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God of life, light and wisdom, lord of the day and the winds. Ruler of the West [1]
Member of the Tezcatlipocas
Quetzalcoatl V.svg
Quetzalcoatl as depicted in the Codex Borgia
Other namesWhite Tecatlipoca, Ce Acatl Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl, Feathered Serpent, Precious Twin, Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli [2]
Major cult center Temple of the Feathered Serpent, Teotihuacan, Tenochtitlan
AbodeIlhuicatl-Teteocan (Twelfth Heaven) [1]
Ilhuicatl-Teoiztac (Nineth Heaven) [1]
• the West [1]
Planet Venus (Morning-star)
Symbol Feathered Serpent [1]
Gender Male
Region Mesoamerica
Ethnic group Aztec, Tlaxcaltec, Toltec (Nahoa)
Festivals Teotleco
Personal information
ParentsOmetecuhtli and Omecihuatl (Codex Zumarraga) [1]
Mixcoatl and Chimalma (Codex Chimalpopoca) [1]
SiblingsTezcatlipoca, Xipe-Totec, Huitzilopochtli (Codex Zumarraga) [1]
Xolotl (Codex Chimalpopoca) [1]
Maya equivalent Kukulkan (God H)
Mixtec equivalentÑuhu-Tachi
Quetzalcoatl as depicted in the Codex Telleriano-Remensis. Quetzalcoatl telleriano2.jpg
Quetzalcoatl as depicted in the Codex Telleriano-Remensis.

Quetzalcoatl /ˌkɛtsælkˈɑːtəl/ [3] (Spanish: Quetzalcóatlpronounced  [ketsalˈkoatl] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); Classical Nahuatl : Quetzalcōātl [ket͡saɬ'koːaːt͡ɬ] ( Loudspeaker.svg modern Nahuatl pronunciation  ), in honorific form: Quetzalcōātzin) is a deity in Aztec culture and literature whose name comes from the Nahuatl language and means "Precious serpent" or "Quetzal-feathered Serpent". [4] In the 17th century, Ixtlilxóchitl, a descendant of Aztec royalty and historian of the Nahua people, wrote, "Quetzalcoatl, in its literal sense, means 'serpent of precious feathers', but in the allegorical sense, 'wisest of men'." [5]


Among the Aztecs, whose beliefs are the best-documented in the historical sources, Quetzalcoatl was related to gods of the wind, of the planet Venus, of the dawn, of merchants and of arts, crafts and knowledge. He was also the patron god of the Aztec priesthood, of learning and knowledge. [6] Quetzalcoatl was one of several important gods in the Aztec pantheon, along with the gods Tlaloc, Tezcatlipoca and Huitzilopochtli. Two other gods represented by the planet Venus are Quetzalcoatl's ally Tlaloc (the god of rain), and Quetzalcoatl's twin and psychopomp, Xolotl.

Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec god of wind, air, and learning, wears around his neck the "wind breastplate" ehēcacōzcatl, "the spirally voluted wind jewel" made of a conch shell. This talisman was a conch shell cut at the cross-section and was likely worn as a necklace by religious rulers, as such objects have been discovered in burials in archaeological sites throughout Mesoamerica, [7] and potentially symbolized patterns witnessed in hurricanes, dust devils, seashells, and whirlpools, which were elemental forces that had significance in Aztec mythology.[ need quotation to verify ] Codex drawings pictured both Quetzalcoatl and Xolotl wearing an ehēcacōzcatl around the neck.[ citation needed ] Additionally, at least one major cache of offerings includes knives and idols adorned with the symbols of more than one god, some of which were adorned with wind jewels. [8] Animals thought to represent Quetzalcoatl include resplendent quetzals, rattlesnakes (coatl meaning "serpent" in Nahuatl), crows, and macaws. In his form as Ehecatl he is the wind, and is represented by spider monkeys, ducks, and the wind itself. [9] In his form as the morning star, Venus, he is also depicted as a harpy eagle. [10] In Mazatec legends the astrologer deity Tlahuizcalpanteuctli, who is also represented by Venus, bears a close relationship with Quetzalcoatl. [11]

