General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 1 Mar 2021/6 Grass
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Article suitable for Top Juniors and above

Quetzalcoatl descends to earth by a ladder from the sky

(Feathered) Snakes and Ladders

There’s plenty of evidence that the Mexica (Aztecs) believed in a very ‘down-to-earth’ means of communication between heaven and earth - by following paths and ropes. Tezcatlipoca is said to have made the trip using a spider’s web rope. Quetzalcóatl (‘Feathered Serpent’) can often be seen in codices nipping up or down to earth, as in this example...

In this image from the Codex Vindobonensis Quetzalcóatl is shown sitting in heaven/sky and at the same time sliding down a rope to earth. He carries a sacred object using a mecapal or carrying frame with headstrap. He’s accompanied by two characters falling head first, each carrying a little house symbol: one contains a small sun figure, the other the head of a bird.

Info from El Culto a los Astros entre los Mexicas by Yólotl González Torres (1975), pp. 35-36.
Image scanned from our own copy of the ADEVA facsimile edition, Graz, Austria, 1974 (folio 48).

This article was uploaded to the Mexicolore website on Aug 18th 2013

emoticon The Maya had many beliefs that were similar to Aztec ones. The Maya rain god was called Chac. If you want to know how he popped up and down between heaven and earth, go and see ‘Chac and the Beanstalk’...

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