Monthly Rituals


Atemoztli – Water Descends

During Atemoztli, we return once more to the mountains and Tlalok and the Tlalokeh. Atemoztli is during the dry season of Tonalko, but there are occasional showers during this time, and so Tlalok is thanked once more for his waters. During the ceremony of Tepeilwitl, the Feast of the Mountains, offerings were made to the mountains and Tlalok. Amaranth images (Ixiptla) of them were made, sacrificed, and eaten, in recognition of the sacrifices that the Teteoh make for us. They are our life, and so we must constantly give them honors and sacrifices. We remind the Teteoh that we are paying them our debt, and make offerings so that the rains return, now, and in the season of Xopan which is to come. We again make amaranth images of the mountains, and again partake in their sacrifice and death, and again consume their flesh, just as we drink their waters. 

At the center of the Atemoztli ceremony is a paper flag, which is given their own tlamanalli and their own offerings. Likewise, the amaranth mountains are also adorned with paper flags. The amaranth mountains represent the abundance of the Tlalokeh, and their gift of water and life. The white paper flag spattered with liquid rubber, the aztapantli, represents all that we owe the mountains for their gift of life. The aztapantli reminds us that we must live in balance with Tlaltekuhtli, Our Mother the Earth, and that we must pay our debt to the Mountains and the Lords of Rain. The banner carries the message of our sacrifice to the Teteoh. Offerings are made to them, and after the ceremony has ended both the aztapantli and the paper flags which had adorned the amaranth mountains are taken to a sacred hill, spring, or river, and there returned to the source of creation and life. 

Atemoztli, Códices Matritenses, f. 252v

The amaranth mountains are sacrificed in the ceremony with a weaving batten. This instrument is used by weavers to compress the threads while weaving their cloth. It represents our destiny, woven by the Teteoh, and by Tlazolteotl and Ziwakoatl in particular, who are manifestations of Our Mother the Earth. They weave our destiny, and likewise that of all being. The mountains are pierced with the weaving batten, and their hearts of jade removed, for Ziwakoatl has ordained that They, just like us, must die, and be reborn. We remember in Atemoztli that we and the mountains are linked, and our lives and well-being depend upon one another. We were born to protect the mountains and wild places, just as they protect us. We are asked to partake in the honorable harvest, and to live according to the principles of reciprocity our ancestors have taught us.  

Atemoztli in the Códice Magliabechiano, f. 44r

From the Florentine Codex (Book 2, Page 29):

“In this month they celebrated a feast to the rain gods, because for the most part in this month it began to thunder and to threaten rain; and the priests of the Tlalokeh began to do penances and to offer sacrifices, so that the rains would come.

When it began to thunder, the priests of the Tlalokeh, with great industriousness, offered copal and other fragrances to their gods and to all the statues of these. They said that then they came to give rain. And the common folk made vows to fashion the images of the mountains, which are called tepiktli, because they are dedicated to those gods of the rain. And on the sixteenth day of this month, all the common folk prepared offerings to offer before Tlalok. And during these four days they performed penances, and the men abstained from women, and the women from men.

Having come to [the time of] the feast, which they celebrated on the last day of this month, they cut lengths of paper, and they bound them to poles, from bottom to top. And they set them up in the courtyards of their houses and made the images of the mountains of tzoalli. They fashioned for them their teeth of squash seeds, and their eyes of some beans which are named ayekotli. And then they offered them their offerings of food, and they worshipped them.

After having kept a vigil for them, and beaten drums and sung for them, they opened their breasts with a tzotzopaztli, which is an instrument with which the women weave, almost like a machete; and they took out their hearts and struck off their heads. And later they divided up all the body among themselves and ate it; and the ornaments with which they had arrayed them, they burned in the courtyards of their houses.

After, they carried all the ashes and the ornaments with which they had provided them to the shrines which they call ayakalko. And then they began to eat and drink, and to make merry. And thus ended the feast. Many other ceremonies remain to be related, which are set down at length in the account of this feast.”

Modern Interpretations of Atemoztli (adapted with permission from the work of micorazonmexica):

A paper flag is glued to a staff of cane, spattered with liquid rubber or black ink, and amaranth or bread images of the local mountains are made, in preparation for the ceremony. The amaranth mountains are adorned with paper flags, paper heads, and paper glyphs which indicate who they are. Buried in the center of each figure is a bead or stone of jade, turquoise, or some other precious stone. All the materials used to make these objects are smoked with Kopal beforehand, and offerings are given to the objects, for they are sacred, and will be possessed of teyollia, of will and agency.

The ceremony opens at sunset with the paper banner, which is held up and presented to the gathered guests, and which is then placed in the inner courtyard of the house, or, if such a space is not to be had, a tlamanalli set up in the middle of the living room or some other common space. As the banner is placed at its tlamanalli, and given offerings of fruit and flowers, conch shells and a teponaztli are played. These are feminine instruments, for the shell is akin to the womb, and the teponaztli is the female counterpart to the male Wewetl drum. As such, these instruments summon the presence of the female Teteoh, and of the forces of humidity, darkness, and life. 