The earliest known documentation of the worship of a Feathered Serpent occurs in Teotihuacan in the first century BC or first century AD. [12] That period lies within the Late Preclassic to Early Classic period (400 BC – 600 AD) of Mesoamerican chronology; veneration of the figure appears to have spread throughout Mesoamerica by the Late Classic period (600–900 AD). [13] In the Postclassic period (900–1519 AD), the worship of the feathered-serpent deity centred in the primary Mexican religious center of Cholula. In this period the deity is known to have been named Quetzalcōhuātl by his Nahua followers. In the Maya area he was approximately equivalent to Kukulkan and Gukumatz, names that also roughly translate as "feathered serpent" in different Mayan languages. In the era following the 16th-century Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, a number of records conflated Quetzalcoatl with Ce Acatl Topiltzin, a ruler of the mythico-historic city of Tollan. Historians debate to what degree, or whether at all, these narratives about this legendary Toltec ruler describe historical events. [14] Furthermore, early Spanish sources written by clerics tend to identify the god-ruler Quetzalcoatl of these narratives with either Hernán Cortés or Thomas the Apostle—identifications which have also become sources of a diversity of opinions about the nature of Quetzalcoatl. [15]

Feathered serpent deity in Mesoamerica

A feathered serpent deity has been worshiped by many different ethnopolitical groups in Mesoamerican history. The existence of such worship can be seen through studies of the iconography of different Mesoamerican cultures, in which serpent motifs are frequent. On the basis of the different symbolic systems used in portrayals of the feathered serpent deity in different cultures and periods, scholars have interpreted the religious and symbolic meaning of the feathered serpent deity in Mesoamerican cultures.

Iconographic depictions

A photo of La Venta Stela 19, the earliest known representation of the Feathered Serpent in Mesoamerica. La Venta Stele 19 (Delange).jpg
A photo of La Venta Stela 19, the earliest known representation of the Feathered Serpent in Mesoamerica.
Feathered Serpent head at the Ciudadela complex in Teotihuacan Teotihuacan Feathered Serpent (Jami Dwyer).jpg
Feathered Serpent head at the Ciudadela complex in Teotihuacan

The earliest iconographic depiction of the deity is believed to be found on Stela 19 at the Olmec site of La Venta, depicting a serpent rising up behind a person probably engaged in a shamanic ritual. This depiction is believed to have been made around 900 BC. Although probably not exactly a depiction of the same feathered serpent deity worshipped in classic and post-classic periods, it shows the continuity of symbolism of feathered snakes in Mesoamerica from the formative period and on, for example in comparison to the Maya Vision Serpent shown below.

The first culture to use the symbol of a feathered serpent as an important religious and political symbol was Teotihuacan. At temples such as the aptly named "Quetzalcoatl temple" in the Ciudadela complex, feathered serpents figure prominently and alternate with a different kind of serpent head. The earliest depictions of the feathered serpent deity were fully zoomorphic, depicting the serpent as an actual snake, but already among the Classic Maya, the deity began acquiring human features.

In the iconography of the classic period, Maya serpent imagery is also prevalent: a snake is often seen as the embodiment of the sky itself, and a vision serpent is a shamanic helper presenting Maya kings with visions of the underworld.

The archaeological record shows that after the fall of Teotihuacan that marked the beginning of the epi-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology around 600 AD, the cult of the feathered serpent spread to the new religious and political centers in central Mexico, centers such as Xochicalco, Cacaxtla and Cholula. [13] Feathered serpent iconography is prominent at all of these sites. Cholula is known to have remained the most important center of worship to Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec/Nahua version of the feathered serpent deity, in the post-classic period.

During the epi-classic period, a dramatic spread of feathered serpent iconography is evidenced throughout Mesoamerica, and during this period begins to figure prominently at sites such as Chichén Itzá, El Tajín, and throughout the Maya area. Colonial documentary sources from the Maya area frequently speak of the arrival of foreigners from the central Mexican plateau, often led by a man whose name translates as "Feathered Serpent". It has been suggested that these stories recall the spread of the feathered serpent cult in the epi-classic and early post-classic periods. [13]

Represented as the plumed serpent, Quetzalcoatl was also manifest in the wind, one of the most powerful forces of nature, and this relationship was captured in a text in the Nahuatl language:

Quetzalcoatl; yn ehecatl ynteiacancauh yntlachpancauh in tlaloque, yn aoaque, yn qujqujiauhti. Auh yn jquac molhuja eheca, mjtoa: teuhtli quaqualaca, ycoioca, tetecujca, tlatlaiooa, tlatlapitza, tlatlatzinj, motlatlaueltia.

