Quetzalcoatl

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"Feathered Serpent" of Aztec and Toltec mythology. [Roots: Quetzalli, "tail feather of the Quetzal bird"; coatl, "snake"]

Quetzalcoatl was a first-rank deity of the Aztecs and Toltecs. He originated as a god of vegetation, and was believed to have been the bringer of agriculture. He also came in the guise of the wind god, Ehécatl, represented as a man with a beard.

The Aztecs believed that the universe had seen the creation and destruction of four epochs prior to the world as they knew. Quetzalcoatl the ruler of the fifth cycle, was responsible for gathering from the underworld, the bones of the humans from these previous eras, and with the sprinkling of his blood, brought about the renaissance of human existence.

Quetzalcoatl was also the priest-king of the city of Tula, the capital of the Toltecs. After being expelled Tula, by Tezcatlipoca (the god of the night sky), Quetzalcoatl immolated himself on a funeral pyre, emerging as the planet Venus. Thus, he became the god of the morning and evening star, symbolizing death and resurrection.

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