TLALOC (The Aztec god of rain, storms, and fertility)

How was Tlaloc worshiped?

In the month of Tóxcatl, the sixth month (or 5th) of the Aztec solar year, Tezcatlipoca was worshipped in special ceremonies. As with other Aztec religious rites an important part of the ceremony was the impersonation of the god, most often by a prisoner of war, typically the best looking and most courageous one.

One may also ask, why was Tlaloc important to the Aztecs? The rain god was among the most important of the Aztec deities, governing the spheres of water, fertility, and agriculture. Tlaloc oversaw crop growth, especially maize, and the regular cycle of the seasons. He ruled over the 13-day sequence in the 260-day ritual calendar beginning with the day Ce Quiauitl (One Rain).

In respect to this, who was Tlaloc?

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.

T-la-lock-T 1. [english] Tlaloc is an Aztec god of rain, lightening, and thunder.

Weather god

A weather god, also frequently known as a storm god, is a deity in mythology associated with weather phenomena such as thunder, lightning, rain, wind, storms, tornados, and hurricanes. Should they only be in charge of one feature of a storm, they will be called after that attribute, such as a rain god or a lightning/thunder god. This singular attribute might then be emphasized more than the generic, all-encompassing term "storm god", though with thunder/lightning gods, the two terms seem interchangeable. They feature commonly in polytheistic religions.

Storm gods are most often conceived of as wielding thunder and/or lightning (some lightning gods' names actually mean "thunder", [1] [2] [3] but since one cannot have thunder without lightning, they presumably wielded both). The ancients didn't seem to differentiate between the two, which is presumably why both the words "lightning bolt" and "thunderbolt" exist despite being synonyms. Storm gods are typically male (especially the lightning/thunder ones), powerful and irascible (the irascibility is probably a trait because of the command over thunder/lightning, thus the god's power over this aspect of the natural world influences his personality). Rain and wind deities tend to not be portrayed as wrathful as thunder/lightning deities.


Tlaloc was first married to Xochiquetzal, a goddess of flowers, but then Tezcatlipoca kidnapped her. He later married the goddess Chalchiuhtlicue, "She of the Jade Skirt". In Aztec mythic cosmography, Tlaloc ruled the fourth layer of the 'Upper World", or heavens, which is called Tlalocan ("place of Tlaloc") in several Aztec codices, such as the Vaticanus A and Florentine codices. Described as a place of unending Springtime and a paradise of green plants, Tlalocan 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 (Miller and Taube, 1993).

With Chalchiuhtlicue, he was the father of Tecciztecatl. He had an older sister named Huixtocihuatl. He ruled over the third of the five worlds in Aztec belief. In Salvadoran mythology, he was also the grandfather of Cipitio.

Over-labeling as 'Tlaloc' [ edit | edit source ]

Ever since the identification of Tlaloc as the Rain God who had large fangs and goggled eyes, there seems to be an over-labeling of different religious figures as Tlaloc. This is an issue because too many deities are being oversimplified and branded as Tlaloc or versions of Tlaloc, even with very little evidence or archaeological support. This is likely because of the extensive list of symbols that are related to Tlaloc, whether correctly or unreasonably. “Armillas’ list of elements associated with Tlaloc includes a large proportion of Teotihuacan iconography, including the jaguar, serpent, owl, quetzal, butterfly, bifurcated tongue, water lily, triple-shell symbol, spider” and more. Archaeologist have started to compare different religious icons featured on murals and pottery to the “classic” Tlaloc and Tlaloque characteristics in order to rule out individuals who do not actually represent Tlaloc. [2]

