Saturday, August 11, 2007

Saturday Goddess Blogging


Continuing our look at Goddesses associatd with the harvest, today's Goddess is Toci. Wiki describes Toci as:"Our grandmother" in Nahuatl, [] a deity figuring prominently in the religion and mythology of the pre-Columbian Aztec civilization of Mesoamerica. In Aztec mythology she is attributed as the "Mother of the Gods" (Teteo Innan or Teteoinnan), and associated as a goddess of the Earth (also called Tlalli Iyollo, "Heart of the Earth").

Although considered to be an aged deity, Toci is not always shown with specific markers of great age. Toci is frequently depicted with black markings around the mouth and nose, wearing a headdress with cotton spools (Miller and Taube 1993, p.170). These are also characteristic motifs for Tlazolteotl, a central Mesoamerican goddess of both purification and filth (tlazolli in Nahuatl), and the two deities are closely identified with one another.

Toci was also associated with healing, and venerated by curers of ailments and midwifes. In the 16th century Florentine Codex compiled by Bernardino de Sahagún Toci is identified with temazcalli or sweatbaths, in which aspect she is sometimes termed Temazcalteci, or "Grandmother of sweatbaths". Tlazolteotl also has an association with temazcalli as the "eater of filth", and such bathhouses are likely to have been dedicated to either Tlazolteotl or Toci/Temazcalteci.
Toci also had an identification with war, and had also the epithet "Woman of Discord".

By one Mexica-Aztec legendary tradition, at some point during their long peregrinations after leaving the mythical homeland Aztlan, the Mexica served as mercenaries to the Culhua at their capital of Culhuacan. The Culhua ruler bestowed his daughter upon the Mexica for an intended marriage with one of the Mexica nobility; however the Mexica's guiding and chief deity Huitzilopochtli intervened and ordered that she be flayed and sacrificed, instead. When this was done she transformed into Toci. The Mexica were expelled from Culhuacan by the Culhua ruler for the act, and the Mexica were pressed on towards Lake Texcoco. It was here that shortly thereafter they founded their capital Tenochtitlan, from which base they would later grow in power to form the Aztec Empire and exert their dominion over the Valley of Mexico (Miller and Taube 1993).

During the veintena of Ochpaniztli in the Aztec calendar, harvest-time festival rites were held to honor Toci, in her aspect as "Heart of the Earth" (Miller and Taube 1993) were held, associated with the time of harvest.

Here's a description of her rites, which may have involved a sacrificial re-enactment of her murder.

Art available on Google.


Caelum Rainieri said...

Toci is not related to Tlazolteotl. Tlazolteotl's worship precedes the Mexica people and extends at least as far back as the Mayan civilization, thus any perceived connection with Toci is completely mis-placed. The Filth Eater, as Tlazolteotl was known, has nothing to do with the harvest. Her office is one solely pertaining to sex and the healing of sexually related issues.

By the way, whey you cut and paste your entire post out of Wikipedia, you should use quotation marks and give your attribution.

Caelum Rainieri

Hecate said...

Dear caelum rainieri,

Bolding the quote is a convention that indicates that the material is quoted. You're not very familiar w/ this blog, are you? I'm sure Wiki would welcome your corrections.