For the fictional character from the Legends of Dune
Legends of Dune
Legends of Dune is a prequel trilogy of novels written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, set in Frank Herbert's Dune universe.* Dune: The Butlerian Jihad * Dune: The Machine Crusade * Dune: The Battle of Corrin...

 books, see Titan (Dune)#Tlaloc.

Tlaloc was an important deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

 in Aztec religion
Aztec religion
Aztec religion is the Mesoamerican religion practiced by the Aztec empire. Like other Mesoamerican religions, it had elements of human sacrifice in connection with a large number of religious festivals which were held according to patterns of the Aztec calendar...

, 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 normally depicted with goggle eyes and fangs. He was associated with caves, springs and mountains. He is known for having demanded child sacrifice
Child sacrifice
Child sacrifice is the ritualistic killing of children in order to please, propitiate or force a god or supernatural beings in order to achieve a desired result...


In Aztec cosmology
Cosmology is the discipline that deals with the nature of the Universe as a whole. Cosmologists seek to understand the origin, evolution, structure, and ultimate fate of the Universe at large, as well as the natural laws that keep it in order...

, the four corners of the universe are marked by "the four Tlalocs" which both hold up the sky and functions as the frame for the passing of time. Tlaloc was the patron of the Calendar day
Aztec calendar
The Aztec calendar is the calendar system that was used by the Aztecs as well as other Pre-Columbian peoples of central Mexico. It is one of the Mesoamerican calendars, sharing the basic structure of calendars from throughout ancient Mesoamerica....

 Mazatl and of the trecena of Ce Quiyahuitl (1 Rain). In Aztec mythology, Tlaloc was the lord of the third sun
Five Suns
Five Suns is an album by progressive rock group Guapo released in 2003.- Track listing :#Five Suns, Pt. 1 #Five Suns, Pt. 2 #Five Suns, Pt. 3 #Five Suns, Pt. 4 #Five Suns, Pt...

 which was destroyed by fire.

In the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, one of the two shrines on top of the Great Temple was dedicated to Tlaloc. The High Priest who was in charge of the Tlaloc shrine was called "Quetzalcoatl Tlaloc Tlamacazqui". However the most important site of worship to Tlaloc was on the peak of Mount Tlaloc
Mount Tlaloc
Mount Tlaloc is a mountain in central Mexico, located east of Mexico City. Its height is 13,615 ft. . It was a sacred mountain of the Aztecs who worshipped the raingod Tlaloc here. On the summit there are remains of an Aztec shrine where ceremonies, among them human sacrifices, were carried...

, a 4100 metres high mountain on the eastern rim of the Valley of Mexico
Valley of Mexico
The Valley of Mexico is a highlands plateau in central Mexico roughly coterminous with the present-day Distrito Federal and the eastern half of the State of Mexico. Surrounded by mountains and volcanoes, the Valley of Mexico was a centre for several pre-Columbian civilizations, including...

. Here the Aztec ruler came and conducted important ceremonies once a year, and throughout the year pilgrims offered precious stones and figures at the shrine.

In Coatlinchan
Coatlinchan is a town in the Mexican state of Mexico.A colossal statue over a thousand years old that was thought to represent Tlaloc was found in the town of Coatlinchan Mexico. This statue was made of Basalt and weighed an estimated 168 tons. It was moved to the National Museum of Anthropology in...

 a colossal statue weighing 168 tons was found that was thought to represent Tlaloc. Some scholars believe that the statue may not have been Tlaloc at all but his sister or some other female deity. This statue was relocated to the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City
Museo Nacional de Antropología
The Museo Nacional de Antropología is a national museum of Mexico. Located in the area between Paseo de la Reforma and Calle Mahatma Gandhi within Chapultepec Park in Mexico City, the museum contains significant archaeological and anthropological artifacts from the pre-Columbian heritage of...

 in 1964.


Tlaloc was also associated with the watery world of the dead, and with the earth. The name is thought to be derived from the Nahuatl
Nahuatl is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has several spellings, among them náhuatl , Naoatl, Nauatl, Nahuatl, Nawatl. In a back formation from the name of the language, the ethnic group of Nahuatl speakers are called Nahua...

 word tlālli "earth", and its meaning has been interpreted as "path beneath the earth", "long cave" or "he who is made of earth". J. Richard Andrews interprets it as "one that lies on the land", identifying Tlaloc as a cloud resting on the mountaintops.
Other names of Tlaloc were Tlamacazqui ('Giver') and Xoxouhqui ('Green One'); and (among the contemporary Nahua of Veracruz) Chaneco.


