In Aztec mythology, the god of the hunt, known as Mixcoatl, was identified with the Milky Way and the stars in Mesoamerican cultures. He was also the patron deity of the Otomi and the Chichimecs. Mixcoatl, was the Aztec god of hunting and the patron deity of the Tlaxcalans as well. Similar to Huitzilopochtli, he led the Chichime people to Tlaxcala. The city-states of Tlaxcala eventually sided with the Spaniards against the Aztec Empire.
The god known as Mixcoatl was regarded as the central deity of the Tlaxcala and Huejotzingo peoples. It’s believed that he was the leader of a group of warriors and hunters who lived in central Mexico. In Mesoamerican mythology, he’s the father of multiple southern constellations and to Quetzalcoatl.
As a hunter, Mixcoatl was often depicted using various weapons such as a bow and arrow, a basket, and a net. He was also known to wear a cloak of human skin. His own exposed skin was covered in white and red stripes, and he wore a headdress that was adorned with an eagle feather. Aztec art also commonly depicted yellow skin as people wearing the skin of sacrifice victims.
He was one of four children of the Tonacatecutli, which means “Lord of Sustenance.” He was also associated with the fertility goddess Cihuacoatl and the midwives. Sometimes, he was regarded as the Red aspect of Tezcatlipoca, who was the god of warriors, sorcerers, and rulers.
Mixcoatl was the father of hundreds of sons, known as the Centzon Huitznahua. After learning that their mother, Coatlicue, was pregnant, they conspired to kill her. However, as they attacked, their mother gave birth to a fully formed Huitzilopochtli and killed the other children.
Mixcoatl was related to hundreds of gods. One of these is the Centzonmimixcoa, which is a group of gods that he slew with an ambush. He was also believed to be the father of a feathered serpent called Quetzalcoatl.
Mixcoatl’s name, which literally means cloud serpent, came from his ability to change the shape of clouds. He was also associated with the Milky Way, which is a star-studded band in the sky.
In one story, Tezcatlipoca transformed into Mixcoatl and created a cosmic fire drill, which was able to ignite the heavens. Also, during this time, Mixcoatl was the first person to use flint to create fire and make it accessible to the people. These two events made him a god of the Milky Way and made him an important deity in the hunt and war. Finally, Mixcoatl was associated with lightning, thunder, and the direction North.
Various types of snakes and amphibians in Central America have been named after Mixcoatl. Some of these include the Pseudoeurycea mixcoatl, the Mixcoatlus barbouri, and the Mixcoatlus browni. The Aztec month of Quecholli, which is the 14th veintena, is dedicated to Mixcoatl. This month, the people celebrated by hunting and eating in the countryside. During this time, hunters would dress up as Mixcoatl to form a new fire to roast their prey. A man and a woman would then be sacrificed to him at his temple.
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