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Mythology Monday: Xolotl, king of the A-xolotls!

This Mythology Monday is devoted to the Aztec god Xolotl (would have been pronounced “sh-ō-lōt-uhl”).

Classic representation of Xolotl.

Classic representation of Xolotl.

Aztec gods are not often “the god of ___.” They usually represent many things. Xolotl is a trickster god (kind of Loki or Coyote esque), he is the god of fire and lightening, he is the guardian of the underworld (in an Anubis manner, he guides soul through the underworld, and he also guides the sun through the underworld at night), he is the god of deformities, and of the evening star.

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Xolotl is the twin of Quetzalcoatl (the feathered serpent, another one of my favorites), although they look nothing alike. Xolotl is typically personified as a man with the head of a dog, a skeleton with the head of a dog, or a man with the skull of a dog.

Representation of Xolotl by Amrock.

Representation of Xolotl by Amrock.

So why do we, the lovers of amphibians, reptiles, and other less loved critters care?

The dog head of Xolotl.

The dog head of Xolotl.

Xolotl…. Sound a little like axolotl? Not a coincidence! The a-xolotls lived in Aztec waters, and Aztecs thought they looked like little water dogs. Because of this dog like appearance, they made a connection with the god Xolotl. They thought the a-xolotls to be the earthly incarnations of Xolotl and Xolotl’s devoted followers.

So respect the a-xolotls! They are little manifestations of a powerful Aztec god!

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