Tlaloc

Tlaloc

[tlah-lohk]

''For the fictional character from the Legends of Dune books, see Titan (Dune)#Tlaloc.

Tlaloc ('tɬaː.loːk) was an important deity in Aztec religion, a god of rain, fertility, and water. He was a beneficent god who gave life and sustenance, but he was also feared for his ability to send hail, thunder and lightning, and for being the lord of the powerful element of water. In Aztec iconography he is normally depicted with goggle eyes and fangs. He was associated with caves, springs and mountains. He is known for having demanded child sacrifices.

In Aztec cosmology, the four corners of the universe are marked by "the four Tlalocs" (Nahuatl: Tlālōquê tɬaː.'loː.keʔ) which both hold up the sky and functions as the frame for the passing of time. Tlaloc was the patron of the Calendar day Mazatl and of the trecena of Ce Quiyahuitl (1 Rain). In Aztec mythology, Tlaloc was the lord of the third sun which was destroyed by fire.

In the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, one of the two shrines on top of the Great Temple was dedicated to Tlaloc. The High Priest who was in charge of the Tlaloc shrine was called "Quetzalcoatl Tlaloc Tlamacazqui". However the most important site of worship to Tlaloc was on the peak of Mount Tlaloc, a 4100 metres high mountain on the eastern rim of the Valley of Mexico. Here the Aztec ruler came and conducted important ceremonies once a year, and throughout the year pilgrims offered precious stones and figures at the shrine.

Name

Tlaloc was also associated with the watery world of the dead, and with the earth. His name is thought to be derived from the Nahuatl word tlālli "earth", and its meaning has been interpreted as "path beneath the earth", "long cave" or "he who is made of earth". J. Richard Andrews interprets it as "one that lies on the land", identifying Tlaloc as a cloud resting on the mountaintops. Other names of Tlaloc were Tlamacazqui ('Giver') and Xoxouhqui ('Green One'); and (among the contemporary Nahua of Veracruz) Chaneco.

Mythology

Tlaloc was first married to Xochiquetzal, a goddess of flowers, but then Tezcatlipoca kidnapped her. He later married the goddess Chalchiuhtlicue, "She of the Jade Skirt". In Aztec mythic cosmography, Tlaloc ruled the fourth layer of the 'Upper World", or heavens, which is called Tlalocan ("place of Tlaloc") in several Aztec codices, such as the Vaticanus A and Florentine codices. Described as a place of unending Springtime and a paradise of green plants, Tlalocan was the destination in the afterlife for those who died violently from phenomena associated with water, such as by lightning, drowning and water-borne diseases (Miller and Taube, 1993).

With Chalchiuhtlicue, he was the father of Tecciztecatl. He had an older sister named Huixtocihuatl. He ruled over the third of the five worlds in Aztec belief. In Salvadoran mythology, he was also the father of Cipitio.

Related gods

The goggle eyed raingod is also known from other Mesoamerican cultures, for example he is a frequent figure in the iconography of Teotihuacan. This has led to mesoamerican goggle-eyed raingods being referred to generically as "Tlaloc" although in some cases it is unknown what they were called in these cultures, and in other cases we know that he was called by a different name (e.g. the Mayan version was known as Chaac and the Zapotec deity Cocijo).

Notes

References

External links

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