AZTEC STUDENT RESEARCH GUIDE
(C)1997-2005 (Thomas H. Frederiksen)
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COLNAHUACATL- "The One From the Twisted Region"
Wife is unknown and as the name may represent, this deity resided in one of nine hells(*9) told in Aztec mythology.
AMAPAN- "Patron of the Ball" "Ball Court Deity"
Along with Uappatzin, these two deities presided over the ball game(*10) and various ceremonies associated with the game itself which were conducted in Tenochtitlan. In the game a representation of the patron god of the Mexica, Huitzilopochtli, "Huitznahual", or southerner, played a prominent role in symbolically fighting against a representation of the four hundred stars he vanquished during his birth legend. The inclusion of Huitzilopochtli would indicate by association that Amapan was also a god of warfare to some extent. See also Macuilxochitl listing.
AMHIMITL -"Dart of Mixcoatl"
Old Chichimec (*11) god from the ancient homeland of the Mexica in Aztlan. A form of the deity Mixcoatl, and Amhimitl was known as his dart or harpoon. Worshipped also as a patron of fishing. Amhimitl was seen as a form of Warrior Sacrifice-Nourishment god. According to Sahagun, Amhimitl was considered the patron deity of of the city of Cuitlahuac.
9 There are several books in print that detail the Aztec view of afterlife. Consult the bibliography for this section for more information and research material.
10 The court the game was played upon was called "tlachco" and the game itself was called "tlachtli". Brundage, p. 12, refers to the tlachco as being built as a form of temple and that sacrifices were made accordingly. It was common for the losing team to be publicly be-headed, another representation of the victory of Huitzilopochtli. The codex Borbonicus, pl. 27, depicts a group of four deities in the game, Ixtlilton, Quetzalcoatl, Piltzinteuctli, and Cihuacoatl. Brundage , p. 225, translates these associations into the night sun, the Morning star, the sun rising at dawn, and the dark earth mother.
11 The Chichimec are sometimes referred to as Mimixcoa. There are many legends concerning the FOUR HUNDRED and the FIVE who became Chichimec gods. Chichimeca refers also to the northern tribes and came to mean "People of Dog Lineage", or tribes of people so dumb that all they can say is "Chi Chi Chi" when they speak. As time went on the term Chichimec and their descendants became important and the term changed to an honorable association.
ATLACOAYA- "Pulque God"
Also known as "Dark Water" or "Sad Thing"(*12).
Gender unknown but generally associated with the worship of pulque. Name may have been taken from a local region where this deity was mostly worshipped. The maguey plant, which was the source plant for the making of pulque, was well attended with over (400) patrons and deities associated with it's various functions in Mexica society See also Mayahuel and Patecatl listings.
ATLATONAN - "Goddess of Lepers"
Also patron of those born with physical deformities or for those unfortunate Mexica who suffered from open sores. This deity was also thought to be the cause of these ailments.
ATLAUA - "Master of Waters"
Considered as an obscure deity (*13). Further associated with arrows. May possibly have been associated with the Quetzal bird or being reincarnated as the Quetzal bird.
CAMAXTLI- "Lord of the Chase" "The Deer God"
God worshipped among the Mexica with other deities of heroes and ancestral deities. Was a Chichimec (*14) deity whose cult was centered in the Huexotzingo and Tlaxcala regions. A relatively new god in Mesoamerican culture.
Also known as Yemaxtli, "He of the Three Breechcloths". and a great feast by hunters was given to him yearly. Camaxtli was considered the "True God" and greatly worshipped in the Huexotzingo province. Called the "Lord of the Chase", as he was considered to have been the inventor of the manner and skills of hunting, and that he was skillful. No image was to be found of this deity in Tenochtitlan or Texcoco. A story was told that just before the arrival of Cortes, Moctezuma II attempted to steal the image of this god by trickery, and bring it to Tenochtitlan. If other stories and legends concerning the treachery of Moctezuma to be true, this would be in keeping with his practices.
The image of this idol(*15) was of wood. It was in the shape of a man with long hair with a painted forehead, black, and black eyes. His arms were adorned with silver bracelets like knotted cords with arrows stuck into them. In his right hand was placed a basket which held food for his hunting trips. In his left hand he held a bow and arrow. His body was painted with white stripes. His image was placed atop a temple of one hundred steps inside a round chamber with a thatched roof. At the feet of the idol was a jar with the tools necessary to make fire as well as containing precious feathers(*16). This jar was much revered and covered with a cloth.
Eighty days before the great feast to this god, a chosen priest would fast. Almost dead on the eve of the feast, the priest was painted in the image of the god and adorned in the idol's image. A great hunt would soon follow.
A typical sacrifice to this god would have been choosing a woman and then having her head bashed in with a large rock. After smashing her skull the chosen victim would then be ritually be- headed. Her throat would be split while she was still conscious and her blood allowed to flow upon the sacrificial rock, called teocomitl, "divine pot". Every eight years the temple to this god would be renewed and a slave sacrificed as well.
12 Boone. p. 213. Boone further relates in her translation that this was a female goddess.
13 Irene Nicholson, p. 110.
14 The Aztec, or Mexica as they called themselves, made a practice of borrowing gods from other cultures, and were particularly fond of the Toltecs.
15 The common Mexica word for idol was "tequacuilli", and could be used to refer to the particular priest(s) who were in charge of the idol. A stone idol was called "teteotl", a wood idol " cuauhximalli". A "toptli" is the container in or on which the idol is placed and by extension can be referred to as the idol itself. "Tlachichihualtin" (plural) are all carved idols.
16 The featherworkers of the Mexica has a special status and maintained their own schools and merchant guilds. Featherwork was ever present in the market place and used as a form of tribute. Cortes remarked on the beautiful weaving and designs the Mexica were able to produce. A typical application consisted of a framework of reeds covered with a screen of plain or ordinary feathers to establish a base. The base would be reinforced with feather's stems and thin bamboo reeds. Clusters of colored feathers would then be added and tied with agave thread until the desired effect was accomplished.
CENTEOTL- "The Corn God"(*17)
Spelling may also be "Cinteotl", meaning Sacred Maize-Ear. Considering the impact corn had on the daily life of the Aztec, this was a much revered and worshipped god. Also known as Civeles and "Our Grandmother". Was also the goddess of medicine and herbs. Patron of doctors, midwives(*18) and soothsayers. Also called Temazcalteci, "Grandmother of the Baths". In her honor as Centeotl a woman was selected, well fed, and sacrificed with her skin flayed and worn during a feast/festival.
Some debate has lingered as to the gender of Ceneotl. Considering the veneration this deity received from the guild of midwives, I tend to think of this deity as female.
In ancient times may have been worshipped under the name of Tonacayohuah, meaning "Sustenance Owner"? May also have been worshipped under name of ToNantzin, a female term meaning "Our Mother"?
CHALCHIHUITLICUE- "Goddess of the Sea and Lakes"
"Goddess of Springs and Rivers". "Jade Skirt" "She Who Was the Water". Other spelling may be Chalchiuhcueyeh, meaning "Jade Skirt Owner". Also known at the goddess Matalcueyeh, meaning "Blue Skirt Owner"(*19). Also known as Xoxouhqui Ihuipil, or Xoxouhqui Icue, Meaning "Her Skirt is Green". During birthing ceremonies may have been worshipped as Chalchiuh Tlatonac.
Either a wife or sister to TLALOC the Rain God, depending on which legend is told. Identified by her attire consisting of paper ornaments painted blue and white. Tassels hanging down either side of her face is a recurring feature in her representations. An annual feast to this goddess in her other name of Etzalqualiztli, was a well attended event with a special sacrifice made. Name translates to "Lady Precious Green".
This goddess was the patron saint of the sea and the Veracruz region of the Gulf of Mexico was referred to as Chalchiuhcueyecatl, meaning "the water of the goddess Chalchiuhtlicue". People who made their living from the water prayed to her constantly. Shrines made to this goddess were generally built near streams, aqueducts, or irrigation ditches. Her most important shrine was located at Pantitlan, located in the center of Lake Tetzcoco(*20). Her priests were devoted to the worship of fertility, the renewal of nature, and the earth.
