100: Quetzalcoatl

100: Quetzalcoatl

In Central America myth Quetzalcoatl is a great feathered serpent of Toltec and Aztec traditions? He is the god of wind who represents spirit freed from matter. He is a regenerator and Shaman, a god of fertility and the bringer of the arts of civilization. He takes the shape of a plumed serpent, with colourful feathers of the quetzal bird instead of scales. He is often seen in the company of hummingbirds for they represent the nahua (disembodied soul). Quetzalcoatl is understood to range over the world like wind, presiding over spiritual matters. He is the son of Mixcoatl, the Cloud Serpent, his brothers are Camaxti the red, Tezcatlipoca the black god of night and Huitzilopochtli. The four brothers guarded the four directions. Quetzalcoatl’s symbol was the morning star, Venus, which was one of his four temples. The others were moon, the medicine temple and the temple of Xipe Toltec, which only those of pure Toltec descent might enter. In his human shape Quetzalcoatl wore a red conical hat like a conch shell, a symbol of his power as a wind deity, a wind mask, a priestly feather fingered shirt and he carried a spear thrower and arrows. Quetzalcoatl can take on many forms and have appeared, like Vishnu in many incarnations.

Quetzalcoatl came to earth down a knotted ladder that resembled a scourge, although he himself desired no sacrifice. The two other gods came to earth to assist him in the ordering of civilization. During the first age of the sun, Quetzalcoatl struck down the ruler Tezcatlipoca, turning him into a jaguar, which ate the giants that were taking over the earth, before throwing the ruler into the sea, an action which is repeated every time the constellation Ursa Major descends into the sea. In the second age of the sun, Tlaloc the wind god struck Quetzalcoatl, creating a great hurricane, but in the fourth age of the sun, four men were created who assisted Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl, who then became the rulers of the skies. The act of throwing his son Nanautzin, who was conceived by the goddess Chalchiuhtlicue, into the fire, caused the fifth age of the sun to be born. Tlaloc did the same with his son who became the moon. During this phase, Quetzalcoatl became an eagle traversing the sky in the day and emerging into the underworld as an ocelot. There are many tales concerning Quetzalcoatl’s combat with Tezcatlipoca. In legend, Quetzalcoatl was a white-skinned man, a belief that caused the Aztecs to falter when confronted with the Spanish invaders led by Cortes because they were sure he was an incarnation of the god. In Mayan myth, he is called Kukulcan.

John and Caitlin Matthews, The Element Encyclopaedia of Magical Creatures, 2013, Quetzalcoatl, p 382-83

Judika Illes, Encyclopaedia of Spirits the ultimate guide to the magic of fairies, genies, demons, ghosts, gods and goddesses, 2009, Quetzalcoatl, p 855-57

Camaxti god of war 2 Camaxti god of war Chalchiuhtlicue 1 Chalchiuhtlicue 2 Cortes 1 Hernan Cortes Huitzilopochtli 1 Huitzilopochtli 2 Huitzilopochtli 3 Kukulcan 1 Mixcoatl 1 Mixcoatl 2 morning-star-1 Nanautzin 1 Nanautzin 2 ocelot 1 Quetzalcoatl 1 Quetzalcoatl 2 Quetzalcoatl 3 Quetzalcoatl 4 Quetzalcoatl 5 Quetzalcoatl FF8 (2) Quetzalcoatl FF8 Quetzalcoatl Quetzalcoatl’s Tezcatlipoca 1 Tezcatlipoca 2 Tezcatlipoca 3 Tlaloc wind god Tlaloc Toltec 1 Toltec Mayan Architectural style Ursa Major Vishnu

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