Saturday, December 19, 2015


Huehueteotl ("Old god"; aged god in Nahuatl) is a Mesoamerican deity figuring in the pantheons of pre-Columbian cultures, particularly in Aztec mythology and others of the Central Mexico region. He is also sometimes called Ueueteotl. Although known mostly in the cultures of that region, images and iconography depicting Huehueteotl have been found at other archaeological sites across Mesoamerica, such as in the Gulf region, western Mexico, Protoclassic-era sites in the Guatemalan highlands such as Kaminaljuyú and Late-Postclassic sites on the northern Yucatán Peninsula (Miller and Taube, 1993:189).

Huehueteotl is frequently considered to overlap with, or be another aspect of, a central Mexican/Aztec deity associated with fire, Xiuhtecuhtli. In particular, the Florentine Codex identifies Huehueteotl as an alternative epithet for Xiutecuhtli, and consequently that deity is sometimes referred to as Xiutecuhtli-Huehueteotl.

However, Huehueteotl is characteristically depicted as an aged or even decrepit being, whereas Xiutecuhtli's appearance is much more youthful and vigorous, and he has a marked association with rulership and (youthful) warriors.[1][2]

An Aztec religious observance was celebrated via boys hunting small animals such as snakes, lizards, frogs and even dragonflies larvae in the swamps to give them to the elders who served as the guardians of the fire deity. As a reward for these offerings, the priest would give them food. At these occasions the god was demonstrated as young with turquoise and quetzalfeathers for ceremonial purposes. Later during the month he appeared as ageing and tired, covered with the colours of glow; gold, black and red. Perhaps this has led to the confusion of the deity being two separate ones, as being displayed as such, or vice versa.

Another, more dramatic one, was a celebration consisting of feasts and a time of ceasing hostilities. The Aztecs cut out the hearts of human sacrifices, followed by burning them on coal. As a result of this, the people would regain Huehueteotl's favor through the gods elements - fire and blood.

From: Wiki
Huehueteotl, "the Old One"

Symbols, Iconography, and Art of Huehueteotl:
Aztec art usually portrays Huehueteotl as a very old man, hunched over with a wrinkled face and a toothless mouth. Huehueteotl is one of very few gods depicted is such an aged state, but it represented his great wisdom. Huehueteotl also tends to wear a large brazier marked with symbols of fire and which may itself have held incense.

Huehueteotl is God of:
Fire of Life

Story and Origin of Huehueteotl:
Huehueteotl may be the oldest of the Aztec gods and representations of him can be found all over Mesoamerica going back centuries. Huehueteotl represents light, warmth, and life against darkness, cold, and death.

Family Tree and Relationships of Huehueteotl:
Husband of Chalchiuhtlicue, fertility and vegetation goddess

Temples, Worship and Rituals of Huehueteotl:
Most Aztec gods were worshiped at public rituals and had social/public rules; Huehueteotl, however, appears to have been a household deity responsible for the maintenance of the hearth and perhaps preservation of family harmony. One public ritual was the Hueymiccailhuitl, "great feast of the dead," which occurred every 52 years (the Aztec century). In order to ensure that the Aztec covenant with the gods would be renewed, victims were drugged, roasted alive, and had their hearts cut out.

Mythology and Legends of Huehueteotl:
Toxiuhmolpilia, "the tying of the years," was ritual performed every 52 years over which Huehueteotl presided. During this ceremony, the sacrificial victim not only had their still-beating heart torn from their body, but a piece of wood was then placed in its place and set on fire. Only if the fire caught would there be fire through the rest of the land for the next 52 years. Huehueteotl's role in this was due to the Aztec belief that, as an ancient pillar of the universe, Huehueteotl's fire ran throughout the entire world, linking the fires in every Aztec home and every Aztec temple.
From: Here
Among the Aztec/Mexica the fire god was associated with another ancient deity, the old god. For this reason these figures are often considered different aspects of the same deity: Huehuetéotl-Xiuhtecuhtli (Pronounced: Way-ue-TEE-ottle, and Shee-u-teh-COO-tleh). As with many polytheist cultures, ancient Mesoamerican people worshipped many gods who represented the different forces and manifestations of nature. Among these elements, fire was one of the first to be deified.

The names under which we know these gods are Nahuatl terms, which is the language spoken by the Aztec/Mexica, so we don’t known how these deities were known by earlier cultures. Huehuetéotl is the “Old God”, from huehue, old, and teotl, god, whereas Xiuhtecuhtli means “The lord of Turquoise”, from the suffix xiuh, turquoise, or precious, and tecuhtli, lord, and he was considered the progenitor of all gods, as well as the patron of fire and the year.