Associated with the mountains Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl when the mountains were viewed as a source of running water. It was not uncommon to depict this deity wearing a representational mask of Tlaloc(*21).
Chalchiuhtlicue was also worshipped during the birthing process and with the arrival of a newborn a special ceremony by the midwife would be held. The ceremony involved the midwife shouting war cries in honor of the battle the mother fought giving birth, and for the woman having become a warrior and capturing a baby. The cord would be ceremoniously cut(*22) while the midwife would tell the baby of life. During the first bath the midwife would describe the purifying water god and tell the baby about Chalchiuhtlicue(*23). This god was thought to manifest herself in water whirlpools. See also Tlaloc listing for special sacrificial ceremony of an impersonator of this deity and shared ceremony.
17 The term "teotl" appears frequently in the Spanish pronunciation of the deities. As recorded by the Spanish the term loosely means "god" or "saint". The root of the word is "teo" with the suffix "tl". Townsend, pp. 115-116, relates that the term "teotl" was primarily used to refer to nature-deities, human impersonators of deities, and associated with some of their masks, or "xayacatl" and some ceremonial objects. He further expands to relate "teotl" may refer to anything "mysterious, powerful, or beyond ordinary experience".
18 After birth the Mexica midwife might relate the following: "You have come to reach the earth, the place of torment, the place of pain, where it is hot, where it is cold, where the wind blows. It is a place of one's affliction, of one's weariness, a place of thirst, a place of hunger, a place where one freezes, a place of weeping" "It is not true that it is a good place; it is a place of weeping, a place of sorrow, a place where one suffers". Brundage p. 178, relates this from his translation of Sahagun. This ceremony certainly dramatizes the Mexica view of life a little on the dark side.
19 Alacaron, notes p. 230.
20 The great lake was also known to the Mexica as "Tonanhueyatl", meaning "mother great water". The lake sustained the life of the Mexica and was greatly revered.
21 As I have found no references to any dual aspect of Tlaloc I tend to think this deity may have been a representation of his duality.
22 A cord from a male child would be kept and taken to a warrior to be buried in a battlefield, a female chord would be buried next to the family hearth. Great speeches were made during the cord cutting ceremony and speaking of such things as the virtues of hard work, duty, and the roles of men and women.
CHALMECCACIHUATL- "The Sacrificer"
Wife of Tzontemoc, and resided in one of nine hells with her husband. Spelling may also be Chalmecatecuhtli.
CHANTICO- "In the House"
God associated with the home or hearth fire. The home and home fire were of importance in the daily life of the common(*24) Aztec. There are many gods and deities associated with the hearth. Also known as a patron of goldsmiths and as the "Goddess of the Hearth". See also Xiuhtecuhtli listing.
CHICOMECOATL- "The Goddess of Sustenance"
Her cult is ancient and as a goddess of fertility of the earth she was also regarded as a goddess of human fertility. Associated with the number 7, and was known as the
Appears in codices with a red face and body and holding ears of corn in both hands. Also known as the "Seven Serpent". Thought of as being a sister to the god of rain, Tlaloc.
Also referred to as Chicomexochitl, or Chalchiuhcihuatl, meaning Seven flowers or "Woman of Precious Stone", and worshipped during the moveable feast called Xochilhuitl(*25).
An idol attributed to this deity is described as being made of wood and in the image of a young woman of about twelve years. Her garments were red and well appointed. A tiara of red paper was on her head. Her neck was adorned with a necklace of corn and tied with a blue ribbon. Her hands held ears of corn and her arms were open. She had a special chamber atop the great pyramid in Tenochtitlan next to Huitzliopocttli(*26). This placement next to the revered patron god of the Mexica indicated the reverence and importance this deity held. A great festival to this deity was held each year near the fifteenth of September.
CHICONQUIAHUITL - "Seven Rain"
A calendar name of a deity. During the feast of Xocotl Huetzi, a slave was sacrificed as a representative of this deity(*27).
CHIMALMAN- "One Who Has Sat Like A Shield"
Has been referred to in various legends as the wife of Mixcoatl and/or the mother of Quetzalcoatl.
CHIMAMATL - Shield Hand, "The Naked Goddess"
In Aztec mythology the deity Iztacmixcoatl impregnated this virgin bride and beget the deity QUETZALCOATL and TEZCATLIPOCA
23 Following the first bath, the baby was ready for what we may think of as a formal "baptism". The midwife would place a bowl of water on a reed mat and begin placing out items appropriate for the sex of the baby. The male would have a small bow and arrow placed on a shield made from a tortilla. The profession of the family may dictate appropriate items, such as metal working tools in the case of metal workers. A girl might have spinning instruments or female clothing items. The midwife would then walk counterclockwise around the items and talk to the child while the baby was again bathed and massaged, and presented four different times to the sky and water. Older children would then run through the streets proclaiming the name of the baby. The Codex Mendoza records this ceremony.
24 The common Mexica was not allowed to wear cotton or cloaks longer than knee length. Commoners were not allowed to wear sandals in the company of higher status individuals. One of the foremost historians that today study the dress of the Aztecs is Patricia Anawalt who has published extensively on the subject and most recently in an article in Archaeology Magazine, May/June 1993, pp.30-36.
25 Boone p. 200.
26 Duran p. 222.
27 Duran, p. 472.
CHIUACOATL- "The Woman Snake"
Patroness of Cihuateteo. Her worship demanded the sacrifice of war victims. Another spelling of Cihuacoatl is used in some sources. Chiuacoatl may also be referred to as Quilaztli, goddess and patroness of the Xochimilcas. Also has been referred to as the sister of Huitzilopochtli.
The image of this female deity was of stone with a large open mouth and horrible teeth and was dressed a womanly style, skirt and blouse, which were white. The image in Tenochtitlan was kept in a large chamber perpetual darkness. The only entrance to the shrine was a small crawlspace. The door to the crawlspace was covered with a lid to hide the entrance. The room was called Tlillan, "Blackness".
On the great feast to this deity a slave woman was thrown over the bodies of four other victims, her throat cut open and her blood received into a bowl. Her heart would then be torn out. This special sacrifice would be done one hour before dawn, in darkness. The woman was revered as the deity for a period of days before her ritual slaughter. Before this honored woman, other victims were swung by their feet four times in a circle and thrown into a bed of live coals. Half roasted they were pulled from the coals and ritually sacrificed by removing their hearts.
After killing the woman, taking her blood and ripping out her heart, the body, called "leftovers", was given back to her previous owner. The owner then carried the remains away to carve up and eat. This was considered a great honor and a small feast would likely occur in the owners home.
CHIUHNAUHYOTEUCTLI- "Lord of the Nine"
See also Xiuhteuctli listing. This deity was seen as a vertical representation to it's counterpart in the deity Nauhyoteuctli, which represented a more horizontal view.
CIPACTONAL- "Calendar God"
Depicted in the Codex Borbonicus(*28) as devising the Mexica calendar or the "tonalamatl". Wife was Oxomoco. The calendar was important to the Mexica and Sahagun writes extensively about this subject.
CITLALICUE- "God of the Night Sky"
Resided in the 2nd level of 13 Aztec heavens. Lived with a goddess called "Skirt of Stars(*29)" and with the god Citlalatonac(*30). Other spelling as Citlalinicue.
CITLALATONAC- "The Milky Way"
Resides in the 2nd level of 13 Aztec heavens. Lived with a goddess called "Skirt of Stars", and with the god Citlalicue.
CITUATETEO- "The Celestial Princess"
Associated with the spirits of women who died during childbirth. This issue of dying during childbirth is well documented by both Sahagun and Duran and was a significant event for the Mexica.
COATLICUE- "Mother of Gods"
The Mother of Gods-The Devourer of Filth-Our Grandmother
Wears a skirt made of braided serpents secured by another serpent and a necklace of human hands and hearts with a human skull. Her feet and hands are adorned with claws.
Coatlicue was seen as an insatiable deity feasting on the corpses of men. Her breasts are depicted as hanging flaccid from nursing. Also known as Teteoinan, (Teteo Inan), "The Mother of Gods", gave birth to the moon(*31), stars, and Huitzilopochtli.
