Aztec wind symbol

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Ehecatl Aztec symbol

Ehecatl is the second sacred day in the Aztec calendar, associated with the primordial creator, the Feathered Serpent god Quetzalcoatl. The day is also associated with vanity and inconsistency and was believed to be a day to renounce bad habits.

What is Ehecatl?

The Aztecs had a sacred calendar which they used for religious rituals. This calendar consisted of 260 days which we were divided into 20 units, known as trecenas. A single trecena had thirteen days in it, and each day of a trecena had its own symbol or ‘day sign’. Some signs featured animals, mythological creatures, and deities, while others featured the elements such as wind and rain.

Ehecatl, the Nahuatl word for wind (also known as Ik in Maya), is represented by the image of the Aztec deity of wind wearing a duckbill mask. The first day in the 2nd trecena of the sacred Aztec calendar, it was considered as a good day to rid oneself of one’s bad habits. The Aztecs believed that day Ehecatl was associated with vanity and inconsistency and considered it a bad day for working closely with others.  

Who Was Ehecatl?

The day Ehecatl was named after the Mesoamerican god of winds and air. He was a highly significant deity in Mesoamerican cultures and featured in several important myths, including the Aztec Creation mythology. As a wind deity, Ehecatl was associated with all the cardinal directions, because wind blows in all directions.

Ehecatl is often portrayed wearing a duckbill mask and a conical hat. In some depictions, the corners of the duckbill have fangs, which is a highly common feature seen in the rain gods. He wears a conch shell as a pectoral and it was said that he could use this shell to whistle his way out of the Underworld when necessary.

Ehecatl was sometimes regarded as a manifestation of Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent god. Due to this, he was sometimes called Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl. It was in this guise that he featured in the Aztec creation myth, helping to create humanity.

There have been several temples dedicated to Ehecatl, each of which had a unique form. They were pyramids, just like other Aztec temples, but instead of having quadrilateral platforms, they had circular platforms instead. The result was a conical-shaped structure. It’s said that this form was intended to represent the deity as a fearsome aspect of the wind such as a whirlwind or a tornado.

The Myth of Ehecatl and Mayahuel

According to a myth, it was Ehecatl who gave the gift of the maguey plant to humankind. The maguey plant (Agave Americana) is a type of cactus that was used to make the alcohol drink known as pulque. According to the myth, Ehecatle fell in love with a young, beautiful goddess named Mayahuel, and tried persuading her to become his lover.

The god and goddess came down to earth and embraced each other disguised as intertwining trees. However, Mayahuel’s guardian, Tzitzmitl, discovered them and split Mayahuel’s tree into two and fed the pieces to the Tzitzimime, her demon followers.

Ehecatl was a far more powerful deity than Mayahuel, and he remained unharmed. Mourning the death of Mayahuel, he gathered the remnants of her tree, which he planted in a field. These grew into the maguey plant.

Aside from the maguey plant, Ehecatl was also credited with gifting maize and music to humanity.

The Governing Deity of Day Ehecatl

Although the day Ehecatl is named after the god of wind, it’s governed by Quetzalcoatl, the god of self-reflection and intelligence. Not only does Quetzalcoatl rule the day Ehecatl, but he also rules the second trecena (jaguar).

Also known as White Tezcatlipoca, Quetzalcoatl was a primordial god of creation who, according to the myth, created the current world after the last world (the Fourth Son) had been destroyed. He did this by journeying to Mictlan, the Underworld, and using his own blood to bring life to bones.


Which god governed Ehecatl?

The governing deity of day Ehecatl was Quetzalcoatl, the primordial god of intelligence and self-reflection.

What is the symbol of the day Ehecatl?

The symbol for day Ehecatl is the image of Ehecatl, the Aztec god of wind and air. He is portrayed wearing a conical hat and a duckbill m


Ehecatl: The Aztec Wind God was Hard to Pin Down

Ehecatl was the wind god of the Aztec pantheon. As a weather deity, he was also indirectly connected to agriculture and the fertility of the land. Additionally, Ehecatl is commonly regarded to be an aspect of Quetzalcoatl, one of the most important Aztec gods. Temples dedicated to this god have a unique architectural form, which reflects the god’s status as a wind deity. One of these temples was unearthed under a supermarket in Mexico City in 2016.

An Important Aspect of Quetzalcoatl

The name ‘Ehecatl’ may be translated simply to mean ‘wind’. He was regarded to be an important aspect of Quetzalcoatl, and the two gods are often combined as Quetzalcoatl-Ehecatl. This god was also associated with all the cardinal directions, considering the fact that wind blows in all directions. Two other important characteristics of wind were noticed by the Aztecs. Firstly, it lacks physical form, and secondly, it changes direction constantly. Therefore, the Aztecs believed that Ehecatl was god who could not be pinned down easily.

Quetzalcoatl, using the attributes of Ehecatl the wind god, thus representing the winds that bring the rain. Also known as the feathered serpent. (Public Domain)

Quetzalcoatl, using the attributes of Ehecatl the wind god, thus representing the winds that bring the rain. Also known as the feathered serpent. ( Public Domain )

As a weather god, Ehecatl had an important, though perhaps indirect, role to play in agriculture as well. The rains, for instance, were brought by the god Tlaloc. It was, however, Ehecatl who blew these clouds to the fields, thus signaling the end of the dry season. Therefore, sacrifices, including the ceremonial shedding of blood, as well as human sacrifices, were made to this god to ensure that the harvest would be good.