Quetzalcoatl—he was the wind, the guide and road sweeper of the rain gods, of the masters of the water, of those who brought rain. And when the wind rose, when the dust rumbled, and it crack and there was a great din, became it became dark and the wind blew in many directions, and it thundered; then it was said: "[Quetzalcoatl] is wrathful." [16]

Quetzalcoatl was also linked to rulership and priestly office; additionally, among the Toltec, it was used as a military title and emblem. [17]

In the post-classic Nahua civilization of central Mexico (Aztec), the worship of Quetzalcoatl was ubiquitous. Cult worship may have involved the ingestion of hallucinogenic mushrooms (psilocybes), considered sacred. [18] The most important center was Cholula where the world's largest pyramid was dedicated to his worship. In Aztec culture, depictions of Quetzalcoatl were fully anthropomorphic. Quetzalcoatl was associated with the wind god Ehecatl and is often depicted with his insignia: a beak-like mask.


Vision Serpent depicted on lintel 15 from Yaxchilan. Yaxchilan Lintel 15.jpg
Vision Serpent depicted on lintel 15 from Yaxchilan.

On the basis of the Teotihuacan iconographical depictions of the feathered serpent, archaeologist Karl Taube has argued that the feathered serpent was a symbol of fertility and internal political structures contrasting with the War Serpent symbolizing the outwards military expansion of the Teotihuacan empire. [19] Historian Enrique Florescano also analyzing Teotihuacan iconography argues that the Feathered Serpent was part of a triad of agricultural deities: the Goddess of the Cave symbolizing motherhood, reproduction and life, Tlaloc, god of rain, lightning and thunder and the feathered serpent, god of vegetational renewal. The feathered serpent was furthermore connected to the planet Venus because of this planet's importance as a sign of the beginning of the rainy season. To both Teotihuacan and Maya cultures, Venus was in turn also symbolically connected with warfare. [20]

Temple of the Feathered Serpent at Xochicalco, adorned with a fully zoomorphic feathered Serpent. Xochicalco Serpiente Emplumada GR.jpg
Temple of the Feathered Serpent at Xochicalco, adorned with a fully zoomorphic feathered Serpent.

While not usually feathered, classic Maya serpent iconography seems related to the belief in a sky-, Venus-, creator-, war- and fertility-related serpent deity. In the example from Yaxchilan, the Vision Serpent has the human face of the young maize god, further suggesting a connection to fertility and vegetational renewal; the Maya Young Maize god was also connected to Venus.

In Xochicalco, depictions of the feathered serpent are accompanied by the image of a seated, armed ruler and the hieroglyph for the day sign 9 Wind. The date 9 Wind is known to be associated with fertility, Venus and war among the Maya and frequently occurs in relation to Quetzalcoatl in other Mesoamerican cultures.

On the basis of the iconography of the feathered serpent deity at sites such as Teotihuacan, Xochicalco, Chichén Itzá, Tula and Tenochtitlan combined with certain ethnohistorical sources, historian David Carrasco has argued that the preeminent function of the feathered serpent deity throughout Mesoamerican history was the patron deity of the Urban center, a god of culture and civilization. [21]

In Aztec culture

Quetzalcoatl as depicted in the Codex Magliabechiano. Quetzalcoatl magliabechiano.jpg
Quetzalcoatl as depicted in the Codex Magliabechiano.

