Quetzalcoatl is an Aztec sky and creator god. Quetzalcoatl is often referred to as The Feathered Serpent and was connected to the planet Venus. He was also the patron god of the Aztec priesthood, of learning and knowledge. Today Quetzalcoatl is arguably the best known Aztec deity, and is often thought to have been the principal Aztec god. However, Quetzalcoatl was one of several important gods in the Aztec pantheon along with the gods Tlaloc, Tezcatlipoca and Huitzilopochtli.
The Aztecs turned him into a symbol of dying and resurrection and a patron of priests. The worship of Quetzalcoatl sometimes included animal sacrifices, and in most traditions, Quetzalcoatl was said to oppose human sacrifice. When the Aztecs adopted the culture of the Toltecs, they made twin gods of Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl, opposite and equal; Quetzalcoatl was also called White Tezcatlipoca, to contrast him to the black Tezcatlipoca. Together, they created the world; Tezcatlipoca lost his foot in that process.
Due to their cyclical view of time and the tendency of leaders to revise histories to support their rule, many events and attributes attributed to Quetzalcoatl are exceedingly difficult to separate from the political leaders that took this name on themselves. Mesoamerican priests and kings would sometimes take the name of a deity they were associated with.
Quetzalcoatl tattoos can be found on those with a heritage in Aztec culture. Tattoos that incorporate Quetzalcoatl represent creation and the never-ending circle of life and death.
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