Skip to Main Content

Pyramid of Fire: The Lost Aztec Codex

Spiritual Ascent at the End of Time

Published by Bear & Company
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

The first translation of a previously unknown Aztec codex and its initiatory teachings for 2012

• Discloses the potential for great spiritual awakening offered at the end of the Aztec calendar cycle

• Presents the only existing English-language transcription of the Aztec codex, with line-by-line commentary

• Contains the epic poetry and metaphysical insights of Beat poet Marty Matz (1934–2001

In 1961 an unknown Aztec codex was revealed to Beat poet and explorer Marty Matz by a Mazatec shaman in the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico. Originally intended for dramatic performance, this codex presents a profound metaphysical teaching describing how the end of time will bring about a visionary ascent. At the behest of his Mazatec teacher, Matz transcribed this pictorial codex into a literary form that would preserve its initiatory teachings and reveal its secret meanings to a wider audience.Pyramid of Fire is an epic poem that provides a vehicle to transport the initiate into the higher realms of consciousness. It represents a barely surviving thread of teachings that have been passed down in secret since the time of the Spanish Conquest. Revealed are the techniques by which man is transported to the stellar realm after death via the solar energy within what the ancients called the “serpent of consciousness.” Line-by-line commentary by Matz and John Major Jenkins provides insights into the perennial philosophy contained in the codex and its relevance to our times.


Chapter 1
Nahuatl Poetry and Metaphysics

The Pyramid of Fire is an unknown Aztec Codex (hieroglyphic manuscript) which was most probably painted in the last half of the fifteenth century. The content of the codices was more varied than the existing examples seem to indicate, the great majority being ritualistic and divinatory. The Pyramid of Fire belongs to this group of divinatory codices which were called in Nahuatl (the language of the Aztecs) tonalamatl--the book of the days. These books were all calendars consisting of 260 days. The number 260 was arrived at by combining 20 day signs with 13 numbers. The tonalpohualli guidebook was used to determine whether a day would be fortunate or unfortunate. We will return to this subject in greater detail later in this book (see the calendar section of the novella in chapter 4).

The Pyramid of Fire, however, is much more than just a divinatory calendar. It is an American version of the Perennial Philosophy which I will compare to the Kabbalah, alchemy, Western astrology, Hermetic philosophy, the teachings of Gurdjieff, and the Tarot in order to show that all occult knowledge stems from a single source. Since Asia and Europe are a contiguous landmass, no one disputes the idea that by means of travel, trade, and conquest the great civilizations of the ancient and classical world influenced each other. Therefore, it is not so surprising to find the Perennial Philosophy expressed in various forms even in such geographically distant locations as China, India, Egypt, the Middle East, Greece, and Rome.

In the Americas, we have a different situation entirely. Archaeologists have steadfastly insisted that the high cultures and great civilizations of the New World developed independently, that is to say, without contact or influence from any other people. This completely erroneous theory of independent development has been taught as absolute truth throughout this century.

The codices were mnemonic devices (memory aids) for recording all the sciences and wisdom of which the Aztecs had knowledge. The tlamatinime (the “knower of things”) were wise men, those initiated into the occult knowledge, and were responsible for composing, painting books, knowing and teaching the songs and poems in which were preserved the Aztec sciences, wisdom, and mysteries. The Aztecs found in the rhythm of poetry an easy and accurate way of remembering the meaning of the hieroglyphs inscribed in their manuscripts. It is impossible to overemphasize the importance of poetry in shaping the forms and thoughts expressed by the high cultures and great civilizations of ancient America. Without knowledge of what the Aztecs called “flower and song” (poetry), we can neither understand nor appreciate the true greatness of their achievements.

The Perennial Philosophy has appeared and reappeared in various guises and been expressed in numberless ways throughout the ages. Nowhere, however, has the secret knowledge been presented in so aesthetically pleasing a manner or reached so high an artistic level as it does in The Pyramid of Fire. The power of the poetry used to express the Perennial Philosophy makes this codex unique in the realm of occult literature.

Chapter 5
The Text

[Page 6]

1 In the heavens over the Earth sails Tecciztécatl, He of the Marine Conch (the Moon), and Tonatiuh, the Sun. The Earth and all its creatures are under their power.

4 On the Earth exists the worlds of nature: the informal life of waters, trees, insects, animals, and two classes of men. One class is the ordinary man, naked, inert, always menaced by death’s darts. The other class is the superior man. In the shade of the altar the maguey spines of penance become for him the wings of the soul and in his hands he harmonizes the four states of matter. He has achieved consciousness. He has achieved the power of Truth and can act. He is!