Also known as Toci(*32), "Our Grandmother", and known as Cihuacoatl, patron of women who die in childbirth (*33).
Cihuacoatl has transformed into modern Mexican culture as La Llorona, "The Weeping Woman", said to carry the body of a dead child and weep at night in city streets.
Also known as Llamateuctli, "Leading Old Woman", who wore a two sided mask, one in front and another behind her head. Both masks contained open mouths and large protruding eyes that signified her role as giver of life and death. She was also known as an instigator of war(*34).
Coatlicue owned nothing and wore a garment made from rattlesnakes(*35). The rattlesnake was a symbol of poverty and the earth sheltered the rattlesnake in holes. Known as Mother Earth. Her feet were giant claws, good for digging graves. In Mexico City a giant statue was discovered by William Bullock, an English traveler in 1824.
Apparently during the final battle for Tenochtitlan, the statue just fell over and was preserved as Cortes built his city on top of it. The famous statue now stands in the National Museum in Mexico City. The several ton basalt statue was considered so horrible, that local priests had it re-buried after it's discovery in 1824.
28 For further information of the codices of Mesoamerica see the sources section of this software program.
29 The Mexica thought of the stars as powerful enough to determine the destinies of the common man. Skirt was belted and constructed of a type of leather finished with seashells. Another representation of "Skirt of Stars" was Citlalli Icue, "Her Skirt is Stars".
30 Brundage, p. 225, refers to this deity as residing in the thirteenth or "highest" level and was a form of the high goddess Omecihuatl.
31 The Mexica thought of the moon as complicated and as a jar, a conch shell, or a sacrificial knife located in the sky. The jar and shell are also generally associated with Tlaloc.
32 Mainly worshipped as "Our Mother". Padden, p. 287, remarks on the temple to Toci as being converted to "Our Lady of Guadalupe's Shrine". An obvious correlation between "Our Lady" and "Our Mother" could be drawn.
33 Sahagun tells an interesting story about women who died from childbirth. Sahagun relates that the bodies of these women had to be guarded, as thieves would try to remove the left arm of the dead woman. These thieves apparently thought that this dismembered flesh would bring magic and success to their nightly thieving by making them invisible.
34 Many of the gods were thought to take great pleasure in starting wars and conflicts among men. Tezcatliopoca was particularly fond of this type of entertainment.
35 Rattlesnakes have an interesting history with the Mexica. The wall surrounding the great temple at Tenochtitlan was called "Coatepantli", meaning serpent banners, and was carved with representations of rattlesnakes. Of interest the Mexica were thought to be fond of the meat of rattlesnakes, which was one of the reasons they survived their banishment to the less-than- favorable sections of the lake area during their early settlement.
COLHUACATZINCATL- "Pulque Deity"
Listed in the Codex Magliabechiano, pl. 56, and grouped with a collection of drinking and pulque deities. Further reference to his being called "He from Colhuacatzinco".
COYOLXAUHQUI- "She With the Balled Cheeks"
Huitzilopochtli's warrior sister and was associated with the moon. She is said to have led her brothers, the Stars, against him. She was defeated as HUITZILOPOCHTLI was born ready to fight and defeated her and her brothers with the fire from the sun. The moon, in general Mexica, thought was not a venerated place but thought to represent cowardice.
Also described as "one who has become face decorated with bells", from the Nahuatl verb xahua, meaning "to apply facial decoration".
COZCAMIAHUATL- "Cornflower Necklace"
A goddess representation of Toci and associated with the storage of dried corn. See also Ilancueye listing.
CUAUHTLAXAYAUH - " Eagle Face"
Important during the feast of Xocotl Huetzi(*36).
CUEXCOCH- "Blue Sky"
Also known as Tlacahuepan, meaning "Man Post". An original toltec deity. Worshipped in Tenochtitlan as Tlacahuepan-Cuexcoch and was depicted as wearing a face mask of a skull on the back of his head. This deity formed a sort of trilogy along with Huitzilopochtli and Paynal. Some speculation as to this deity being a transformation of TEZCATLIPOCA. Brundage, p. 241, references that in the bario of Huitznahuac this deity was presented to the people as a seed dough image and was greatly revered in the city of Texcoco.
HUEHUETOETL- "Old, Old, Deity"
God associated with fire. Also worshipped throughout Mesoamerica under different names, but always referred to as Old. Called "Our Father" or "Our Only Father". Manifested himself as the god Xiuhteuctli, who wore a fire serpent as a backpiece. Huehuetoetl is often depicted as sitting with a fire bowl on his head, bearded and wrinkled. Also represented as being bent over with extreme age.
He is said to have jurisdiction over time. Huehueteotl was considered to be at the center of all things. As Xiuhteuctli he was honored around the hearth fire with and spoken of as "Ineffable Flower". Jars of the intoxicant "octli" would be placed in front of the image in his honor. Also known as a patron of the merchant classes.
Was also referred to as "The Prince of the Dawn" and was given offerings from all households just before sunrise. This deity was not considered a god of the sun, and was thought to reside in the darkness of the earth. It is thought that the importance of the nightly fire and the coming of the morning sun signified time and may be the reason for the association between time and Xiuhteuctli. Xiuhteuctli did not command time but acted as its symbol. He was worshipped as "Four Times Lord", and considered as a god of renewal. A well loved and revered god.
HUITZILOPOCHTLI- "God of War This listing, along with it's footnotes, has been transferred to its own page.
HUIXTOCIHUATL- "Goddess of Water"
Could be either a sister or daughter totTlaloc or Chalchiuhtlicue. Often represented with blue colored garments. Also Known as the Goddess of salt and said to live in the fourth level of 13 Aztec heavens(*51).
ILAMATECUHTLI- "Old Mother Goddess"
Worshipped primarily by members of the weaver guilds, particularly during the month of Tititl.
ILANCUEYE- "She of the Old Lady Skirt"
A goddess representation of Toci and representative of a withering corn husk surrounding a dried out maize cob. See also Cozcamiahuatl listing.
ILHUICAMINA -"He Who Shoots Arrows at the Heavens"
Symbolizes the sun as one who destroys the stars, (the four hundred?), and quite honored among the Mexica during their early years. Name carried my Moctezuma I, the Archer in the Skies, as he was thought to have been born as the sun rose over the horizon. Moctezuma I carried his name.
ITZCAQUE- "He Who Has Obsidian Sandals"
A male representation of Tezcatlipoca in his capacity of starting wars for his own amusement.
36 Duran, p. 473.
51 Of note there is very little written about the Mexica concept of Heaven as we may know it. Perhaps this is due to the Mexica having no concept of eternity.
ITZLACOHUIHQUI- "Curved Obsidian Knife" "God of Frost"
Spelling may also be Itzlacoliuhqui. Also considered as a god of obstinacy and blindness. This deity was worshipped in accordance with certain maize rites and public rituals. Spelling may be Itztlacoliuhqui. Also worshipped and revered as the "God of Cold". Depicted as a faceless being with a large curved knife blade, serrated, protruding from his head.
In the Codex Cospiano, this deity is depicted making an offering to the forces of darkness in front of a temple(*52). In the temple sits Tlacolotl, the horned owl, and representation of the deepest evil to the Mexica.
ITZPAPALOTL- "Obsidian Butterfly"
Female deity associated by the Mexica with the earth and fertility. May have been associated with the dead souls of the Mexica which were thought to often manifest themselves as butterflies(*53).
IXILLAN TONAN- "Goddess of Grass Mountain"
The mountain range southwest of Chapultepec was considered metaphorically to the Mexica as their mother. As a mountain range it was referred to as Grass Mountain or Zacatepec. In it's form as a goddess it became Ixillan Tonan. Other mountains in the valley of Mexico were also referred to as Tonan. Tonan itself referred to Mother.
IXPUZTEQUE- "He of the Broken Foot"
Aztec god residing in one of the nine hells thought to exist by the Mexica.
IXQUIMILLI- "The Blindfolded One"
Represented in the Codex Cospi, pl. 12, as a spirit of darkness, or the night. Originally a Toltec deity he was always depicted in Mexica codices as wearing a bandage over his eyes, Brudnage indicates this was to project his impartiality. A representation of Tezcatliopoca as an enemy of man, an omen of war. Ixquimilli might also deal out punishment.
