The Aztec Pantheon and Calendar Systems

Aztec Sun Stone (Calendar Stone) / National Anthropology Museum, Mexico City

By René Voorburg


A colored rendition of the Sun Stone, or the Stone of Axayacatl. Depicts the 20 daysigns around the Sun God. / Wikimedia Commons

Not just one calendar

There is not just one Aztec calendar, there are two more or less independent systems. One calendar, called the xiuhpohualli, has 365 days. It describes the days and rituals related to the seasons, and therefor might be called the agricultural year or the solar year. The other calendar has 260 days. In Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, it is called the tonalpohualli or, the day-count. Most information on this website refers to the tonalpohualli, which is the sacred calendar.

The tonalpohualli and Aztec cosmology

The tonalpohualli, or day-count, has been called a sacred calendar because its main purpose is that of a divinatory tool. It divides the days and rituals between the gods. For the Aztec mind this is extremely important. Without it the world would soon come to an end. According to Aztec cosmology, the universe is in a very delicate equilibrium. Opposing divine forces are competing for power. This equilibrium is in constant danger of being disrupted by shifting powers of the gods, of the elemental forces that influence our lives. This struggle cannot be won by any god.
The notion that everything ultimately consists of two opposing forces is essential to the Aztec worldview. The world is always on the brink of going under in a spiritual war, a war of gods competing for supreme power. To prevent this from happening, the gods have been given their own space, their own time, their own social groups, etcetera, to rule over. The tonalpohualli tells us how time is divided among the gods.

The system of the tonalpohualli

The system of the tonalpohualli can be best understood by imagining two wheels that are connected to each other. One wheel has the numbers “one” to “thirteen” written on it. The second wheel has twenty symbols on it. In the initial situation, number “one” combines with the first symbol. This is the first day of the tonalpohualli. Now the wheels start moving and number “two” combines with the second glyph. This is the second day. After fourteen days, an Aztec week (trecena in Spanish) of thirteen days has passed. The wheel with the numbers shows number “one” again. The other wheel now shows the fourteenth symbol. After 260 days, the two wheels have returned to their initial position. The tonalpohualli starts all over again.

Dividing Time among the Gods

A day (tonalli) in the tonalpohualli consists of a number and a symbol or daysign. Each daysign is dedicated to a god or elemental force, the provider of tonalli (Shadow Soul) life energy for the day. The twenty daysigns and their gods are successively:

Nr.  Daysign God
1 Cipactli Tonacatecuhtli
2 Ehecatl Quetzalcoatl
3 Calli Tepeyollotl
4 Cuetzpalin Huehuecoyotl
5 Coatl Chalchihuitlicue
6 Miquiztli Tecciztecatl
7 Mazatl Tlaloc
8 Tochtli Mayahuel
9 Atl Xiuhtecuhtli
10 Itzcuintli Mictlantecuhtli
Nr.  Daysign God
11 Ozomahtli Xochipili
12 Malinalli Patecatl
13 Acatl Tezcatlipoca
14 Ocelotl Tlazolteotl
15 Cuauhtli Xipe Totec
16 Cozcacuauhtli Itzpapalotl
17 Ollin Xolotl
18 Tecpatl Chalchihuihtotolin
19 Quiahuitl Tonatiuh
20 Xochitl Xochiquetzal

The nature of a day is also influenced by a force related to its number. This provides the teyollia (Spirit Soul) for the given day. The numerals with their names in Nahuatl and their related spirits are:

Nr.  Nahuatl God
1 Ce Xiuhtecuhtli
2 Ome Tlaltecuhtli
3 Yei Chalchihuitlicue
4 Nahui Tonatiuh
5 Mahcuilli Tlazolteotl
6 Chicuacen Mictlantecuhtli
7 Chicome Centeotl
8 Chicuei Tlaloc
9 Chicunahui Quetzalcoatl
10 Mahtlactli Tezcatlipoca
11 Mahtlactli-once Chalmecatecuhtli
12 Mahtlactli-omome Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli
13 Mahtlactli-omei Citlalicue

Even more, each trecena (consecutive set of days numbered from ‘1’ to ’13’) has a god that rules over those days. The twenty trecenas and their associated gods or elemental forces are:

