Mictlan ( Nahuatl pronunciation: ) was the /ˈmikt͡ɬaːn/ underworld of Aztec mythology. Most people who died went to Mictlan, although other possibilities existed (see "Other Destinations," below). Mictlan, far to the north, , consisted of nine distinct levels. [1 ] [1 ]
The journey from the first level to the ninth was difficult and took 4 years, but the dead were aided by the
psychopomp, Xolotl. The dead had to pass many challenges, such as crossing a mountain range where the mountains crashed into each other, a field with wind that blew flesh-scraping knives, and a river of blood with fearsome jaguars.
Mictlan was ruled by King
Mictlantecuhtli ("Lord of the Underworld") and his wife, [2 ] Mictecacihuatl ("Lady of the Underworld"). [3 ]
Other deities in Mictlan included
Cihuacoatl (who commanded Mictlan spirits called Cihuateteo), Acolmiztli, Chalmecacihuilt, Chalmecatl and Acolnahuacatl.
Other destinations [ edit ]
In addition to Mictlan, the dead could also go to other destinations:
Warriors who died in battle and those who died as a sacrifice went east and accompanied the sun during the morning.
[1 ] Women who died in
childbirth went to the west and accompanied the sun when it set in the evening. [4 ] People who died of drowning — or from other causes that were linked to the rain god
Tlaloc, such as certain diseases and lightning — went to a paradise called Tlalocan. [1 ]
References [ edit ]
^ a b c d Smith, M. E. (2009). The Aztecs (2nd ed.). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. p. 207. ISBN 978-0-631-23016-8
^ Smith, M. E. (2009). The Aztecs (2nd ed.). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. p. 206. ISBN 978-0-631-23016-8
^ Soustelle, Jacques (Patrick O'Brian, translator) (1961). Daily Life of the Aztecs on the Eve of the Spanish Conquest. Stanford: Stanford University Press. p. 107.
^ Coe, Michael D. (1994). Mexico: From the Olmecs to the Aztecs (4 ed.). London: Thames and Hudson. p. 183.