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God of love, lord of flowers, young men and fertility, patron of homosexuality
Xochipilli 1.jpg
Xochipilli as depicted in the Borgia Codex
Other namesMacuilxōchitl, Chicomexōchitl
AbodeTamoanchan (Codex Ríos)[1]
Ethnic groupAztec, Tlaxcaltec, Toltec (Nahoa)
FestivalsTlaxochimaco, Miccailhuitontli
Personal information
ParentsXochitlicue (Codex Ramírez)[2]
Greek equivalentEros

Xōchipilli [ʃoːt͡ʃiˈpilːi] is the god of art, games, dance, flowers, and song in Aztec mythology. His name contains the Nahuatl words xōchitl ("flower") and pilli (either "prince" or "child") and hence means "flower prince".


As the patron of writing and painting, he was called Chicomexōchitl the "Seven-flower", but he could also be referred to as Macuilxōchitl "Five-flower". He was the patron of the game patolli. He is frequently paired with Xochiquetzal, who is seen as his female counterpart.[3] Xōchipilli has also been interpreted as the patron of both homosexuals and male prostitutes, a role possibly resulting from his being absorbed from the Toltec civilization.[4][5][6][7]

He, among other gods, is depicted wearing a talisman known as an oyohualli, which was a teardrop-shaped pendant crafted out of mother-of-pearl.[8]

Xochipilli statue[edit]

Xochiquetzal, left, and Xochipilli. Codex Fejérváry-Mayer
Statue of Xochipilli (From the National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City)

In the mid-19th century, a 16th-century[citation needed] Aztec statue of Xochipilli was unearthed on the side of the volcano Popocatépetl near Tlalmanalco. The statue is of a single figure seated upon a temple-like base. Both the statue and the base upon which it sits are covered in carvings of sacred and psychoactive organisms including mushrooms (Psilocybe aztecorum), tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum), Ololiúqui (Turbina corymbosa), sinicuichi (Heimia salicifolia), possibly cacahuaxochitl (Quararibea funebris), and one unidentified flower.

"The texts always use the flower in an entirely spiritual sense, and the aim of the religious colleges was to cause the flower of the body to bloom: This flower can be no other than the soul. The association of the flower with the sun is also evident. One of the hieroglyphs for the sun is a four-petalled flower, and the feasts of the ninth month, dedicated to Huitzilopochtliupo, were entirely given over to flower offerings."

- Paul Pettennude, Ph.D.[full citation needed]

The figure himself sits on the base, head tilted up, eyes open, jaw tensed, with his mouth half open and his arms opened to the heavens. The statue is currently housed in the Aztec hall of the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Mexico City.[citation needed]

Entheogen connection[edit]

Xochipilli, Aztec terracotta
Lombards Museum

It has been suggested by Wasson,[9] Schultes,[full citation needed] and Hofmann[full citation needed] that the statue of Xochipilli represents a figure in the throes of entheogenic ecstasy. The position and expression of the body, in combination with the very clear representations of hallucinogenic plants which are known to have been used in sacred contexts by the Aztec support this interpretation. The statue appears to have hugely dilated pupils, suggesting an effect of hallucinogenic mushrooms.

Wasson says that in the statue's depiction Xochipilli "is absorbed by temicxoch, 'dream flowers', as the Nahua say describing the awesome experience that follows the ingestion of an entheogen. I can think of nothing like it in the long and rich history of European art: Xochipilli absorbed in temicxoch".[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cecilio A. Robelo (1905). Diccionario de Mitología Nahoa (in Spanish). Editorial Porrúa. p. 808. ISBN 970-07-3149-9.
  2. ^ Susan D. Gillespie (1989). Los Reyes Aztecas: La Construcción del Gobierno en la Historia Mexica (in Spanish). Siglo XXI Editores. ISBN 968-23-1874-2.
  3. ^ Thompson, J. Eric (1932). "The Humming Bird and the Flower". The Maya Society Quarterly. 1 (3): 120–122.
  4. ^ Diaz del Castillo, Bernal. The True History of the Conquest of New Spain. Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham, ed. Cambridge, Mass.: Library Reprints, 2008. ISBN 1-4227-8345-6; Trexler, Richard C. Sex and Conquest: Gendered Violence, Political Order, and the European Conquest of the Americas. Paperback ed. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-8014-8482-0; Keen, Benjamin. The Aztec Image in Western Thought. Paperback ed. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1991. ISBN 0-8135-1572-6; Idell, Albert. The Bernal Diaz Chronicles. New York: Doubleday, 1956.
  5. ^ Mendelssohn, Kurt. Riddle of the Pyramids. Paperback ed. New York: Thames & Hudson Ltd., 1986. ISBN 0-500-27388-X; Estrada, Gabriel S. "An Aztec Two-Spirit Cosmology: Re-sounding Nahuatl Masculinities, Elders, Femininities, and Youth." Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies. 24:2 & 3 (2003).
  6. ^ Taylor, Clark L. "Legends, Syncretism, and Continuing Echoes of Homosexuality from Pre-Columbian and Colonial Mexico." In Male Homosexuality in Central and South America. Paperback ed. Stephen O. Murray, ed. San Francisco: Instituto Obregon, 1987. ISBN 0-942777-58-1
  7. ^ Greenberg, David (1990). The Construction of Homosexuality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 165. ISBN 0-226-30628-3.
  8. ^ Aguirre, Alejandra; Chávez, Ximena (27 March 2011). "Personified knives". mexicolore.co.uk. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
  9. ^ a b Wasson, Robert Gordon (1980). The Wondrous Mushroom: Mycolatry in Mesoamerica. McGraw-Hill. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-07-068443-0.

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