Quetzalcoatl and the Gods of the Four Directions (Aztec mythology)

FROM LEFT: Quetzalcoatl (west), Huitzilopochtli (south), Xipe Totec (east), Tlaloc (north)

The four gods pictured are the four Tezcatlipocas, sons of the creator god and his wife (all but Huitzilopochtli).

Xipe Totec is the god of farming, vegetation, the east, disease, spring, goldsmiths, silversmiths and the seasons. He apparently flayed himself to feed humanity.

Tlaloc is the god of rain and the north. He was the god that all those unfortunately gory sacrifices were made to; children were killed to ask him for rain, and the more they wept, the better.

Huitzilopochtli is the god of the Sun, war, and the south. He is often known as the "hummingbird from the left (or south)", the left/south referring to the Otherworld. The reason for this was his slightly familiar-sounding birth. He was born fully armed, nine months after a ball of hummingbird feathers fell on his virgin mother, Coatlicue, as she prayed in a temple. He immediately exacted revenge on anyone who thought his mom had become pregnant in a, erm, humbler way.

Quetzalcoatl is the god of the west, wisdom, priesthood and the morning star. His name means "feathered serpent". He is thought of as a savior; however, this was quite a deceptive belief, because when the Spanish conquistadors arrived, the Aztecs thought their leader, Ponce de Leon, was Quetzalcoatl himself. In fact, he was quite the opposite.

This is only a cursory glance at four of the hundreds of Aztec gods. For more, I recommend these pages:



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Images from archaeology.asu.edu, www.aztec-history.com/aztec-gods.html, www.azteccalendar.com, home.freeuk.net