- Religion and Philosophy»
- The Role of Religion in History & Society
Interview with Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent god of the Aztecs
The pyramid of Kulkulcan
Interview with an Aztec God:
Quetzalcóatl is the Aztec name for The Feathered Serpent God. Known as Kulkulcan in Maya territory, this god is a beloved hero to the people. He can travel through the underworld, surmounting the forces of evil and darkness and be reborn as Venus, the morning/evening star.
The point in time of this interview takes place in the year 2012, the year that Quetzalcóatl finds himself quite busy trying to figure out how to reconcile the old calendar with the new modern Gregorian calendar that is currently used throughout the new lands of North, Central and South America. Some Central American countries are still having a hard time trying to keep up with modern times.
Quetzalcoatl or Kulkulcan Painting by L.A. Cargill
Me: First, let me just state that I am in awe of actually being in the presence of a God. I really don't know how to act. But for the sake of my audience, I hope you feel comfortable being interviewed. I do hope you will forgo the sacrificing of a virgin or the cutting out of a still beating heart. We just can't find virgins anymore and no one wants to volunteer to have their heart cut out.
Please tell us about yourself, Quetzalcóatl, and is there a short version of your name perhaps?
Quetzal: Sure! You can call me Q, or F.S. for feathered serpent, or Quetzal for short. Thank you for offering a sacrifice, I am more or less satiated right now from all the drug cartel activity taking place in Mexico and Central America. So really, I couldn't drink another drop right now.
I made my first appearance on Earth during the first century B.C or A.D. take your pick. It's not commonly known, but I and Athena of Greek mythology are quite similar and we've both been around since the beginning of time. The Greek gods liked the European comfort zone, while we Aztec gods preferred the jungles.
Me: Would it be safe to say that you have been around since the garden of Eden? Could you have been the serpent who tempted Eve?
Quetzal: Well, all things are possible with the gods, but I don't remember that particular lady. There was a cute little goddess that I tried to tempt many eons ago, but that's another story.
Me: So you are more of a lover than a fighter?
Quetzal: I am the patron Mesoamerican god of science, education, religion, philosophy, wind and fire.
Quetzalcoatl - the smartest of the Aztec Gods?
Me: Whew! You sound like a very busy god. How did the people first get to know you?
Quetzal: Some say I'm not actually a god at all. That I was a real man that attained the status of a god. Some say that I was the Toltec ruler named Topiltzin Ce Acatl Quetzalcoatl. He was one of the leaders of the great Toltec tribe that people know very little about now. The Aztecs sort of adopted all of the Toltec and Mayan legends and stories and convinced everyone that they were the advanced embodiment of the old Gods.
The Asians saw me as a dragon and associated me with the sky as did the Olmecs, Toltecs, Aztecs and Maya. That is why I have feathers, so I can fly as easily as slither. I'm also closely identified with the planet Venus because I have been known to disappear and reappear at will.
I traveled a great deal throughout Mesoamerica and many cultures adopted me as a favored god because I never demanded all those gruesome sacrifices. I was more of a benevolent kind of guy. My idea of life was to have a nice farm, a comfortable couch and an adoring wife.
Me: You mean you were a couch potato god?
Quetzal: Yep, laid back, colorful and willing to be adored.
Major Aztec Gods
- Quetzalcóatl - Feathered Serpent
- Tezcatlipoca - Lord of the Smoking Mirror
- Tepeyollotli - Lord of Animals
- Huehuecóyotl - Old Coyote (Kokopelli)
- Tláloc - God of Rain and Lightning
- Mayahuel - Goddess of the Maguey plant
- Tlazolteotl - Goddess of Confessions
- Xipe-Toltec - Lord of Renewal
- Xolotl - Night time twin of Quetzalcoatl
- Tonatiuh - the Sun God
- Xochiquetzal - Goddess of Love
The plot thickens.
Me: So what exactly happened to you during your travels and time here on Earth?
Quetzal: I left the One World (Tenochtitlan) because another Aztec god played a trick on me or perhaps I was drunk and bet the farm on what I thought was a winning hand. At any rate, I was forced by the followers of Tezcatlipoca (The Lord of the Smoking Mirror) to leave the area and never return.
Of course, I swore at the time that I would return just like Arnold Schwarzenegger - "I'll be back", and I predicted the date of my return in the year One Reed. Unfortunately, Hernán Cortes beat me back by a hair and everyone got confused. Cortes ended up owning everything and I was kicked aside.
Seriously, Does he even look like a God to you? He was all hairy and smelly and covered in metal. To this day I do not know how they mistook that beast of a Spanish conquistador for a beautifully plumed feathered serpent such as myself!
One last question.
Me: Will you be around for the Mayan Apocalypse?
Quetzal: I most certainly will be there! When this current Long Count calendar ends and the New Age of Enlightenment begins on December 21, 2012, I will celebrate with the Mayans at the temple they built for me. It's in the Yucatan peninsula at this great place. Perhaps you've heard of it? It's called the pyramid of Kulkucan (my Mayan name) at Chichen Itza. What a party it will be too. Maybe the Mayans will bring back the great and colorful gods again and we can all have some fun.
This is where the big pyramid to Kulkucan is. Every year at the solstices and equinoxes, the pyramid puts on a special show.
Merida has a commercial airport near Chichen Itza.
Probably the easiest airport to get to nearest Chichen Itza.
The Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico
Have you visited any of the Mayan or Aztec ruins of Mexico?
Quetzalcoatl the Aztec God
The Myth of Quetzalcoatl is a translation of Alfredo López Austin’s 1973 book Hombre-Dios: Religión y politica en el mundo náhuatl. Despite its pervasive and lasting influence on the study of Mesoamerican history, religion in general, and the Quetzalcoatl myth in particular, this work has not been available in English until now.
© 2012 Lela