The Aztec Gateway
The Aztec Deities

Serpent Pectoral

Though my site is mainly dedicated to Tezcatlipoca, the Aztecs had many deities. They are in fact so large in number that the ones that I have included here are simply some of the more major ones. The information given on each of the deities is only very brief. With this in mind, I would include a kind of disclaimer here: If any of the deities here are of interest to you, please, please learn as much as you can about them before deciding to call upon them. It is my firm belief that one should not call upon deities that you only know by a brief description in a pantheon list, so with that in mind I provide this list for general information, and to give merely a taste of what the Aztec deities offer. In the end, they are far too complex than I can do justice to in the span of a paragraph.

Huehueteotl (The Old, Old God) or Xiuhtecuhtli (The Turquoise Lord): The oldest of all the gods, Huehueteotl is the god of fire. He rules over the center of the world. Usually depicted as an old man with fangs.

Coatlicue (She of the Serpent Skirt): The earth goddess who birthed Huitzilopochtli. She tends to appear decapitated (as she was by her children), with twin serpents arching from her severed neck to represent blood, a necklace of severed hands and hearts, and a skirt made of entwined serpents. Because of her position as Huitzilopochtli's mother, she was considered a mother of the Aztec people. However, one should not confuse her with a gentle mother earth, as Coatlicue was in fact quite fearsome.

Xipe Totec (Our Lord the Flayed): Xipe Totec is the god of Spring and the new growth of plants. He flayed himself that the plants might grow. Usually depicted wearing the "golden garments" (a flayed human skin), with three red stripes across his face. Xipe Totec's color is red. He rules over the East.

Tezcatlipoca (The Smoking Mirror): Tezcatlipoca is the Lord of the Night Sky and Night Wind. He rules over fate and fortune, and can see all things within his smoking mirror. The god of sorcerers, warriors, and young men, Tezcatlipoca's color is black. He rules over the North. (For more information)

Quetzalcoatl (Feathered Serpent): Quetzalcoatl is the god of the day winds, the morning star, and the patron of priestly learning. Quetzalcoatl is often depicted as a rattlesnake covered in quetzal plumes, or in human form as an old man. As a man, he often wears a mask through which he blows the winds. He ruled over the Toltecs as Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl. His color is white, his direction the West.

Huitzilopochtli (Hummingbird on the Left): Huitzilopochtli is the patron god of the Mexica. A god of war, and associated with the sun, Huitzilopochtli saved his mother Coatlicue from his brothers and sister, who meant to kill her. He also lead the Aztecs to the island where they would found their capital. Huitzilopochtli appears as a young warrior with three blue stripes across his face, wearing a hummingbird headdress. He also appears in animal form as a hummingbird or an eagle. His color is blue, his direction is South.

Tlaloc (Drink of the Earth): Tlaloc is the god of the rains. He is served by various rain spirits called the tlaloque. Tlaloc rules over Tlalocan, a warm and rainy paradise where the souls of those drowned or dead from water-associated diseases travel to. He appears with greenish skin, goggle-like eyes, and jaguar fangs.

Tonatiuh (He Who Goes Forth Shining): Tonatiuh is the old god of the sun, who was worshipped in the Valley of Mexico before Aztec times and later adopted by them. He travels across the sky each day, first accompanied by the souls of dead warriors until he reaches the center of the sky, then accompanied by the souls of women who have died in childbirth as he descends towards the underworld. He rules over the paradise of Tonatiuhcan, where the souls of the aforementioned people dwell for a time before being returned to the earth as hummingbirds and butterflies.

Mictlantecuhtli (Lord of the Dead): Mictlantecuhtli rules over the underworld, along with his wife, Mictlancihuatl. Both are represented as semi-fleshless skeletons.

Mixcoatl (Cloud Serpent): Mixcoatl is the god of the chase and of the wild creatures. The primary god of the Chichimecs.