To the Aztecs, Quetzalcoatl was, as his name indicates, a feathered serpent . He was a creator deity having contributed essentially to the creation of mankind. He also had anthropomorphic forms, for example in his aspects as Ehecatl the wind god. Among the Aztecs, the name Quetzalcoatl was also a priestly title, as the two most important priests of the Aztec Templo Mayor were called "Quetzalcoatl Tlamacazqui". In the Aztec ritual calendar, different deities were associated with the cycle-of-year names: Quetzalcoatl was tied to the year Ce Acatl (One Reed), which correlates to the year 1519. [22]



Quetzalcoatl as depicted in the Codex Borbonicus. Quetzalcoatl 1.jpg
Quetzalcoatl as depicted in the Codex Borbonicus.

The exact significance and attributes of Quetzalcoatl varied somewhat between civilizations and through history. There are several stories about the birth of Quetzalcoatl. In a version of the myth, Quetzalcoatl was born by a virgin named Chimalman, to whom the god Onteol appeared in a dream. [23] In another story, the virgin Chimalman conceived Quetzalcoatl by swallowing an emerald. [21] A third story narrates that Chimalman was hit in the womb by an arrow shot by Mixcoatl and nine months later she gave birth to a child which was called Quetzalcoatl. [23] A fourth story narrates that Quetzalcoatl was born from Coatlicue, who already had four hundred children who formed the stars of the Milky Way. [23]

According to another version of the myth, Quetzalcoatl is one of the four sons of Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl, the four Tezcatlipocas, each of whom presides over one of the four cardinal directions. Over the West presides the White Tezcatlipoca, Quetzalcoatl, the god of light, justice, mercy and wind. Over the South presides the Blue Tezcatlipoca, Huitzilopochtli, the god of war. Over the East presides the Red Tezcatlipoca, Xipe Totec, the god of gold, farming and springtime. And over the North presides the Black Tezcatlipoca, known by no other name than Tezcatlipoca, the god of judgment, night, deceit, sorcery and the Earth. [24] Quetzalcoatl was often considered the god of the morning star, and his twin brother Xolotl was the evening star (Venus). As the morning star, he was known by the title Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli , meaning "lord of the star of the dawn". He was known as the inventor of books and the calendar, the giver of maize (corn) to mankind, and sometimes as a symbol of death and resurrection. Quetzalcoatl was also the patron of the priests and the title of the twin Aztec high priests. Some legends describe him as opposed to human sacrifice [25] while others describe him practicing it. [26] [27]

Most Mesoamerican beliefs included cycles of suns. Often our current time was considered the fifth sun,[ citation needed ] the previous four having been destroyed by flood, fire and the like. Quetzalcoatl went to Mictlan, the underworld, and created fifth-world mankind from the bones of the previous races (with the help of Cihuacoatl), using his own blood, from a wound he inflicted on his earlobes, calves, tongue, and penis, to imbue the bones with new life.

It is also suggested that he was a son of Xochiquetzal and Mixcoatl.[ citation needed ]

In the Codex Chimalpopoca, it is said Quetzalcoatl was coerced by Tezcatlipoca into becoming drunk on pulque, cavorting with his older sister, Quetzalpetlatl, a celibate priestess, and neglecting their religious duties. (Many academics conclude this passage implies incest.) The next morning, Quetzalcoatl, feeling shame and regret, had his servants build him a stone chest, adorn him in turquoise, and then, laying in the chest, set himself on fire. His ashes rose into the sky and then his heart followed, becoming the morning star (see Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli). [28]

Belief in Cortés as Quetzalcoatl

Quetzalcoatl in human form, using the symbols of Ehecatl, from the Codex Borgia. Quetzalcoatl Ehecatl.jpg
Quetzalcoatl in human form, using the symbols of Ehecatl, from the Codex Borgia.

Since the sixteenth century, it has been widely held that the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma II initially believed the landing of Hernán Cortés in 1519 to be Quetzalcoatl's return. This view has been questioned by ethno-historians who argue that the Quetzalcoatl-Cortés connection is not found in any document that was created independently of post-Conquest Spanish influence, and that there is little proof of a pre-Hispanic belief in Quetzalcoatl's return. [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] Most documents expounding this theory are of entirely Spanish origin, such as Cortés's letters to Charles V of Spain, in which Cortés goes to great pains to present the naive gullibility of the Aztecs in general as a great aid in his conquest of Mexico.

