), Latin America: A Historical Reader. Mictlantecuhtli. The Aztec Death God Mictantecuhtli. In contrast, those who died of most illnesses, old age, or an unremarkable death went to Mictlan, the Aztec underworld. and we take life in your painting us, and we breathe in your singing us. According to Aztec beliefs, dead people dying of natural causes went to the underworld ruled by Mictlantecuhtli, the god of the underworld, and his wife, Mictecacihuati. Aztec poetry and prayers provide a softer contrast to this harshness, however, such as in this prayer: Oh, only for so short a while you have loaned us to each other, Ancient History Encyclopedia. The god’s sacrifice creates a new sun, which creates a new world. Huitzilopochtli, Father of the Aztecs. Mictlantecuhtli Definition. Last modified September 22, 2013. She is the sister of Chimalma and Coatlicue, according to Aztec mythology. However, Quetzalcoatl roused himself and gathering up the bones managed to extract himself from the pit and get away unscathed from the clutches of Mictlantecuhtli. Mictlantecuhtli, then, far from giving up, arranged for his assistants, the Micteca, to dig a large pit so that Quetzalcoatl would stumble into it when he tried to leave Mictlán. Along with her husband, Miclantecuhtl, Mictecacihuatl ruled over the land of Mictlan, the lowest level of … He ruled the underworld (Mictlán) with his wife Mictecacíhuatl. Aztec mythology tells that Mictecacihuatl was sacrificed as a baby and magically grew to adulthood in the underworld, where she married. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/Mictlantecuhtli/. Souls would descend the nine layers of the underworld in an arduous four-year journey until eventually reaching extinction in the deepest part - Mictlan Opochcalocan. The beliefs of the Aztec concerning the other world and life after death showed the same syncretism. Lady of the Dead The religion of the Aztec people can seem to outsiders like one that is obsessed with death. People who died from lightning, drowning, certain diseases, or particularly violent deaths went to Tlalocan, a paradise presided over by the god Tlaloc located within the Aztec’s thirteen heavens. Mictlantecuhtli (left), god of death, the lord of the Underworld and Quetzalcoatl (right), god of wisdom, life, knowledge, morning star, patron of the winds and light, the lord of the West. Hilary Dockray came to know The Christi Center through her full-time field internship as a graduate student from The University of Texas at Austin’s School of Social Work. Here are just some of the links I used to write this entry of the Diverse Expressions of Grief series, and where you can also learn more about the ancient Aztec civilization and its perspective on life and afterlife: In-depth account on the fall of the Aztec empire to the Spanish: http://emsc33.nysed.gov/ciai/socst/ghgonline/units/4/documents/LeonPortilla.pdf. The Aztec’s mass human sacrifices and grim afterlife in Mictlan paints a picture of a civilization that could be harsh both in life and death. Tonatiuh had been reluctant to take the role, however. Women who died in childbirth were considered just as courageous and honorable as warriors who died, and thusly went to a paradise in the west and joined the sun’s descent in the evening. In the mythology of the Aztec people, the ancient culture of central Mexico, Mictecacihuatl is literally "lady of the dead." Aztec mythology is the body or collection of myths of Aztec civilization of Central Mexico. 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