Ehecatl: The Snake-Bird Deity And God Of Wind Feared And Respected By The Aztecs

Last Updated on

A. Sutherland - AncientPages.com - Located in the Toluca Valley of highland central Mexico, Calixtlahuaca is one of the very few Aztec-related urban sites, of which architecture and stone sculpture survived until today.

Calixtlahuaca, a circular temple of Ehecatl, the Aztec god of wind

Calixtlahuaca, a circular temple of Ehecatl, the Aztec god of wind

Most of the settlement at Calixtlahuaca occupies the slopes of Cerro Tenismo, a small relict volcano. The Calixtlahuaca Aztec ruins near Toluca are scattered between the valley floor and the summit of the hill.

The largest and best known structure at Calixtlahuaca, is a circular temple, where archaeologists discovered life-sized stone sculpture of the Aztec god of wind, Ehecatl, which simply means 'Wind in Náhuatl'.

Calixtlahuaca occupies the slopes of Cerro Tenismo

The Aztec codices confirm that Ehecatl was black with a conical head; he wore a red bird mask and shell jewelry, but his favorite piece of jewelry was a ‘wind-jewel’ made of a conch shell.

Ehecatl was an important snake-bird deity (Quetzalcoatl) and god of air in the beliefs of the Aztecs.

This deity symbolized fertility and human breath, which means this figure was closely associated with life force. The Aztecs believed that Ehecatl – by controlling all kinds of winds, even the strongest ones – he was able to give life into the planet earth. Ehecatl’s role was particularly important because he was credited with creation of the present human race and creation of the heavens as well.

Left:Stone sculpture of Ehécatl, Wind God, National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico ; Right: Altar dedicated to the god Ehecatl, located in the middle of Metro Pino Suárez, Mexico City. Image via wikipedia

Left:Stone sculpture of Ehécatl, Wind God, National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico ; Right: Altar dedicated to the god Ehecatl, located in the middle of Metro Pino Suárez, Mexico City. Image via wikipedia

One legend says that Ehecatl blew on the *sacrificial fire to stimulate the rising of the fifth sun and the fifth moon, the sun and moon of the present world, the fifth world. With such contributions, the Aztecs considered Ehecatl a creator god.

The Aztecs ' temple of Ehecatl

The Aztecs believed that the sound of the wind in the trees represented Ehecatl’s desire.

In Aztec myths and legends, Ehecatl plays an important role. One legend says that Ehecatl introduced sexual love to mankind; he once fell in love with Mayahuel, a maiden he brought from the underworld. Their lovemaking caused a tree to grow.

The Aztecs believed that the sound of the wind in the trees represented Ehecatl’s desire.

The Aztec codices confirm that Ehecatl was black with a conical head; he wore a red bird mask and shell jewelry, but his favorite piece of jewelry was a ‘wind-jewel’ made of a conch shell.

The temples, which the Aztecs built to honor him, were circular-shaped with conical roofs to symbolize caves to the Underworld. According to one interpretation, a circle, which is endless and round, the temples’ rounded corners may have represented the god Ehecatl’s infinite powers.

ehecatlheadromanfound121

One of very special finds made at the archaeological site of Calixtlahuaca during the XIX and XX centuries, is a Romanesque figurine - a small terracotta head - unearthed in 1933 during the excavation of a burial offering in the Pre-Hispanic settlement of Tecaxic-Calixtlahuaca, located approximately forty miles NW of Mexico City.

How it got to Caxtlahuaca, 40 km northeast of Mexico City, remains a mystery. It is known the artifact is authentic and dates back to the 2nd century.

Copyright © AncientPages.com All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of AncientPages.com

Written by – A. Sutherland AncientPages.com  Senior Staff Writer

Copyright © AncientPages.com All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of AncientPages.com

Expand for references