52 Others claim this representation is the image of the sun god making the offering to the owl.
53 Butterflies are almost universally thought of as favorable representations of the cycle of life, death and resurrection. Some exceptions to this folklore are the Gnostics, who thought of the butterfly as representing corrupt flesh. In some Slavic countries, the butterfly was thought to be a symbol of the soul that came from the mouth of witches to invade living humans. Mercatante, p. 180.
IXQUITECATL- "God of Sorcerers"
Name meaning "Popcorn Side", in the prepositional sense of "beside the popcorn". Name further has meaning as "Person from Izquitlan"(*54). Worshipped by members of the healing arts class as sorcerers were often brought in after more herb traditional healing methods failed.
IXTILTON-"Little Black One"
Lieutenant of Huitzilopochtli. Ixtilton was credited with going to little children in their beds and bringing them darkness and a peaceful night sleep(*55). Also known and worshipped as the "God of Medicine". Further associated with rain and agricultural fertility in a deity status. Spelling may be Ixtlilton or Ixtliltzin. Also known as "The Little Black Colored God". Depicted in the Codex Magliabechiano as a deity of drunkenness.
IZTACCIHUATL - "White Woman"
Representation of the great white mountain Iztactepetl. An idol in Tenochtitlan has been described as being made of wood and dressed in blue with a tiara of white paper which was painted black. Also attached to the head was a silver broach which held white and black feathers with long streamers of black paper. The face of the idol was in the image of a young woman(*56).
Mexica affected by blindness would worship this goddess. On the feast day to this goddess a slave was painted green, to represent the trees of the mountain for which she was named. The head of the slave was painted white to represent the snow capped peak of the mountain. Children were carried to the mountain and sacrificed in her honor. While the children were being killed, other slaves were publicly sacrificed in Tenochtitlan to Iztaccihuatl.
IZTACMIXCOATL - Father of Quetzalcoatl
Thought to have impregnated the goddess Chimamatl. Possibility this deity was MIXCOATL.
MACUILTOTEC- "God of the Arsenal"
Worshipped in Tlatilulco and Tenochtitlan and may be a form of Tezcatlipoca. Mainly associated with weaponry and the rites of warfare (*57).
MACUILXOCHITL- "Five Flower" "God of Games"
Patron of music and dance. Also associated with gambling. Deity of flowers and games. The "God of Dice". Often worshipped collectively with other maize gods during festivals. Depicted in the Codex Magliabechiano, pl. 60 as presiding over a dice like game played on a mat called "patolli". The players would evoke the name of Macuilxochitl for luck in winning the game. See also Amapan and Uappatzin listings.
MATLALCUEYE- "Blue Skirt"
God associated with the earth. Name may have meant "Blue Skirt Owner". Spelling may be Matlalcueyeh. Also old Tlaxcalan name for Chalchiuhcueyeh.
MAYAHUEL- "Goddess of the Maguay(*58) Plant"
"The Lady on the Tortoise Throne" - "Goddess of Good Fortune"
Said to have had (400) breasts to nurture (400) children. Represented surrounded by the maguay plant. Associated with female representation of pulque.
There is a story that Mayahual was a desirable virgin and had been hidden away in the sky by Tzitzimitl. Quetzalcoatl, with cunning, rescued her and fled to the earth and disguised himself and Mayahuel as trees. Tzitzimitl destroyed the tree of Mayahuel and from the broken branches the Maguey plant was born.
Mayahuel may have meant "Round Thing in the Shape of a Hand", or "Round Thing Like a Hand". Sahagun relates that according to an old legend that Mayahuel was originally a common woman transformed into a goddess and was the mother of Centzon Totochtin, the patron of Tepozteco. Mayahuel is always dressed in white, the color of pulque. Often observed during the process of childbirth. Husband was the deity Patecatl. See also Patecatl and Atlacoaya listings(*59).
There were over 400 different deities associated with drinking and drunkenness. Collectively they were referred to as Totochtli, meaning rabbits. A legend concerning the discovery of pulque has Mayahuel as a farmer's wife who one day tries to kill a mouse in a field. During her chase of the mouse she noticed sap emerging from a maguay plant the mouse had been nibbling on. Mayahuel collected the sap and took it home to her husband where the two drank it and developed a good feeling. Mayahuel then gave the sap to the gods who rewarded her with deity status and her husband also became the deity Xochipilli, "Lord of Flowers".
MICAPETLACALLI- "The Box of Death"
Wife of Nextepeua, and resided with her mate in one of the nine hells as told in Aztec mythology.
MICTECACIHUATL- "Mistress to Mictlantecahtli"
Other spelling may be Mictlantecihuatl, "Lady of the Land of the Dead". Known to be a protector of souls residing in the dark underworld. Mictecacihuatl lived in the Chignahamictlan, or deepest of the nine hells believed to exist in Aztec mythology and was the mistress to Mictlantecahtli, Lord of the dead.
54 Alarcon's book notes p. 229, contains further information on this little known or referenced deity.
55 A beautiful and graceful solid black obsidian smooth mask thought to represent this interesting deity is displayed in Burland's book p. 59.
56 Duran, p. 249.
57 The Mexica also thought of warfare metaphorically as "The Song of Shields".
58 The leaves of the Maguay plant were referred to as breasts by the Mexica.
59 The Mexica had developed over 400 different folk gods of intoxicants and drunkenness by the time Cortes arrived. The Mexica finally had to make public drunkenness a capital crime on the second offense to control mass drinking by the public. Older people were allowed to drink away their troubles, and nobility was allowed to drink but only in private.
MICTLANTECAHTLI- "The Lord of the Dead"
Ruler of Mictlan-Lord of Darkness
He ruled over Mictlan, the land where the dead resided, also called "Land of No Smoke Hole". The god is represented by his body covered with bones and a mask in the shape of a human skull. His black hair is curled and he lives in complete and total darkness. The bat, the spider, and the owl are associated with the lord of darkness. Of note the owl, or tecolotl, is even considered today to be of a bad omen.
Mictlantecuhtli is often depicted wearing two paper ornaments. One over the forehead called ixcochtechimalli, and the other over the back of his neck called cuechcochtechimalli. A human bone was often used as an earplug in his depiction's.
Dead not selected by the sun, Tlaloc, or other deities, went to Mictlan, in the North. The souls of the dead went through a series of magical trials as they passed through eight different hells to the final ninth hell, the realm of Mictlantecahtli. The journey through the hells took four years to reach the deepest hell called Chignahamictlan.
Mictlan Opochcalocan, the region of the dead, where the streets are on the left, the deepest level of hell was presided over by the dreaded Lord and Lady of the Dead, the counterpart of Ometeotl.
The text of the Codex Magliabechiano describes a rather thirsty deity that required of anyone entering his temple to offer a bowl of blood. The codex visually depicts a scene of bowls of blood being offered and poured into the top of the head of an image of this deity. Another strange relation from this codex tells the story that anyone offering blood to this deity would have his right hand covered in blood. This ritual was to insure a favorable disposition at the time of the death of the individual. The image of this deity was one that had an open mouth that according to the codex signified never saying no to the sacrifice that they would offer(*60).
MIXCOATL (CAMAXTLI)- "Cloud Snake"
Traveler of the Southern Sky
God of hunting and Patron of the Chichimecs. Spelling may also have been Iztacmixcoatl. Much revered in Tlaxcala. God and ruler of the Milky way. His name might suggest the flight of arrows through the air, or a tornado. Associated with Huitzilopochtli. Mixcoatl may have had a reference to the sun in very early Chichimec culture. The preferred prey of Mixcoatl was the Mixcoacihuatl, or female deer.
May have been worshipped as Tlatlauhqui Tezcatl-Ihpoca, meaning "Red Smoking Mirror", an obvious assimilation with Tezcatliopoca. In legend this deity may have fathered Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatliopoca. See also Xipe Totec, Amhimitl, and Chimamatl listings.
NANAUTZIN - "The Sun"
According to legend this deformed and ugly deity had the courage to throw himself into a fire and sacrifice himself to form the sun. The deity Tecciztecatl was to jump in with him but hesitated and later became the moon.
