About Mayahuel, The Aztec Goddess of agave

Mayahuel was not only the goddess of pulque, she is the female deity associated with the agave or maguey plant and has become a cultural icon of Mexico representing many ideas including love and transformation, the ruler of the eighth day and the eighth trecena.

In the Codex Borbonicus, an Aztec codex written by Aztec priests shortly before or after the Spanish conquest of Mexico, she is depicted as a young woman with multiple breasts, emerging from a agave plant, holding cups with foaming pulque, waering blue clothing -the colour of fertility-, and a headdress of spindles and unspun maguey fibre -ixtle-. The spindles symbolize the transformation or revitalization of disorder into order.

She is also known as “the goddess of the 400 breasts,” which could be a reference to the many sprouts of maguey and the milky juice produced by the plant.

Mayahuel was thought of as bringing love to mankind.

The legend tells that she lived in the sky, hidden in the darkness of the deepest part of the universe. 

She was kidnapped and held captive by her wicked grandmother Tzitzímitl, a celestial star monstress that battled the sun to kill lightness so darkness could prevail, causing destruction to the world while trying to devour humanity.

One day Quetzalcoatl rose to the sky to engage in battle with Tzitzímit when he came across the precious Mayahuel and experienced love at first sight. They run away and descend from the heavens to earth, where they could be together..

Once Tzitzímitl discovered that Mayahuel was missing, she became enraged and commanded to find her. 

With nowhere to hide, Quetzalcoatl and Mayahuel transformed themselves into a tree with two branches for disguise.

When they find them, Tzitzímitl forcefully flew down from the darkness of the universe, split the tree in half and tore her granddaughter apart into little pieces. 

Quetzalcoatl picked up remains of his lover to bury them, sheds the tears in the form of rain and Mayahuel’s remains grow into the maguey plants.

Later rose to the sky and killed the evil grandmother allowing light to resurface on earth.

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