My heart is black, but it’s shiny black. (vivianstcloud) wrote in aztecmythology,
My heart is black, but it’s shiny black.

Song of Huitzilopochtli

So I thought I'd post some actual Aztec myth. :)

This is The Song of Huitzilopochtli and it tells the story of Huitzilopochtli's divine conception and birth. For those that may not know, Huitzilopochtli was the patron of the Aztecs and the War God extraordinaire. His name means Hummingbird on the Left (or South), and he is often portrayed in grand hummingbird plumage regalia. He is credited with leading the Mexica to the place where Tenochtitlan was to be founded and giving them a sign. That sign, the eagle devouring the sepent while perched on a cactus, is now found on the Mexican flag. His temple is found at the top of the Templo Mayor (along with Tlaloc's). He's my personal favorite god. :)

"In Coatepec, on the way to Tula,
there was living,
there dwelt a woman
by the name of Coatlicue.
She was the mother of the four hundred gods of the
and their sister
by name Coyolxauhqui.

"And this Coatlicue did penance there,
she swept, it was her task to sweep,
thus she did penance
in Coatepec, the Mountain of the Serpent.
And one day,
when Coatlicue was sweeping,
there fell on her some plumage,
a ball of fine feathers.
Immediately Coatlicue picked them up
and put them in her bosom.
When she finished sweeping,
she looked for the feathers
she had put in her bosom,
but she found nothing there.
At that moment Coatlicue was with child.

"The four hundred gods of the south,
seeing their mother was with child,
were very annoyed and said:
'Who has done this to you?
Who has made you with child?
This insults us, dishonors us.'
And their sister Coyolxauhqui
said to them:
'My brothers, she has dishonored us,
we must kill our mother,
the wicked woman who is now with child.
Who gave her what she carries in her womb?'

"When Coatlicue learned of this,
she was very frightened,
she was very sad.
But her son Huitzilopochtli, in her womb,
comforted her, said to her:
'Do not be afraid,
I know what I must do.'
Coatlicue, having heard
the words of her son,
was consoled,
her heart was quiet,
she felt at peace.

"But meanwhile the four hundred gods of the south
came together to take a decision,
and together they decided
to kill their mother,
because she had disgraced them.
They were very angry,
they were very agitated,
as if the heart had gone out of them.
Coyolxauhqui incited them,
she inflamed the anger of her brothers,
so that they should kill her mother.
And the four hundred gods
made ready,
they attired themselves as for war.

"And those four hundred gods of the south
were like captains;
they twisted and bound up their hair
as warriors arrange their long hair.

"But one of them called Cuahuitlicac
broke his word.
What the four hundred said,
he went immediately to tell,
he went and revealed it to Huitzilopochtli.
And Huitzilopochtli replied to him:
'Take care, be watchful,
my uncle, for I know well what I must do.'

"And when finally they came to an agreement,
the four hundred gods were determined to kill,
to do away with their mother;
then they began to prepare,
Coyolxauhqui directing them.
They were very robust, well equipped,
adorned as for war,
they distributed among themselves their paper garb,
the anecuyotl, the nettles,
the streamers of colored paper;
they tied little bells on the calves of their legs,
the bells called oyohualli.
Their arrows had barbed points.

"They began to move,
they went in order, in line,
in orderly squadrons,
Coyolxauhqui led them.
But Cuahitlicac went immediately up onto the mountain,
so as to speak from there to Huitzilopochtli;
he said to him:
'Now they are coming.'
Huitzilopochtli replied to him:
'Look carefully which way they are coming.'
Then Cuahuitlicac said:
'Now they are coming through Tzompantitlan.'
And again Huitzilopochtli said to him:
'Where are they coming now?'
Cuahuitlicac replied to him:
'Now they are coming through Coaxalpan.'
And once more Huitzilopochtli asked Cuahuitlicac:
'Look carefully which way they are coming.'
Immediately Cuahuitlicac answered him:
'Now they are coming up the side of the mountain.'
And yet again Huitzilopochtli said to him:
'Look carefully which way they are coming.'
Then Cuahuitlicac said to him:
'Now they are on the top, they are here,
Coyolxauhqui is leading them.'

At that moment Huitzilopochtli was born,
he put on his gear,
his shield of eagle feathers,
his darts, his blue dark-thrower.
He painted his face
with diagonal stripes,
in the color called 'child's paint.'
On his head he arranged fine plumage,
he put on his earplugs.
And on his left foot, which was withered,
he wore a sandal coveredw ith feathers,
and his legs and his arms
were painted blue.

"And the so-called Tochancalqui
set fire to the serpent of candlewood,
the one called Xiuhcoatl
that obeyed Huitzilopochtli.
With the serpent of fire he struck Coyolxauhqui,
he cut off her head,
and left it lying there
on the slope of Coatepetl.
The body of Coyolxauhqui
went rolling down the hill,
it fell to pieces,
in different places fell her hands,
her legs, her body.

"Then Huitzilopochtli was proud,
he pursued the four hundred gods of the south,
he chased them, drove them off
the top of Coatepetl, the mountain of the snake.
And when he followed them
down to the foot of the mountain,
he pursued them, he chased them like rabbits,
all around the mountain.
He made them run around it four times.
In vain they tried to rally against him,
rattling their bells
and clashing their shields.
Nothing could they do,
nothing could they gain,
with nothing could they defend themselves.
Huitzilopochtli chased them, he drove them away,
he humbled them, he destroyed them, he annihilated

"Even then he did not leave them,
but continued to pursue them,
and they begged him repeatedly, they said to him:
'It is enough!'

"But Huitzilopochtli was not satisfied,
with force he pushed against them,
he pursued them.
Only a very few were able to escape him,
escape from his reach.
They went toward the south,
and because they went toward the south,
they are called gods of the south.
And when Huitzilopochtli had killed them,
when he had given vent to his wrath,
he stripped off their gear,
their ornaments, the anecuyotl;
he put them on, he took possession of them,
he introduced them into his destiny,
he made them his own insignia.

"And this Huitzilopochtli, as they say,
was a prodigy,
because only from fine plumage,
which fell into the womb of his mother, Coatlicue,
was he conceived,
he never had any father.
We venerated him,
honored and served him.
And Huitzilopochtli rewarded
those who did this.
And his cult came from there,
from Coatepec, the Mountain of the Serpent,
as it was practiced from most ancient times."

trans. Miguel Leon-Portilla

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