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Mixcoatl was a deity of the Aztecs and of a number of other Native American peoples in central Mexico. Like many mythological figures of this region, Mixcoatl possessed an identity that was both complex and changeable. The Aztecs saw him primarily as a form of Tezcatlipoca, the powerful night sky god. Other groups knew him as Camaxtli. He was often portrayed with a black face or mask, a red-and-white striped body, and long hair.

deity god or goddess

Scholars of mythology have identified Mixcoatl as a hunting god of the Otomi, Chichimec, and Toltec people and their descendants. The mythic figure may have been based on the real-life warrior Eight Deer, who achieved greatness as a leader of the Pioneer

* See Names and Places at the end of this volume for further information.

Toltecs. Mixcoatl's name, which means "cloud serpent," came from his ability to change shape and take the form of clouds moving across the sky. He was also associated with the stars, particularly with the starry band known as the Milky Way.

Both a creator god and a destroyer, Mixcoatl's many roles included teaching humans the arts of hunting and fire making. He fathered 400 sons and 5 daughters to feed the sun. He was also the father of Quetzalcoatl*, an important Toltec and Aztec deity. The goddess Coatlicue was one of his wives.

See also Aztec Mythology; Coatlicue; Quetzalcoatl; Tezcatlipoca.

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