Awww, isn’t that sweet? I could not go on drawing the awesome gods of the Mexica for too long without having introduced this vital guy, and here he is, the Aztec’s very own culture hero; the white Tezcatlipoca, wind spirit, morning star and bringer of hot chocolate, Quetzalcoatl! Quetzalcoatl is the walking preservation of the Aztec culture, and the illuminating light to his horrid brother’s mysterious darkness, however there is an art not to be fooled by this god’s charming benevolence. Much in the same way as Tezcatlipoca can never be viewed as evil, Quetzalcoatl is by no means all good either, and upsetting dear Quetz will result in destructive consequences. Quetzalcoatl’s name means ‘Plumed/ beautiful serpent’ and he is often shown having taken up the form of the creature. The picture which I have drawn features Quetz and his beloved maguey plant, famous for being the Aztec super-plant which was useful for producing such a multitude of raw materials, from thread to thatch, and needles to the alcoholic beverage of pulque, that maguey was granted its own goddess.
The sweet love story behind Quetzalcoatl and Mayahuel is however, rather sad. Mayahuel was a beautiful daughter to one of the tzitzimime, who were wild female ‘star demons’ whose greatest pleasure derived in attacking Tonatiuh, and if successful this would cause a solar eclipse – if the Aztecs were unlucky, the tzitzimime would descend to earth and devour humanity. It became known amongst the gods that Mayahuel was being kept prisoner in her wicked mother’s home, so Quetzalcoatl volunteered to undertake a rescue mission and release her from her clutches. Quetz secretly managed to persuade Mayahuel to go with him, for the risks were great and should her mother find her then she may well lose her life. It just so happened that as they fled, the both of them fell very much in love for they were both young and the hormones, as you can imagine were flying left right and centre in the midst of mortal danger. But her mother sent after her an army of tzitzimime to hunt her down once she had discovered of her daughter’s suspicious disappearance. Quetzalcoatl transformed and hid with Mayahual as maguey plants, but while the star demons could not find Quetz, they discovered the magical Mayahuel and tore her to pieces. Devastated and gasping with tears, Quetzalcoatl gathered up the pieces of her plant body and buried them in grief in the hope of somehow reviving her. His actions saved her life, but poor Mayahuel was doomed to remain a plant forever, and thus the sweet liquid which can be drawn from her leaves to create pulque are said to be Mayahuel’s tears for Quetzalcoatl. The maguey plant was shared with humanity so that they too would be able to derive pleasure from a super-plant which was to be a miracle to their existence.
I went through about three different designs for dear, sweet Quetz until I found one that worked for him, so expect to see more of him soon! ;)