Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Mexico’s Cihuateteo

Beware theses female entities for they may steal your children.

The cihuateteo is a female spirit in Mexico that originated from ancient Aztec mythology. They are the deified spirits of women who died in childbirth.

On traditional feast days, it is said the cihuateteo haunt crossroads in the darkest part of the night. They lay in wait for their victims, hoping for young ones.

Skip forward to modern times where Mexican parents still warn their children to stay indoors and hide on feast days. For they fear a cihuateteo may kidnap them. If they succeed in taking a child, all that is left behind is a sacrificial knife.

These spirits were feared in ancient times because it was believed they caused sickness, paralysis, and seizures. The Aztecs also believed the cihuateteo could possess their victim’s bodies. Men were cautioned to beware, for these spirits would seduce them.

Some believe the legend of La Llorona is based upon these cihuateteo spirits. More about this legend is located here.

The Aztecs gave the cihuateteo offerings on feast days in order to appease them. These consisted of bread or tamales shaped like butterflies or lightning. They were left at altars or at crossroads.

The cihuateteo are described as having skeleton faces, claws for hands and pale white limbs. They wore horned headdresses, black blouses, white sandals and skirts embroidered in several colors.

Statues that the Aztecs made depicting the cihuateteo are always naked from the waist up.

The Aztecs treated these women like fallen warriors. They were given the same privilege as men who fell in battle. They were allowed to go to the Heaven of the Sun, which was an honor.

After four years, their spirits could then inhabit the clouds. It was at this point they were turned into cihuateteo or goddesses. Then they were allowed to return to their earthly homes—where their former husbands sometimes saw them.

Women who died in childbirth were so powerful after death their bodies had to be guarded by loved ones to prevent theft.

Warriors would steal their middle fingers and hair for it was believed that if these items where placed on their shields they became braver in battle. It was also believed these two relics blinded their enemies.

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