Monday, April 20, 2015

Q is for Quetzalcoatl


Many of the stories you still see today are inspired directly and indirectly from various myths. For the 2015 A-Z Challenge, I'm going to share mythology from all over the world - myths that are familiar and obscure.

The "feathered serpent" was one of the most important deities in Teotihuacan (Mes-American/pre-Aztec) civilization. Quetzalcoatl seemed to be closely related to vegetation for some time until a subgroup of Aztecs migrated from the north, and the interpretation of the god underwent a major overhaul.

Since this new group practiced war and human sacrifice to pay homage to the skies, Quetzalcoatl was a god now associated with the heavens. As the Aztecs continued to settle in the Teotihuacan area, the deity continued to evolve. During the 12-16 centuries, Quetzalcoatl became a patron of priests and a symbol of death and resurrection.

There are so many interesting stories surrounding Quetzalcoatl, which range from his virginal birth to him fighting (and losing) to another god. But the funniest tale involves him getting tricked by another deity to become drunk. Intoxicated, he had sex with a celibate priestess and then burned himself as punishment.

Ouch.

When he died, his heart became the mornings star.

41 comments:

Holly Jahangiri said...

When I was going through breast cancer treatment, I had to have rather awkward photos done - and a friend put me up to wearing a purple feather boa to the doctor's office. I named it "Quetzalcoatl." https://perspectivesii.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/quetzalcoatl/ (password: tummytuck ) The photos are gone, now (and the posted ones were quite safe for work) - but it's still funny.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's what he gets for drinking!

Chrys Fey said...

I have never heard of this one. "Ouch." I can say that again. Haha. I have to second what Alex said.

Chrys Fey said...

I have never heard of this one. "Ouch." I can say that again. Haha. I have to second what Alex said.

Pat Hatt said...

A good tale to keep kids away from drinking lol

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Wow. Quet is a mess.

Diane Coto said...

Hi there - Just visiting from the A-Z Challenge and from a shout out to your blog on Rosie Amber's blog https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/.

Diane Coto said...

Hi there - Just visiting from the A-Z Challenge and from a shout out to your blog on Rosie Amber's blog https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

The history of that god lasted a long time, centuries. And what an odd death.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I wonder where they got the idea to place wings on a snake?

jaybird said...

This is one I have never ever heard of . Cool facts.

David P. King said...

Don't let Indiana Jones know about this creature. He'd lose it. :)

Pat Dilloway said...

I bet you couldn't spell that god's name off the top of your head.

Robin said...

This one was completely new to me (like most of them are... ha!). I like the idea of when you die you become a star. That's pretty cool. The rest of his story sounds a bit *painful.*

I posted on an older post that I dedicated something to you on the Thursday post. Did you see it?

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

That's a really cool picture you grabbed there. I love this trip through mythology.

cleemckenzie said...

I just like saying his name, but it touches me that his heart became a star.

Matthew MacNish said...

Such an awesome creature!

cube said...

Creepy. Makes me glad I don't have any feathered boas in my wardrobe...

Cherie Reich said...

I love tales featuring Quetzalcoatl. He's a fascinating god.

A Tarkabarka Hölgy said...

I always wondered where the idea of a feathered serpent came from. There are birds with very long tail feathers called quezal, but I don't think that's it...

@TarkabarkaHolgy from
Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

Timothy Brannan said...

My son love Quetzalcoatl. My introduction to his myth was the movie "Q".

--
Tim Brannan, The Other Side Blog
2015 A to Z of Vampires
http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/

Jo said...

It's a bit of a harsh punishment for a bit of booze and sex isn't it?

Haneen I. Adam said...

I know this one, saw an old cartoon show that includes it, guess the last part of the story was cut for children's benefit. anyway feathers or not it's still a snake (according to mythology humans kind arch enemy) so DIE!

Stephen Tremp said...

Burned himself as punishment? Maybe a time out in the corner would suffice.

Patricia Lynne said...

That god's name is a mouthful!

~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
Member of C. Lee's Muffin Commando Squad
Story Dam
Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

betty said...

Too bad he thought of burning himself for punishment; something else might have been just as effective but not as painful!

betty

Nick Wilford said...

Quetzalcoatl has long been one of the most fascinating gods to me. If that story is anything to go by, he got himself into some scrapes.

Anna Soliveres said...

Ouch indeed. And that photo: quite the mighty looking flying serpent. :)

rolandclarke.com said...

Great post. Discovered about Quetzalcoatl many decades ago when I became fascinated by Central and South American history - being part Chilean helps - so no longer a mouthful.

According to the conqueror of Mexico, Hernan Cortez, the Aztecs believed that the Spaniards arrival was the prophesied return of the 'feathered serpent' god - but that is probably a myth created by the victors - https://suite.io/elvira-nieto/22z12hz

Our dog is called Quetzal after the bird with the long tail - the one that Tarkabarka mentioned - and they were sacred to the Mesoamericans and associated with Quetzalcoatl, which was first thought for dog's name... but a mouthful ;-)

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