Let's go back in time! Imagine you are located in Mexico, around the 14th century. And you belong to a Prehispanic Culture (either Mayan or Aztec). Water was an extremely important resource for your community and you gave it such an invaluable significance, that your culture had one unique God representing the resource!
Now, let me tell you more about these magical entities:
This is how Mayans called the water/rain deity. It’s importance comes from the main nourishment source for Mayans: Corn. As they wrote on their sacred narratives of the Popol Vuh, they believed that human beings were made out of maize. And in order to do so, they needed water.
Chaac entity is believed to be the oldest continually worshipped god in Mesoamerica, as there are some rural areas where Mayan farmers still pray for him during times of drought.
I personally find it fascinating how some of the Mayan traditions still exist! And the offering for the good of rain consists in this ritual:
The chachaac is an ancient ritual that is intended to invoke or cause rain to fall during periods of drought from March to May. The ceremony is celebrated by a Mayan shaman. It is performed under a leafy tree in the cornfield. Place an altar on which offerings are placed, such as chickens, honey, corn meal, pumpkin seeds, etc.
Tables can represent the Holy Trinity, and beside the altar, there are placed three pots balché (sacred liquor). Prayers are made in Mayan language. There is also a representation when four children imitate the croak of frogs when it rains. After the ritual, the participants await the arrival of the rain.
If you would like to see a video of the ceremony taking place in Mexico, click here (sadly I could find it only with an explanation in Spanish, but the images are very descriptive as well)
As Codex Borgia describes him "Tlaloc is commonly depicted as a goggle-eyed blue being with jaguar fangs. Often he is presented wearing a net of clouds, a crown of heron feather and foam sandals. He carries rattles to make thunder."
Can you imagine this mystical entity with a crown of heron feathers? And carrying rattles to make thunder!
This God, as benevolent as he could be, was also feared for all the floods, drought and fling lightening he could cause throughout the land.
Water's importance was so valued for the Aztecs, that in order to tranquilize and appease Tlaloc, they would offer up HUMAN SACRIFICES! (But remember these acts were an honor).
An interesting myth of why it rains is explained: "Aztecs believed that Tlaloc kept water in a clay jar and when it broke it, this caused the rain. Aztecs also believed that he had three other jugs. The second would cause disease, the third frost, and the fourth would bring complete destruction if he emptied it or if it broke."
Water has been a basic element for LIFE, but also for CULTURAL and MYTHOLOGICAL representations! TH!NK ABOUT IT!!!
(Andrea Arzaba, January 2011)