If you missed my last article about Mercury, you can find it here.
Hello. I am back with another triple-feature article. The unfortunate thing about time, it eventually erases everything. It could be age destroying the document or people because of changes in land ownership, borders change, rulers change, or religious change. So many reasons are to blame for the losses of knowledge and art. I say that to say this, because of this loss of information, I have had to do a number of these kinds of articles because there is simply not enough information available, and I appreciate you reading them as well as the articles featuring just one god. So, let’s get started…
Ix Chel, also known as Ixchel, is very much a goddess for women. Her name means “rainbow lady” or “she of pale face.” She is, as said above, a triple goddess. What is a triple goddess, you ask? In general, a triple goddess has three sides in one overall goddess, such as maiden, mother, and crone. Ixchel is one of those mother, maiden, and crone types. She is also connected to the goddesses O and I. Ixchel is the mother aspect, I is the maiden, and O is the crone. As such a goddess, Ixchil has a broad range of life aspects she governs. As Ixchel, she has power over childbirth, caring for pregnant women, fertility, healing, medicine, and divination. Also, as a mother, she would protect her children, usually with storms and floods. As a triple goddess, she is tied to the moon.
Ix Chel has been the consort of Chaac, the rain god, and with her husband Itzamna, the sun god, who helped create the world, she had thirteen children that helped create the universe. Ixchel and Itzamna had fled from one kingdom to another after Ixchel destroyed the first with a flood. She did manage to save Itzamna’s almanac, which is a Mayan calendar. So that along with her sick weaving skills, Itzamna made Ixchel his wife. As a maiden and a mother, Ix Chel is closely associated with rabbits and is usually depicted with one, though as a crone, she has a snake around her neck. Rabbits are associated with fertility and the moon. Ixchel moves through her aspects as the moon waxes and wanes.
With life, there is death. They are two sides of the same coin. Where Ix Chel is life, Ah Puch is a Mayan death god. According to the Mayans, he rules Mitnal, which is the worst part of the Underworld. He has dominion over disaster, destruction, and darkness too.
His body is rotting, and his face is skeletal, all while wearing an evil smile. Interestingly enough, he is known as a farting god, with one of his titles being “The Flatulent One” or “The Stinky One.” Between the rotting and the farting, Ah Puch sounds unpleasant to be around. That isn’t even taking into account his appearance or why he would be around. He wears an owl’s head and what looks like bells in his hair, which are actually eyeballs when he goes out at night. His friends are all gods that will send him souls, like Buluc Chabtan, the god of war, and Chalchiuhtotolin, the god of disease. He and Ixchel and her husband Itzamna did not get along. No surprise there.
There was even less information to be found on Kukulkan. Kukulkan is the great, plumbed serpent god. His Aztec counterpart is Quetzalcoatl. Just a bit of trivia here, Kukulkan refers to a god AND a human. There was a person named Kukulkan in the 1500s. Sources can’t tell if he was a priest or a ruler. In this piece, we will be referring to the god, not the person. He is a feathered serpent with wings and is often depicted that way in art. Many temples were built for Kukulkan because he is a vengeful deity. They were painted with the blood of human sacrifices at one point in history. Kukulkan is the bringer of elements though he kept control of air and even has the gem that is the source of all air to himself. He also introduced a calendar that has dates that reach into the future.
The Mesoamerican pantheon isn’t as close to my heart as the Egyptian, Norse, or Celtic pantheons, but the art is wonderfully colorful, as are their deities. I certainly do more to learn about them. What do you think of them? Who was your favorite? Let me know in the comments below. Until next time, have fun storming the castle!