Thursday, February 11, 2016

Tlazolteotl, Aztec Goddess of Filth

Tlazolteotl by Veronica Perez

Tlazolteotl (pronounced tla sol TE otl) is the Aztec goddess of filth, decomposition, fertility, the earth and the moon. 

She is known as the eater of sin and the eater of filth as she is said to absorb the sins of her followers into herself. She is also seen as a goddess of purification since she devours your misdeeds, you are therefore purified. Tlazolteotl is also strongly associated with sexuality and sexual misdeeds such as adultery.

She is often depicted with black around her mouth, in a squatting position giving birth or wearing a conical hat and riding a broom much like the traditional version of the witch. 

The black around her mouth symbolizes the filth or dirt she eats. She is thought to have originated with the Huastec people in the Gulf of Mexico. This was a very fertile area and the earth there was said to be filled with rich, dark black soil. Cotton was grown in these regions and as such Tlazolteotl also became associated with cotton weaving. 

Tlazolteotl was also said to pardon those who have committed sins such as adultery. 

People would come to her to confess their wrong-doings and she would purify them by ingesting their misdeeds. A confession to Tlazolteotl was said to happen only once throughout a person's lifetime. It has also been said that Tlazolteotl would inflict disease in those who partook in forbidden love. If someone was accused of sexual misconduct they would be considered "unclean". This term was used to represent the moral and physical aspects of being dirty. They could be cured by a steam-bath and a rite of purification. 

Tlazolteotl is a goddess of regeneration since she is associated with the rich, fertile and decomposing earth.  

She recycles the decaying earth and brings forth new life. This is symbolic for when we turn something dark and dreary in our lives into something new, bright and full of life. When we are submerged in our darkest moments we think there is no end in site. We think the agony of despair will last forever. But nothing ever stays the same. Everything always changes and life keeps us balanced. Remember the next time you are in a dark moment in your life that after the darkness will always come light, and after the light will always come the dark. It is the cycle and that which keeps our lives balanced with both lessons and achievements. 

Call on Tlazolteotl during these times to help you to be purified of the filth and prepared to allow the new, bright and clean to enter you life. 

Image courtesy of the beautiful art of Veronica Perez

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