Mictlantecuhtli who is also known as the god of death in the Aztec religion has always been referred to as the one who had various connections with the bad people. He is also a famous name of the god of the underworld.
In the Mizo American culture, his various incidents are mentioned where he used to practice human sacrifice and cannibalism as a ritual for pleasing God. He has been associated with death and is found wearing owl feathers in his headdress.
He is also depicted in the form of a skeletal shape, holding many knives, which is symbolic of the encounter with the souls on the way to the underworld.
Origin and History of Mictlantecuhtli
Mictlantecuhtli has been famous by the name of Lord of the land of the dead and also the name of the god of death in the Aztec religion. He is worshipped majorly across the Mizo American culture.
It is believed that he was the ruler of the 10th day Dog and also was the 5th Lord of the night. It is also mentioned in various religious and sacred texts that he was the 6th or the 11th Lord of the day.
He was believed to be the equivalent of the Maya God Yum Cimil & he is sometimes also compared with the Zapotec God Kedo. Some people in the past also compared him with the Tarascan God Tihuime.
It is believed by many people of the Mesoamerican culture that Mictlantecuhtli was very closely associated and related to the spiders, owls, and bats in the direction of the south.
He is believed to be a 6 feet tall God and has been depicted as a blood-spattered skeleton or a person who is wearing a tooth in many sacred texts and images.
He has been depicted as a skeleton but the eye sockets are not empty and contain eyeballs.
Mictecacihuatl is believed to be her wife and together as a couple they used to live in a house that was windowless in Mictlan.
He is also worshipped and respected by the underworld or the bad influence people of the past and is still worshipped in the same field.
What are the Worship and Rituals of Mictlantecuhtli?
Various worships and rituals are associated with the god of death in the Aztec religion. In his honor, the Aztecs have sacrificed an impersonator of him at a temple at the time of night.
His name was Tlalxicco, which has the meaning of the navel of the world.
When Hernan Cortes landed in the land of Aztec, the ruler of Aztec Moctezuma II thought that it was the arrival of the Great Quetzalcoatl, which was the signal of the end of the humanity and world.
So, the human sacrifices were increased for offering the skins of the victims to the god of the death in his honor and also to placate him and also avoiding the suffering in Mictlan,.
This was considered to be the Underworld and the abode of the dead.
Two life-size statues, which are made out of the clay of Mictlantecuhtli are present at the entrance of the house of eagles at the great temple of Tenochtitlan.
Mictlantecuhtli the god of death in the religion of Aztec is the one on whom the people of Aztec relied & hoped to have a death which is good enough for one of the many paradises which are present in the world and in which the people of Aztec believed in.
Those people who were unable or failed to gain admission to a paradise were finally forced for enduring four years’ journey through the nine hells of the Mictlan.
After all the trials, these people finally reached the abode of Mictlantecuhtli. After reaching, they finally suffered in the underworld for their sins and ill doings.
What is the Symbolism of Mictlantecuhtli?
Mictlantecuhtli is considered to be the god of the death in Aztec religion. He is believed to be the one who is feared by many people because of his negative image.
He is believed to enjoy and get pleasure from the human sacrifices & the sufferings from which the people die. He is also believed to be a symbolism of cannibalism and human sacrifices.
In many sacred texts and paintings, he has been depicted as a skeleton who has a lot of knives attached to his forehead.
He is referred to as the synonym of death in many Mesoamerican cultural books and traditions.
Although he is considered to be the god of death in the Aztec religion, it is also believed that he had the power to grant life to the person as well.
Different Names of Mictlantecuhtli
The god of death in the Aztec religion is known by many names and associated with many different things. He is believed to be the god of death and demise which further adds up to give him another name of God of sorrow.
He is believed to be the ruler of the south direction. He is depicted in the form of a Skeleton and also bears many owls on his forehead. Spiders are also associated with the god of death of the Aztec religion.
He is also considered to be an iconograph of dogs because the Aztec religion believes that dogs accompanied the souls of the dead person to the underworld.
The Legends of Mictlantecuhtli
Mictlantecuhtli is considered to be the god of death and the Underworld. He is naturally feared and many myths are associated with him which portrays him as a very negative character.
He is considered to take pleasure in the Killing of others and the suffering of others. It is also believed that he is the symbolism of cannibalism and the death of people.
There is a very famous myth about him which says that he once tried to trick Quetzalcoatl for staying into the Mictlan forever and ever.
At that particular time, he also had the positive side of giving and granting life to the people who did good deeds.
Another myth that is associated with the god of death in Aztec religion is of the bones of previous generations of gods. It is believed by many people that the bones were stolen from the God of Death by Xolotl and Quetzalcoatl.
He tried to chase them and was not able to conquer them. But they both escaped and dropped the bones on the way, which got shattered and became the current race of the humans on earth.
Folklore of Mictlantecuhtli
There are many stories and myths which are related to the god of death in the Aztec religion. It is believed that the owls which are a symbol of death are associated with God.
He is depicted as the majority of the time wearing all owl feathers in his headdress.
He is also depicted in the form of a skeleton in the majority of the early texts and writings. He is also associated with knives in his headdress which are a symbol of the souls which he encounters on the way to the underworld.
Sometimes, in some of the early writings and poems he is also depicted in the form of a skeleton that is covered with a lot of blood & is wearing a necklace of eyeballs of human beings and is also wearing clothes, which are made up of paper.
All this attire is referred to the common offerings given to the death. Sometimes he is also depicted using the human bones as earplugs.
Equals in Other Culture
In the religions and cultures which are different from the Aztec religion the god of death is referred to and compared with other Gods that have similar traits and domains.
1. Ah Puch – The Mayan God of Death
He has often compared with the Mayan God of death whose name is Ah Puch.
The Mayan God of death is believed to be the one who was the inhabitants of the underworld.
2. Coqui Bezelao – The Zapotex God of Death
The second god which shares similar domains and traits just like the god of death in Aztec religion is the Zapotex God of death, who is known by the name of Coqui Bezelao.
Mictlantecuhtli, who is considered to be the god of death in the Aztec religion is associated with the death and suffering of human beings.
He is considered to be the lord of underworld and is believed to have connections with many bad people.
He is part of the Mizo American culture and loves the practice of human sacrifice and cannibalism as offerings to him.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
How do the people worship Mictlantecuhtli?
It is believed and written in many history books that the people of Aztec religion used to worship the God of Death by offering human meat to him and also consuming the human meat in and around his temple.
Who was the wife of Mictlantecuhtli?
It is believed that Mictecacihuatl was the wife of the God of death in the Aztec religion.
What does the Mictlāntēcutli wear on his headdress?
It is depicted in many history books and part of the myths that the Mictlāntēcutli used to wear owl feathers on his headdress along with a lot of knives attached to it as a symbol of the souls which he encounters while going to the underworld.