(Also Tonacatecutli)

"The Being at the Center"
"Lord of Sustenance"
"Lord of Maintenance"
"Lord of Our Existence"
"Master of the Flesh"
"Lord of Nurturance"

Pronounced: Ton-ah-kah-tay-COOT-lee

Tonacatecuhtli was a food giving and fertility god in Aztec mythology, sometimes said to correspond to the Mayan Omteotl, the supreme god who was both male and female. With his consort Tonacacihuatl, he resided in the Highest Heaven (the thirteenth heaven) and the two represented the primordial male and female principles and creative aspects. Tonacatecuhtli was also a creator god. He did not create life directly, but he created the deities Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl who were the source of all life. At the creation of the world, he separated the land and the waters.

He was depicted as being clothed in rich garments, which were meant to indicate light. Often wrongly associated with sun or fire gods, he was representative of the sky only and a purely celestial being. He was thought of as the still point at the center of a moving ring, where everything was balanced, and occupied the first place in the calendar. His day was Cipactli (crocodile), which signified advancement and honor. A good day for beginnings, the associated glyph was indicative of energy and work.

Tonacatecuhtli was the father of red Tezcatlipoca, black Tezcatlipoca, Quetzalcoatl, and Huitzilopochtli. He may have been related to Tonatiuh, the sun god.

This god would punish as well as give rewards, though he was not very active in the mythology following the creation of the world. For example, Chantico, the first woman to violate the rule of fasting before making an offering to the gods was punished by Tonacatecuhtli, who turned her into a dog for her crime.

On the other hand, he blessed Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl by making them lords of the heavens. The two gods had been destroying the various creations: the sun of earth, the sun of wind and the sun of rain, but later atoned for this by turning themselves into two huge trees, thus restoring creation.


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