Worshipped by the Mexica as the patron god of mat-makers.
NAUHYOTEUCTLI- "Lord of the Four Directions"
See Xiuhteuchtli listing. See also Chiuhnauhyoteuctli listing.
NESOXOCHI- "The One Who Strews Flowers"
Wife of Ixpuzteque, and resided with her husband in one of the nine hells of Aztec mythology.
NEXTEPEUA- "He Who Rains Ashes"
Resided in one of nine hells in Aztec Mythology.
NOCHPALLIICUE- "Her Skirt is Prickly Pears"
Ancient goddess worshipped by the Mexica. Name could have meant "To Color Something Like a Prickly Pear". Spelling may be Nochpalcueyehqueh, meaning "Prickly Pear Colored Skirt Owners". In more modern times name may have had association with the word "hands".
OMACATL- "Two Reed(*61)"
The god of the feast. Represented as a well dressed warrior(*62). Considered a hard to please god, much like an angry relative that felt himself not being treated with esteem. Could make men choke on food. This god seemed to thrive on respect.
60 Boone, pp. 216-217.
61 Sahagun refers to this god as being called Omecatl, "Two Canes".
62 The average warrior wore a loin cloth and a cloak with leather sandals secured by leather straps around his ankles. A band with the appropriate decorations to indicate his status was about his head. His armament included a curricular shield about 20 inches in diameter constructed of one or two layers of hard tanned leather, (usually deer or pigskin). According to Burland there is only one "normal" battle shield left to the world and it is on display at the Albert Memorial Museum at Exeter in Devon, England. This shield has a fringe of leather thongs about nine inched in length dangling from the bottom. The purpose of the fringe was to sweep away darts and spears. The warrior carried one or two throwing spears made of wood toped with either sharp obsidian or stones. In his right hand he carried a spear thrower, (Atlatl), with a hook for gripping the butt end of a spear. Burland's book contains an excellent photograph of a surviving Atlatl p. 62.
As the warrior advanced in battle he would throw darts and spears with his spear thrower and then use his Maquahuitl, or his war club. This club was made of wood and was about thirty inches in length with sharp obsidian set into the sides of the weapon. The purpose of this weapon was not to kill but to injure and capture his opponent for sacrifice. Typically cutting the hamstring would do the job. Depiction's show very little change for hundreds of years in this basic look and equipment.
OMETOCHTLI- "Two Rabbit"
God of Pulque. See also Mayahual listing.
OMETEOTL- "Dual Divinity"
Dwelt in the 13th heaven of Aztec mythology. See also Ometecuhtl listing.
OMETECUHTL- "Creator God"
Resided in the 13th heaven of Aztec mythology. His temple was the entire universe, and sat alone. Called "Two Lord". Held a drop of water in his hands and in this drop of water there was a green seed which was the earth surrounded by the ocean. On earth there was no temple erected to Ometecuhtli, his place was in the hearth of each home, in the middle of the house where fire was also worshipped as a deity. This symbolized his being in the center of all things.
His conceptualization to the common man was totally abstract. Male and female representation was also known as "Tonacatecuhtli and Tonacachuatl", The Lord and Lady of our Flesh and Sustenance.
The Codex Borbonicus depicts the two sitting surrounded by calendar glyphs speaking about time. Before the creation of the world the two primordial creative forces, both male and female, known as "ome Tecuhtli", meaning "Two Lord", and "Ome Cihuatl",
meaning "Two Lady", lived in a place called "Omeyocan", meaning "The Place of the Two"(*63).
OZTOTEOTL- "The God of Caves"
Probably a form of Tlaloc and was worshipped primarily in Chalma. Like Tlaloc, this deity was also offered children in ritual sacrifice. (See Tlaloc listing)
PAPAZTEC- "Pulque Deity"
Depicted in the Codex Magliabechiano, pl. 49, as a drinking deity(*64). Listed in the codex as Papaztec/Tepoztecatl. Tepoztecatl may have been the same deity or a separate deity for the region of Tepoztlan.
A pulque god associated with the discovery of supplementing the honey from the maguey plant to aid in fermentation. His name was taken from the local area where he was most worshiped. Depicted in the Codex Borgia. Often referred to as the husband of Mayahuel. See also Mayahuel and Atlacoaya listings.
Listed in the Codex Magliabechiano, pl. 53, which indicated the deity to be male and called "He of Medicine", because his wine was like medicine.
Depicted in the Codex Florentine as wearing a green headdress and in a sitting position holding a shield in the right hand and a staff with a banner in the left.
During the ceremony called Xocotl, which occurred in the tenth month, captives would dance holding hands dressed in loincloths and paper cloaks. They were then sacrificed to the god Paynal by being burned at the stake.
Also known as the representation of the planet Mercury. Known as a young god and his name means "Prince" who had golden hair like the sun. During pole climbing ceremonies conducted during festivals he was represented by young men dressed in his image. This deity may also have been worshiped in some fashion in conjunction with the sun.
Legends state that PILTZINTECUHTLI was a second generation god and was mated with a goddess created from a lock of hair of Xochiquetzal, the "Flower Princess". This mating produced a son, Cinteotl (Cenotel?), the maize god. Piltzinteuctli was seen as a strong spring sun cohabiting with the mother earth to make corn.
POPOCATEPETL- "Smoke Mountain"
Associated with the earth. Sacred mountain whose cult worshiped the earth, rain, water, and vegetation. Not really a god but one of the two great mountains(*65) outside the valley of Mexico. Legend has it that the mountain Popocatepetl was once a man and his sister volcano, Iztaccihuatl was his wife. A great feast was held to this god/man/mountain on a yearly basis where children were sacrificed.
The winds from the caves of this mountain were called ehecatzitzintin and were greatly worshiped.
63 Townsend, p. 117, presents a strong argument against the traditionally accepted translation of this place as "The Place of Duality", and writes extensively against a concept of Aztec duality, or opposing forces. Traditional thought is that the Aztec were very much concerned with the concept of duality. Padden, p. 28, makes a strong argument towards the concept of duality as being a more "positive and negative" aspect. Padden further relates a correlation with this aspect to the Chinese Yan and Yin, also considered to be a part of creationism and balance.
64 The Codex Magliabechiano lists several pulque gods and all are depicted as closely resembling each other in costume and ornamentation. The shield carried by them all is similar and square in shape with a symbol that resembles a common dresser door handle centered on the shield. In the right hand of the figures is held what appears to be a phallic symbol or possibly a short stalk of corn.
65 Aztec neighbors, the Maya, believed that earthquakes were caused by giants who slept inside the great volcanoes and as they turned over an earthquake would result. It is not unlikely the Aztec thought along similar lines.
PPILIMTEC- "God of Music"
Considered by the Mexica to be a deity of music and poetry. May have derived from the Mayan Piltzinteuctli. The Mexica thought of this deity as deriving from a hummingbird that mated and produced a flower(*66). This flower may have represented the sin of lust(*67).
QUILAZLI- "She Who Makes Legumes Grow"
Patron of midwives. Also known as Coaciuatl (Cihuacoatl), serpent woman, Quauhciuatl, eagle woman, Yoaciuatl, warrior woman, and Tzitziminciuatl, devil woman.
TECCIZTECATL - " The Moon God"
Also known as "he who is to be found in the innermost twist of the conch shell. Considered a coward.
Depicted in the Codex Magliabechiano, pl. 64 as a deity that was like a fox and lived among rocks in caves. His depiction included a representation of a flying fox above his shield. The depiction further indicates white stripes over the eyes and mouth with a general white and red clothing scheme.
TECHLOTL - God of the Underworld"
This deity held the owl as it's symbol. The Mexica thought of the owl as a dreaded animal that brought death(*1).
TEPEYOLLOTL- "The Heart of the Mountain"
The Jaguar God of the interior of the mountain, associated with Tezcatlipoca. Spelling may be Tepeyollohtli.
TETEO INNAN -(TOCI) - "Mother of Gods"
Aztec conceptualization of the "Earth Mother" - "Heart of the Earth".
