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Cōātlīcue is a Mother Earth Goddess from Aztec mythology. She is the mother of the Moon Goddess Coyolxāuhqui, the Sun God Huītzilōpōchtli, and the Star Gods. The goddesses Toci and Cihuacōātl are also seen as aspects of Cōātlīcue.
Carl Black

Cōātlīcue is a major deity in the Aztec pantheon and regarded as the earth-mother goddess. Represented as an old woman, she symbolized the antiquity of earth worship and she presents one of the most fearsome figures in Aztec art.


Coatlicue was also the patron of childbirth, was associated with warfare, governance and agriculture, and considered the consort of the primordial god Ometeotl. The goddess was worshiped in the spring ritual of Tozozontli in the rainy season and in the autumnal hunting festival of Quecholli, when an impersonator of the goddess was sacrificed.


Coatlicue is depicted in her most terrible form with a severed head replaced by two coral snakes, representing flowing blood. She wears a necklace of severed human hands and hearts with a large skull pendant. She also wears her typical skirt of entwined snakes whilst her hands and feet have the large claws which she uses to rip up human corpses before she eats them.


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Coatlicue was originally a priestess whose job was to maintain the shrine on the top of the legendary sacred mountain Coatepec ('Snake Mountain', also spelt Coatepetl). One day, as she was sweeping, a ball of feathers descended from the heavens and when she tucked it into her belt it miraculously impregnated her.

However, Coatlicue's other offspring, her daughter Coyolxauhqui ('Painted with Bells' and perhaps representing the Moon), herself a powerful goddess, and her sons the Centzon Huitznahua ('Four Hundred Huiztnaua', who represented the stars of the southern sky) were outraged at this shameful episode and they stormed Mt. Coatepec with the intention of killing their dishonored mother. The plot came unstuck, though, when one of the Huiztnaua lost heart and decided to warn Huitzilopochtli. Rising to his mother's defense the god sprang into battle fully-armed as an invincible warrior.

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