17 The other man is like an agonized animal, tied to the tree from which he eats. He gives his vital energy to Tecciztécatl, the Moon, While his body is eaten by Tlaltecuhtli, the Earth. So everything devours and is devoured, eats and is eaten in the cosmic hierarchy. Plants eat from minerals and are eaten by animals. The animals eat plants and in their turn are eaten by the Earth. So does man, as animal organism, devour plants and is devoured by Earth in due time.

27 And if he is only body, he has no other destiny. But the superior man feeds on sacrifice; he develops his soul and his soul becomes food for Tonatiuh, the Sun. So, as the maguey spines rest on the straw bed, the soul of the liberated man rests on the Hill of Heaven.

Page-by-Page Commentary
Page 6. Sun and Moon; Two Classes of Men, the Meaning of Sacrifice

6:1–6. The sun and the moon rule over Earth. The various domains of nature include two classes of men, which can be stated simply as “conscious and unconscious,” or “internally oriented” and “externally oriented.” The externally oriented man is lost in the world of appearances and cannot see the essence within that connects all phenomena and defines all relations. The “superior man” is on a path of deepening insight, and utilizes penance and sacrifice to open the “wings of the soul.” This teaching sounds undesirable to a culture that values hedonism, but is in fact consistent with many spiritual traditions. Psychologically speaking, personal sacrifice means the transcendence or “putting into perspective” of self interest, so that a higher truth can be served. It’s all about letting go, transcending the ego, and boundary dissolution. It isn’t about being holier than thou, a guilt trip, or penitential pain seeking, although disentangling oneself from ones addictions and immature desires can give rise to suffering. This is, however, a divine suffering that unfolds the wings of the soul. The wings of the soul is a metaphor often found in Nahuatl religious poetry. Later pages of the codex will clarify what it is.

About The Authors

John Major Jenkins (1964-2017) was a leading independent researcher on ancient Mesoamerican cosmology. He authored five books on the Maya, including Maya Cosmogenesis 2012, Galactic Alignment, and Pyramid of Fire. He gave presentations at the prestigious Institute of Maya Studies in Miami, and in 1998, he was invited by the Indigenous Council of the Americas to speak at their conference in Merida, Mexico. He was featured on two episodes of the "Places of Mystery" TV show on Discovery Channel and appeared in the film Manifesting the Mind and the documentary 2012: Science or Superstition.

Martin Matz (1934-2001) was a poet/philosopher involved in the 1950s Beat movement. His published works include Pyramid of Fire, Time Waits and Pipe Dreams.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Bear & Company (November 3, 2004)
  • Length: 192 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781591438243

Browse Related Books

Raves and Reviews

“Ancient Mexico lives again in this amazing retrieval of an Aztec pictorial and oral tradition. Marty and John lead the reader to places undiscovered by archaeologists and ethnologists.”

– Bruce Scofield, author of Day-Signs: Native American Astrology From Ancient Mexico

“The Pyramid of Fire is part of the highest esoteric tradition of mankind. . . . a lucid and insightful commentary born of a sound grasp of the Perennial Philosophy.”

– Estefan Lambert, author of The Solar Body and The Cleaving of the Moon

"Marty Matz, akashic wizard and shamanic warrior, gives us a masterpiece in song and saga. . . . A revelation for all time!"

– Ira Cohen, poet and author of Poems from the Akashic Record

"Marty Matz is the lost Beat genius and Pyramid of Fire is everything from his spiritual autobiography to a classic world text of enlightenment, letting the wisdom of the Aztecs unfold alongside Marty's epic and torturous quest to find meaning in his own life. The juxtaposition of the wisdom of the Aztecs and Marty's stories and memoirs and the commentary of scholar John Major Jenkins gives us a map of the inner resources by which we may all find our way to the same light that guided Marty through such a splendidly fulfilled life."

– Gerald Nicosia, poet and author of Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac

"Like a shaman throwing light into the deepest recesses of the night, John Major Jenkins and Marty Matz poetically illuminate the secret knowledge contained in the Pyramid of Fire. Jenkins and Matz are elucidators and keepers of the rarest flame."

– Laki Vazakas, director of the video documentaries Huncke and Louis and Burma: Traces of the Buddha

". . . provides a stunning commentary, drawing astute comparisons with the perrenial philosophies of other cultures and times. . . . This small, but important volume will satisfy on many levels."

– Jennifer Hoskins, New Dawn, Nov-Dec 2005

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this author: John Major Jenkins