boom and the political expansion of the military during Monte Albán 1–2 was the development of fragmented, independent states. These areas developed regional centers of power with distinct leaders and linguistic dialects. However, the Zapotec rulers retained control over vast swaths of the region. Some archeologists argue that the building centered on the main plaza of Monte Albán contains depictions of elaborate heads, which represent the rulers of conquered provinces.

The Zapotecs were ultimately destroyed by Spanish invaders. Having lost militarily to the Aztecs in battles from 1497–1502, the Zapotecs tried to avoid confrontation with the Spaniards, and hopefully the tragic fate of the Aztecs. The Spaniards took advantage of this pacifist stance and ultimately defeated the Zapotecs after five years of campaigns ending in 1527. The arrival of new diseases and steel weapons also weakened any attempts at a revolt from the Zapotec population. There were some subsequent uprisings against the new rulers, but for all intents and purposes, the Zapotecs were conquered. However, the seven Zapotec languages, and hundreds of Zapotec dialects, still survive with populations that have spread throughout Mexico and also Los Angeles, California.

Zapotec Writing And Religion
The Zapotecs developed a calendar and a logosyllabic system of writing that used a separate glyph to represent each of the syllables of the language. This writing system is thought to be one of the first writing systems of Mesoamerica and a predecessor of those developed by the Maya, Mixtec, and Aztec civilizations.

Like most Mesoamerican religious systems, the Zapotec religion was polytheistic. Two principal deities included Cocijo, the rain god (similar to the Aztec god Tlaloc), and Coquihani, the god of light. These deities, along with many others, centered around concepts of fertility and agriculture. It is likely that the Zapotec practiced human sacrifices to these gods of fertility, and also played elaborate and ritualistic ball games in the court at Monte Albán. They also practiced dedication rituals, which cleansed a new space. Fine pieces of rare jade, pearl, and obsidian were found in a cache in Oaxaca, and were probably used to cleanse religious sites or temples upon the completion of construction.

According to historic, as well as contemporary, Zapotec legends, their ancestors emerged from the earth or from caves, or turned into people from trees or jaguars. Their governing elite apparently believed that they descended from supernatural beings that lived among the clouds, and that upon death they would return to the same status. In fact, the name by which Zapotecs are known today results from this belief. The Zapotecs of the Central Valleys call themselves “Be’ena’ Za’a”—the Cloud People.

Evidence of the central role of religion in the Zapotec cultural hierarchy is pronounced at the religious city of Mitla. It is the second most important archeological site in the state of Oaxaca, and the most important of the Zapotec culture. The site is located 44 kilometers from the city of Oaxaca. While Monte Albán was most important as the political center, Mitla was the main religious center, as evidenced by the elaborate buildings and artwork throughout the city. The name “Mitla” is derived from the Nahuatl name “Mictlán,” which was the place of the dead or underworld. Its Zapotec name is Lyobaa, which means “place of rest.” The name “Mictlán” was Hispanicized to “Mitla” by the Spanish.

What makes Mitla unique among Mesoamerican sites is the elaborate and intricate mosaic fretwork and geometric designs that cover tombs, panels, friezes, and even entire walls. These mosaics are made with small, finely cut and polished stone pieces, which have been fitted together without the use of mortar. No other site in Mexico has this.”

Source: https://courses.lumenlearning.com/suny-hccc-worldcivilization/chapter/the-zapotec/

Civilisations #7: The Mixtec

“The Mixtec are indigenous Mesoamerican peoples inhabiting the region known as La Mixteca, which covers parts of the Mexican states of Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Puebla. Though the Mixtec remain today, they were most prominent in the 11th century and the following years, until they were conquered by the Spanish and their allies in the 16th century.

Before the arrival of Spanish hostility, a number of Mixtecan city-states competed with each other and with the Zapotec kingdoms. The major Mixtec polity was Tututepec, which rose to prominence in the 11th century under the leadership of Eight Deer Jaguar Claw. This prominent leader was the only Mixtec king to ever unite the highland and lowland polities into a single Mixtec state. During this era there were approximately 1.5 million Mixtecs populating this varied region.

Modern Mixtec People
Today there are approximately 800,000 Mixtec people in Mexico, and there are also large populations in the United States. In recent years a large exodus of indigenous peoples from Oaxaca, such as the Zapotec and Triqui, have emerged as one of the most numerous groups of Amerindians in the United States. As of 2011, an estimated 150,000 Mixtec people were living in California, and 25,000 to 30,000 were living in New York City. Large Mixtec communities exist in the border cities of Tijuana; Baja California; San Diego, California; and Tucson, Arizona. Mixtec communities are generally described as trans-national or trans-border because of their ability to maintain and reaffirm social ties between their native homelands and diasporic communities.

Mixtec Language
The word “Mixtec” is often used to refer not to the group of people of Mixtec ancestry, but to the family of languages that have developed alongside the group. There is no longer one single Mixtec language; some estimate that there are fifty distinct languages in the Mixtec family, including Cuicatec and Triqui.

Mixtec History
Important ancient centers of the Mixtec include the ancient capital of Tilantongo, as well as the sites of Achiutla, Cuilapan, and Yucuñudahui. The Mixtec also erected major constructions at the ancient city of Monte Albán, which had originated as a Zapotec city before the Mixtec gained control of it.

At the height of the Aztec Empire (between 1428 and 1521 CE) many Mixtec polities were forced to pay tribute. However, many Mixtec polities remained completely independent of the threatening empire, even as it expanded outward. The smaller Mixtec polities also put up resistance to Spanish forces led by Pedro de Alvarado until the invaders gained control of the region and destroyed any attempt at a revolt in 1521. Disease, weaponry, and local political fractures likely aided the Spanish takeover of the area.

Mixtec Art
The work of Mixtec artisans who produced work in stone, wood, and metal were well regarded throughout ancient Mesoamerica. Mixtec artists were known for their exceptional mastery of jewelry, in which gold and turquoise figured prominently. The intricate metalwork of Mixtec goldsmiths formed an important part of the tribute the Mixtecs had to pay to the Aztecs during parts of their history.

The Mixtec are well known in the anthropological world for their codices, or phonetic pictures, in which they wrote their history and genealogies in deerskin in the “fold-book” form. The best-known story of the Mixtec codices is that of Lord Eight Deer, named after the day on which he was born, whose personal name was Jaguar Claw, and whose epic history is related in several codices. He successfully conquered and united most of the Mixteca region.

Codices can be read from right to left and often measure many feet long. The Codex Bodley measures twenty-two feet long and contains complex explanations of important family lineages and creation stories, such as the War of Heaven, that directly refer back to elite dynasties. The preservation of these extremely rare Codices paints a distinct picture of Mesoamerica right before the arrival of Spanish forces.”

Source: https://courses.lumenlearning.com/suny-hccc-worldcivilization/chapter/the-mixtec/