Maya mythology describes serpents as being the vehicles by which celestial bodies, such as the sun and stars, cross the heavens. The shedding of their skin made them a symbol of rebirth and renewal. They were so revered, that one of the main Mesoamerican deities, Quetzalcoatl, was represented as a feathered serpent .
Today Quetzalcoatl is arguably the best known Aztec deity, and is often thought to have been the principal Aztec god. Civilizations worshiping the Feathered Serpent included the Mixtec, Toltec, Aztec , who adopted it from the people of Teotihuacan, and the Maya.
However, according to legendary accounts, Quetzalcoatl was banished from Tula after committing transgressions while under the influence of a rival. During his exile, he embarked upon an epic journey through southern Mexico, where he visited many independent kingdoms.
Blood was viewed as a potent source of nourishment for the Maya deities, and the sacrifice of a living creature was a powerful blood offering. By extension, the sacrifice of a human life was the ultimate offering of blood to the gods, and the most important Maya rituals culminated in human sacrifice .
In Aztec culture To the Aztecs, Quetzalcoatl was, as his name indicates, a feathered serpent, a flying reptile (much like a dragon ), who was a boundary-maker (and transgressor) between earth and sky. He was a creator deity having contributed essentially to the creation of mankind.
One of the two stepbrothers of the Hero Twins (the other being Hun-Batz) he is depicted as a howler monkey. Along with his brother, he is the patron god of artists and writers. While Gucumatz was the most popular god, Hunab-Ku is considered the supreme deity of the pantheon of the Maya, known as `Sole God’.
The subsequent Toltec culture (9th through 12th centuries), centred at the city of Tula, emphasized war and human sacrifice linked with the worship of heavenly bodies. Quetzalcóatl became the god of the morning and evening star, and his temple was the centre of ceremonial life in Tula. Quetzalcóatl, stone carving.
In one tale, Kukulkan is a boy who was born as a snake. As he grew older it became obvious that he was the plumed serpent and his sister cared for him in a cave.
The double symbolism used by the Feathered Serpent is considered allegoric to the dual nature of the deity, where being feathered represents its divine nature or ability to fly to reach the skies and being a serpent represents its human nature or ability to creep on the ground among other animals of the Earth, a
Snakes were sacred to the Aztecs as they were the symbol of the feathered serpent god, Quetzalcoatl. The Aztec Empire consisted of many subject territories, stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific. Frequently they had to provide gifts as tribute to demonstrate their allegiance to the Aztec emperor.
Tlaloc , (Nahuatl: “He Who Makes Things Sprout”) Aztec rain god . Representations of a rain god wearing a peculiar mask, with large round eyes and long fangs, date at least to the Teotihuacán culture of the highlands (3rd to 8th century ad).
Tezcatlipoca was also worshipped in many other Nahua cities such as Texcoco, Tlaxcala and Chalco. Each temple had a statue of the god for which copal incense was burned four times a day. Tezcatlipoca priests were offered into his service by their parents as children, often because they were sick.