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The term “direct descendent of Hernán Cortés” gets thrown around a lot these days, but do we ever pause to think what it means? The official definition of “direct descendent of Hernán Cortés” (according to www.genealogy.com) says you’re a person who can trace their lineal ancestry back to Cortés, infamous conquistador, despoiler of the New World and destroyer of the Aztec Empire. Who woulda thunk?
But how can you be certain? After all, being heir to the lineage of Marquess of the Valley of Oaxaca can impact all aspects of your life, from your career prospects and money management to romantic relationships! We spoke to Dr. Alejandra Conchita Huerta, a historian at the University of Southern California, to find out the signs that you might be the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchild of the butcher of Tenochtitlán.
1) Have you ever been mistaken for a plumed serpent?
According to Dr. Huerta, it’s not uncommon for a descendent of Cortes to be mistaken for a magnificent plumed serpent, radiant with feathers of heavenly splendor, scales so bright that they blind the mortal eye, bringer of knowledge, giver of maize, inventor of calendars and an aspect of the dawnstar itself. If the hostess at a TGI Friday’s or even a new coworker has ever just assumed you are an incarnation of divine Quetzalcoatl, that’s a big sign.
2) Has Neil Young ever pointed you out in a crowd and said “I wrote a song about that person’s ancestor?”
Another strong indication is if you’ve ever attended a concert by legendary Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young and he paused the concert to have a lighting tech put a spotlight on you and tell the audience that he wrote a song that specifically mentions your ancestor, before launching into an epic 27-minute performance of “Cortez the Killer,” punctuated by his trademark brutal guitar solos and backing vocals reminding everyone that he is referencing your ancestor, says Dr. Huerta.
3) Does The Florentine Codex have a picture of you?
“One of the key ways a person can tell if Cortés was their ancestor,” Dr. Huerta says, “is to examine the 16th century text known as The Florentine Codex, which documented New World beliefs as understood by Franciscan monks, ideally from the original copy in Florence, Italy, and see if any of its approximately 5,200 images are photorealistic depictions of you, with the caption ‘La Futura.’ That’s almost certainly a sign.”
4) Does La Malinche come to you in dreams and warn you Cortés is coming?
The real clincher is simple: if you’re a descendent of Cortés, you definitely are haunted in your slumber by La Malinche, the Nahua woman also known as Doña Marina. Have your dreams been interrupted by a spectral woman floating above your bed, weeping for her enslavement, complicity and sexual servitude to the monster Cortés, speaking words in a tongue you have no way of understanding, confessing terrible atrocities she could not stop, telling you that Cortes is seeking you? Well guess what, she’s your ancestor, too!
So what to do now that you’re certain? We asked Dr. Huerta, who nervously glanced at the gathering shadows in her office as her breath turned to frost in the air despite the California heat. “Unfortunately, Hernan Cortés is what we historians call a ‘restless spirit.’ His ghost, consumed by the evil he committed in his lifetime, has been rejected by both Heaven and Hell and wanders the world, looking for those who carry his blood, hoping to take their earthly forms and continue his conquest of fire and gold. So, just do the usual things, salt the earth around you, burn sage, pray to the true Quetzalcoatl, just whatever you do, don’t give into his whispering voice. Do you hear me? DON’T GIVE IN.”
Thanks, Dr. Huerta!
This post appears courtesy of our March 2021 publishing partnership with Flexx. Every month, Widget partners with an organisation to feature one post/week from their contributors, members, or so on. View the other posts from our partner’s contributors here.
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