CHALCHIHUITLCUE
Lady Precious Green, wife of Tlaloc. Goddess of storms and water.
Personification of youthful beauty, vitality and violence. In some illustrations
she is shown holding the head of Tlazolteotl, the goddess of the witches,
between her legs. Chalchihuitlcue is the whirlpool, the wind on the waters, all
young and growing things, the beginning of life and creation.

COATLICUE
Earth monster. In the darkness and chaos before the Creation, the female Earth
Monster swam in the waters of the earth devouring all that she saw. When the
gods Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca decided to impose form upon the Earth, they
changed themselves into serpents and struggled with the Earth Monster until
they broke her in two. Coatlicue’s lower part then rose to form the heavens and
her upper part descended to form the earth. Coatlicue has an endless, ravenous
appetite for human hearts and will not bear fruit unless given human blood.

CINTEOTL
The corn god, the giver of food, god of fertility and regeneration. Cinteotl is
protected by the rain gods Tlaloc and Chalchihuitlcue.

EUEUCOYOTL
The Old, Old Coyote. Associated with gaiety and sex. A god of spontaneity, of
ostentatious ornament, of unexpected pleasure and sorrow. A trickster and
troublemaker. Considered unlucky.

HUITZILOPOCHTLI
God of war, son of Coatlicue. Principal god of the Aztecs. When Coatlicue became
pregnant with Huitzilopochtli, her daughter Coyolxauhqui incited her brothers,
the Centzon Huitznahua (the Four Hundred Stars) to destroy Coatlicue, because
her pregnancy brought disgrace on the family. Still in the womb, Huitzilopochtli
swore to defend his mother and immediately on being born put on battle armor and
war paint. After defeating the Four Hundred Stars, Huitzilopochtli slew his
sister and cast her down the hill at Templo Mayor where her body broke to pieces
on striking the bottom. Priests at Templo Mayor killed prisoners in the same
way, these sacrifices being replicas of mythical events designed to keep the
daily battle between day and night and the birth of the God of War ever in the
minds of the people. Often considered synonymous with QUETZALCOATL.

ITZCOLIUHQUI
The Twisted Obsidian One, the God of the Curved Obsidian Blade. God of darkness
and destruction. Blinded and cast down from the heavens, Itzcoliuhqui strikes
out randomly at his victims.

ITZPAPALOTL
Obsidian Butterfly. Beautiful, demonic, armed with the claws of a jaguar. The
female counterpart of Itzcoliuhqui.

MICTLAN
Below the world of living men there are nine underworlds, the lowest of which is
Mictlan, the Land of the Dead ruled by Mictlantechupi and his consort
Mictlancihuntl. Souls who win no merit in life come here after death, but they
do not suffer as in the Christian hell. Instead they merely endure a rather drab
and colorless existence before passing again into the world of the living. As a
man disappears into the West, the direction of the dead, the seeds of his
rebirth are sown.

OMETEOTL
“God of the Near and Close,” “He Who Is at the Center,” the god above all, the
being both male and female who created all life and existence. Ometeotl is
dualistic, embodying both male and female, light and dark, positive and
negative, yes and no. Ometoetol occupies Omeyocan, the highest of the Aztecs’
thirteen heavens, and the four heavens immediately below Omeyocan are a mystery
about which no one knows very much. Below the five highest heavens is a region
of strife and tempest, where Ometeotl breaks into his many facets or aspects.

QUETZALCOATL
The Feathered Serpent. The Precious Twin who lifts the sun out of darkness, god
of the winds and the breath of life, First Lord of the Toltecs. Lawgiver,
civilizer, creator of the calender. Demons tempted Quetzalcoatl constantly to
commit murder and human sacrifice, but his love was too great for him to
succumb. To atone for great sins, Quetzcoatl threw himself on a funeral pyre,
where his ashes rose to the heavens as a flock of birds carrying his heart to
the star Venus. A frieze in the palace at Teotihuacan shows his first entry into
the world in the shape of a chrysalis, from which he struggles to emerge as a
butterfly, the symbol of perfection. Quetzalcoatl is by far the most
compassionate of the Aztec gods – he only demands one human sacrifice a year.
Often considered synonymous with HUITZILOPOTCHLI.

TEZCATLIPOCA
The Prince of This World, the Mirror that Smokes, the One Always at the
Shoulder, the Shadow. A trickster, revered particularly by soldiers and
magicians. The name refers to the black obsidian mirrors used by magicians which
become cloudy when scrying. A god of wealth and power, Tezcatlopoca’s favors can
only be won by those willing to face his terrors. Ruler over the early years of
a man’s life.

TLALOC
Lord of all sources of water, clouds, rain, lightning, mountain springs, and
weather.

TLALOCAN
Kingdom of Tlaloc, a heaven of sensual delights, of rainbows, butterflies and
flowers, of simple-minded and shallow pleasures. Souls spend only four years
here before returning to the land of the living. Unless it strives for higher
and nobler things while living, a soul is destined for this endless round of
mortal life and Tlalocan. When a life had been particularly evil, a soul might
journey instead to Mictlan.

TLILLAN-TLAPALLAN
The land of the fleshless. The Land of the Black and Red, the colors signifying
wisdom. A paradise for those who successfully follow the teachings of
Quetzalcoatl. Those souls who come to Tlillan-Tlapallan have learned to live
without fleshly bodies, a state greatly to be desired.

TLAZOLTEOTL
Eater of filth, devourer of sins, goddess of witches and witchcraft. Tlazolteotl
has power over all forms of unclean behavior, usually sexual. Confessing sins to
Tlazolteotl, one is cleansed. The goddess has four forms or aspects,
corresponding to the phases of the moon: a young and carefree temptress, the
lover of Quetzalcoatl; the Goddess of gambling and uncertainty; the Great
Priestess who consumes and destroys the sins of mankind; and frightful old
crone, persecutor and destroyer of youth.

TONATIUH
God of the Sun. Poor and ill, Tonatiuh cast himself into the flames, and being
burnt up, was resurrected. Daily Tonatiuh repeats his passage across the
heavens, down into darkness, and back again into the sky. With him Tonatiuh
carries all brave warriors who have died in battle and all brave women who have
died in childbirth. The greatest heroes Tonatiuh carries with him to the
greatest heights. In Tonatiuhican, the House of the Sun, dwell those who have
won even greater enlightenment than those who dwell in Tlillan-Tlapallan.

XIPE TOTEC
Lord of the Spring, god of newly planted seed and of penitential torture. A
pockmarked saviour who tears out his eyes and flays himself in penance to the
gods, thus persuading the gods to give maize to men. Giving up his pockmarked
skin, Xipe Totec is then clad in robes of gold.

XIUHTECUHTLI
Lord of fire, Lord of the Pole Star, pivot of the universe, one of the forms of
the Supreme Deity. The lord of every flame, from those which burn in the temples
to those which burn in the lowliest huts.

XOLOTL
The god with backward feet who brought Man as well as Fire from the underworlds.
Bringer of misfortune. The evil aspect of the star Venus. Quetzalcoatl’s
deformed twin.

 

1994 by D.W. Owens.

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