Ehecatl in Aztec Myth

But Ehecatl had a much bigger role to play than merely blowing rain clouds. In fact, the Aztecs believed that it was this god who set both the sun and the moon in motion by blowing them along their celestial course each day. This belief is seen in the Aztec creation myth, when Ehecatl was assigned this task following the creation of the fifth world.

A modern representation of Ehecatl. (DougDougmann/Deviant Art)

A modern representation of Ehecatl. (DougDougmann/ Deviant Art )

Another myth in which Ehecatl plays an important role is the one involving the creation of the maguey plant (also known as the ‘century plant’ in English), the sap of which is used to make pulque, an alcoholic beverage traditionally drunk in central Mexico. This myth begins with a goddess by the name of Itzpapalotl, who had a nasty habit of stealing daylight and holding it hostage. She would only release it if a ransom in the form of human sacrifices was paid.

Love at First Sight

Having had enough of this, Ehecatl journeyed to Tamoanchan, the Aztec version of paradise, and the home of Itzpapalotl, to have a word with the goddess. Before being able to do so, however, he came across a mortal woman by the name of Mayahuel, who, as it turns out, was the granddaughter of Itzpapalotl. The two are said to have instantly fell in love and descended to the earth. On the spot where the two lovers landed, a beautiful tree blossomed.

Mayahuel, Goddess of Agave. (Public Domain)

Mayahuel, Goddess of Agave. ( Public Domain )

Unfortunately, Ehecatl and Mayahuel were not able to enjoy their happiness for long. When Itzpapalotl returned home, she realized that here granddaughter had disappeared, and summoned the Tzitzimime, who were star deities. They were ordered to seek and destroy Mayahuel. Realizing the danger they were in, Ehecatl turned his lover and himself as branches on the tree that sprang up where they landed. This disguise, however, did not fool the Tzitzimime, who struck the tree with lightning bolts, thus killing Mayahuel. Grief-stricken, Ehecatl gathered up Mayahuel’s remains and buried them. The Aztecs believe that it was from the remains of Mayahuel that the first Maguey plant grew.

Honoring the Aztec Wind God

Finally, it is worth noting that the temples dedicated to Ehecatl had a unique form. Like other Aztec temples, these were pyramids, though instead of quadrilaterals, its platforms are circular, resulting in a conical shape. It has been suggested that this form may have been intended to represent Ehecatl as a tornado or whirlwind, which is a fearsome aspect of wind. One such temple was discovered in 2016 in Mexico City, when archaeologists carried out an excavation underneath a supermarket that had just been demolished.


Aztec wind deity

This article is about the Mesoamerican deity figure. For the Mexican unmanned aircraft, see Hydra Technologies Ehécatl. For other uses, see Ehecatl (disambiguation).

Depiction of Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl (Quetzalcoatl combined with the attributes of Ehecatl), from the Codex Borgia

Ehecatl (Classical Nahuatl: Ehēcatl[eʔˈeːkatɬ], About this soundmodern Nahuatl pronunciation (help·info)) is a pre-Columbian deity associated with the wind, who features in Aztec mythology and the mythologies of other cultures from the central Mexico region of Mesoamerica. He is most usually interpreted as the aspect of the Feathered Serpent deity (Quetzalcoatl in Aztec and other Nahua cultures) as a god of wind, and is therefore also known as Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl.[1] Ehecatl also figures prominently as one of the creator gods and culture heroes in the mythical creation accounts documented for pre-Columbian central Mexican cultures.[2]

Since the wind blows in all directions, Ehecatl was associated with all the cardinal directions. His temple was built as a cylinder in order to reduce the air resistance, and was sometimes portrayed with two protruding masks through which the wind blew.


  1. ^Miller and Taube (1993, p. 84)
  2. ^Miller and Taube (1993, pp. 70,84)


  • Carrasco, David (1982). Quetzalcoatl and the Irony of Empire: Myths and Prophecies in the Aztec Tradition. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. ISBN . OCLC 0226094871.
  • Milbrath, Susan (1999). Star Gods of the Maya: Astronomy in Art, Folklore, and Calendars. The Linda Schele series in Maya and pre-Columbian studies. Austin: University of Texas Press. ISBN . OCLC 40848420.
  • Miller, Mary; Karl Taube (1993). The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya: An Illustrated Dictionary of Mesoamerican Religion. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN . OCLC 27667317.
  • Séjourné, Laurette (1981). El pensamiento náhuatl cifrado por los calendarios. Colección América nuestra. América indígena, no. 35 (in Spanish). Josefina Oliva de Coll (trans.), Françoise Bagot (illus.), Julio Pliego (photog.). Mexico D.F: Siglo XXI Editores. ISBN . OCLC 8563957.
  • Smith, Michael E. (2003). The Aztecs (2nd ed.). Oxford and Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers. ISBN . OCLC 48579073.
  • Wimmer, Alexis (2006). "Dictionnaire de la langue nahuatl classique"(online version, incorporating reproductions from Dictionnaire de la langue nahuatl ou mexicaine [1885], by Rémi Siméon).(in French and Nahuatl languages)

External links[edit]

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