Nr.  Trecena God
1 Cipactli Ometeotl
2 Ocelotl Quetzalcoatl
3 Mazatl Tepeyollotl
4 Xochitl Huehuecoyotl
5 Acatl Chalchihuitlicue
6 Miquiztli Tonatiuh
7 Quiahuitl Tlaloc
8 Malinalli Mayahuel
9 Coatl Xiuhtecuhtli
10 Tecpatl Mictlantecuhtli


Nr.  Trecena God
11 Ozomahtli Patecatl
12 Cuetzpalin Itzlacoliuhqui
13 Ollin Tlazolteotl
14 Itzcuintli Xipe Totec
15 Calli Itzpapalotl
16 Cozcacuauhtli Xolotl
17 Atl Chalchihuihtotolin
18 Ehecatl Chantico
19 Cuauhtli Xochiquetzal
20 Tochtli Xiuhtecuhtli

The xiuhpohualli

The 365-day year or xihuitl consists of 18 months (meztli) of 20 days (also called veintenas) plus five extra (unlucky) days. According to Caso, the last day of the last veintena of the year gives its (tonalpohualli-) name to the xihuitl. This name is the “Xihuitl” information that is displayed by the calendar. A simple calculation learns that only four daysigns can “bear” (i.e. give their name to) the year. These are Calli, Tochtli, Acatl and Tecpatl for the Aztec calendar. A similar calculation tells us that the number of the xihuitl is raised every year. So year 1-Calli is followed by 2-Tochtli, etcetera. This means that every 52 years (4 times 13) the name of the year will be the same. A combination of 52 years is called a calendar round or xiuhmolpilli (bundle).

As claimed by H.B. Nicholson, many ethnohistorical sources suggest that not Tititl, as proposed by Caso, but Izcalli was the last veintena of the year. This shifts appears to move the year bearer to the last day of the before last veintena, which seems a rather insignificant position. However, the veintena festivals probably started at dusk while tonalli days start at dawn (or noon), so the last veintena festival actually started on the year bearer.

The Aztec Pantheon


Centeotl (also Cinteotl), the Lord of Maize. He is also known as Xilonen, “the Hairy One”.

Centeotl is the son of Tlazolteotl . His female partner is the maize goddess Chicomecoatl (“Seven Snake”) .

In Aztec mythology, maize (Cintli in Nahuatl) was brought to this world by Quetzalcoatl. It is associated with the group of stars today commonly known as the pleiades.

In the tonalpohualli, Centeotl is the Lord of the Day for days with number 7 (chicome in Nahuatl). He is the fourth Lord of the Night.


Chalchihuihtotolin, the Jewelled Fowl, Tezcatlipoca’s nagual. Chalchihuihtotolin is a symbol of powerful sorcery.
Tezcatlipoca can tempt humans into self-destruction, but when he takes his turkey form he can also cleanse them of contamination, absolve them of guilt, and overcome their fate.

In the tonalpohualli, Chalchihuihtotolin rules over day Tecpatl (Stone Knife) and over trecena 1-Atl (Water).


Chalchiuhtlicue (also Chalchihuitlicue, Chalciuhtlicue), “She of the Jade Skirt”, or “She whose Night-robe of Jewel-stars Whirls Above”, Lady of the Maintenance. As Acuecucyoticihuati she is the goddess of oceans, rivers and any other running water, but also a goddess of birth and the patron of women in labor.

Chalchiuhtlicue is the wife of Tlaloc, the Rain God, and mother of Tecciztecatl, the Moon god.

Chalchiuhtlicue was the ruler over the previous Fourth Sun. This world was destroyed by a flooding.

In the tonalpohualli, Chalchiuhtlicue is the protector of both the fifth day, Coatl (snake), and the fifth trecena, 1-Acatl (reed). Chalchiuhtlicue is Lord of the Day for days with number 3 (“yei” in Nahuatl). She is the sixth Lord of the Night.


Chalmecatecuhtli is a god of sacrifice, ruler of one of the nine levels of the underworld. He is closely related to Mictlantecuhtli .

In the tonalpohualli, Chalmecatecuhtli is the Lord of the Day for days with number 11 (mahtlactli-once in Nahuatl)


Chantico, She Who Dwells In The House, the goddess of hearth fires, personal treasures and volcanoes.

Chantico broke a fast by eating paprika with roasted fish, and then was turned into a dog by Tonacatecuhtli.

