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Xolotl

Xolotl.

Xolotl was the Aztec god with associations to both lightning and death. He was associated with the sunset and would guard the Sun as it traveled through the underworld every night. Dogs were associated with Xolotl. This deity and a dog were believed to lead the soul on its journey to the underworld. He was commonly depicted as a monstrous dog. Xolotl was the god of fire and lightning. He was also god of twins, monsters, misfortune, sickness, and deformities. Xolotl is the canine brother and twin of Quetzalcoatl, the pair being sons of the virgin Coatlicue.

He is the sinister god of monstrosities who wears the spirally-twisted wind jewel and the ear ornaments of Quetzalcoatl. His job was to protect the sun from the dangers of the underworld. As a double of Quetzalcoatl, he carries his conch-like ehecailacacozcatl or wind jewel. Xolotl accompanied Quetzalcoatl to Mictlan, the land of the death, or the underworld, to retrieve the bones from those who inhabited the previous world to create new life for the present world, Nahui Ollin, the sun of movement. In a sense, this re-creation of life is reacted every night when Xolotl guides the sun through the underworld.

His empty eye sockets are explained by the legend which says that in Teotihuacan the gods had decided to sacrifice themselves for the newly created sun. Xolotl withdrew from this sacrifice and wept so much his eyes came out of their sockets. According to the creation recounted in the Florentine Codex , after the Fifth Sun was initially created, it did not move. Ehecatl ("God" of Wind) consequently began slaying all other "gods" to induce the newly created Sun into movement. Xolotl, however, was unwilling to die in order to give movement to the new Sun.

Xolotl was typically depicted as a dog-headed man, a skeleton, or a deformed monster with reversed feet. An incense burner in the form of a skeletal canine depicts Xolotl. As a psychopomp, Xolotl would guide the dead on their journey to Mictlan, the afterlife in myths. His two spirit animal forms are the Xoloitzcuintli dog and the water salamander species known as the Axolotl. Xolos served as companions to the Aztecs in this life and also in the after-life, as many dog remains and dog sculptures have been found in Aztec burials, including some at the main temple in Tenochtitlan.

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