|Ehécatl-Quetzalcóatl in the Codex Borgia|
(also known as Codex Yoalli Ehecatl or Manuscrito de Velleti)
As Quetzalcóatl-Ehécatl, he appears as the breath of life and breeze that brings clouds full of rain for newly planted seeds.
A Creation Deity
To populate their new world, the gods sent Quetzalcóatl as Ehécatl to Mictlán (the underworld). There, he was to retrieve the bones of the people of the former world. The ruler, Mictlantechuhtli, and his wife declared he could only take the bones if he travled across the underworld four times while blowing a conch-shell trumpet. The conch-shell had no holes, so Ehécatl called worms to bore holes into it and bees to fly inside and make it roar with their buzzing.
Once he successfully acquired the bones (after Mictlantecuhtli's attempts to get the bones back), the goddess Cihuacóatl ground them into powder and mixed in blood of the gods. (There is a second version that says the blood used was from Ehécatl's penis.)
The gods assembled at Teotihuacán, and "the [twin] gods Nanahuatzin and Tecuciztécatl [threw] themselves on to the sacrificial pyre and ascended into the sky and sun and moon, they hung motionless above the Earth [...] It was Ehécatl who initiated their movements. He blew on them with all the strength of his breath. At first, only the sun moved and the moon remained stationary, but when the sun set at last in the west the moon was drawn into his proper cycle, which complements that of the sun." (page 166)
Bringer of RainHis breath made the Sun move and called upon the rain. Not only was Ehécatl the wind, but the very breath of life. Without the wind, the sun would not rise nor set, there would be no seasons, and no cycles for planting nor harvesting. His wind cleared the sky so clouds could come and rain could fall.
Because of this, Ehécatl earned the name 'The tláloques' road-sweeper' by the Aztecs - a reference to smaller rain gods who assisted Tláloc, the main rain deity.
"It was all part of the Aztecs' cosmological view that the rains were present in the Sky above because the Sea that lay at the far extremes of Earth curved up to join over it. The connection provided between the Earth and the Sky by Ehécatl-Quetzalcóatl was necessary to provide a conduit or pathway by which the waters could return to Earth in the form of windblown rainclouds." (Phillips, p.167)
His Place of Worship
Pirámide de Ehécatl: the pyramid was unearthed during construction of the
Metro station in 1967. © Melanie Magdalena
In order to reduce wind resistance and increase circulation, temples built for Ehécatl were circular, or cylindrical, in shape and associated with the four cardinal points since wind comes and goes in all directions.
A circular temple to Ehécatl-Quetzalcóatl reputedly stood opposite the great temple of the Aztecs in Tenochtitlán.
The Pyramid of Ehécatl [Pirámide de Ehécatl] was discovered while building the Metro in Mexico City. You can visit the pyramid at the Pino Suárez station; it is surrounded by the passageway between lines 1 & 2.
For Further Reading
Jones, David M. and Brian L. Molyneaux. Mythology of the American Nations - An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Gods, Heroes, Spirits, Sacred Places, Rituals & Ancient Beliefs of the North American Indian, Inuit, Aztec, Inca and Maya Nations. USA: Anness Publishing Ltd, 2004.
Phillps, Charles. The Lost History of Aztec & Maya: The History, Legend, Myth and Culture of the Ancient Native Peoples of Mexico and Central America. USA: Hermes House, 2004.