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The supreme Aztec god of rain, thunder, and lightning. He is known both as a beneficent giver of life and substance, and a fearsome force of nature.
Carl Black

Tlāloc is the supreme god of rain, earthly fertility, and water in the Aztec pantheon. He was widely worshipped as a beneficent giver of life and sustenance. However, he was also feared for his ability to send hail, thunder, and lightning, and for being the lord of the powerful element of water.

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Tlāloc is also associated with caves, springs, and mountains, most specifically the sacred mountain in which he was believed to reside. His animal forms include herons and water-dwelling creatures such as amphibians, snails, and possibly sea creatures, particularly shellfish.

The four corners of the universe are marked by "the four Tlālocs" which both hold up the sky and function as the frame for the passing of time. Tlāloc was the patron of the Calendar day Mazātl. In Aztec mythology, Tlāloc was the lord of the third sun which was destroyed by fire.

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Tlāloc was selected to be the third sun, he supposedly did a good job until Tezcatlipoca seduces his wife, Xōchiquetzal. Tlāloc then became upset and refused to have it rain, the desperate prayers of humanity started to get on his nerves so he rained fire upon them. He would then remarry to Chalchiuhtlicue, creating Tēcciztēcatl.

Myths and Legends

Additionally, Tlāloc is thought to be one of the patron deities of the trecena of 1 Quiahuitl (along with Chicomecōātl). Trecenas are the thirteen-day periods into which the 260-day calendar is divided. The first day of each trecena dictates the augury, or omen, and the patron deity or deities associated with the trecena.

On page 28 of the Codex Borgia, the Five Tlaloque are pictured watering maize fields. Each Tlāloc is pictured watering the maize with differing types of rains, of which only one was beneficial. The rain that was beneficial to the land was burnished with jade crystals and likely represented the type of rain that would make a bountiful harvest. The other forms of rain were depicted as destroyers of crops, “fiery rain, fungus rain, wind rain, and flint blade rain”. This depiction shows the power that Tlāloc had over the Central American crop supply. Also, the high ratio of damaging rains to beneficial rains likely symbolizes the ratio of the likelihood that crops are destroyed to them being nourished. This would explain why so much effort and resources were put forth by the Central Americans in order to appease the Gods.

In Aztec mythic cosmography, Tlāloc ruled the fourth layer of the upper world, or heavens, which is called Tlālocan ("place of Tlāloc") in several Aztec codices. Described as a place of unending springtime and a paradise of green plants, Tlālocan was the destination in the afterlife for those who died violently from phenomena associated with water, such as by lightning, drowning, and water-borne diseases. These violent deaths also included leprosy, venereal disease, sores, dropsy, scabies, gout, and child sacrifices.

The Nahua believed that Huītzilōpōchtli could provide them with fair weather for their crops and they placed an image of Tlāloc, who was the rain-god, near him so that if necessary, the war god could compel the rain maker to exert his powers.

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