Coatlicue is a revered goddess in Aztec mythology, symbolizing the duality of life and death. In Aztec beliefs, she emerged as a central figure associated with creation and destruction, embodying the cycles of existence.


Her name, which means “Serpent Skirt,” reflects her association with serpents and her unique physical representation.

In Aztec art and iconography, Coatlicue is portrayed as a fearsome deity with multiple symbolic attributes. She is depicted as a woman with a fearsome and fierce countenance, often shown with her tongue sticking out. Her face is often adorned with a necklace of human hearts, indicating her connection to sacrifice and the life-giving force.

One of the most notable features of Coatlicue is her distinctive headdress, known as the “xiuhuitzolli.” This headdress is adorned with feathers, which symbolize her connection to the celestial realm and the divine. Additionally, atop her head, she wears a crown of intertwined serpents, which further underscores her association with serpents and their symbolism in Aztec mythology.

Coatlicue’s physical appearance also includes elements that represent fertility and the cycles of life. She is depicted with multiple breasts, symbolizing her nurturing and life-giving qualities. Her skirt is made of interwoven snakes, signifying her role as the Earth Mother and her connection to the natural world.

Powers & Abilities

As the goddess of life and death, Coatlicue possesses a range of powers and attributes. She governs fertility, representing the regenerative power of nature. Coatlicue is also associated with the cycles of life, emphasizing the interconnectedness and balance between creation and destruction.


According to the legends, she is often regarded as the mother of the gods and is associated with various deities in the Aztec pantheon. One of her most well-known offspring is Huitzilopochtli, the god of the sun and war.

Coatlicue’s relationship with Huitzilopochtli is central to her mythology. According to the Aztec creation myth, Coatlicue became pregnant after a ball of feathers fell on her. This miraculous conception led to the birth of Huitzilopochtli, who emerged fully grown and armed to protect his mother from her other children, who sought to destroy her due to their jealousy.

Huitzilopochtli’s fierce defense of Coatlicue reflects the strong bond between mother and son. He became one of the most important gods in the Aztec pantheon, embodying the sun’s life-giving power and serving as a protector of the Aztec people.

Coatlicue’s other children include the moon goddess Coyolxauhqui and her 400 brothers known as the Centzon Huitznahuac. In some versions of the myth, Coyolxauhqui leads the attack against Coatlicue, but Huitzilopochtli ultimately defeats her, dismembers her body, and scatters her remains, solidifying his role as a defender of his mother.

As for Coatlicue’s parentage, there are different accounts in Aztec mythology. One interpretation suggests that Coatlicue was the daughter of Tlazolteotl, the goddess of purification and fertility. Another interpretation identifies her as the daughter of the primordial earth deity, Tlaltecuhtli.


Coatlicue is often depicted as a fearsome deity, embodying both the nurturing and destructive aspects of nature. She is portrayed as a woman with a skirt made of writhing serpents and a necklace of human hearts and hands. This symbolism represents her association with fertility, life, death, and the natural world.


Coatlicue’s worship encompassed various rituals, ceremonies, and offerings dedicated to her. These practices aimed to honor her as the mother of all living beings and to seek her blessings in matters related to life, death, and the natural world.

One of the key aspects of Coatlicue’s worship was the performance of dances and processions. Devotees would participate in elaborate and rhythmic dances, often wearing special costumes and masks representing Coatlicue and her associated symbols, such as serpents and skulls. These dances were seen as a way to connect with the divine presence of Coatlicue and invoke her power.

Offerings were an integral part of Coatlicue’s worship. These offerings often included objects and symbols associated with life and death, such as flowers, incense, food, and sacrificial items. Priests and devotees would present these offerings to Coatlicue as a gesture of reverence and gratitude, seeking her favor and protection.

Sacrifices were also performed as part of Coatlicue’s worship, although the exact details and nature of these sacrifices may have varied. These rituals involved the offering of animals or, in some instances, human sacrifices. The purpose of these sacrifices was to honor Coatlicue and ensure the continuity of life and the balance between life and death.

Temples and shrines dedicated to Coatlicue were important centers of worship. These sacred spaces provided a focal point for devotees to gather, offer prayers, make offerings, and participate in rituals dedicated to the goddess. Priests and priestesses served as intermediaries between the mortal realm and the divine, conducting ceremonies and guiding the worshippers in their devotion to Coatlicue.


  • Coatlicue’s name translates to “She of the Serpent Skirt,” emphasizing her distinctive attire.
  • She is often associated with the earth, representing its fertile and nurturing qualities.
  • Coatlicue is revered as the mother of the gods and a protector of humanity.
  • Her fierce depiction reflects the Aztecs’ respect for the power and unpredictability of the natural world.

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Coatlicue Facts

Rules over: Life, Death
Symbols:Serpents, Skulls, Headress
Sacred animals:Serpents
Parents:Tlazolteotl (Mother) or Tlaltecuhtli (Mother)
Mayan Similar: Ixchel
Hindu Similar: Kali