Coatlicue  

Posted by Stella Clark

Coatlicue Cover
Coatlicue, also known as Teteoinan (also transcribed Teteo Inan) ("The Mother of Gods"), is the Aztec goddess who gave birth to the moon, stars, and Huitzilopochtli, the god of the sun and war. She is also known as Toci, ("Our Grandmother"), and Cihuacoatl, ("The Lady of the serpent"), the patron of women who die in childbirth.

The word "Coatlicue" is Nahuatl for "the one with the skirt of serpents". She is referred to by the epithets "Mother Goddess of the Earth who gives birth to all celestial things", "Goddess of Fire and Fertility", "Goddess of Life, Death and Rebirth" and "Mother of the Southern Stars".

She is represented as a woman wearing a skirt of writhing snakes and a necklace made of human hearts, hands and skulls. Her feet and hands are adorned with claws (for digging graves) and her breasts are depicted as hanging flaccid from nursing. Coatlicue keeps on her chest the hands, hearts and skulls of her children so they can be purified in their mother's chest.

Almost all representation of this goddess depict her deadly side, because Earth, as well as loving mother, is the insatiable monster that consumes everything that lives. She represents the devouring mother, in whom both the womb and the grave exist.

According to the legend, she was magically impregnated while still a virgin by a ball of feathers that fell on her while she was sweeping a temple. She gave birth to Quetzalcoatl and Xolotl. In a fit of wrath her four hundred children, who were encouraged by Coyolxauhqui (her daughter), decapitated her. The god Huitzilopochtli afterward emerged from Coatlicue's womb fully grown and girded for battle and killed many of his brothers and sisters, including decapitating Coyolxauhqui and throwing her head into the sky to become the Moon. In a variation of this legend, Huitzilopochtli himself is conceived by the ball-of-feathers incident and emerges from the womb in time to save his mother from harm.

A massive sculpture known as the Coatlicue Stone was discovered by the astronomer Antonio de Leon y Gama in August of 1790 after an urban redevelopment program uncovered artifacts. Six months later, the team discovered the massive Aztec sun stone. De Leon y Gama's account of the discoveries was the first archeological work on Pre-Columbian Mexico.

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This entry was posted on 14 February 2011 at Monday, February 14, 2011 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the .

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