Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Mictecacihuatl, the Aztec Goddess of the Underworld

In Aztec mythology, Mictēcacihuātl (literally "Lady of the Dead") is the Queen of Mictlan, the underworld, ruling over the afterlife with her husband, Mictlantecuhtli.

Mictecacihuatl's role is to guard the bones of the dead and preside over the ancient festivals of the dead. These festivals evolved from Aztec traditions into the modern Day of the Dead which is also heavily influenced by Catholic Spanish traditions.

According to myth she was once alive countless ages ago—a member of an ancient pre-human race of beings who lived when the world was new. But her time in the living world was short since she was sacrificed to the underworld as an infant. After her death, she grew to adulthood as queen of the underworld. A deity of immense power. 

One of her foremost duties as the ruler of the dark realm is to guard the skeletal remains of extinct earlier races. In the past Mictecacihuatl failed in her duties. According to Aztec legend, the twin gods Quetzalcoatl and Xolotl were sent by the other gods to steal the sacred corpses of those who lived long before–which the gods of the sky then fashioned into living modern human beings. Now Mictecacihuatl must also guard the bones of dead humans, for she believes that our remains could be used by capricious sky gods to build an even more ruthless group of alien new beings.

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