Aztec Mythology: Quetzalcoatl


Human beings, by nature, seek to explain the world around them and attribute human qualities to natural phenomenon. This is not unique to any particular culture in any time or place in the world. The Aztecs Empire was no exception to this rule. The Aztecs like many non-western cultures in the sixteenth century had a pantheon of Gods to which they attributed the creation and workings of the natural world. One of their principle gods, Quetzalcoatl, had many manifestations, each an important part of the Aztec myths of creation and the workings of the natural world. The roles of the Quetzalcoatl are fascinating to say the least. However, the legends that surround this Aztec deity offer a ...

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Plumed Serpent. A more understandable translation would be feathered serpent. This point is interesting in that he very rarely appears in this form. He is more often depicted in many of his other roles, specifically as Topiltzin the high priest (Brundage 102-03). The significance of this will appear later in the paper, but suffice it to say the name is in itself misleading when referring to this complex deity of the Aztecs.
Many of the roles designated to Quetzalcoatl are unrelated to say the least, however the Aztecs seemed to be able to accept the various roles without question. The Aztecs, like many Native Americans, had a vivid creation story and not surprisingly a major player in this story is Quetzalcoatl. He along with his brother Huitzilopochtli were charged with the creation of life, including gods, humanity, environments and all living substances (Berdan 120). The task of creating humanity fell specifically to Quetzalcoatl. He accomplished this task by splashing his ...

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most destructive forces. Quetzalcoatl as the wind is called nine wind. In this guise he is associated often with the air in general not so much as a helpful or harmful force. The Aztec name for a tornado or thunderstorm wind was ehecacoatl or roughly translated "wind snake" (Brundage 106). It is easy to see how a society could attribute the characteristics of a snake to the wind. The wind swirls and moves with effortless grace, just as a snake glides along the ground. Brundage goes on to say that this "shows the ease with which the Aztec mind accepted the reptilian nature of the wind" (Brundage 106-07).
Another of Quetzalcoatl’s associate forms is the Morning star. In this legend he takes ...

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Added: 7/30/2006 10:07:58 PM
Category: Miscellaneous
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 2998
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