Ancient Voices: Gods and Goddesses
of Mesoamerica

Select one of the gods or goddesses below and on the back of this handout draw your design for a mask, incorporating into the mask design a few of the symbols and emblems pertaining to your chosen character.

Name

Symbols and Emblems, Identifying Characteristics

 

Quetzalcoatl

pronounced
kwet-səl-kə-ˈwä-təl
or
kĕt-säl'kō-ät'l

Aztec creator god and maker of the boundary between earth and sky, his name comes from the Nahuatl language and has the meaning of "feathered-serpent." His symbols include corn, which he gave to mankind; also books and the calendar, both of which he invented. He wears about his neck a "Wind Jewel" made from a conch and his head was adorned with a jaguar bonnet or sometimes a small cap. A sharp bone protrudes from the headgear which flows with the blood that nourishes his nahualli, the Quetzal bird.

Mixcoatl

pronounced
mish-ko'-tl
or
mish-kə-wät'-l

Aztec god of fire, war and the hunt; father of Quetzalcoatl. He is often represented with a black mask over his eyes and distinctive red and white candy-cane-like stripes painted on his body. His symbols include a bow and quiver of arrows, and a net or basket for carrying dead game.

 

Huitzilopochtli

pronounced
wē'-tsə-lō-pōch'-tlē
or
wee-tsee-loh-poch'-tlee

Aztec god of war, the sun, death, young men, warriors, storms, and a guide for journeys. Patron god of the city of Tenochtitlan, he was also considered the national god of the Aztecs. In all painted images his adornments are different, in some he carries a shield of turquoise mosaic, others a shield of white eagle feathers. The central image in all drawings is that of a warrior and a leader. His symbols include the hummingbird and the serpent. (Huitzil is the Nahuatl word for hummingbird.)

Coyolxauhqui

pronounced
coh-yohl-shau'-kee

Legendary sister of Huitzilopochtli, she is associated with the moon and is possibly the patron goddess of the Milky Way. She was also known as "Golden Bells" because several golden bells always adorned her cheeks.

 

Chiuacoatl

pronounced
thee'-a–ko-ah'-tl

Serpent goddess of motherhood and fertility, she was especially associated with midwives and the sweatbaths where midwives practiced. She helped Quetzalcoatl create the current race of humanity by grinding up bones from the previous ages, and mixing it with the creator god's own blood. She is also the mother of Mixcoatl, who she abandoned at a crossroads. Tradition says that she often returns there to weep for her lost son.

Coatlicue

pronounced
ko-ah'-tlee-kwe

Aztec goddess who gave birth to the moon, stars and the gods Quetzalcoatl and Huitzilopochtli. Her name in Nahuatl means "the one with the skirt of serpents", so she is often represented as wearing a skirt of writhing snakes. Her necklace is made of human hearts, hands and skulls.

 

 

Visit www.KateHovey.com

 

| Back |