Water Power


I came across this picture of the Aztec goddess Atlacamani on Tumblr, and figured she might make a good subject for a mythology post. She’s a goddess of oceanic storms, conjuring hurricanes and tidal waves. Evidence suggests that she is an alternate form of the goddess Chalchiuhtlicue, a more general water deity.

In addition to just about any form of water you can imagine, Chalchiuhtlicue is in charge of fertility, childbirth, and baptism. Another form of hers was Acuecucyoticihuati, goddess of oceans and running water. She was usually said to be married to Tlaloc, the god of rain, who was said to demand the sacrifice of children during his festival.

The Aztecs were so big on sacrificing, it’s a wonder there were any left when Cortez showed up. Tlaloc also ruled the fourth level of heaven, a pleasant place where those who died due to water went for their afterlives. Not surprisingly, Chalchiuhtlicue is associated with a variation on the flood myth, having drowned the fourth world and turned its people into fish for their wickedness. See, the Aztecs believed that there had been a succession of worlds that had been destroyed through some means or other, and they were currently living in the fifth. I wrote a bit about that back in this post. By the way, Chalchiuhtlicue’s name means “She of the Jade Skirt.” Since water provides both life and death, I’m sure it’s best to stay on this deity’s good side.

This entry was posted in Aztec, Mythology, Native American and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Water Power

  1. halinabq says:

    “Chalchiuhtlicue is in charge of fertility, childbirth, and baptism.”

    Does this mean the Aztecs practiced baptism before any Christian influence? If so, have you ever done a post on how this could come to be? Are there any other religions that stumbled upon this odd rite independently?

  2. who is the artist of the last pic of Chalchiuhtlicue?

  3. Patricia says:

    Lovely pictures

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