Menu Home

Hymn of Tlaloc

Aztec Poetry or Flower Songs are a cultural artifact that survived by virtue of the admiration of Spanish chroniclers and the living Nahuatl language.  Tlaloc is a major deity in central America, the God of Rains, Chac in Maya culture, Cocijo in Zapotec culture, in Teotihuacan he shares pride of place with Quetzalcoatl, both bringers of life and civilization.  And both equally associated with death.

In the specific Aztec context, the god Tlaloc shared with Huitzilopochtli (the mother godless) the highest place in their reverence. He was the deity who presided over the waters, the rains, the thunder and the lightning. The annual festival in his honor took place about the time of corn-planting, and was intended to secure his favor for this all-important crop. Its details are described at great length by Diego Duran, Historia de Nueva España, cap. 86, and Benardino de Sahugan, Historia, Lib. II., cap. 25, and elsewhere. His name is derived from tlalli, earth. Tlalocan, referred to in v. 5, “the place of Tlaloc,” was the name of a mountain east of Tenochtitlan, where the festival of the god was celebrated.  But Tlalocan had  but also a mythical meaning, equivalent to “the earthly Paradise,” the abode of happy souls, not directly equivalent to the Christian idea of heaven, but with overlapping overtones.

The ayauhcalli (in the Nahuatl version of the Hymn), is the “house of mist,”  the home of the rain god, which Benardino de Sahagun informs us was represented at the annual festival by four small buildings near the water’s edge, carefully disposed to face the four cardinal points of the compass (Sahagun, supra).

Tlaloc has the peculiarity of being the God with Goggles, a feature unique to him, and only observed in ancient Sardinia where figures with allegorical goggles have been recently discovered.


The Hymn of Tlaloc.


In Mexico the god appears;

thy banner is unfolded in all directions, and no one weeps.
I, the god, have returned again,

I have turned again to the place of abundance of blood-sacrifices;

there when the day grows old, I am beheld as a god.
Thy work is that of a noble magician;

truly thou hast made thyself to be of our flesh;

thou hast made thyself, and who dare affront thee?

Truly he who affronts me does not find himself well with me;

my fathers took by the head the tigers and the serpents.

In Tlalocan, in the verdant house,

they play at ball, they cast the reeds.

Go forth, go forth to where the clouds are spread abundantly,

where the thick mist makes the cloudy house of Tlaloc.

There with strong voice I rise up and cry aloud.
Go ye forth to seek me,

seek for the words which I have said,

as I rise, a terrible one, and cry aloud.

After four years they shall go forth,

not to be known, not to be numbered,

they shall descend to the beautiful house, to unite together and know the doctrine.

Go forth, go forth to where the clouds are spread abundantly,

where the thick mist makes the cloudy house of Tlaloc.


The Nahuatl – native Mexica/Aztec tongue – version of the hymn follows:


Tlalloc icuic.
Ahuia Mexico teutlaneuiloc amapanitla anauhcampa, ye moquetzquetl, aoyequene y chocaya.
Ahuia anneuaya niyocoloc, annoteua eztlamiyaual, aylhuiçolla nic yauicaya teutiualcoya.
Ahuia annotequiua naualpilli aquitlanella motonacayouh tic yachiuh quitla catlachtoquetl, çan mitziyapinauia.
Ahuia cana catella nechyapinauia anechyaca uelmatia, anotata yn oquacuillo ocelocoatl aya.
Ahuia tlallocana, xiuacalco aya quizqui aquamotla, acatonalaya.
Ahuia xiyanouia, nahuia xiyamotecaya ay poyauhtla, ayauh chicauaztica, ayauicalo tlallocanaya.
Aua nacha tozcuecuexi niyayalizqui aya y chocaya.
Ahuia queyamica xinechiuaya, temoquetl aitlatol, aniquiya ilhuiquetl, tetzauhpilla niyayalizqui aya y chocaya.
Ahuia nauhxiuhticaya itopanecauiloc ayoc ynomatia, ay motlapoalli, aya ximocaya ye quetzalcalla nepanauia ay yaxcana teizcaltequetl.
Ahuia xiyanouia, ahuia xiyamotequaya ay poyauhtla, ayauh chicauaztlica ayauicallo tlalloca.
Var. 1. Amopanitl.
Auia Mexico teutlanauiloc, q.n., yn Mexico onetlanauiloc in tlaloc. Amapanitl annauhcampa ye moquetzquetl, q.n., amapanitl nauhcampa omoquequetz. Aoyeque naichocaya, id est, itlaocuyaya.
Auia anneuaya niyocoloc, q.n., ynehuatl ni tlalloc oniyocoloc. Annoteua eztlamiyaual, q.n., noteu eztlamiyaualtitiuh. Aylhuiçolla, q.n., yn umpa ilhuiçololo. Inic yauicaya teuitualcoya, q.n. in teuitualoc.
Auia annotequiua naualpilli, q.n. in tinoteuh naualpilli, i.e., tlalloc. Aquitlanella motonacayouh, q.n., ca nelli teuatl ticmochiuilia in motonacayouh. Catlachtoquetl, q.n., teuatl ticmochiuilia auh in aquin timitzpinauia.
Ahuia cana catella nechyapinauia, q.n., catel nechpinauia ca monechuelmati. Annotata ynoquacuillo ocelocoatl aya, q.n., yn notaua ioan yna quacuiloa yn oceloquacuili.
Ahuia tlallocana xiuacalco, q.n., in tlalocan xiuhcalco, id est, acxoyacalco. Ayaquizqui, q.n., umpa ualquizque. Aquamotla acatonalaya, q.n., y notauan yn oquacuiloan acatonal.
Ahuia xicanouia nauia xiyamotecaya, q.n., xiuian ximotecati. Ay poyauhtlan, q.n., in umpa poyauhtlan tepeticpac. Ayauh chicauaztica ayauicalo tlalocana, q.n., ayauh chicauaztica in auicalo tlalocan.
Aua nach tozcuecuexi niyayalizqui, q.n., y nach tozcuecuex y ye niauh niman ye choca.
Ahuia queyamica xinechiuaya, q.n., quenamican y ya niauh aço anechtemozque. Aniquiya ilhuiquetl tetzapilla niyayalizqui ayaichocaya, q.n., onquilhui yn tetzapilli ye niyauh niman ye choca.
Ahuia nauhxiuhticaya nitopanecauiloc, q.n., nauhxiuhtica in topanecauiloz, id est, in tepan mochiuaz. Ayoc inomatia ay motlapoalli, q.n., aocmo nomatia iniquin motlapoalpan. Ca oximoac ye quetzalcalla nepanauia, q.n., ye qualcan ye netlamachtiloyan ynemca. Ay yaxcana teizcaltiquetl, q.n., iniaxca inic oteizcalli.
Ahuia xiyanouia, q.n., xiuia. Auia xiya motecaya ay poyauhtla, q.n., ximotecati in umpa poyauhtla. Ayauh chicauaztica auicallo tlalocan, q.n., ayauh chicauaztica in auicallo in umpa tlallocan.




Rig Veda Americanus.  Sacred Songs of the Ancient Mexicans, with a Gloss in Nahuatl.

Edited and annotated by Daniel G. Brinton


Categories: Aztec Aztec Culture Aztec Flower Songs Aztec Hymns & Prayers Aztec Religion Aztec Society

Tagged as:

The Orly

As Fray Bernardino de Sahagún observed: the Mexicans “are held to be barbarians and of very little worth; in truth, however, in matters of culture and refinement, they are a step ahead of other nations." We explore the history and legacy of the Nahua and Maya civilizations, both of which challenge our preconceptions.