Spelling may be Teteoh Innan and was also worshipped as "Goddess of the Sweathouse". Other spellings include Tlalli Iyollo and ToCih. References to Teteoh Intah, meaning "Father of the Gods", and used in conjunction with Teteo Innan. This Male representation may be a male dual aspect of this revered goddess.
At the entrance to the great city of Tenochtitlan was a shrine called Tocititlan, "Next to the Place of the Goddess Toci". A wooden idol of the goddess was inclosed within the shrine and above the nose the face was painted white and from the nose down black. A cotton crown was placed on the top of her head. Spindle whorls were placed on the sides of her head. In one hand a shield was placed in the other a broom. Her clothes were white. Her main image was kept in a secret chamber that held the other deities most venerated by the Mexica.
A ritual sacrifice to this god included having a chosen slave make woven items and then take then to the market place, under close guard, to sell the items she had made. At dawn on her feast day she was sacrificed. A priest would hold the victim by the arms and hoist her onto his back. Another priest would then behead the victim drenching the other priest with her blood. After her death she was flayed and a priest would then wear her skin, bloody side out. Over the skin he was clothed with the blouse and skirt the woman had worn.
Another sacrifice to this deity was having a man climb a long upright pole and then throwing him to his death where he was beheaded and his blood collected in a small bowl. The container was adorned with precious feathers and presented to the idol of Toci. If the victim would not climb all the way to the top of the pole, priests would stick him in the rear with sharp spines forcing him up the pole and to his eventual death(*2).
TEUCCIZTECATL -" The Moon"
A male representation of the moon. See also Tlazoteotl listing. The Mexica concept of the moon is thought of in mysterious metaphors, primarily seen as a coward. Also referred to as a jar, for holding water?, or a sacrificial knife in the sky.
TEZCATLIPOCA- "The Mirror That Smokes" "One Death"
This listing, along with it's footnotes, has been transferred to its own page.
TEZCATZONCATL- "Pulque God?"
This deity is depicted in the Codex Magliabechiano, pl. 54, with very little in the way of descriptive text. His image is grouped with a collection of pulque gods so it is probable he was one as well. There is a reference in the codex to his being called "He of Tezcatzonco". The full page image depicts an overall appearance in keeping with other pulque deities, particularly the phallic standard carried in the right hand. The image is ornately decorated and depicts a red face and white vestment with a circular fan type backpiece. There is a curious depiction of a feather directly opposite the figure.
TLACAHUEPAN- "Younger Brother of Huitzilopochtli"
Toltec war god and adopted by the Aztec. Name would mean "Pillar of the Lord", "Support of Mex", or Man Log(*13). Connected with Tezcatlipoca?
TLACHIHUALTEPETL - "Lord of Many Colors"
Another mountain god worshiped by the Tlaxcalans. May also be translated to mean "Things of Many Colors"(*14.
TLAHUIZCALPANTECUHTLI- "The Dawn Lord"
God associated with the sky and in particular Venus, the morning star. (*15). Spelling may be Tlalteuctli, meaning "Lord of the Land". Spelling may also be TLAUIXCALPANTECUHTLI meaning, "Lord of the Planet Venus". As the Lord of the planet Venus he is depicted in the Codex Fejervary Mayer seated before an alter where a ball of rubber is being burned. Depiction also shows five dots on the face.
TLALCHITONATIUH- "Groundward Sun"
One of the deities that the Sun god, Tonatiuh, turns into as the sun makes it's daily journey from night to day. In the codex Borbonicus, pl. 16, this deity is depicted in the process of being slain by the Evening Star and swallowed up to become the deity Yaomicqui. See also Tonatiuh listing.
1 The Mexica were not the only civilization to dislike the owl. The Egyptians used it's hieroglyph to represent death. To the Pima Indians of the United States Southwest, the owl represented the souls of the dead. Ancient Jewish folklore depicts this bird as evil and demonic. Mercatante, p. 156.
2 I envision the rhinoceros scene in the safari ride at Disneyland.
13 An association of Tezcatlipoca was Tlacahuepan whose name contains the reference to Log, or Rough timber. The Toltecs had a ceremony with this timber.
14 Mountains were assigned god like qualities and all hills and mountains were worshiped. The most important were the two large volcanoes Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl along with Matlalcueye.
15 See second level of Heaven in the Aztec Culture section.
TLALOC- "The Rain God"
This listing, along with it's footnotes, has been transferred to its own page.
TLALTECAYOA- "He of the Round Earth"
Depicted in the Codex Magliabechiano, pl. 55. This deity was associated with the earth. An unusual ceremony of an Indian dressed as a monkey, called ozomatli, was performed to this deity. The dressed Indian would dance before the deity image. The codex representation depicts the deity image ornately dressed and standing before a monkey clad dancer. The shield of the dancer contains a obscene gesture of the day, an obvious attempt at humor by the scribe drawing the glyph(*24).
TLALTECUHTLI- "The Frog Monster" "The Earth-Lord"
Wears his hair curled. Centipedes, scorpions, serpents and other nocturnal creatures were constant companions to this god and depicted in his hair. For the Aztecs the earth was a kind of a monster, when pictured as a frog it took the name Tlaltecuhtli.
Spelling may be Tlalteuctli, meaning "Lord of the Land", and was worshiped as an earth god and represented as a crouching(*25) god with a grinning upturned mask.
TLAZOLTEOTL- "The Goddess of Filthy Things"
Also known as the "Witch Goddess".Goddess of carnal matters, able to incite illicit love affairs, and lust. Also known as Ixcuina. Like Xipe, she is often represented wearing the skin of a sacrificed victim. Easily identified by the band of cotton worn on her headdress and a black spot covering her nose and mouth. Often seen carrying a broom in hand. Celebrated during the month that one sweeps, "Ochiponiztli". Spelling may also have been Tlacolteutl.
Her son, Centeotl, was the God of Corn. She was the Devourer of filth and consumed the sins of men, usually only once and late in life(*26). A confessional practice developed before the priests and the worship of Tlazolteotl. She would eat the sins of man if confessed to her. May also have been the mother of Xochiquetzal.
A goddess of special importance, her priests were also the priests of the earth and fertility and are frequently represented in artwork. Considered a deity of the Moon. Also known as the "Mistress of Spinning", "Patroness of Sex". Could also appear as a group of four sisters called the "Goddesses" or "Princesses, (the princesses were sometimes to have been five).
Known to have had four phases. The first as a young moon(*27), brilliant, cruel yet delightful. The second changed her into a sensual young woman with a want for excitement. The third was as a priestess who forgave sins and gave blessings to married couples and fertility to the home. During the fourth phase she turned into a monster destroying lovers and stealing fortune. Often depicted wearing moon symbols and seen as a representation of the change-ability of women in general.
May also have been known in certain regions as Caxxoch, or "Bowl Finger". Also may have been referred to as Tlahui, meaning "Red Ochre", as a representation of one of the filth goddesses. Tlahui also figures in the creation myth of scorpions as the wife of Yappan. Tlahui was transformed into a red scorpion.
In ancient times was a goddess of debauchery and worshipped as the four sister goddesses, Tiacapan, Teiuc, Tlahco, and Xocotzin.
24 This gesture that was sweeping Europe at the time consisted of sticking the thumb between your first two fingers, it's meaning may be construed today as giving someone the finger.
25 These "crouching deities" are also known as "hockers".
26 This "confessional" was conducted in the presence of a trained priest in such matters. The sinner would recount his sins and the priest would give a penance. After completion of the penance the Goddess would "eat" his sins. The Mexica were also communal in the cleansing of sins as public ceremonies were held where the entire population would gather at nearby rivers and wash to cleanse away their sins.
27 Tlazolteotl was also considered as a deity of the moon and worshiped as such principally in the gulf coastal regions of the Mexica empire. Brundage, p. 224, makes reference to a linkage to the Mayan goddess of the moon, Ix Chel. Considering the geographical closeness it is not an unreasonable assumption. When the moon was thought of as male it was referred to as Teucciztecatl.