Origins of Huehuetéotl-Xiuhtecuhtli

Huehueteotl-Xiuhtecuhtli was an extremely important god beginning in very early times in Central Mexico. In the Formative (Preclassic) site of Cuicuilco, south of Mexico City, statues portraying an old man sitting and holding a brazier on his head or his back, have been interpreted as images of the old god and the fire god.

At Teotihuacan, the most important metropolis of the Classic period, Huehuetéotl-Xiuhtecuhtli is one of the most often represented deities. Again, his images portray an old man, with wrinkles on his face and no teeth, sitting with his legs crossed, holding a brazier on his head. The brazier is often decorated with rhomboid figures and cross-like signs symbolizing the four world directions with the god sitting in the middle.

The period for which we have more information about this god is the Postclassic period, thanks to the importance that this god had among the Aztec/Mexica.

Huehuetéotl-Xiuhtecuhtli Attributes

According to the Aztec religion, Huehuetéotl-Xiuhtecuhtli was associated with ideas of purification, transformation and regeneration of the world through fire. As god of the year, he was associated with the cycle of the seasons and nature which regenerate the earth. He was also considered one of the founding deities of the world, since he was the responsible for the creation of the sun.

According to colonial sources, the fire god had his own temple in the sacred precinct of Tenochtitlan, in a place called tzonmolco.

Huehuetéotl-Xiuhtecuhtli is also related to the ceremony of the New Fire, one of the most important Aztec ceremonies, which took place at the end of each cycle of 52 years, and represented the regeneration of the cosmos through the lighting of a new fire.

Huehuetéotl-Xiuhtecuhtli Festivities

Two major festivities were dedicated to Huehuetéotl-Xiuhtecuhtli: the Xocotl Huetzi ceremony, in August, associated to the underworld, the night, and the dead, and a second one which took place in the month of Izcalli, at beginning of February, related to light, warmness and the dry season.

Xocotl Huetzi: this ceremony was related to the collection of the fruits of the earth and the ritual death of plants. It involved cutting a tree and placing an image of the god on the top. Copal and food were then offered to the tree. Young men were encouraged to climb the tree to get the image and gain a reward. Four captives were sacrificed by being thrown into a fire and by having their hearts extracted.

Izcalli: this second festival was dedicated to regrowth and regeneration, and the beginning of the new year. All lights were shut down at night, except for one light placed in front of the god's image, including a turquoise mask. People brought game, such as birds, lizards, and snakes, to cook and eat. Every four years, the ceremony included the sacrifice of four slaves or captives, who were dressed like the god and whose bodies were painted in white, yellow, red and green, the colors associated with the world's directions.

Hueuetéotl Images

Since early times, Huehuetéotl-Hiuhtecuhtli was portrayed, mainly in statues, as an old man, with his legs crossed, his arms resting on his legs, and holding a lit brazier on his head or back. His face shows the signs of age, quite wrinkled and without teeth. This type of sculpture is the most widespread and recognizable image of the god, and has been found in many offerings in sites such as Cuicuilco, Capilco, Teotihuacan, Cerro de las Mesas, and the Templo Mayor of Mexico City.

However, as Xiuhtecuhtli, the god is often represented in pre-Hispanic as well as Colonial codices without these characteristics. In these cases, his body is yellow and his face has black stripes, his mouth is surrounded by a red circle and he has blue ear plugs hanging from his ears. He often has arrows emerging from his headdress and holds sticks used to light fire.

From: Here
Xiuhtecuhtli is the Turquoise Lord, Lord of the Year, god of fire, creator of all life.

Xiuhtecuhtli, also called Ixcozauhqui and Huehueteotl, the Old God, is considered "Mother and Father of the Gods, he who stands at the center of the world." He is the personification of light in the darkness, warmth in coldness, food during famine, and life in death.

Xiuhtecuhtli is the central deity in the New Fire ceremony, held every 52 years in year 2 Acatl (Ome Acatl, which is also a name for Tezcatlipoca).

In the tonalpohualli, Xiuhtecuhtli is the protector of day Atl (water). He rules over the last trecena of the tonalpohualli, 1-Tochtli (rabbit). Xiuhtecuhtli is Lord of the Day for days with number 1 ("ce" in Nahuatl). He is the first Lord of the Night.

From: Here

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