For instance, some figures found at Tepantitla were named Red Tlalocs as they were colored red and had faint similarities to the actual physical features of Tlaloc. However, these “Red Tlalocs” were disassociated with Tlaloc as the mural they are featured in contains no reference to water, fertility, or growth, and none of the facial features or headdresses are similar enough to those associated with Tlaloc or the Tlaloque, such as the versions of Tlaloc in Codex Borgia. Therefore, some archaeologists threw out the preconceived notion that these entities were related to Tlaloc at all and they are likely to be other lesser known deities that need more research to be correctly named. Due to the increased quantity of pottery that have been found since the 1940s, there is more information to work with and likely a better, more precise differentiation between the gods of Mesoamerica.[3]

Tlaloc, Beyond the Rain God

Sometime in the mid-1800s, in the sleepy town of San Miguel Coatlinchán between the Valley of Mexico and the Sierra Nevadas a man was gathering firewood near the Barranca de Santa Clara, a creek bed just outside of town. He stumbled on a massive stone carving, partially buried, that appeared to be Aztec. Little did he know, but the villager was face to face with the largest ancient monolith ever discovered in the Americas. Before the Spanish arrived and added the “San Miguel” to the town’s name, the indigenous village was simply called “Coatlinchán,” which in the Aztec language Nahuatl translates to “House of snakes.” The gigantic monolith drew the attention of townsfolk and others throughout the region who nicknamed the sculpture “La Piedra de los Tecomates,” or, in English, “The Stone of the Tecomates.” They named it this after the scooped-out carvings in the center of the piece which reminded the locals of tecomates, the gourd-like bowls used in the area. In 1889, with the monument fully cleaned and completely visible, Mexican artist and polymath José María Velasco painted the sculpture and declared the monolith to be a rendition of Chalchiuhtlicue, an Aztec goddess of rivers, streams, springs and baptism. In 1903 the pioneer Mexican archaeologist Leopoldo Batres identified it as Tlaloc, one of the principal Aztec gods and one of the oldest gods in ancient Mexico associated with rain and all things water-related. The people in the town soon started to ascribe magical powers to the statue and went to it much as they would a Catholic saint or virgin. If the small, scooped out parts of the statue – the tecomotes – were wet, or had some small amounts of water in them, that meant that it would rain. People made offerings to the monolith to ensure they had enough rain for their crops or to prevent flooding. Further study put the statue as having been made at around 800 AD, predating the Aztecs in the area by over 500 years. With a break of a few hundred years, the 20 th Century villagers thus picked up where their ancestors left off, using the statue as it had been used for many centuries before the Spanish or even the Aztecs arrived in the area. All archaeologists know is that this sculpture of Tlaloc pre-dates the Aztecs by several centuries. They do not know which pre-Aztec culture is responsible for it, or why it was in this location. Although most likely in the same spot for over a thousand years, the modern Mexican government had other plans for Tlaloc. In 1963, with the building of the new National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, government officials wanted to move the statue from San Miguel Coatlinchán to the nation’s capital to serve as a focal point in front of the new museum. Very few people in the town wanted to part with the sculpture. The town council met and worked out a deal with federal officials. In exchange for surrendering Tlaloc to the national authorities, the town of San Miguel Coatlinchán would receive several public works projects, among them a paved junction with the Mexico-Texcoco highway, a new primary school, a health center, new water wells and state-of-the art pumping equipment for existing wells. The locals, who never wanted to part with this monumental piece of ancient art, were wary of the promises made by Mexico City politicians. When it came time to move the statue in 1964, the task was met with resistance at various stages. On February 23 of that year, a group of people destroyed the structures built to move the statue. They also deflated the tires on the massive flatbed truck that was specially created for the purpose of moving this 168-ton giant. After successive acts of sabotage, the government postponed the move. On April 16, 1964, the Mexican government sent in the army to occupy San Miguel Coatlinchán amid the protests of the locals. Dozens of workers using the most modern equipment labored for over an hour just to get the statue on the back of the flatbed truck. Ironically, on the short journey to Mexico City, the skies opened up, and it poured. The freak torrential rainstorm lasted for days. As it was not the rainy season, it was highly unusual for the area to experience what was then called one of the biggest storms ever to hit Mexico City in April. The people of San Miguel Coatlinchán were not surprised. This is what happens when you remove an old god from his happy home of 1,100 years. Tlaloc was obviously angry.

