Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Dog of Death and the Master of Flame

Meet Xolotl, a figure from Aztec mythology. His depiction varies from source to source; sometimes he appears as an emaciated skeleton man, sometimes a man with a dog's head, and sometimes a man with backwards feet. Regardless of his form, he was the lord of fire, lightning, craftsmanship, and bad luck (the latter two seem not be a good mix). He acted as a sentry for the sun, making sure that nothing harmed it during the night. Aparently, one celestial body wasn't enough for Xolotl, who also had co-domain over the planet Venus.

In short, he was busy deity.

The other owner of this Venusian timeshare was Xolotl's twin brother: the far more glamorous Quetzalcoatl. Despite their differences, Xolotl did help a brother out and lent fire to Quetzalcoatl's beloved humanity. While Quetzalcoatl was at work inventing corn and the calendar, Xolotl had to help the dead down to Mictlan, the Aztec underworld.

Now you know and knowing is half the battle.

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