Aztec: Hymn to Tlaloc

The god Tlaloc shared with Huitzilopochtli the highest place in the Mexican Pantheon. 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. The worship of Tlaloc, the God with goggles, extended to all of central America, no doubt associated with the importance of the rains. That he is everywhere depicted as wearing goggles ~ and always side by side with Quetzalcoatl in Teotihuacan and elsewhere ~ add an air of mystery to this personage.

This hymn appears in Rig Veda Americanus, Sacred Songs of the Ancient Mexicans, edited by Daniel G. Brinton (1890).

With the destruction of virtually all the Aztec books at the time of the conquest, the Legends and Fables of this culture survive in the form of Hymns and Poems.
— Orly

1.  In Mexico the god appears; thy banner is unfolded in all directions, and no one weeps.

2.  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.

3.  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?

4.  Truly he who affronts me does not find himself well with me; my fathers took by the head the tigers and the serpents.

5.  In Tlalocan, in the verdant house, they play at ball, they cast the reeds.

6.  Go forth, go forth to where the clouds are spread abundantly, where the thick mist makes the cloudy house of Tlaloc.

7.  There with strong voice I rise up and cry aloud.

8.  Go ye forth to seek me, seek for the words which I have said, as I rise, a terrible one, and cry aloud.

9.  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.

10.  Go forth, go forth to where the clouds are spread abundantly, where the thick mist makes the cloudy house of Tlaloc.


Tlalocan, “the place of Tlaloc,” was the name of a mountain east of Tenochtitlan, where the festival of the god was celebrated; but it had also a mythical meaning, equivalent to “the earthly Paradise,” the abode of happy souls.

The word ayauicalo refers to the ayauhcalli, “house of mist,” the home of the rain god, which Bernardino 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.

The compound nauhxiuhtica, “after four years,” appears to refer to the souls of the departed brave ones, who, according to Aztec mythology, passed to the heaven for four years and after that returned to the terrestrial Paradise,—the palace of Tlaloc.


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