Chantico is closely related to Xiuhtecuhtli. She also wears a crown of poisonous cactus spikes, and takes the form of a red serpent. Chantico is the goddess of precious things and is very defensive of her possessions. There are many Aztec legends as to what she does to people (or other gods) who take her things.

In the tonalpohualli, Chantico rules over trecena Ehecatl (wind).


Cihuateteo or Cihuapipiltin, the divine or noble women, the goddesses of the crossroads. They can be dangerous goddesses, spirits of women who died in childbirth, and now live on, escorting the setting sun. At noon they take over the escort from the warriors who have died in combat.

The Cihuateteo are closely related to the Tzitzimime (like for example the goddess Itzpapalotl), the star daemons that are protectors of midwives and women in labor.

The Cihuapipiltin have special influence on days 1-Calli (House), 1-Mazatl (Deer), 1-Ozomahtli (Monkey), 1-Cuauhtli (Eagle), 1-Quiahuitl (Rain).
On these days, after sunset, the Cihuapipiltin go to the crossroads to steal children and seduce men to commit aldultery.


Citlalicue (also Citlalinicue), Her Skirt is Stars, is also known as Ilamatecuhtli. She is a creator goddess, goddess of the stars and the Milky Way, earth, death and darkness.

With her husband Citlalatonac she created the stars. Citlalicue and Citlalatonac are sometimes associated with the first pair of humans, Nata and Nena.
As Ilamatecuhtli she is associated with Cihuacoatl .

In the tonalpohualli, Citlalicue is the Lord of the Day for days with number 13 (mahtlactli-omei in Nahuatl).


Huehuecoyotl, the Old Coyote, also known as the Ancient Drum. He is a trickster, capable of reversals and pranks, often cruel ones. Huehuecoyotl is also a god of storytelling, music, dance and merriment. Further, he is the patron of uninhibited sexuality – his partners can be female or male of any species.

Huehuecoyotl’s tricks are often played on other gods but frequently backfire and cause more trouble for himself than the intended victims. He is a great party-giver, but also alleged to foment wars between humans to relieve his boredom.

He is related to Tezcatlipoca family of gods. Like Tezcatlipoca, he is a frequent shape-shifter, capable of transforming himself into another animal or human at whim and unpredictably.
Those who have indications of evil fates from the gods can appeal to Huehuecoyotl to mitigate or reverse their fate.

In the tonalpohualli, Huehuecoyotl is both the ruler of the fourth day, Cuetzpalin (lizard), and the fourth trecena, 1-Xochitl (flower).


Huitzilopochtli, Hummingbird of the South, (or Hummingbird of the Left) is the central deity of the Mexica. He is associated with the Sun and Fire. Huitzilopochtli is a warrior, armed the with the ferrocious Xiuhcoatl (“Fire Snake”).

Huitzilopochtli is sometimes identified as the Blue Tezcatlipoca.

In the Huey Teocalli of Tenochtitlan (the major temple of ancient Mexico City) one half was dedicated to Huitzilopochtli, the other half to Tlaloc, the god of rain. Since war is called in atl in tlachinolli (“the water, the fire”), this combination of gods of fire and of water makes the major temple a place dedicated to the sacred war.

Huitzilopochtli has no direct relevance for the tonalpohualli. In the xiuhpohualli however, various festivals are dedicated to him.


Itztlacoliuhqui-Ixquimilli is Curved Point of Obsidian – Knife Eye Bundle, the god of frost, ice, cold, winter, sin, punishment and human misery. He is also the god of objectivity and blind-folded justice. He is a variant of Tezcatlipoca and associated with the night and the north.

Itztlacoliuhqui once was Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli (Lord of the Dawn, Venus as the Morning Star), but after a shooting match with the Sun Tonatiuh during the creation of the Fifth World, he was punished by Tonatiuh and transformed into Itztlacoliuhqui, god of stone and coldness.

Itztlacoliuhqui rules over trecena 1-Cuetzpalin (lizard).


Itzpapalotl is the Obsidian Butterfly or Clawed Butterfly, the Feminine Warrior.

Itzpapalotl stands for purfication or rejuvenation by sacrifice of that what is precious.
Itzpapalotl is often depicted as a skeletal being with jaguar claws and wings edged by obsidian knifes.
She is one of the Tzitzimime, the powerful and dangerous star daemons. With other female deities like the Cihuateteo , Tlaltecuhtli , Coatlicue , Citlalicue and Cihuacoatl , the Tzitzimime are protectors of midwives and women in labor.