Tlaloc was first married to Xochiquetzal
In Aztec mythology, Xochiquetzal was a goddess associated with concepts of fertility, beauty, and female sexual power, serving as a protector of young mothers and a patroness of pregnancy, childbirth, and the crafts practised by women such as weaving and embroidery...

, a goddess of flowers, but then Tezcatlipoca
Tezcatlipoca was a central deity in Aztec religion. One of the four sons of Ometeotl, he is associated with a wide range of concepts, including the night sky, the night winds, hurricanes, the north, the earth, obsidian, enmity, discord, rulership, divination, temptation, jaguars, sorcery, beauty,...

 kidnapped her. He later married the goddess Chalchiuhtlicue
Chalchiuhtlicue was an Aztec goddess of love, beauty, youth, lakes, rivers, seas, streams, horizontal waters, storms, and baptism. Reputedly universally revered at the time of the Spanish conquest, she was an important deity figure in the Postclassic Aztec realm of central Mexico...

, "She of the Jade Skirt". In Aztec mythic cosmography
Cosmography is the science that maps the general features of the universe, describing both heaven and Earth...

, Tlaloc ruled the fourth layer of the 'Upper World", or heavens, which is called Tlalocan
Tlalocan is the first level of the upper worlds, or the Aztecs' thirteen heavens, that has four compartments according to the mythic cosmographies of the Nahuatl-speaking peoples of pre-Columbian central Mexico, noted particularly in Conquest-era accounts of Aztec mythology...

 ("place of Tlaloc") in several Aztec codices
Aztec codices
Aztec codices are books written by pre-Columbian and colonial-era Aztecs. These codices provide some of the best primary sources for Aztec culture....

, such as the Vaticanus A
Codex Rios
Codex Ríos is an Italian translation and augmentation of a Spanish colonial-era manuscript, Codex Telleriano-Remensis, that is partially attributed to Pedro de los Ríos, a Dominican friar working in Oaxaca and Puebla between 1547 and 1562...

 and Florentine codices
Florentine Codex
The Florentine Codex is the common name given to a 16th century ethnographic research project in Mesoamerica by Franciscan friar Bernardino de Sahagún. Bernardino originally titled it: La Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva Espana...

. 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
In Aztec mythology, Tecciztecatl was a lunar deity, representing the old "man-in-the-moon". He could have been the sun god, but he feared the sun's fire, so Nanahuatzin became the sun god and Tecciztecatl was promptly thrown into the moon...

. He had an older sister named Huixtocihuatl
In Aztec mythology, Huixtocihuatl was a fertility goddess who presided over salt and salt water. Her younger brother was Tlaloc, and the rain gods, the Tlaloques are her sisters, or, in some sources, the children of Tlaloc...

. He ruled over the third of the five worlds in Aztec belief. In Salvadoran
El Salvador
El Salvador or simply Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. The country's capital city and largest city is San Salvador; Santa Ana and San Miguel are also important cultural and commercial centers in the country and in all of Central America...

 mythology, he was also the grandfather of Cipitio
Cipitio is a legendary character found in salvadoran folklore. He is generally portrayed as a 10 year old boy with a big hat and a large belly. His name is taken from the Nawat word for child: "Cipit" or "Cipote"...


Rites and rituals

Those who died in water or weather related deaths such as drowning, lightning and water-borne diseases (leprosy, dropsy, scabies and gout) were thought to pass on to Tlalocan when they died, as were people of stunted growth (as their short stature was seen as a connection to the Tlaloque). The Tlalocan-bound dead were not cremated as was standard custom, but instead were buried in the earth with seeds planted in their faces and blue paint covering their foreheads. Their bodies were dressed in paper and a digging stick
Digging stick
In archaeology and anthropology a digging stick is the term given to a variety of wooden implements used primarily by subsistence-based cultures to dig out underground food such as roots and tubers or burrowing animals and anthills...

 for planting put in their hands.