TLAZOPILLI - "Precious Lord"
Referenced in Boone's translation of the Codex Magliabechiano, verso 34, as a major deity worshiped during the seventh month of the Mexica calendar system. In this festival an image of the deity would be dressed in parrot feathers and carried on the shoulders of men. In the hand of this idol a staff, called yollotopil, meaning "heart staff", was placed.
TLILPOTONQUI- "Feathered In Black"
Representation of Quetzalcoatl.
TLOQUE NAHUAQUE- "Immanent One"
He Who Is the Owner of Near and the Owner of Close. May have come from Tezcatlipoca. Worshiped by Nezahualcoyotl and other nobles principally in Texcoco(*28). An intellectual symbol for a deity as no idols were known to be made in his image. Also known as Our Lord, He through Whom We Live, The Hidden and Impalpable One, the Self Created, Creator of Men, Teacher, Lord of Creatures, and Lord of Heaven and Earth. Considering Nezahualcoyotl and his religious philosophies this god may have been created by him to cement his religious belief that there was one true god, much as in modern Christian sense.
TONACATEUCTLI- "Agricultural Deity"
Spelling may also be Tonacatecuhtli. Possibly an aspect of the "Two Lord", Ometecuhtli. Ancient Mexica deity associated with agriculture and fate. Depicted seated on a mat of maize and presiding over human intercourse(*29). Children who died young were buried near bins of maize and were thought to go to his paradise which contained large fields of corn. Also worshiped as "Lord of our Food", "Lord of the hot country", "Lord of Fertility", "Lord of Abundance" "Twofold Lord of Creation", "Measurer of Time", "Lord of Fertility of Men and Earth", "Lord of Fate", Cipactonal and Oxomoco(*30). Also known as the "Lord of Sustenance. Known to live with his mistress, Tonacacihuatl, Lady of Sustenance, in a celestial paradise high above the thirteen heavens of Mexica mythology(*31). Interchangeable with Tloque Nahuaque?
This god was once thought to have created the earth by blowing on it. God of the heat of the sun and had general jurisdiction over the water contained in the sky. Depicted in codices as an old and wrinkled god and also worshiped as a god of sustenance. His counterpart and consort was Tonacacihuatl, "Lady of Sustenance", probably his dual half.
An old Chichimec god with various names, "Master of the Steppe, The Snarer, and Owner of the Mountains". Brundage make reference to this list of titles as being appropriate to Mixcoatl.
A most revered god of the Aztecs. Moctezuma I was crowned with a turquoise band of Tonacatecuhtli by King Nezahualcoyotl during his coronation.
TONATIUH- "The Sun God"
The sign of this deity was the solar disk, often worn on the back of clothing worn by impersonators about to be sacrificed to Tonatiuh (*32). A special altar to the sun was used in Aztec coronation rites as slaves were offered for the occasion. Warriors were especially devoted to this deity. Also known as "He Who Goes Forth Shining". The ancient Chichimecs were known to wear an emblem of the sun on their backs and considered themselves to be his sons. The patterns consisted of a yellow sunburst of yellow parrot feathers.
Also known as "The Resplendent One or the Heavenly Marksman", in reference to his ability to shoot rays through the space of the sky. Also a symbol of the Eagle. As the
Eagle rises to swoop down on its prey so to does the sun rise and swoop down and disappear. The suns journey from night to day was a representation of an Eagle's flight. Men sacrificed, and warriors, were thought to inhabit the sun's house far out in the sea(*33) to the East. At dawn the sun came forth from his house accompanied by dead warriors and sacrificial victims and at that moment the sun was considered to be "The Jeweled Prince".
As the sun reached its zenith it was called "He Who Swoops like and Eagle", and at the end of the day "The Earthbound Sun". He was then captured by the evening star and sacrificed. At night the vanquished sun moved through the earth accompanied by the dead which gave forth an eerie light. The sun now became a gloomy monster, wrinkled and old until it's eventual rebirth in the morning. The Mexica saw the sun as a warrior and its rays as symbols of darts.
Depicted on stone carving as a diving eagle setting below the horizon and surrounded by skulls from the dark underworld which is his home each night. The face of the sun god holds a sacrificial knife for a tongue. Other depiction's show him with an earthquake symbol on his back. The Mexica believed that their present world would end in earthquakes and the sun destroyed. The Codex Cospi depicts offerings made to Tonatiuh. In this drawing the god stands in front of a temple which holds an eagle, next to the drawing is a god of darkness before a temple holding an owl, a symbol of darkness and destruction.
Name may have meant "He goes becoming warm", or "A thing that goes along becoming or being hot". From Nahuatl verb tona, meaning "to be hot or sunny". See also YAOMICQUI.
TORQUEMADA II -"Underworld God"
God associated with a region of hell. Also called Acolnahuacatl after the ward in Tenochtitlan where he was principally worshiped. His temple was referred to as Tlalxicco, after his home in the underworld. Reference to him in Codex Vaticanus, pl. 3. This deity was also referred to as Cuezalli, meaning "Flaming Thing"?
28 Texcoco was the artistic center of the triple alliance and home of culture and intellectual thought. The cult of this deity thought of Tloque Nahuaque as residing beyond the thirteen heavens worshiped communally by the Aztec and thought of him almost in a Christian sense of "one and only god". All other gods were considered false and human sacrifice pointless. Padden, p. 29, speculated that this cult was a survivor of an ancient Quetzalcoatl cult. Some historians speculate that Quetzalcoatl, the man legend, was a wandering and lost Viking, hence the physical representation, the teaching of science, and quite possibly what was to become a corrupted version of Christianity in the worship of Tloque Nahuaque.
29 Codex Vaticanus pl. 15.
30 Gillmor p. 91. Cipactonal and Oxomoco, a male and female were thought to live in a cave near Cuauhnauac and began the Aztec counting of two hundred and sixty days.
31 Brundage, p. 32 relates that this deity was so above the norm that he needed so sacrifices or temples built to him. As a creator he was above all things. Further reference by Brundage to this deity's creation not by the union of sex but by theistic decision from a divine mind. Mexica legend has this deity bestowing this creational power upon his four sons, the red and black Tezcatliopoca, Quetzalcoatl, and Huitzilopochtli. Of note Tezcatliopoca and Quetzalcoatl routinely find their way into this myth with some differences assigned to the others.
32 This god was worshiped through out Mesoamerica and parts of South America as well. His image found in South America closely resembles the image worshiped by the Aztecs.
33 The sea was sometimes called teoatl, meaning "marvelous water".
TOTEC CHICAHUA - "Our Aged Lord"
Attended by Ixtepetla and Acuacuauh. Principally worshiped in Tlalocan? Cincalco(*34)?
TZAPATLAN TENEN- "The Goddess of Turpentine"
Her substance was said to produce turpentine. Name may mean "Someone's mother in Tzapotlan". Said to have been the goddess that found the medicinal use of Ohxitl, (nahutal for turpentine).
Name may also be Tzapotla Tena and depicted in the Codex Florentine.
TZINTEOTL- "The Goddess of the Rump(*35)"
Goddess of sex with a primary following on the Gulf coast. Depicted with bare breasts and often drawn with a snake, symbolizing lust. Prostitutes and nymphomaniacs were thought to worship this goddess. Thought to be a representation of Tlazolteotl.
TZITZIMITL-"Demonic Night Creatures"
Singular as tzitzimine. Supernatural beings collectively as four they lived in the night sky and were a threat to men during an eclipse(*36) and most nights in general. Myth has a legend that they were once stars and were cast out be become lords in the dark underworld. It was thought that the tzitzimitl were the creatures who would initiate the final destruction of the Mexica world and universe. Depicted in codex Magliabechiano, recto 76, as a skeleton with a rattlesnake for a penis and earrings of a human hand and necklace of human hearts and hands. The hair is unkempt and are generally considered female.
TZONTEMOC- "He Who Fell Head First"
Resided in one of nine hells of Aztec mythology.
UAPPATZIN- "Ball Court Deity" "God of the Court"
See also Amapan listing. See also Macuilxochitl listing.
UIXTOCIHUATL- The Salt Lady"
Goddess and patron of cultivated foods. Other spelling Uixtociuatl. Goddess of people in the salt trade.