Much of the idea of Cortés being seen as a deity can be traced back to the Florentine Codex written down some 50 years after the conquest. In the Codex's description of the first meeting between Moctezuma and Cortés, the Aztec ruler is described as giving a prepared speech in classical oratorial Nahuatl, a speech which, as described in the codex written by the Franciscan Bernardino de Sahagún and his Tlatelolcan informants, included such prostrate declarations of divine or near-divine admiration as:

You have graciously come on earth, you have graciously approached your water, your high place of Mexico, you have come down to your mat, your throne, which I have briefly kept for you, I who used to keep it for you.


You have graciously arrived, you have known pain, you have known weariness, now come on earth, take your rest, enter into your palace, rest your limbs; may our lords come on earth.

Quetzalcoatl in feathered-serpent form as depicted in the Codex Telleriano-Remensis Quetzalcoatl telleriano.jpg
Quetzalcoatl in feathered-serpent form as depicted in the Codex Telleriano-Remensis

Subtleties in, and an imperfect scholarly understanding of, high Nahuatl rhetorical style make the exact intent of these comments tricky to ascertain, but Restall argues that Moctezuma's politely offering his throne to Cortés (if indeed he did ever give the speech as reported) may well have been meant as the exact opposite of what it was taken to mean: politeness in Aztec culture was a way to assert dominance and show superiority. [34] This speech, which has been widely referred to, has been a factor in the widespread belief that Moctezuma was addressing Cortés as the returning god Quetzalcoatl.

Other parties have also promulgated the idea that the Mesoamericans believed the conquistadors, and in particular Cortés, to be awaited gods: most notably the historians of the Franciscan order such as Fray Gerónimo de Mendieta. [35] Some Franciscans at this time held millennarian beliefs [36] and some of them believed that Cortés' coming to the New World ushered in the final era of evangelization before the coming of the millennium. Franciscans such as Toribio de Benavente "Motolinia" saw elements of Christianity in the pre-Columbian religions and therefore believed that Mesoamerica had been evangelized before, possibly by Thomas the Apostle, who, according to legend, had "gone to preach beyond the Ganges". Franciscans then equated the original Quetzalcoatl with Thomas and imagined that the Indians had long-awaited his return to take part once again in God's kingdom. Historian Matthew Restall concludes that:

The legend of the returning lords, originated during the Spanish-Mexica war in Cortés' reworking of Moctezuma's welcome speech, had by the 1550s merged with the Cortés-as-Quetzalcoatl legend that the Franciscans had started spreading in the 1530s. (Restall 2001 p. 114)[ full citation needed ]

Quetzalcoatl as depicted in the post-Conquest Tovar Codex. Quetzalcoatl, a Major Deity of the Cholula People WDL6756.png
Quetzalcoatl as depicted in the post-Conquest Tovar Codex.

Some scholarship maintains the view that the Aztec Empire's fall may be attributed in part to the belief in Cortés as the returning Quetzalcoatl, notably in works by David Carrasco (1982), H. B. Nicholson (2001 (1957)) and John Pohl (2016). However, a majority of Mesoamericanist scholars, such as Matthew Restall (2003, 2018 [34] ), James Lockhart (1994), Susan D. Gillespie (1989), Camilla Townsend (2003a, 2003b), Louise Burkhart, Michel Graulich and Michael E. Smith (2003), among others, consider the "Quetzalcoatl/Cortés myth" as one of many myths about the Spanish conquest which have risen in the early post-conquest period.