The second shrine on top of the main pyramid at Tenochtitlan was dedicated to Tlaloc. Both his shrine, and Huitzilopochtli’s next to it, faced west. Sacrifices and rites took place in these temples. The Aztecs believed Tlaloc resided in mountain caves, thus his shrine in Tenochtitlan’s pyramid was called ’mountain abode’. Many rich offerings were regularly placed before it, especially those linked to water such as jade, shells and sand. Mount Tlaloc, the jewel in the crown of Tlaloc’s places of worship, was situated directly east of the pyramid. It was exactly 44 miles away and a long road connected the two places of worship. On it was a shrine containing stone images of the mountain itself and other neighbouring peaks. The shrine was called Tlalocan
Tlalocan is the first level of the upper worlds, or the Aztecs' thirteen heavens, that has four compartments according to the mythic cosmographies of the Nahuatl-speaking peoples of pre-Columbian central Mexico, noted particularly in Conquest-era accounts of Aztec mythology...

, in reference to the paradise. Also to be found inside its walls were four pitchers containing water. Each pitcher would bring a different fate if used on crops: one would bring forth a good harvest, another would rot it, the third would dry the harvest out and the final one would freeze it. Sacrifices that took place here were thought to favor early rains.

The ’Atlcahualo’ was celebrated from the 12th of February until the 3rd of March. Dedicated to the Tlaloque, this veintena
A veintena is the Spanish-derived name for a 20-day period used in pre-Columbian Mesoamerican calendars. The division is often casually referred to as a "month", although it is not coordinated with the lunar cycle...

 involved the sacrifice of many children
Child sacrifice
Child sacrifice is the ritualistic killing of children in order to please, propitiate or force a god or supernatural beings in order to achieve a desired result...

 on sacred mountaintops. The children were beautifully adorned, dressed in the style of Tlaloc and the Tlaloque. On litters strewn with flowers and feathers; surrounded by dancers, they were transported to a shrine and their hearts would be pulled out by priests. If, on the way to the shrine, these children cried their tears were viewed as signs of imminent and abundant rains. Every Atlcahualo festival, seven children were sacrificed in and around Lake Texcoco in the Aztec capital. They were either slaves or the second born children of nobles.

Similarly the festival of Tozoztontli (24 March – 12 April) involved more child sacrifice. Additionally, offerings were made in caves. The flayed skins of sacrificial victims that had been worn by priests for the last twenty days were taken off and placed in these dark, magical caverns.

The winter ’veintena’ of Atemoztli (9 December- 28 December) was also dedicated to the Tlaloque. This period preceded an important rainy season and so statues of them were made out of amaranth dough. Their teeth were pumpkin seeds and their eyes, beans. Once these statues were adorned, offered copal and fine scents and prayed to, food was presented before them.

Afterwards their doughy chests were opened, their ’hearts’ taken out and, finally, their bodies cut up and eaten. The ornaments with which they had been adorned were taken and burned in peoples’ patios. On the final day of the ’veintena’ people celebrated and held banquets.

Related gods

Archaeological evidence indicates Tlaloc was worshipped in Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica is a region and culture area in the Americas, extending approximately from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, within which a number of pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th and...

 before the Aztecs even settled there in 13th century AD. He was a prominent god in Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan – also written Teotihuacán, with a Spanish orthographic accent on the last syllable – is an enormous archaeological site in the Basin of Mexico, just 30 miles northeast of Mexico City, containing some of the largest pyramidal structures built in the pre-Columbian Americas...

 at least 800 years before the Aztecs. This has led to mesoamerican goggle-eyed raingods being referred to generically as "Tlaloc" although in some cases it is unknown what they were called in these cultures, and in other cases we know that he was called by a different name (e.g. the Mayan version was known as Chaac
Chaac is the name of the Maya rain deity. With his lightning axe, Chaac strikes the clouds and produces thunder and rain. Chaac corresponds to Tlaloc among the Aztecs.-Rain deities and rain makers:...

 and the Zapotec
Zapotec civilization
The Zapotec civilization was an indigenous pre-Columbian civilization that flourished in the Valley of Oaxaca of southern Mesoamerica. Archaeological evidence shows their culture goes back at least 2500 years...

 deity as Cocijo
Cocijo is a lightning deity of the pre-Columbian Zapotec civilization of southern Mexico. He has attributes characteristic of similar Mesoamerican deities associated with rain, thunder and lightning, such as Tlaloc of central Mexico, and Chaac of the Maya civilization...


External links

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