Xochitl – Symbolism and Importance

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Xochitl is the last of the 20 auspicious days in the sacred Aztec calendar, represented by a flower, and associated with the goddess Xochiquetzal. For the Aztecs, it was a day for reflection and creation but not one for repressing one’s desires.

What is Xochitl?

Xochitl, meaning flower, is the first day of the 20th and final trecena in the tonalpohualli. Also called ‘Ahau’ in Maya, it was an auspicious day, represented by the image of a flower. It was considered a day for creating truth and beauty, serving as a reminder that life, just like the flower, remains beautiful for a short period of time until it fades away.

Xochitl is said to be a good day for poignancy, companionship, and reflection. However, it was considered a bad day for repressing one’s passions, desires, and wishes.

The Aztecs had two different calendars, a divine calendar of 260 days, and an agricultural calendar with 365 days. The religious calendar, also known as the ‘tonalpohualli’, consisted of 13-day periods known as ‘trecenas’. Each day of the calendar had a specific symbol to represent it and was associated with a deity that provided it with its life energy.

Governing Deity of Xochitl

The day Xochitl is one of the few day signs in the tonalpohualli that’s governed by a female deity – the goddess Xochiquetzal. She was the goddess of beauty, youth, love, and pleasure. She was the patron of artists and also ruled Cuauhtli, the first day of the 15th trecena.

Xochiquetzal is typically portrayed as a young woman, surrounded by butterflies or beautiful flowers. In some depictions of the goddess, she can be seen accompanied by an ocelotl, or a hummingbird. She was also associated with the moon and lunar phases as well as pregnancy, fertility, sexuality, and certain female handicrafts such as weaving.

The story of Xochiquetzal is highly similar to that of the Biblical Eve. She was the first woman in Aztec mythology to sin by seducing her own brother who had taken an oath of chastity. However, unlike the Biblical Eve, the goddess went unpunished for her sinful actions, but her brother was turned into a scorpion as a form of punishment.

By connotation, the Aztec goddess represents pleasure and human desire. The Aztecs worshiped her by wearing flower and animal masks at a special festival that was held in her honor once every eight years.

Xochitl in the Aztec Zodiac

The Aztecs believed that those born on day Xochitl would be natural-born leaders who were achievement-oriented and highly focused. They were also thought to be confident, energetic people who valued their loved ones and family traditions. Xochitl-born people were also highly creative and could inspire enthusiasm among those around them.

FAQs

What does the word ‘Xochitl’ mean?

Xochitl is a Nahuatl or Aztec word meaning ‘flower’. It’s also a popular girls’ name used in southern Mexico.

Who governed the day Xochitl?

Xochitl is governed by Xochiquetzal, the Aztec goddess of beauty, love, and pleasure.

How is the name ‘Xochitl’ pronounced?

The name ‘Xochitl’ is pronounced: SO-chee-tl, or SHO-chee-tl. In some cases, the ‘tl’ at the end of the name isn’t pronounced.

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