There is no question that the legend of Quetzalcoatl played a significant role in the colonial period. However, this legend likely has a foundation in events that took place immediately prior to the arrival of the Spaniards. A 2012 exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Dallas Museum of Art, "The Children of the Plumed Serpent: the Legacy of Quetzalcoatl in Ancient Mexico", demonstrated the existence of a powerful confederacy of Eastern Nahuas, Mixtecs and Zapotecs, along with the peoples they dominated throughout southern Mexico between 1200–1600 (Pohl, Fields, and Lyall 2012, Harvey 2012, Pohl 2003). They maintained a major pilgrimage and commercial center at Cholula, Puebla which the Spaniards compared to both Rome and Mecca because the cult of the god united its constituents through a field of common social, political, and religious values without dominating them militarily. This confederacy engaged in almost seventy-five years of nearly continuous conflict with the Aztec Empire of the Triple Alliance until the arrival of Cortés. Members of this confederacy from Tlaxcala, Puebla, and Oaxaca provided the Spaniards with the army that first reclaimed the city of Cholula from its pro-Aztec ruling faction, and ultimately defeated the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan (Mexico City). The Tlaxcalteca, along with other city-states across the Plain of Puebla, then supplied the auxiliary and logistical support for the conquests of Guatemala and West Mexico while Mixtec and Zapotec caciques (Colonial indigenous rulers) gained monopolies in the overland transport of Manila galleon trade through Mexico, and formed highly lucrative relationships with the Dominican order in the new Spanish imperial world economic system that explains so much of the enduring legacy of indigenous life-ways that characterize southern Mexico and explain the popularity of the Quetzalcoatl legends that continued through the colonial period to the present day.

Contemporary use

Latter Day Saints movement

Quetzalcoatl Mural in Acapulco by Diego Rivera Quetzalcoatl Mural in Acapulco, Mexico.jpg
Quetzalcoatl Mural in Acapulco by Diego Rivera

According to the Book of Mormon , the resurrected Jesus Christ descended from heaven and visited the people of the American continent, shortly after his resurrection. Some followers of the Latter Day Saints movement believe that Quetzalcoatl was historically Jesus Christ, but believe his name and the details of the event were gradually lost over time.

Quetzalcoatl is not a religious symbol in the Latter-day Saint faith, and is not taught as such, nor is it in their doctrine that Quetzalcoatl is Jesus. [37] However, in 1892 one president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, John Taylor, wrote: [38]

The story of the life of the Mexican divinity, Quetzalcoatl, closely resembles that of the Savior; so closely, indeed, that we can come to no other conclusion than that Quetzalcoatl and Christ are the same being. But the history of the former has been handed down to us through an impure Lamanitish source, which has sadly disfigured and perverted the original incidents and teachings of the Savior's life and ministry.

Mediation and Atonement, p. 194.

Latter-day Saint author Brant Gardner, after investigating the link between Quetzalcoatl and Jesus, concluded that the association amounts to nothing more than folklore. [39] In a 1986 paper for Sunstone , he noted that during the Spanish Conquest, the Native Americans and the Catholic priests who sympathized with them felt pressure to link Native American beliefs with Christianity, thus making the Native Americans seem more human and less savage. Over time, Quetzalcoatl's appearance, clothing, malevolent nature, and status among the gods were reshaped to fit a more Christian framework. [40]

In media

Quetzalcoatl was fictionalized in the 1982 film Q as a monster that terrorizes New York City. [41] [42] The deity has been featured as a character in the manga and anime series Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's , Beyblade: Metal Fusion , Fate/Grand Order - Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia and Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid (the latter two depicting Quetzalcoatl as a female dragon deity); the Megami Tensei video game franchise; the video games Fate/Grand Order , Final Fantasy VIII , Final Fantasy XV , Sanitarium , Smite (as an alternate costume for his Mayan counterpart, Kukulkan), and Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine ; as the main antagonist in the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth"; and in the last of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel books. Quetzelcoatl also appeared on (Season 3) of the Animal Planet mockumentary Lost Tapes in an episode entitled "Q the Serpent God". [43]

In 1971 Tony Shearer published a book called Lord of the Dawn: Quetzalcoatl and the Tree of Life, inspiring New Age followers to visit Chichen Itza at the summer solstice when dragon-shaped shadows are cast by the Kulkulcan pyramid. [44]

The legend of Quetzalcoatl is spoofed in the Adult Swim CGI series Xavier: Renegade Angel. In the episode "Damnesia You," Xavier winds up in the Aztec world and is immediately (and unsuccessfully) sacrificed for insulting the Sun God, and during the sacrifice the Aztecs humorously fail to pronounce his name. Later on, Xavier and the Aztecs summon Quetzalcoatl in his mortal form and wind up angering him after cutting him open. After a slapstick-style chase scene, Xavier winds up as the Sun God and commits "sacricide" (sacrificial suicide), ending the skit.