Itzpapalotl rules over Tamoachan, the heaven where the gods created the human race. Tamoachan is the home for the victims of infant mortality. Here grows the Suckling Tree which bears 400,000 nipples. In this place the children can comfortably regain strength for re-incarnation.
In the tonalpohualli, Itzpapalotl rules over day Cozcacuauhtli (knife) and over trecena 1-Calli (house).


Itztli (also Itzli) or Obsidian, is a god of stone and sacrifice. He is a variant of Tezcatlipoca and shares qualities with Itztlacoliuhqui-Ixquimilli .

Itztli is the second Lord of the Night.


Mayahuel is the goddess of the maguey plant and of fertility. Protector of mature wombs that turn into life.

From the milky sap of the maguey plant, aguamiel, the alcoholic drink pulque (octli in Nahuatl) was brewn. Mayahuel is often depicted with many breasts to feed her many children, the Centzon Totochtin (Four Hundred Rabbits), the divine rabbits, causes of drunkenness, the gods of drunkenness. .

Mayahuel is the wife of Patecatl, who is also a pulque god.
The deity Ometochtli (Two Rabbit) represents all pulque gods.

The spines of the maguey were used by ancient priests and nobles for autosacrifice.

According to myth Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl took Mayahuel from her grandmother and the fearsom star daemons, the Tzitzimime . The Tzitzimime caught her and tore her to pieces. Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl buried her remains from which the first maguey grew.

Mayahuel is both the ruler of the eighth day, Tochtli (rabbit), and the eighth trecena, 1-Malinalli (grass).


The goddess Mictlancihuatl is the wife of the Death God Mictlantecuhtli, ruler over Mictlan, the northern realm of the dead.


Mictlantecuhtli is ruler over Mictlan, the lowest underworld, the northern realm of the dead. Mictlantecuhtli’s wife is Mictlancihuatl. He is associated with the spider, the owl and the bat.

To create life, Quetzalcoatl needed the bones from those that lived in the previous world, the Fourth Sun. First Mictlantecuhtli agreed but when Quetzalcoatl came to collect the bones Mictlantecuhtli changed his mind. Fortunately, Quetzalcoatl managed to escape. However, on his way back up he dropped some bones and broke some of them. This explains why humans have all different sizes.

Mictlantecuhtli is both the ruler of the tenth day, Itzcuintli (dog), and the tenth trecena, 1-Tecpatl (knife). He is Lord of the Day for days with number 6 (“chicuacen” in Nahuatl). He is the fifth Lord of the Night.


Patecatl is the Lord of the Land of Medicines, a god of healing and fertility. He is the husband of Mayahuel .

With Mayahuel, he is the father of the Centzon Totochtin (Four Hundred Rabbits), the divine rabbits, and the gods of drunkenness. Like Mayahuel and the Centzon Totochtin, Patecatl himself is a god of pulque, the alcoholic beverage made from the maguey plant.

Patecatl is the protector of the 12th day of the tonalpohuall, day Malinalli (grass).


Piltzintecuhtli is the Youthful Lord, a solar deity. According to some, he is the planet Mercury. Mercury is the sun’s little brother, the planet that is visible just before sunrise or just after sunset.

Piltzintecuhtli is the son of Oxomoco and Cipactonal , the first man and the first woman. His wife is Tlazolteotl . He is the father of Centeotl the maize god .

Piltzintecuhtli is third Lord of the Night.


The god Quetzalcoatl, is the Feathered Serpent or Precious Twin. He is the god intelligence and self-reflection, a patron of priests.
Quetzalcoatl is a primordial god of creation, a giver of life. With his opposite Tezcatlipoca he created the world. Quetzalcoatl is also called White Tezcatlipoca, to contrast him to the black Tezcatlipoca.

As the Lord of the East he is associated with the morning star, his twin brother Xolotl was the evening star (Venus). As the morning star he was known by the name Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, “lord of the star of the dawn.” An other representation of Quetzalcoatl is Ehecatl, the Wind God. His calendrical name is Ce Acatl (One Reed).

