An Aztec Legend
The mother of the Aztec creation story was called "Coatlique", the Lady of the Skirt of Snakes. She was created in the image of the unknown,
decorated with skulls, snakes, and lacerated hands. There are no cracks in her body and she is a perfect monolith (a totality of intensity and
self-containment, yet her features were square and decapitated).
Coatlique was first impregnated by an obsidian knife and gave birth to Coyolxanuhqui, goddess of the moon, and to a group of male offspring, who
became the stars. Then one day Coatlique found a ball of feathers, which she tucked into her bosom. When she looked for it later, it was gone, at
which time she realized that she was again pregnant. Her children, the moon and stars did not believe her story. Ashamed of their mother, they
resolved to kill her. A goddess could only give birth once, to the original litter of divinity and no more. During the time that they were plotting her
demise, Coatlique gave birth to the fiery god of war, Huitzilopochtli. With the help of a fire serpent, he destroyed his brothers and sister, murdering
them in a rage. He beheaded Coyolxanuhqui and threw her body into a deep gorge in a mountain, where it lies dismembered forever.
The natural cosmos of the Indians was born of catastrophe. The heavens literally crumbled to pieces. The earth mother fell and was fertilized, while
her children were torn apart by fratricide and then scattered and disjointed throughout the universe.
Ometecuhlti and his wife Omecihuatl created all life in the world.
Their sons: Xipe Totec - The Lord of the Springtime
Huitzilopochtli - the Sun God
Quetzalcoatl - the Plumed Serpent
Tezcatlipoca - the god of Night and Sorcery
Coatlique - She of the Serpent Skirt
Music: The Emerald River by Diane Arkenstone
An Aztec Legend
Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca represent the bright and dark aspects of the Creator. The earth herself is the nourisher of life; but she is also the burial
ground of the dead. One purpose of this myth is to validate the Aztec custom of sacrificing live human hearts.
The gods Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca brought the earth goddess Tlalteuctli down from on high. All of the joints of her body were filled with eyes
and mouths biting like wild beasts. Before they got down, there was water already below, upon which the goddess then moved back and forth. They
did not know who created it.
They said to each other, "We must make the earth." So saying, they changed themselves into two great serpents, one of whom seized the goddess
from the right hand down to the left foot, the other from the left hand down to the right foot. As they tightened their grip, she broke in the middle. The
half with the shoulders became the earth. The remaining half they brought to the sky -- which greatly displeased the other gods.
Afterward, to compensate the earth goddess for the damage those two had inflicted upon her, all the gods came down to console her, ordaining that
all the produce required for human life would issue from her. From her hair they made trees, flowers and grasses; from her skin. very fine grasses
and tiny flowers; from her eyes, wells and fountains, and small caves; from her mouth, rivers and large caves; from her nose, valleys and
mountains; from her shoulders, mountains.
Sometimes at night this goddess wails, thirsting for human hearts. She will not be silent until she receives them. Nor will she bear fruit unless she is
watered with human blood.