The band Clutch references Quetzalcoatl in their song Oregon.

Other uses

Mexico's flagship airline Aeroméxico has a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner painted in a special Quetzalcoatl livery.

See also

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Tezcatlipoca was a central deity in Aztec religion, and his main festival was the Toxcatl ceremony celebrated in the month of May. One of the four sons of Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl. The God of providence, he is associated with a wide range of concepts, including the night sky, the night winds, hurricanes, the north, the earth, obsidian, enmity, discord, rulership, divination, temptation, jaguars, sorcery, beauty, war, and strife. His name in the Nahuatl language is often translated as "Smoking Mirror" and alludes to his connection to obsidian, the material from which mirrors were made in Mesoamerica and which were used for shamanic rituals and prophecy. Another talisman related to Tezcatlipoca was a disc worn as a chest pectoral. This talisman was carved out of abalone shell and depicted on the chest of both Huitzilopochtli and Tezcatlipoca in codex illustrations.

Huītzilōpōchtli Aztec deity

In the Aztec religion, Huitzilopochtli is a deity of war, sun, human sacrifice, and the patron of the city of Tenochtitlan. He was also the tribal god of the Mexicas, also known as Aztecs, of Tenochtitlan. Many in the pantheon of deities of the Aztecs were inclined to have a fondness for a particular aspect of warfare. However, Huitzilopochtli was known as the primary god of war in ancient Mexico. Since he was the patron god of the Mexica, he was credited with both the victories and defeats that the Mexica people had on the battlefield. The people had to make sacrifices to him to protect the Aztec from infinite night. He wielded Xiuhcoatl as a weapon, associating him with fire.

Mixcoatl Aztec deity

Mixcoatl, or Camaztle[kaˈmaʃt͡ɬe] from camaz "deer sandal" and atle "without", or Camaxtli, was the god of the hunt and identified with the Milky Way, the stars, and the heavens in several Mesoamerican cultures. He was the patron deity of the Otomi, the Chichimecs, and several groups that claimed descent from the Chichimecs. While Mixcoatl was part of the Aztec pantheon, his role was less important than Huitzilopochtli, who was their central deity. Under the name of Camaxtli, Mixcoatl was worshipped as the central deity of Huejotzingo and Tlaxcala.

Mesoamerican chronology Divides the history of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica into several periods

Mesoamerican chronology divides the history of prehispanic Mesoamerica into several periods: the Paleo-Indian ; the Archaic, the Preclassic or Formative (2500 BCE – 250 CE), the Classic (250–900 CE), and the Postclassic (900–1521 CE), Colonial (1521–1821), and Postcolonial (1821–present).

Kukulkan Serpent deity in Mesoamerican mythology

Kukulkan, also spelled K’uk’ulkan, is the name of a Mesoamerican serpent deity. Prior to the Spanish Conquest of the Yucatán, Kukulkan was worshipped by the Yucatec Maya people of the Yucatán Peninsula, in what is now Mexico. The depiction of the Feathered Serpent is present in other cultures of Mesoamerica. Kukulkan is closely related to the deity Qʼuqʼumatz of the Kʼicheʼ people and to Quetzalcoatl of Aztec mythology. Little is known of the mythology of this Pre-Columbian era deity.

Aztec religion Religion of the Aztecs

The Aztec religion originated from the indigenous Aztecs of central Mexico. Like other Mesoamerican religions, it also has practices such as human sacrifice in connection with many religious festivals which are in the Aztec calendar. This polytheistic religion has many gods and goddesses; the Aztecs would often incorporate deities that were borrowed from other geographic regions and peoples into their own religious practices.

Cholula (Mesoamerican site) Important city of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica

Cholula was an important city of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, dating back to at least the 2nd century BCE, with settlement as a village going back at least some thousand years earlier. The site of Cholula is just west of the modern city of Puebla and served as a trading outpost. Its immense pyramid is the largest such structure in the Americas, and the largest pyramid structure by volume in the world.