After the last world, the Fourth Sun had been destroyed, Quetzalcoatl went to Mictlan, the land of the death, and created our current world, the Fifth Sun, by using his own blood to give new life to bones. Quetzalcoatl is also the giver of maize (corn) to mankind.

In the tonalpohualli, Quetzalcoatl rules over both the second day, Ehecatl (wind), and the second trecena, 1-Ocelotl (jaguar). He is Lord of the Day for days with number 9 (“chicunahui” in Nahuatl).


Tecciztecatl (or Tecuciztecatl), the Old Moon God, represents the male aspect of the moon. Tecciztecatl is the son of Tlaloc and Chalchihuitlicue .

In the beginning of the current world, the gods gathered at Teotihuacán and asked “Who will take on the charge of illuminating the One World?” The beautiful and wealthy Tecciztecatl volunteered. When the moment arrived to complete the necessary rituals by throwing himself into the sacrificial fire, he became scared. The gods passed the opportunity to the sickly and blistered Nanahuatzin . She went and became the sun. Ashamed, Tecciztecatl followed her to become another sun. However, the gods threw a rabbit at him to dim his radiance. This is how the Fifth Sun started and how Tecciztecatl became the moon.

Tecciztecatl is often pictured he carrying a large, white seashell, representing the moon. He is also called He is called “he who comes from the land of the sea-slug shell.”

In the tonalpohualli, Tecciztecatl is the ruler of the sixth day, Miquiztli.


Tepeyollotl, Heart of the Mountain, the Jaguar of the Night, lord of the animals, darkened caves, echoes and earthquakes. Tepeyollotl is a variant of Tezcatlipoca. The spots on his coat represent the stars in the sky.

In the calendar, Tepeyollotl rules over both the third day, Calli (house), and the third trecena, 1-Mazatl (deer). He is the eighth Lord of the Night.


Tezcatlipoca is the Smoking Mirror.

He is the god of the nocturnal sky, god of the ancestral memory, god of time and the Lord of the North, the embodiment of change through conflict.

Together with his eternal opposite Quetzalcoatl, he created the world. In this process, Tezcatlipoca lost his foot when he used it as bait for the Earth Monster Cipactli. As a god of creation he is known as Ipalnemoani, “He by whom we live”.

Tezcatlipoca has many aspects. As Tezcatlipoca Yaotl (“Enemy”) he is the patron of the warrior, as Tezcatlipoca Telpochtli he stands for eternal youth. Other names are Necocyaotl (“Enemy of Both Sides”), Tloque Nahuaque (“Lord of the Near and Far”) and Yohualli Ehecatl (Night Wind), Ome acatl (“Two Reed”) and Ilhuicahua Tlalticpaque (“Possessor of the Sky and Earth”).

Quetzalcoatl is also called White Tezcatlipoca, to contrast him to the black Tezcatlipoca. Tezcatlipoca is usually depicted black with yellow stripe painted across his face. He is often shown with his right foot replaced with an obsidian mirror or a snake.
One of his Naguals is the Jaguar, and his Jaguar aspect is the deity Tepeyollotl “Heart of the Mountain”. Another Nagual of Tezcatlipoca is Chalchihuihtotolin, the (blood-) Jewelled Fowl. Chalchihuihtotolin is a symbol of powerful sorcery.
Tezcatlipoca can tempt humans into self-destruction, but when he takes his turkey form he can also cleanse them of contamination, absolve them of guilt, and overcome their fate.

In the tonalpohualli, Tezcatlipoca is the ruler of day Acatl. He is Lord of the Day for days with number 10 (“mahtlactli” in Nahuatl).


Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli (also Tlahuixcalpantecuhtli) is the Lord of the House of the Dawn, Venus as the Morning Star. Tlahuixcalpantecuhtli is a manifestion of Quetzalcoatl , who has Xolotl, Venus as the Evening Star as his twin brother.

Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli is a god of war.

In Teotihuacán Tlahuixcalpantecuhtli attacked Tonatiuh, the newly created Sun , by throwing an atl-atl dart at him. Tlahuixcalpantecuhtli missed. Tonatiuh threw a dart back, piercing Tlahuixcalpantecuhtli through the head. This transformed Tlahuixcalpantecuhtli into Itztlacoliuhqui, god of stone and coldness .

In the tonalpohualli, Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli is the Lord of the Day for days with number 12 (mahtlactli-omome in Nahuatl).