XILONEN- "Princess of the Unripe Maize"-"Tender of the Ear of Corn"
A god borrowed from other tribes by the Aztecs and one of the gods associated with the tending of corn and it's importance in the daily life of the Aztecs. "she Who Remained a Maiden Without Sin", "She Who Always Remained as Fresh and Tender as a Young Ear of Corn".
Also known as Chicomecoatl, meaning Seven Snake, as she is believed to have prevailed against the seven serpents or sins. Also known as Chalchiuhcihuatl, meaning Precious Stone, or Emerald, as she had been chosen above all other women.
During the festivals honoring the first appearance of ears on the corn stalk, young girls would go dancing into the fields bare breasted while people cast scented flowers on them. This was a representation of food and life. While in the fields the girls would pick five ears of corn which were the symbols of Lady Chicomecoatl, "Seven Serpents".
XIPE TOTEC "Our Lord of the Flayed one "
This listing, along with it's footnotes, has been transferred to its own page.
XIUHTEUCTLI- "Lord of Turquoise" "Prince of the Dawn"
"Turquoise Grass" "the Old God" " The Old God of the Wrinkled Face" "Father of all Gods" "The God of Fire, who is in the battlement water-pool circled with stones like roses" "God of the Middle and the Center" "Lord of the Red House of Dawn" "Lord of the Year" Spelling may also be Xiuhtecuhtli. Seen as an earthly representation of Ometecuhtli.
Also known as Tlalxictentica, "He Who Is the Earth's Navel". Also known as Nauhyoteuctli(*41), or Nauhyoueye, "Lord of the Four Directions". Also worshiped as Chiuhnauhyoteuctli, "Lord of the Nine(*
The sacred fire, connected the Aztec household with the bottom- most layers of the earth with the heavens. Thought to reside at the lowest level in the center of the earth. Also called Huehueteotl, (see Huehueteotl for more information), Old God.
Had been worshiped by two other names, one Yxcocauhqui, "yellow face, or flame of fire", and Viveteutl, associated with fire. May have been thought to preside over the first level of heaven. May have been known by the name Huehuehteotl. Patron of merchants who traveled to far off lands.
Known to have presided over a special feast falling on February 4, or the last day of the Mexica year. During this feast two selected Indians, one called Comulco and the other called Ixcozauhqui, were sacrificed. During this feast no one ate anything except amaranth dough and bread(*43).
34 Brundade p. 48.
35 Tzintli in Nahuatl means anus.
36 Of interest during the period of an eclipse cripples and hunchbacks were taken from their homes and sacrificed quickly to aid the army of the sun to stop the eclipse. As this always worked and the sun's armies won, cripples and hunchbacks were well treated the rest of the time. In addition to hunchbacks men sporting white hair and albinos were also thought to be of special sacrificial use during an eclipse period.
41 Brundage, p. 226 makes note that the title Nauhyoteuctli could refer to time or space.
42 An obvious reference to the underworld.
43 Boone, p. 200.
XIPPILLI- The Jeweled Prince"
God of the verdant fields and summer.
XOCHIPILLI- "The Prince of Flowers"
Patron of Dances-Patron of Games-Patron of Love-Symbol of Summer
Xochipilli's symbol "The Tonallo" is formed by four points signifying the heat of the sun. always pictured adorned with flowers and butterflies(*44) and carries a staff on which a human heart is impaled. Also known as Macuilxochitl, meaning "five flower", a calendar name.
Patron of all festivities and known as a symbol of summer. Also associated with fertility and rain. Name could translate to "Flower Nobel".
XOCHIQUETZAL- "Flower Quetzal-or Plumage
This listing, along with it's footnotes, has been transferred to its own page.
XOLOTL- "The Dog Headed Monster(*52)" "Traveler of the Northern Sky"
Twin brother to Quetzalcoatl and the night ruler of Venus. Accompanied his brother into hell to gather bones to begin the resurrection of man (*53). There is a legend that it was Xolotl who raises and nourished the men that his famous brother created. Often depicted as horrible monster on sculpture.
A scene in the Codex Vindobonensis plate 49, shows two Xolotl twins in existence before the creation of Quetzalcoatl, giving rise to speculation to his being the older brother. The Aztec called the horses used by Cortes "Xolotl", or translated as monsters.
Xolotl , according to myth, nurtured the bones he and his brother retrieved from Mictlan in a "Paradise" called Tamoanchan. Tamoanchan was the place of origin for all men. There is speculation that this "Paradise" was somewhere in the Xochicalco region.
According to legend Xolotl was selected by his 1,600 fellow gods to retrieve the bones of men. Xolotl is also credited with taking the young goddess Xochiquetzal into the underworld to ravish her.
Was one of the deities associated with the ball courts as evidenced by depiction on codices.
YACATECUHTLI- "The Long Nosed God", "He Who Leads" "The Goer Lord" "God of Merchants"
God of Merchants(*54). Sahagun gives a spelling of Yiacatecutli. Merchants would use a cane called utatl, in his honor as they walked from village to village. At night all the merchants would tie the canes together into a bundle and let blood from their ears over the canes in veneration to Yacatecuhtli. The cane was considered an image of Yacatecuhtli and after the return of the merchant, often years of travel and trading, the family of the merchant would pay homage to the cane. (I'm not making this stuff up, they really did this.)
Yacatecuhtli is depicted in the Codex Fejervary-Mayer as having a large red nose and carrying the symbol of the cross roads(*55) with merchants footprints on them. Merchants are depicted as carrying a fan and staff with his goods on his back.
May have been worshipped as Ollohqueh, meaning "Rubber Owners" as a metaphor for a god summoned to the aid of a traveler, used with Iyauhyohqueh. Also may have been known in ancient times as Yacacoliuhqui, meaning "curved nose". See also ZACAZONTLI.
YAOMICQUI- "One Who Has Died at the Hands of his Enemy"
Name given to Tonatiuh, the sun god, as a representation to his being killed by the night. The sun was at this stage seen as being sacrificed. See also Yoyualtonatiuh, Tonatiuh, and Tlalchitonatiuh listings.
YAUHTECATL- "Pulque God"
Depicted in the Codex Magliabechiano, pl. 51 as a drinking deity.
YOHUALTONATIUH- "The Night Sun"
See also Tonatiuh and Tlalchitonatiuh listings. Depicted in the Codex Borgia, pl. 40. One of the deities that Tonatiuh, the Sun god becomes as it makes it way from day to night. See also Yaomicqui listing.
YOHUALTICITL- "Midwife of the Night"
Goddess connected with the birthing process. Pregnant women were often taken into a sweatbath, symbolic of the womb, and this goddess presided over these baths as well. This goddess was seen by the Mexica as providing them with the essentials of life, salt, food, and water. She is reputed to be the first to actually cook food. Associated with being a representation or combination of Chicomecoatl, Chalchiuhtlicue, and Huixtocihuatl. These three goddesses were said to be sisters and related to the Tlaloque, or possibly companions.
YAOTL- SeeTezcatlipoca. Name means "Enemy".
ZACAZONTLI - "God of Roads"
The roads(*56) the Aztec traveled upon were represented by this deity and his name was often invoked by travelers. See also YACATECUHTLI.
53 Legend has Quetzalcoatl entering hell, Mictlan, retrieving old bones and by trickery removing them. He then let blood over the bones, creating life and a new age of man on the earth.
54 Because merchants offered slaves for sacrifice, merchants were thought to go to Tonatiuh Ichan, or the Sun's House, in death. The Codex Borgia depicts symbolic illustrations of the Aztec "pochteca", or traders. Included is a representation of a trader wearing a "thamamalli", or traveling pack that is supported by a broad head-strap, "mecapalli", a quetzal bird is sitting on one of the packs.
55 This merchant symbol was a broad x much like a Christian cross but the boards even in length and secured at the center.
56 The road system of the Aztec was well advanced and paved with "Tezontli", a pumice rock which was composed of silica and volcanic ash. Wolfgang von Hagen, p. 36.
Other Aztec related links:
Religion of the Modern Aztlan Movement
Religion of the Mexica & Bibliography
Major Deitites of the Mexica
Aztec Cannibalism: An Ecological Necessity?
The Aztec Account of the Spanish Conquest of Mexico