While the statue had been dated to around 800 AD, the worship of Tlaloc goes back centuries before that into the pre-Classic era of ancient Mexican history. When the Aztecs arrived in central Mexico from the north in around the year 1300 Tlaloc was already being worshipped there and the newcomers added the old rain god to their existing pantheon. The main pyramid temple in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán represents a sort of compromise between the old and new religions. Like many ancient Mexican pyramids, it had at its summit a platform of stone, on which two sanctuaries stood. The Aztecs dedicated the north one to the old god Tlaloc and the south one to their patron god Huitzilopochtli. So, the two forces that represented the prosperity of the earth, the rain and the sun, had equal footing on the top of the pyramid. Although Tlaloc imagery can be found as far back as 100 BC at sites such as Teotihuacán most of what researchers know of this god comes from Aztec accounts at the time of the Spanish Conquest.

In most representations, Tlaloc has bulging eyes and fangs. He wears a headdress of feathers from the heron, one of the largest water birds found in the Mexican lake areas. Tlaloc also wears a garment of clouds and a necklace of jade. He carries a rattle said to make the sound of thunder and in some artistic representations he is surrounded by lightning bolts. In addition to bringing rain, Tlaloc also brought fertility to crops and people. Many ancient Mexican peoples referred to him as “the provider” because crops depended on whether or not he gave the earth valuable rains. Early Spanish chroniclers noticed the Aztecs’ mix of reverence and fear of the great god Tlaloc. While the god could bless crops with rain and smile down on the people and give them an abundant harvest, Tlaloc also could be very temperamental. He had the power to withhold rain and thus cause drought and famine. He could also punish man through floods, hailstorms and hurricanes. If a specific person angered him, Tlaloc could aim with precision and strike him down with a lightening bolt. Tlaloc ruled the fourth layer of heaven called Tlalocan, which the Aztecs described as a place of eternal springtime full of lush green vegetation and flowers. Tlalocan was the destination of people who died from water-related causes such as by drowning or from water-borne diseases. Those who died from a long list of specific diseases also went to Tlaloc’s level of heaven after death, included but not limited to, gout, scabies, sores, leprosy and venereal diseases. The souls of sacrificed children also found eternal rest among the green fields of Tlaloc’s fourth layer of heaven. Tlaloc was also the lord of the Third Sun, or the third incarnation of the physical universe. Tlaloc’s rule as the Third Sun ended with a great rain of fire which destroyed the earth and forced the gods to create everything anew, thus ushering in the epoch of the Fourth Sun.

As previously mentioned, Tlaloc played a major role in the pantheon of Aztec gods. Some sources claim that Tlaloc was the son of the principal creator god, Ometeotl. Most other sources at least put Tlaloc alongside Ometeotl in the earliest days of creation, dwelling with him in his paradise. Tlaloc’s first wife was Xochiquetzal, the beautiful goddess of youth and fertility. After the god Xipe Totec stole Xochiquetzal away from him, Tlaloc then married the minor water goddess Chalchiuhtlicue. The goddess helped Tlaloc, when broken down into his four aspects, to control the weather and water-related activities on earth. The Aztecs called four aspects of Tlaloc the Tlaloque, and each Tlaloque served a specific purpose. In English, the Tlaloque were the Western Rain, the Southern Rain, the Eastern Rain and the Northern Rain. The Western Rain, often depicted in red in illustrations, created the autumn rain. The Southern Rain, usually colored in green, created growth and plenty during the summer months. The Eastern Rain was responsible for the light rains of the springtime. The Aztecs represented this Tlaloque as the golden-colored Tlaloc. The Northern Rain aspect of Tlaloc created powerful storms, floods, hurricanes, hail and snow. This was the most feared Tlaloque and was revered as a destructive aspect of Tlaloc.