Tlaloc, He Who Makes Things Sprout. Tlaloc is the god of rain, lightning and thunder. He is a fertility god, but also a wrathful deity. He is responsible for both floods and droughts.

Tlaloc is commonly depicted as a goggle-eyed blue being with jaguar fangs. Often he is presented wearing a net of clouds, a crown of heron feather and foam sandals. He carries rattles to make thunder.

Tlaloc was first married to the goddess Xochiquetzal, but then Tezcatlipoca kidnapped her. He later married Chalchihuitlicue. With Chalchihuitlicue he became the father of Tecciztecatl. Tlaloc has an older sister named Huixtocihuatl.

He is the ruler of Tlalocan, the fourth heaven. Tlalocan is the place of eternal spring, a paradise of green plants. Tlalocan is the destination in the afterlife for those who died violently from phenomena associated with water, such as by lightning, drowning and water-borne diseases.
Tlaloc ruled over the third world, 4 Quiahuitl, the world that was destroyed by a fiery deluge.
He is served by various rain spirits called the tlaloque.

In Tenochtitlan, ancient Mexico City, half of the central temple (“Huey Teocalli“) was dedicated to Tlaloc. The other half was dedicated to Huitzilopochtli, the god of the Mexica.

Tlaloc is both the protector of the seventh day, Mazatl (deer) and the seventh trecena, 1-Quiahuitl (rain). He is Lord of the Day for days with number 8 (“chicuei” in Nahuatl). Tlaloc is the nineth and last Lord of the Night.


Tlaltecuhtli is the Earth Goddess.

Tlaltecuhtli is closely associated with Tonatiuh, the sun or Sun God .
She is called by midwives when the difficult birth of an infant threatens the life of its mother.

After Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca had created large cosmic trees to seperate the skies from the waters, they needed to create a solid place to for creatures to dwell on. Within the primordial waters swam a huge cayman-like monster named Tlaltecuhtli.
The two gods decided to destroy here for the sake of the re-creation of the world. Tezcatlipoca used his foot as bait to catch her. Tlaltecuhtli came up to bite it off. In the fight that followed, Tezcatlipoca lost his foot, but Tlaltecuhtli lost her lower jaw. Without it, she could no longer sink below the surface of the waters. Now the gods created the Earth upon her back. Of her hair they made trees, flowers and grasses, of her eyes wells, fountains and little caverns, of her nose valleys, and of her shoulders mountains.

Sometimes at night, the goddess can still be heard crying for the pains she is suffering. Only the sacrifice of blood gives her some consolation.

Tlaltecuhtli is the Lord of the Day for days with number 2 (“ome” in Nahuatl).


Tlazolteotl, “Filth Goddess”, a mother-earth goddess.
Tlazolteotl is the goddess of the human fertility and of sexuality. Tlazolteotl is associated with the moon.

As Tlaelcuani, “the Eater of Filth” she is the goddess of the Ritual Cleansing. She is the mother of Centeotl, a maize god . In her incarnation as Teteoinnan, “Mother of the Gods”, she is protector of the midwives, doctor women and of those who tell fortune.

In the tonalpohualli, Tlazoteotl is the protector of the 14th day, Ocelotl (jaguar), and the 13th trecena, Ollin (movement). She is Lord of the Day for days with number 5 (“mahcuilli” in Nahuatl). She is the seventh Lord of the Night.


Tonacatecuhtli, Lord of Our Sustenance, is a primordial creator god, a god of fertility and beginnings. Tonacatecuhtli is the being at the “center” of existence, a place around which everything revolves but where everything is still and at rest.

With his wife, Tonacacihuatl , he resides in the uppermost heaven, Omeyocan, “Place of Duality” . Tonacatecuhtli is sometimes associated with Ometeotl (Lord of Duality) .

In the tonalpohualli, Tonacatecuhtli rules over day Cipactli (crocodile).


Tonatiuh, the Sun or the Sun God. Symbol of the Fifth World, the present era.

According to Aztec Mythology, there have been four historical ages, called Suns – those of earth, wind, fire and water. Each has been destroyed. The present era is that of the Sun of Movement, Ollintonatiuh. It is also known as Nahuiollin or 4-Ollin (Movement). In the famous stone of Axayacatl, as you can see on the left, Tonatiuhs face is embedded in this calendrical sign. The wings of the Ollin symbol show the calendrical signs of the past four eras. Tonatiuhs claws are aspects of the Earth Goddess, Tlaltecuhtli.