Feathered Serpent Mesoamerican concept

The Feathered Serpent was a prominent supernatural entity or deity, found in many Mesoamerican religions. It is still called Quetzalcoatl among the Aztecs, Kukulkan among the Yucatec Maya, and Q'uq'umatz and Tohil among the K'iche' Maya.


In Mesoamerican culture, Tonatiuh was an Aztec sun deity of the daytime sky and ruled the cardinal direction of east. According to Aztec Mythology, Tonatiuh was known as "The Fifth Sun" and was given a calendar name of naui olin, which means "4 Movement". Represented as a fierce and warlike god, he is first seen in Early Postclassic art of the Pre-Columbian civilization known as the Toltec. Tonatiuh's symbolic association with the eagle alludes to the Aztec belief of his journey as the present sun, travelling across the sky each day, where he descended in the west and ascended in the east. It was thought that his journey was sustained by the daily sacrifice of humans. His Nahuatl name can also be translated to "He Who Goes Forth Shining" or "He Who Makes The Day." Tonatiuh was thought to be the central deity on the Aztec calendar stone but is no longer identified as such. In Toltec culture, Tonatiuh is often associated with Quetzalcoatl in his manifestation as the morning star aspect of the planet Venus.

Mesoamerican religion is a group of indigenous religions of Mesoamerica that were prevalent in the pre-Columbian era. Two of the most widely known examples of Mesoamerican religion are the Aztec religion and the Mayan religion.

Ce Acatl Topiltzin Emperor of the Toltecs

Cē Ācatl Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl is a mythologised figure appearing in 16th-century accounts of Nahua historical traditions, where he is identified as a ruler in the 10th century of the Toltecs— by Aztec tradition their predecessors who had political control of the Valley of Mexico and surrounding region several centuries before the Aztecs themselves settled there.

Aztec creator gods

In Aztec mythology, Creator-gods are the only four Tezcatlipocas, the children of the creator couple Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl "Lord and Lady of Duality", "Lord and Lady of the Near and the Close", "Father and Mother of the Gods", "Father and Mother of us all", who received the gift of the ability to create other living beings without childbearing. They reside atop a mythical thirteenth heaven Ilhuicatl-Omeyocan "the place of duality".

Tula (Mesoamerican site)

Tula is a Mesoamerican archeological site, which was an important regional center which reached its height as the capital of the Toltec Empire between the fall of Teotihuacan and the rise of Tenochtitlan. It has not been well studied in comparison to these other two sites, and disputes remain as to its political system, area of influence and its relations with contemporary Mesoamerican cities, especially with Chichen Itza. The site is located in the city of Tula de Allende in the Tula Valley, in what is now the southwest of the Mexican state of Hidalgo, northwest of Mexico City. The archeological site consists of a museum, remains of an earlier settlement called Tula Chico as well as the main ceremonial site called Tula Grande. The main attraction is the Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl, which is topped by four 4-metre-high (13 ft) basalt columns carved in the shape of Toltec warriors. Tula fell around 1150, but it had significant influence in the following Aztec Empire, with its history written about heavily in myth. The feathered serpent god Quetzalcoatl is linked to this city, whose worship was widespread from central Mexico to Central America at the time the Spanish arrived.

According to the Aztecs, the Toltec Empire, Toltec Kingdom or Altepetl Tollan was a political entity in modern Mexico. It existed through the classic and post-classic periods of Mesoamerican chronology, but gained most of its power in the post-classic. During this time its sphere of influence reached as far away as the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mesoamerican cosmovision or cosmology is the collection of worldviews shared by the Indigenous pre-Columbian societies of Mesoamerica. The cosmovision of these societies was reflected in the ways in which they were organized, such as in their built environment and social hierarchies, as well as in their epistemologies and ontologies, including an understanding of their place within the cosmos or universe. Elements of Mesoamerican cosmovision are reflected in pre-Columbian textual sources, such as the Popol Vuh and the Cuauhtinchan maps, the archeological record, as well as in the contemporary beliefs, values, and practices of Indigenous people, such as the Maya, Nahua, and Purépecha, as well as their descendants. It has been argued that the Day of the Dead ceremony exists as a legacy of Mesoamerican cosmovision.



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General bibliography