While this legend is disputed, it is clear that Quetzalcoatl was an important deity to the Aztecs and other people of Mexico and Central America. ( Josue /Adobe Stock) By the time the Aztecs emerged on the scene in fourteenth-century Mesoamerica, Quetzalcoatl had become an important god for many peoples of the region. And lastly, complex legacies of Quetzalcoatl in religious circles were also unexpectedly preserved by fringe groups, like some members of The Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons). Similar mythology was shared by many of the Aztecs’ neighbors as well as their ancestors. Quite interestingly, in some Aztec traditions, Quetzalcoatl opposes human sacrifice possibly for this very same reason – as the practice goes against the legacy of the gods defeating the bloodthirsty monster. In essence, Quetzalcoatl was regarded as the ‘unifier’ deity who was to be venerated across tribal lines, on the basis of common social and political grounds. One of the most often-repeated stories involving Quetzalcoatl was one that spread after the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in Mexico. Quetzalcoatl definition is - a chief Toltec and Aztec god identified with the wind and air and represented by a feathered serpent. He was a creator deity having contributed essentially to the creation of Mankind. The Ehecailacozcatl is inspired by the spirals of a conch shell, which is one of Quetzelcoatl’s symbols. And it is this latter characterization that has been debated in the academic circles. Quetzalcoatl("feathered serpent") is the God of wisdom, life, knowledge, morning star, fertility, patron of the winds and the light, the lord of the West. Quetzalcoatl is thus not only an Aztec god. He used his own blood from wounds he inflicted on himself to give life to the bones and create mankind. 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 Tla… Quetzalcoatl wears a tall conical hat with a fan of black and yellow feathers. He was so important that the world’s largest pyramid was just one of many places dedicated to his cult. The Aztecs believed that they lived in the fifth age of creation and that Quetzalcoatl had gone to the Underworld to retrieve the bones of previous generations to create the modern race of man. More elaborate depictions of the ‘feathered’ serpent version are found at the six-tiered pyramid built in the god’s honor at Teotihuacan, dating from circa 3rd century AD. Quetzalcoatl was related to gods of the wind, of Venus, of the dawn, of merchants and of arts, crafts and knowledge. In some versions of the ancient Mesoamerican histories, Quetzalcoatl was reborn as Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli after being burned on a … After the fall of Teotihuacan by circa early 7th century AD, the obeisance of the ‘Feathered Serpent’ didn’t stop but rather spread to other Mesoamerican urban centers, including Xochicalco, Cholula, and even Chichen Itza of the Maya people – as could be discerned from the iconography of the period. Online Sources: McGill University / LACMA / World Digital Library / MexicoLore, Featured Image: Artwork by GENZOMAN (DeviantArt), Home » Blog Posts » Culture » Quetzalcoatl: History and Mythology of the Aztec ‘Feathered Serpent’ God. Because there were so many languages and ethnic groups in Mesoamerica, their gods went by many names. What is often called the Aztec Empire was a confederation of three city-states, established in the 14th and 15th centuries. In some myths, Quetzalcoatl grows a beard and goes on to wear a white mask, thereby hinting at his erroneous representation as a white-bearded god. Instead, these stories were probably the invention of Franciscan monks who followed the initial conquest of Mexico. Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent. 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.”, -Bernadino de Sahagún, Florentine Codex: General History of the Things of New Spain. As a wind god, he was also responsible for making the rain fall. In some stories he created mankind, and in others he worked with his brother to form the earth itself. Another legacy, possibly borrowed from the earlier Toltecs, made Quetzalcoatl the patron god of priests, thus alluding to the symbol of death and resurrection. All Rights Reserved. Quetzalcoatl was also the patr… As we fleetingly mentioned in the earlier entry (referring to the Olmec depiction of the serpent god), the cult of the serpent in Mesoamerica predates the Aztecs by almost 2,000-years. For example, it his aspect of Quetzalcoatl-Ehécatl, the god was depicted with a duckbill mask protruding with fangs and shell jewelry known as the ehecailacocozcatl (‘wind breastplate’). This made it an important sign of fertility because it brought with it the rains that renewed the earth. Aztec god Quetzalcoatl was represented with a serpent's head, a symbol for material