In the tonalpohualli, Tonatiuh rules over trecena Miquiztli (death). He is Lord of the Day for days with number 4 (“nahui” in Nahuatl).

Xipe Totec

Xipe Totec, Our Lord the Flayed One.

Xipe Totec is the god of the shedding of skins, God of Seedtime, the elemental force of rebirth. He is associated with rejuvenation and spring time.

Xipe Totec flayed himself to give food to humanity, symbolic of the maize seed losing the outer layer of the seed before germination.

Xipe Totec is the patron of the goldsmiths.
Xipe Totec is also known as the Red Tezcatlipoca, to contrast him to the Black Tezcatlipoca.

In the calendar, Xipe Totec is the protector of day Cuauhtli (eagle) and of the trecena that starts with day 1-Itzcuintli (dog).


Xiuhtecuhtli is the Turquoise Lord, Lord of the Year, God of Fire, creator of all life.
Xiuhtecuhtli is also called Ixcozauhqui and Huehueteotl, the Old God. He is the “Mother and Father of the Gods, he who stands at the center of the world.” He is the personification of light in the darkness, warmth in coldness, food during famine, and life in death.

Xiuhtecuhtli is often depicted with a red or yellow face, with a censer on his head. As a patron of kings and warriors he is shown wearing a crown and ornaments made of a Turquoise blue stone. As Huehueteotl, he appears as an elderly man, usually bent over and carrying a brazier, or small stove, on his head.

Chalchiuhtlicue is mentioned to be his wife. With Chantico as his feminine counterpart, he is seen as a representation of Ometeotl. His nagual is the Xiuhcoatl, the Fire Serpent.

Xiuhtecuhtli is the central deity in the New Fire ceremony, held every 52 years in year 2 Acatl (Ome Acatl, which is also a name for Tezcatlipoca).
In the tonalpohualli, Xiuhtecuhtli is the protector of day Atl (water). He rules over the last trecena of the tonalpohualli, 1-Tochtli (rabbit). Xiuhtecuhtli is Lord of the Day for days with number 1 (“ce” in Nahuatl). He is the first Lord of the Night.


Xochipili, the Flower Prince, is the god of flowers, pleasure, feasting, frivolity and artistic creativity.

Xochipili is closely related to Macuilxochitl (Five Flower), who is one of the Ahuiateteo, the gods that embody the dangers of excess. The Ahuiateteo are related to the direction of the south. They share characteristics of Tezcatlipoca. The Ahuiateteo are often paired with the dangerous Cihuateteo .

Xochipili rules over the eleventh day of the tonalpohualli, day Ozomahtli (monkey).


Xochiquetzal is Flower Feather, the ever young and pretty goddess of flowers, love, pleasure and beauty. She is a patron of artists.

Xochiquetzal represents the sexual power of young women. In this way she is related to the Ahuiateteo and excess. She also resides over childbirth and pregnancy, relating her to mother-goddesses like Toci and Tlazolteotl.

Her twin is Xochipili. Her husband was Tlaloc, until Tezcatlipoca kidnapped her and she was forced to marry him.

Xochiquetzal is often displayed surrounded by flowers and butterflies, and accompanied by a hummingbird or an ocelotl.

In the tonalpohualli, Xochiquetzal rules over the last day, Xochitl (flower) and over trecena 1-Cuauhtli (eagle).


Xolotl, the Twin, the Shapeshifter, Venus as the Evening Star, the Lord of the West, Double of Quetzalcoatl.

Xolotl is the dog-like deity, often depicted with ragged ears. He is identified with sickness and physical deformity. As a double of Quetzalcoatl, he carries his conch-like ehecailacacozcatl or wind jewel.

Xolotl accompanied Quetzalcoatl to Mictlan, the land of the death, or the underworld, to retrieve the bones from those who inhabited the previous world (Nahui Atl) to create new life for the present world, Nahui Ollin, the sun of movement. In a sense, this re-creation of life is reacted every night when Xolotl guides the sun through the underworld.

In the tonalpohualli, Xolotl rules over day Ollin (movement) and over trecena 1-Cozcacuauhtli (vulture).