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Quetzalcoatl refers to a central figure in Mesoamerican polytheism or pantheism.


A great many people are understandably confused about the identity of Quetzalcoatl, since there are more than one extremely important figure in Mesoamerican mythology that bore the name as well as the many different versions of the stories on the same character.

Topiltzin Ce Acatl Quetzalcoatl[edit]

One of the more interesting and important pieces of Aztec myth involves Topiltzin Ce Acatl Quetzalcoatl, a probably-mythical Toltec king. The Aztecs claimed direct descent from the Toltecs (migrating Aztec and Chichimec tribes actually led to the toppling of the Toltec empire), whose rule over central Mexico they mythologized greatly not only in order to increase their own legitimacy, but to syncretise the new peoples. Topiltzin Ce Acatl, according to the legend, ushered the Toltec Empire into a golden age — corn grew to seven feet tall, there was always just enough rain, and ice cream never fell off the cone while you were eating it. He also banned human sacrifice, allowing only butterflies and other small animals to be killed in temples. However, a figure considered the counterpart of Tezcatlipoca (Lit. "The Smoking Mirror", god of deception, creation, providence, obsidian, the night, and rulership, among other things; often the antagonist due to his capricious and elusive nature), got envious. So he manifested himself as an sorcerer, who then disguised himself as a nobleman and visited Topiltzin's court. Topiltzin was coaxed into drinking the pulque, being none the wiser, then proceeded to get shitfaced (having never had alcohol before), and did some rather unfortunate things with his sister, who took a vow of chastity as a priestess.<brb>

He woke up the next morning with a really bad hangover and a great deal of shame, so he exhiled himself and called out to his servants or loyal followers to adorn him richly and prepare for a pyre, and then set himself on fire. Many stories recalled that he was born as the Venus persona of Quetzalcoatl, resurrecting at the dawn (many have compared this to Jesus’s death and resurrection).

Topiltzin Ce Acatl’s estimated date of departure corresponds roughly to the invasion of the northern Yucatan Peninsula by the Itza, a people who may well have been displaced Toltecs. So there may have been a historical link. Some other researchers have alluded to the possibility that Quetzalcoatl’s defeat by Tezcatlipoca was a symbolic tale about the Aztec defeating and rising from the ashes of the civilisations before them.

According to some prominent variations, the promised date of his return was roughly aligned with that of the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors, which the Conquistadors have weaponised as propaganda against the indigenous Nahua people since they “believed in false gods”. However, the Aztec elites did fear that the common people might started to really believe that Hernan Cortes and his retinue were the incarnations of Quetzalcoatl. He was described in myths as being pale-skinned, with a thick beard (Native Americans do not grow thick beards, if any). This description seems so European that it is regarded by many as a definite hint of pre-Columbian contact between the Old and New Worlds.[1] Since this was recounted my Spanish sources however, in recent times people have disputed those claims, owing due to the erasure and demonisation of indigenous people in the Americas by colonialists. Aztec deities vary widely from city-state to city-state; much of what is known about their beliefs were the state religion centred around the confines of the Triple Alliance cities, which included the capital of Tenochtitlan. Quetzalcoatl’s many incarnations and several surviving portrayals of him challenged the ‘white saviour’ narrative, as depicted by his Ehecatl and Tlahuizpantecuhtli manifestations.

Quetzalcoatl the god[edit]

Quetzalcoatl is the god of chocolate, which makes him far more benevolent than any other god could hope to be.

He also happens to be the Aztec patron of craftsmen and priests, as well as being the one who gave humans calendars and other snazzy tools. In Nahua creation mythologies, Quetzalcoatl was one of the primordial creator beings; not only was he the god of wisdom, culture, the West, the Wind, and one of the Suns, but the very power that moves them or the very essence of those elements. He even created the human race by stealing bones from the Underworld and sprinkled them with his own blood that he cut from the tip of his penis. Pretty badass. He is often depicted as a feathered serpent. Interestingly, he was born of a virgin, and in his incarnation as Topiltzin Ce Acatl, resurrected from the ashes, but that's usually where the parallel to Jesus ends.[2]


Definitely Jesus!

The two were conflated starting shortly after the Spanish conquest. Mountains of bullshit resulted. Though not an official church doctrine, some Mormons believe that Quetzalcoatl was actually Jesus Christ visiting the New World.[3] Some New Agers claim to have talked to/channeled him,[4] and he often serves as "awesome exotic Native American who was totally wise and nonviolent" to people who don't know what they're talking about, or as someone who will return to kill everything/enlighten everything in 2012.[5] To put Quetzalcoatl in a Mayan prophecy is doubly wrong, because Quetzalcoatl is not a Mayan god, although he does have a close counterpart named Kulkulcan. The divine Feathered Serpent was about as multi-faceted and subjective as any other divinities—Mesoamerican or not, but New Agers don't like all that negativity, or, for that matter, anything more complex and nuanced than a pile of tofu. Thus, they forget about all that stuff and keep to their cherry-picking cultural appropriation.


Quetzalcoatl was the namesake for Quetzalcoatlus, which was a pterosaur (flying reptile) during the late Cretaceous period. It lived at the same time as the dinosaurs, but was not a dinosaur. Quetzalcoatl was also the subject of a low-budget film from 1982 starring David Carridine, titled simply Q.

Surviving records, mostly written by the Spanish, claimed that the Aztecs thought Hernán Cortés was Quetzalcoatl.[6] (Now considered unreliable as it was portrayed from a very agenda-based lenses of the Catholic colonizers.)