Mythical Breaks | Serpents in the Skies: The Ancient Aztec Tale of Celestial Feuds

In this article, we’ll delve deeper into the captivating legends of two divine groups—the Centzonmīmixcōah and Centzonhuītznāhuah—who held dominion over the stars in the northern and southern skies. Get ready to immerse yourself in celestial battles, sibling rivalries, and the intricate connections between these mythical deities and other significant figures in Aztec lore.

The Centzonmīmixcōah: Gods of the Northern Stars

In Aztec mythology, the Centzonmīmixcōah, also known as the “Four Hundred Mimixcoa” or “Cloud Serpents,” were celestial beings responsible for the northern stars. Legends differ about their parentage, with some tales claiming they were the children of Camaxtle-Mixcoatl and the Earth Goddess, Tlaltecuhtli or Coatlicue, while others believed them to be offspring of Tonatiuh (the Fifth Sun) and Chalchiuhtlicue, the goddess of the seas.

The Mythical Ambush and Transformation:

One fascinating myth revolves around the divine slaying—or transformation—of the Centzonmīmixcōah. According to this legend, five brave siblings, Cuāuhtli-icohuauh, Mix-cōātl, Tlo-tepētl, Apan-teuctli, and their sister Cuetlach-cihuatl, plotted to defeat the Four Hundred Mimixcoa. Each sibling hid in a different place—a tree, the earth, a hill, water, and a ball-court—and ambushed the unsuspecting Centzonmīmixcōah, ultimately emerging victorious.

The Centzonmīmixcōah and the Creation of Humans:

In another fascinating tale, after the Creation of the Fifth Sun in Teotihuacan, Camaxtle-Mixcoatl attempted to create humans to provide sustenance for the Sun. Unfortunately, these early humans failed, and Camaxtle sought divine help. As a result, five Mimixcoa were born in the Eighth Heaven, destined to become the avengers of their arrogant siblings. These late-born Mimixcoa served the Sun, Tonatiuh, with dedication and bravery, becoming the instruments of divine justice.

The Centzonhuītznāhuah: Gods of the Southern Stars

In the southern skies, the Centzonhuītznāhuah reigned supreme. These gods were the elder sons of Cōātlīcue, with their sister being Coyolxāuhqui. Their myth centers on their ill-fated attempt to murder their mother upon learning of her pregnancy with Huītzilōpōchtli, their younger brother. However, their brother thwarted their plan by emerging from the womb fully grown and ready for battle. In a display of divine power, Huītzilōpōchtli defeated and killed the Centzonhuītznāhuah, protecting his mother and securing his place as a vital figure in Aztec mythology.

Mixcoatl and Tezcatlipoca:

Mixcoatl, the leader of the Centzonmīmixcōah, plays a significant role in Aztec mythology. Some myths connect Mixcoatl to the supreme god, Tezcatlipoca, suggesting a deep relationship between the two. One tale describes Tezcatlipoca transforming into Mixcoatl and creating fire, bringing light to the world before the Fifth Sun’s creation. These connections between Mixcoatl, Tezcatlipoca, and other prominent deities add layers of complexity and symbolism to the mythological narratives.


The legends surrounding the Centzonmīmixcōah and Centzonhuītznāhuah offer a glimpse into the mesmerizing cosmos of Aztec mythology. These gods of the northern and southern stars embody timeless themes of cosmic battles, family rivalries, and divine interventions. Through their stories, we gain a deeper understanding of the Aztec civilization’s rich beliefs, intricate storytelling traditions, and the eternal struggle between order and chaos, light and darkness.

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