The Birth of Huitzilopochtli (in Honor of the Winter Solstice)

"The allegorical story is told that when the moon, Coyolxauhqui, along with her brothers Tzentzowitznawac found out that their mother Coatliicue (Mother Earth) had become pregnant after tucking an eagle feather into her breast, they became angry and plotted to kill her. However, Huitzilopochlti (the sun) while in his mothers womb, heard their plan and assured his mother that he would help her and in so doing was born fully formed. Upon his birth (the rising sun), he drove his siblings away (the stars of the night sky) and dismembered his sister the moon (representing the moon in her four aspects: new, waxing, full, and waning).

During the days preceding the solstice, the sun travels across the sky producing the effect that appears to us as if it is leaning towards the south and left, much like the human heart (abajo y a la izquierda). At this point the sun has already traveled the sky for many days and “dies" on December 20 (the shortest day and so less sunlight). The sun goes to Mictlan, the place of the dead, to battle the darkness (longest night) and is reborn victorious on the 21st (some say arises on the 24) as Hummingbird, demonstrating great heart and willpower. The old ones, who were great astronomers and mathematicians, noted this celestial phenomenon as the birth of Huitzilopochtli, of the Sun, with great celebrations of music, dance, and food for days, including what is now Christmas. Elders encouraged people to hold only good thoughts and to generously offer friends and neighbors food and drink. Gifts of baked blue corn mixed with black honey in the shape of Huitzilopochtli were also offered to friends and at temples.

Taking a deeper view, the word Huitzilopochtli is made up of two other words: huitzilin, hummingbird, and opochtli, left (side), and is a metaphor for our heartbeat; for heart-centered will power and volition. Consider the immense energy and determination of the beautiful bright hummingbird that flies thousands of miles from the South to the North and back again.

The birth of Huitzilopochtli represents light overcoming darkness (consciousness and unconsciousness), self-mastery (overcoming the challenges of the Sun's long night of the soul), and willpower. It is the challenging inner work known as the Flowery War; our internal battle to awaken from the dream of materialism and of living without purpose.

Mexica, pre-contact and many still today, like many peoples around the world, observe the Solstice with ritual, prayer, and ceremonies that represent the work of mastering our inclination towards unconscious living, accomplishing the awakening of our higher awareness — the Quetzalcoatl consciousness — and deepening our connection to the cosmic forces of the universe and the Great Mystery."

Hold only good thoughts. For All Our Relations.


Art: Huitzilopochtli by David Gremard Romero of El Tonalamatl Ollin FB page. Look carefully for all the beautiful symbols and images contained in his painting.

For more on Huitzilopochtli read, Panketzaliztli: the Raising of the Banners by Kurly Tlapoyawa, at

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