Xolotl (Monster/Twin): Xolotl is the dark twin of Quetzalcoatl. Although a twin, Xolotl does not resemble Quetzalcoatl, but has the head of a dog, and is often depicted with backwards hands and feet. He is also sometimes depicted as a leper. A god of the underworld, Xolotl is one of the patrons of the ballgame, and rules over chaos and the evening star. He also presides over crossroads and twins.

Chalchihuitlicue (She of the Jade Skirt): Tlaloc's sister, she rules over the lakes, rivers, and other earthly waters. She is also the goddess of chaste love.

Tepeyollotl (Heart of the Mountain): Tepeyollotl is Tezcatlipoca in the form of His nahualli. The jaguar god of the Aztecs, Tepeyollotl presides over earthquakes. His spotted coat represents the stars in the sky.

Centeotl: The god of corn.

Xilonen: The young goddess of corn, one of Tezcatlipoca's four wives.

Xochipilli (Flower Prince): Xochipilli is the god of gambling, flowers, dancing and poetry. The pleasurable things in life are often his domain. He is also the god of hallucinogenic plants, and is often depicted in a trance-like state induced by sacred mushrooms, bedecked with flowers.

Xochiquetzal (Precious Flower): Xochiquetzal is the goddess of love, particularly of the erotic sort. She also presides over weavers. Once the wife of Tlaloc, until she was stolen away by Tezcatlipoca. She appears as a beautiful and sensual young woman.

Tlazolteotl (Filth Deity): Tlazolteotl is the goddess who both inspires vices and forgives them as well. Her priests listened to the confessions of the dying, and then cleansed them of their impurities. Also the goddess of midwives.

Patecatl: The god of medicine and healing.

Itzpapalotl (Obsidian Butterfly): Itzpapalotl is a fierce goddess of the night. She presides over the tzitzinime (female demons). She was feared by men as it was her tzitzinime that were said to attack young men at crossroads on certain days of the year. She often appears in the form of a woman with jaguar claws and a skull-like face, though she may also appear as beautiful and seductive.

Itztlacoliuhqui (Curved Obsidian Blade): Itztlacoliuhqui is the god of blind justice. He is usually depicted as wearing a curved headdress that has been pierced by an arrow, with a featureless face painted in black and white. Alternately, he may be shown with his eyes bound instead. He usually wears garments of raw cotton.

Coyolxauhqui (Golden Bells): Coyolxauhqui is the goddess of the moon, probably originating from the Chichimec side of the Aztec pantheon. She was decapitated and dismembered by Huitzilopochtli for conspiring to kill their mother, and afterwards Huitzilopochtli threw her head into the sky to become the moon.

Teccuciztecatl (Lord of the Conch Shell): Teccuciztecatl is the moon god, probably originating from the Toltec side of the Aztec pantheon. Teccuciztecatl, a rich and beautiful god, could not force himself to leap into the divine bonfire at Teotihuacan to become the sun. Only after the lowly god Nanahuatzin had done so and been transformed into the beautiful Tonatiuh, did Teccuciztecatl feel ashamed of his cowardice and leap into the flames after him. But as the world was too bright with two suns, the other gods threw a rabbit into Teccuciztecatl's face, bruising him and creating the moon.

Tlaltecuhtli: Tlaltecuhtli is the Earth Monster. Though the name implies masculinity, Tlaltecuhtli is usually considered female. Tlaltecuhtli is depicted as a great cayman or other monsterous reptile, sometimes with the face of a man emerging from the mouth. She is missing her lower jaw, it being torn from her by Tezcatlipoca to prevent her from sinking beneath the waters. Thus Tlaltecuhtli is the surface of the earth, but she is angry about her position. She was the first to demand the hearts and blood of humans, in supplication for her unwilling sacrifice.

Huehuecoyotl (The Old, Old Coyote): A trickster god, Huehuecoyotl may be depicted as either a coyote or in a man-like form with a coyote's head. Huehuecoyotl presides over all sorts of eccentricity and debauchery. He is often considered bad luck… you never know what he might decide to do.

 

All materials ©2002-2007 J. Quipoloa. Do not reproduce without permission.