goods, and a feathered body, a metaphor for spirituality. Interestingly enough, the duality of Quetzalcoatl and his brother Tezcatlipoca mirrors the mythical narrative of light and darkness. Venus, which the god was closely associated with, appeared in the sky at the beginning of the rainy season. A feathered serpent deity has been worshipped by many different ethno-political groups in Mesoamerican history. In Mesoamerican myth Quetzalcoatl is also a mythical culture hero from whom almost all Mesoamerican peoples claim descent; this figure was probably based on a historic rul… According to a few of them, possibly influenced by the misconception of Quetzalcoatl’s ‘white’ skin, the Aztec god (also coincidentally associated with the East) was historically Jesus Christ who visited places across the globe including the Americas. While Quetzacoatl is one of the most well-known gods of ancient Mexico, he is often misunderstood. Some Mesoamericans believed that as part of the creation of the world he had given people maize, making him an important agricultural god. He feuded with his brother Quetzalcoatl and emerged victorious after tricking his younger sibling into shaming himself. Similarly, another legendary Toltec ruler Topiltzin Ce Acatl Quetzalcoatl was hailed as the son of Mixcoatl, a renowned Chichimeca warrior. My work has also been published on Buzzfeed and most recently in Time magazine. This was because the Sword of Cortés had the mark of Quetzalcoatl on it. Others said that he had invented the calendar and books. And during the centuries of the Aztecs’ rise to power, the god came to play a variety of roles in Aztec belief . He was first a creator deity, responsible for creating the cosmos along with his sometimes-rival Tezcatlipoca or his counterpart, Huitzilopochtli. To the Aztecs, Quetzalcoatl was, as his name indicates, a feathered serpent, a flying reptile (much like a dragon), who was a boundary-maker (and transgressor) between earth and sky. With his opposite Tezcatlipoca he created the world. Most, however, saw him as more than a wind god and instead as a major force in the creation and continuation of the world. Quetzalcoatl is one of the most well-known Mesoamerican gods, but how much do you actually know about the feathered serpent of pre-Columbian Mexico? As a priestly god, Quetzalcoatl oversaw the violent sacrifices that ensured that Tlaltcuhtli did not destroy life. The question can be raised – why was the deity particularly associated with a serpent. He drove the winds that brought rain and allowed plants to grow. The Toltec people, who the Aztecs considered to be their ancestors, used Quetzalcoatl as a title for military and political rulers. The feathered serpent was a deity who was widely worshiped and persisted for a long period of time. The great Quetzalcoatl would since be remembered as the ruler and exemplary politician, civilizing hero, inventor of the calendar, discoverer of corn, master farmer, inventor of the art of casting metals, carver of precious stones, judge, lawyer, king of the Toltecs and a God who managed to unify the new world. Thus the ‘Feathered Serpent’ was also known as Kukulkán to the Maya of Yucatan (possibly having its origins in Waxaklahun Ubah Kan, the War Serpent or the even older Vision Serpent) and Gucumatz (or Qʼuqʼumatz) to the Quiché of Guatemala. 1 Capabilities 2 Deities 2.1 Major Deities 2.2 Other Deities 2.3 Folk Saint Deities 3 Associations 4 Known Users 4.1 Anime/Manga 4.2 Television 4.3 Cartoons/Comics 4.4 Video Games 5 Gallery The user can have the traits and abilities of Aztec Gods and Goddesses. This idea of return stemmed from a supposed speech given by Montezuma, the Aztec ruler, to Cortés when the Spanish arrived at Tenochtitlan. Interestingly enough, Mixcoatl was primarily perceived as the god of hunt in the later Aztec mythology. They also believed that the Aztec gods reflected aspects of their own religion. He was also associated with the creation of mankind, so he also possibly occupied the role of creator in the Aztec mythology. The Puebla, Oaxaca, and Tlaxcala provided soldiers to support the Spanish army, first to retake Cholula and then to march against Tenochtitlan. To that end, dating from circa 700 – 900 AD, there are a few representations of Quetzalcoatl, especially from the site of Xochicalco (a pre-Columbian site that was settled by Mayan traders) that are distinctly human in form. 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'." He was also the patron god of the Aztec priesthood, of learning and knowledge. One of the many questions that have risen to the forefront of this scholarly debate regards the role of religious superstitions and the myth of Quetzalcoatl… Younger sibling into shaming himself quetzalcoatl aztec god land and its features from her body birds... 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