It might sound like the name of a metal band, but the nine lords of the night is actually the name given to the Mayan lords, which are said to preside over each night in pairs. Each lord recurs every nine nights and each is said – like astronomical signs – to have had an effect on the world over which they presided. And with Earth soon moving into the final cycle before the long count calendar turns over, it may be worth taking another look at the Lords of the Night to see how things will be unfolding in the Mayan Calendar.
Xiuhtecuhtli, Itztli, Piltzintecuhtli, Cinteotl, Mictlantecuhtli, Chalchiuhtlicue, Tlazolteotl, Tepeyollotl, and Tlaloc are the very difficult to pronounce names of the ancient gods said to be presiding over each night, and one interpretation of the Mayan long count calendar coming to an end is the post Mayan calendar world will be one where the Lords of the Night no longer preside over darkness as it envelopes the Earth after the sun sets. What would this mean?
Xiuhtecuhtli, the lord of Earthly fire is generally depicted as having a turquoise head. He is the god of the fires residing deep beneath the ground, and was also referred to as “the old god” or the god of years.
Itztli, the lord of stone tools, was also associated often with things created by the hands of man. He was important because it was the stone knife that allowed for things to be made, homes to be defended, and hunters to be armed. He is also often depicted as being one of the gods that enabled mankind to rise up and change the world around him through the power of invention. He was also the god of sacrifice.
Pilzintecuhtli, the lord of the rising sun and visions is one of the gods most often referenced and sought in new age healing circles. He is said to bring the gift of Earthly visions to mankind, enable dreaming, and provide healing to humans both spiritual and physical. He is also the lord of hallucinogenic plants.
Centeotl, lord of days and fourth lord of the night was one of the most important in the Mayan Calendar. The number four was of particular importance in the Mayan tradition and so this highly important position, while seemingly trivial to westerners was a place of honor to the god that gave us light, maize, and the nourishment needed to survive on Earth.
Mictlantecuhtli, lord of death may seem like the most macabre of the Mayan gods, and he may be, but his position was more than just destruction and death. It was Mctlantecuhtli that not only facilitated the coming of day by swallowing the stars at dawn, but he also presided over fertility and life as well. Adorned by skulls and torn human flesh, his rituals were of a violent nature and often incorporating death itself in them.
Chalchiuhtlicue, lord of beauty and fertility, was universally revered by those who valued the bringing of life and beauty into the world. Not only was she seen as the goddess of tranquility and beauty, but also of all things that spread life including rain and storms. Mictlantecuhtli may have had the more violent aspects of birth and the release of spirits into the world under his reign, but it was Chalchiuhtlicue that gave life meaning and beauty.
Tlazolteotl, the goddess of forbidden love and romantic misdeeds was said to not only reside over the misconduct of lovers, but also punish and forgive it based on the offender’s conduct afterward. Every man was given one confession to her that they may use, after which point they were bound to pay the penalty in the form of disease if they scorned her or their true loves.
Tepeyollotl, the god of Earthquakes was often depicted with the head of a Jaguar. He is said to be the god of the inner heart of the Earth. Little is known of this god, but he is the eighth lord of the night.
Tlaloc, the god of rain and another primary god of life was one of the strangest looking. The cardinal directions were named the four Tlalocs, and each Tlaloc was said to be a pillar holding up the universe. He was said to reside in deep caves and at the tops of mountains leading some to speculate whether he could be related to creatures or entities that indeed resided deep within the earth or soared through the skies at one time.
The Mayan gods were a brutal, often violent bunch. But they also were said to have given life and substance to the Universe. As 2012 approaches, will these ancient gods be replaced by new deities according to the Mayan tradition? Will the cycle simply reset? Or is there something else – something that will come about to render this and all other calendars obsolete? As we enter the final cycle before that time, we will wait and see.