In ancient civilizations, gods and goddesses played an important role and the ancient Aztecs were no exception. Deities are known to take on a variety of different forms. In this article, you will encounter the serpent gods of the ancient Aztecs, including Chicomecoatl , who is known as “seven snakes.”
During what is known as the Middle Culture period, the Aztecs worshipped the goddess of maize, Chicomecoatl, who was sometimes referred to as the “goddess of nourishment.” The female personification of corn is seen through this goddess that is also called ‘seven snakes.’ There are three forms of the goddess that exist: young girl carrying flowers, woman that brings death with her touch, and a mother that uses the sun as a shield.
September was an important month for the worship of the goddess. However, it was very unlucky for the young girl chosen to represent Chicomecoatl, as she was sacrificed. The priests would decapitate the girl and then collect her blood, which was then poured over a figurine of the goddess. The dead body was flayed and the priest would keep the skin to wear.
“The Mother of Gods” in Aztec mythology is responsible for giving birth to the moon, stars, and the god of the sun and war , Huitzilopochtli. When she takes the form of the ‘grandmother,’ Coatlicue is referred to as ‘Toci,’ but as the ‘lady of the serpent,’ the goddess is called Cihuacoatl. Coatlicue has many celestial connections , referred to as the “Mother of the Southern Stars” and “Goddess of Life, Death and Rebirth.”
A woman wearing a skirt of snakes and a necklace comprised of human hearts, hands, and skulls is what represents the goddess. Claws decorate her feet and hands. Two serpents facing one another are what make up her face. A myth states that after her head was cut off, the blood that came out of her neck created the form of two large snakes.
Known as the ‘snake woman,’ Cihuacoatl was a fertility goddess, who represented motherhood. The goddess had a special link to midwives and was worshipped in the sweatbaths where midwives practiced. Sometimes, she appears as a young woman, while other depictions show has as an old woman with the face of a skull that carries spears and shield of a warrior. Interestingly, childbirth was often compared to warfare and when a female lost their life in childbirth, she was honored in the same manner as a fallen hero.
With connections to the Milky Way, stars, and the heavens, Mixcoatl was the god of the hunt, whose name also meant ‘cloud serpent.’ With a black mask over his eyes and ‘candy cane-like’ stripes painted on his body, Mixcoatl was the offspring of the fertility goddess and the patroness of midwives, Chihaucoatl.