Quetzalcóatl (American Indians Ready Reference)
Article abstract: Quetzalcóatl, one of the three great Aztec gods, was a benevolent deity who presided over learning and the priesthood
Quetzalcóatl, commonly referred to as the Feathered or Plumed Serpent, was one of the three Aztec “great gods.” These gods ranked in importance immediately under the four creative deities and above the various gods of fertility, nature, the planets, and constellations. The other two great gods were Huitzilopochtli, Hummingbird Wizard or Hummingbird of the South, war and sun god, the chief god of Tenochtitlán (present-day Mexico City), and Tezcatlipoca, Smoking Mirror, chief god of the pantheon, often described in solar terms, the chief god of Texcoco.
Quetzalcóatl, the third great god, was the god of learning and the priesthood and the chief god of Cholula (where the ruins of a temple dedicated to him may still be seen). Aztec myth held that Quetzalcóatl had once been a man, presiding over a golden age in the state of Anahuac. He is generally depicted in sculpture, fresco, and carvings as a man of tall stature with a light complexion, long, dark hair and a substantial beard. Quetzalcóatl somehow angered one of the principal gods and was exiled. He left his followers at the Gulf of Mexico, departing in a wizard skiff made of serpent skins, promising to return. Given Quetzalcóatl’s physical characteristics and his gallant promise to return as recorded in Aztec folk myth, the...
(The entire section is 321 words.)
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Quetzalcoatl (Myths and Legends of the World)
For thousands of years, Quetzalcoatl was one of the most important figures in the traditional mythologies of As deity,god or goddess or legendary ruler, Quetzalcoatl appeared in some of the region's most powerful and enduring stories. He represented life, motion, laughter, health, sexuality, and the arts and crafts of civilization, such as farming, cooking, and music.
The name Quetzalcoatl means "Feathered Serpent." It brings together the magnificent green-plumed quetzal bird, symbolizing the heavens and the wind, and the snake, symbolizing the earth and fertility. Quetzalcoatl's name can also be translated as "precious twin," and in some myths, he had a twin brother named Xolotl, who had a human body and the head of a dog or of an ocelot, a spotted wildcat.
Historical Background. Quetzalcoatl occupied a central place in the pantheonall the gods of a particular culture of the Aztec people of central Mexico, but he dates back to a time long before the Aztecs. Images of the Feathered Serpent appear on a temple building in Teotihuacán, a Mexican archaeological site from the A.D. 200S. These images are found with images of rain and water, suggesting close ties between Quetzalcoatl and the god of rain and vegetation.
(The entire section is 921 words.)