Chalchiuhtlicue

Association: Lakes, rivers, seas, streams, horizontal waters, storms, baptism, Child Birth, wife/sister of Tlaloc, Serpents.
Appearance:

Chalchiuhtlicue’s name in the Aztec language means “she who wears a jade skirt” and as such she is depicted as wearing a jade skirt. The main feature of her representation is the distinctive head dress she wears consisting of broad bands of cotton, with tassels falling from the bands. She was considered beautiful and wore the clothing of the nobles. Her skirt is said to have depicted both a male and female baby in a stream, showing her connection to life and childbirth. She usually carried a cross.

external image Chalchihuitlicue.gif
Chalchiuhtlicue wearing her jade skirt.

Symbolism:

Chalchiuhtlicue as associated with water represents life and purity and the flow of energy through nature and society. In Aztec society the womb was connected with water and as such she is the goddess of both, again reinforcing the connection of water and life. Water can also be seen as renewal, as it is in constant flow, and as in Aztec society rebirth and new life. And in a desert society the water goddess would have been especially important because of the need of water for survival and growing crops.
She is represented as a river that arose from a prickly pear cactus, which in Aztec symbolism represented the human heart. The heart plays a key role in Aztec religion as many of their sacrifices revolved around it, due to the belief that the “soul” was contained there. Her association with water is strengthened by the connection to the heart as both are necessary for survival and have a flow of the life blood of society, with one being literally blood. Her symbol of the cross, which in Aztec religion represented fertility, again ties into the life giving qualities of water.
When known as Acuecucyoticihuati, she is the goddess of oceans and women in labor, both still connected to the theme of water and its life giving properties. She is also married/related to Tlaloc, another god of water.
Worship:

Out of the twenty main Aztec celebrations, five where dedicated to Chalchiutlicue in some way. During these rituals priests dove into the lake and proceeded to imitate the movements of frogs in hope of bringing rain. She was also worshipped in marriage and childbirth. In marriage women would dedicate their nuptials to her, however childbirth had the more elaborate ritual. After the birth the midwife would wash the baby and recite a customary prayer to Chalchiutlicue. Then four days after the birth another bath was given and a much longer and elaborate prayer was said to Chalchiutlicue, this one depending on the gender of the baby. A small ceremony was also included in the prayer similar to a Christian baptism.

Image 1: http://www.azteccalendar.com/images/Chalchihuitlicue.gif
Information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chalchiuhtlicue and http://www.crystalinks.com/aztecgods.html