For such an important god, the Aztecs observed many complex rites and rituals. As mentioned previously, they dedicated part of their great temple in the center of their capital to Tlaloc. The overseer of this part of the temple was a high priest with the title of Quetzalcoatl Tlaloc Tlamacazqui. Within the temple the priests made sure that the special bowl dedicated to Tlaloc always contained the heart of a sacrificial victim. Like many of the major Aztec gods, Tlaloc demanded human sacrifice, and he preferred children. Some researchers believe that this is because children had a greater tendency to cry before they were offered up to the gods, thus invoking the power of the water in the tears of children. Forty-four miles to the east of the great temple dedicated to Tlaloc in the center of the Aztec capital, the rain god had another sacred place on top of a mountain called Mount Tlaloc. In one of rare times during the year he ever left his palaces at Tenochtitlan, the Aztec emperor himself would travel to Mount Tlaloc in the middle of February to attend the 3-week Tlaloc celebration called the Altcahualo. During the Altcahualo festival the Aztecs sacrificed thousands of children to Tlaloc on many mountaintops throughout the Aztec Empire, as the Aztecs believed that the spirit of the Tlaloque dwelled in mountain caves. Children were dressed elaborately, adorned with flowers and carried on wooden litters to the places of offering. The young victims were usually the children of slaves or the selected second-born offspring of the noble class. As the Tlaloc rituals took place at the same time on various mountaintops throughout the Aztec heartland, the Aztecs had a similar Tlaloc sacrificial ceremony on the shores of Lake Texcoco, limited to seven children. All the children who were sacrificed were destined for the fourth level of heaven, the green and flowery paradise of Tlalocan, and therefore were not cremated. Their bodies were dressed in paper, their foreheads were painted blue and seeds covered their faces before they were buried. In their hands, the priests placed digging sticks, to help them with planting in the afterlife. The winter festival to Tlaloc called Atemoztli did not include human sacrifice but rather involved a sacrifice performed on effigies. People created dolls out of amaranth and fashioned the dolls’ teeth out of pumpkin seeds and eyes out of beans. During the three-week festival, celebrants adorned the dolls with fineries and made small offerings to them much like a modern-day Catholic Mexican would do for a saint. At the end of the Atemoztli festival, participants would cut open the doll and ceremonially extract the heart, then the doll would be cut into pieces and was eaten. The shrine-like offerings surrounding the doll during the weeks of Atemoztli would then be burned.

Because Tlaloc was such an important god for so long in the history of ancient Mexico, the Spanish had a very difficult time eradicating devotion to this powerful deity. Modern-day visitors to Mexican churches built in the 1500s may see Tlaloc imagery incorporated with the traditional Catholic imagery. This may seem strange given that the accepted version of history tells us that the Spanish did everything they could to eradicate ancient Aztec practices. Perhaps in the early days of the Conquest Tlaloc was folded into the new religion just as the Aztecs had done when they entered the Valley of Mexico centuries before, but this time in a more subtle way. There is no denying the power of the belief surrounding this god however, as evidenced by the Tlaloc revival that seemed to spring out of nowhere in connection with the discovery of the gigantic statue at San Miguel Coatlinchán. Why this strong belief in this single god across thousands of years persists so strongly is an enduring mystery of ancient Mexico.

Mount Tlaloc

At a distance of 44 miles from Templo Mayor was situated a mountain called “Mount Tlaloc” by the Aztecs.

This was considered the sanctuary of the god Tlaloc and people traveled to this place from long distances.

A shrine was located at the top of this mountain and it was called Tlalocan. Inside the shrine were four pitchers of water. Legend had it that the water from each pitcher brought a different fortune to the crops if used on them.

The water of one of these pitches, for instance, was said to cause a good harvest, water from the second pitcher was said to dry the harvest, the third pitcher’s water caused rot in the crops and that from the fourth pitcher caused the crops to freeze.

