Masked figure/s in white coats are revealed at the top of the green tank. They bring 4 metal water jugs. They pour them into another vessel below.

This is the story of the Great God Tlaloc. This name – Tlaloc – comes from a word that means ‘earth’ and “the path beneath the earth”, it means “long cave” or “he who is made of earth”.

To the Aztecs of Mexico, Tlaloc was a god of rain and fertility and water. He appeared to them as a man with circles around his eyes and fangs like the teeth of a jaguar. People imagined that he had the power of lightning and thunder and the power to control the abundance of plants and trees and all green things.

Nothing was straightforward with Tlaloc. He gave sustenance to the world, but was also feared for the harm he could do. Sometimes he was thought of as a cloud over a mountain. He owned four great water jugs: one poured forth glorious life-giving rain, while the others produced disease, frosts and drought onto the world.

Tlaloc had a wife, *Chalchiuhtlicue. Together they supervised the spirits of Tlaloque, who was in charge of the weather and the mountains. When it was time to deliver rain to the earth, the spirits of Tlaloque poured it on the earth at the right time in the right place, and when it was necessary to make thunder they clashed their water jugs together.

It was the custom in those days that in order to worship and appease the Aztec gods, people offered them human sacrifices. During the dry season the priests sacrificed children to Tlaloc, and although they were sad they knew that if the victims cried their tears were a sign of plentiful rains to come.

The Aztec heavens were a beautiful landscape, lush green with trees and plants growing in an everlasting season of rain and sunshine. To such a place went the souls of the people who drowned, or been struck by lightning or who had died of water-borne diseases, such as leprosy – all of them went to live in an everlasting garden paradise.

*Chalchiuhtlicue, (pronounced Quatleekway)


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