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.
In the Postclassic period (900–1519 AD), the worship of the feathered-serpent deity centred in the primary Mexican religious center of Cholula. In the Maya area he was approximately equivalent to Kukulkan and Gukumatz, names that also roughly translate as “feathered serpent” in different Mayan languages.
As the morning and evening star, Quetzalcóatl was the symbol of death and resurrection. With his companion Xolotl , a dog-headed god, he was said to have descended to the underground hell of Mictlan to gather the bones of the ancient dead.
Quetzalcoatl emerged from the sun and flew around the world, feeling the beauty, feeling the freedom of life and love. As he looked down, he saw the cave where he had spent his whole life and thought about the other beings in the world who were suffering like he once did.
Many contemporary Aztecs continue to worship and make offerings to the ancient earth gods that they address as “Grandfather” and “Grandmother” [see photographs 14-15]. Another significant god for the ancients was Ehecatl- Quetzalcoatl (“Wind-Quetzal Feathered Serpent”).
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’.
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 .
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.
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 .
Huitzilopochtli, also spelled Uitzilopochtli, also called Xiuhpilli (“Turquoise Prince”) and Totec (“Our Lord”), Aztec sun and war god , one of the two principal deities of Aztec religion, often represented in art as either a hummingbird or an eagle.
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