Tlaloc was one of the central deities of the Aztec pantheon. He was associated with rain, water and fertility


Tlaloc was an important deity in Aztec religion, a god of rain, fertility, and water. He was a beneficent god who gave life and sustenance, but he was also feared for his ability to send hail, thunder and lightning, and for being the lord of the powerful element of water. In Aztec iconography he is usually depicted with goggle eyes and fangs. He was associated with caves, springs and mountains.

Tlaloc was first married to Xochiquetzal, a goddess of flowers, but then Tezcatlipoca kidnapped her. He later married the goddess Chalchiuhtlicue, "She of the Jade Skirt". In Aztec mythic cosmography, Tlaloc ruled the fourth layer of the 'Upper World", or heavens, which is called Tlalocan ("place of Tlaloc") in several Aztec codices, such as the Vaticanus A and Florentine codices. Described as a place of unending Springtime and a paradise of green plants, Tlalocan 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.

With Chalchiuhtlicue, he was the father of Tecciztecatl. He had an older sister named Huixtocihuatl. He ruled over the third of the five worlds in Aztec belief.

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Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse [ edit | edit source ]

Tlaloc can be found throughout most of Ginza. He can teach the Bufula and Zionga skills through his Demon Whisper. Tlaloc benefits from learning Ice and Electricity skills.

What Attributes Does God Tlaloc Have ?

He was the main god of the Olmec culture and appears with the mask of the jaguar snake on the colossal axes and clay and jade figurines of this very ancient and advanced culture.

There are many representations of Tlaloc in sculptures, paintings and clay pots. It can be said that wherever there is a small isolated mound in the middle of a valley, archaeological remains will surely be found within it that show that the rain god was worshipped there.

Tlaloc is one of the easiest gods to identify due to its characteristic mask, which, seen from the front, gives it the appearance of wearing glasses and a moustache. In a piece of sculpture now in the Museum of Ethnography in Berlin, it is evident that, in reality, this mask is formed by two snakes intertwined to form a circle around the eyes, with the mouth of the snakes gathered over the mouth of the god.

Tlaloc’s characteristic mask, as well as almost all his garments, is painted blue, the color of water against the sky, thus representing the clouds. Tlaloc’s face and body are generally painted black, as it represented mainly storm clouds on the other hand, the white clouds are symbolized by the headdress of heron feathers, aztatzontli, which he wears on the crown of his head.

He is usually seen holding a cane of flowers in one hand and sitting on a jade seat raindrops falling from the sky form the background. At the nape of his neck is the fan of pleated paper mentioned above on his head is a conspicuous jewel, with two quetzal feathers, called quetzalmia-huayo, “the precious leaf,” meaning corn, which depends so much on the rain god.

The representations of a rain god with a peculiar mask, with large round eyes and long fangs, go back, at least, to the Teotihuacan culture of the highlands. Its characteristic features were similar to those of the Mayan rain god Chac of the same period.

Tlaloc: The History of the Aztec God of Rain and Giver of Life

What is known today is that Tlaloc was the god who granted good harvests and caused famines. The Aztec tell the story of Tlaloc blessing their rise to regional dominance by sending a famine to the Toltec, and his duality of good waters vs. bad waters was a product of the largely two-season system in Mexico. This was also one reason for his role in warfare since the Aztec focused on agriculture during his “wet” season and marched off to conquest if they had received his blessings. He was an earth deity, connected with aquatic animals and underground streams, and therefore also a god connected with fertility. This is reflected through his association with his wife, Xochiquetzal, the goddess of flowers, pleasure, young female sexuality and pregnancy, in the earlier myths.

All in all, Tlaloc is one of the most important and least well-known gods from an outsider’s perspective.

Forlag: Charles River Editors
Udgivet: 2019-09-14
Længde: 2T 14M
ISBN: 9781094206035

Watch the video: The Aztec myth of the unlikeliest sun god - Kay Almere Read (January 2022).