The amaranth mountains are then placed on the tlamanalli, arranged so that the tallest and most important mountains are at the center. Food is offered to them, in tiny sizes. The tamales are tiny, and kernels of corn on tiny plates. Chocolate is served in tiny glasses, and pulque in tiny jugs. The small size of the offerings acknowledges the small size of the symbolic mountains made of dough, and of the smallness of humanity before the greatness of the mountains. Green squash, cooked and raw, is likewise offered to them. The ceremony, on the level of the kalpulli, lasts until midnight. More tiny offerings are made to the mountains four times over the course of the ceremony, and songs are sung to them throughout, thanking them for their generosity and life-giving waters. A weaving batten is also placed upon the tlamanalli and given offerings. 

At midnight, the guests gather around the tlamanalli. The weaving batten is removed from the tlamanalli, to the sound of conch shells and shaking rattles, and the playing of the teponaztli. The figures of the mountains are taken up, one by one, with the greatest and most important going last. Their paper adornments are removed and placed in a basket. The weaving batten is inserted into the “chests” of each mountain, and the jade or precious stone hearts removed, as we cry out in honor of the Tepemeh, of the Mountains, and thank them for their sacrifice. The women who have hosted the ceremony enter, with their wipiles and kechkemitl filled with maize, candies, bread, fruit, and other good things to eat, and pass out their abundance to their guests. Pulque is served, from a black jug painted with the moon and from black clay cups, to give honor to the darkness from which life springs. 

After, on an auspicious day as indicated by the Tonalamatl, the paper flag placed in the courtyard, and the paper adornments of the mountains, are taken to a spring, hill, or mountain, and left there as an offering to Tlalok and the Tlalokeh.

Atemoztli in the Tovar Codex
Monthly Rituals


With the Nemontemi, the count of the xiwitl comes to an end. The Mexika marked the final day of Nemontemi by the observed equinox sunrise as measured by the Templo Mayor. This astronomical event signaled the “bundling” of a unit of time, and the end of the year. We celebrate this “tying off” of the year instead of the upcoming “new year” – a subtle shift in thinking that forces us to recognize that our ancestors marked the end of cycles, rather than their beginnings. Therefore, we can say “In Xiwitl Intlamiliz” or “the year has ended” instead of “Happy New Year.” Every four years, the final day of Nemontemi is “duplicated” or stretched across two days, to account for the extra day it takes the sun to return to its original starting position on the horizon on the Spring Equinox. This allows the Tonalpowalli to continue uninterrupted.

Nemontemi symbol from Telleriano Remensis, Folio 7r.

From the Florentine Codex (Book 2, Page 35):

“The five remaining days of the year they named Nemontemi, which means barren days. And they regarded them as unlucky and of evil fortune. There is conjecture that when they pierced the boys’ and girls’ ears, which was every four years, they set aside six days of Nemontemi, and it is the same as the bissextile which we observe every four years.

These five days they held as of evil fortune and unlucky. They said that those who were born in them had evil outcomes in all their affairs and were poor and wretched. They named them Nemo. If they were men, they named them Nemokich; if it was a woman, they named her Nenziwatl. They dared do nothing in these days because they were unlucky. Especially did they abstain from quarreling, because they said that those who quarreled in these days al-ways remained with that custom. They held as a bad omen stumbling in these days.”

Modern Interpretations of Nemontemi (adapted with permission from the work of micorazonmexica):

These extra five days exist between the end of one xiwitl and the beginning of another, and therefore fall outside of the 20-count ordering of time and introduce chaos and disorder to what is otherwise a perfectly ordered system. For these reasons, Nemontemi are considered the worst days of the year, on which all kinds of terrible things are likely to happen. During Nemontemi, couples should refrain from having sex for fear of getting pregnant or introducing chaos into their relationships. New projects should not be started, and new journeys should not be undertaken. It is said that if you trip and fall, you will never be able to rise and you will find that all your undertakings will fail throughout the year. Light no kopal and make no offerings, for the Teteoh will not look kindly upon you. Kwawtemok, the last emperor of the Mexika, was crowned during Nemontemi during the height of the war against the Spanish, and for this reason, lost his kingdom. On these days try to avoid mishaps, start nothing new, and anticipate with joy the beginning of a new cycle which will begin once the last day of Nemontemi has ended.

Monthly Rituals


Etzalkwaliztli – “the Eating of Maize and Beans”

Etzalkwaliztli falls when the rains are at their peak, and is therefore sacred to Tlalok and the Tlalokeh, and to Chalchiuhtlikwe, Our Lady Water. It is a time of abundance, for the gardens are lush and full, and the trees heavy with fruit. Therefore, it is a time of feasting. It is called Etzalkwaliztli because etzalli, a stew made of beans and corn, is eaten at this time. The combination of these two ingredients in the same dish symbolizes the abundance and fertility of the season.

Tlalok is given offerings and ceremonies throughout the year, for without his precious rains we cannot live. We thank him for the rains which fall daily during Etzalkwaliztli and give life to the crops, and we beg him not to bring hail, or flood, or disastrous storm, or drought. 

During Etzalkwaliztli we give thanks to the tools of our work, in the ceremony of Tekiloni Zewiliztli, or “the Repose of the Tools.” Most things possess will, agency, and “soul.” Our tools aid us in our work and guide our hands and our minds. They are made with wood, leather, metal, plastic (which once was oil and before that the body of a living being), or any of a thousand other things, which were taken from the body of Tlaltekuhtli, Our Mother the Earth, or which had once lived on Her surface. When our ancestors made their tools, they understood that they were conscious, and possessed will, and that a being had given up their life to produce them, whether that being was a tree that had been killed for their wood, an animal for its leather, or an ore which had been melted and transformed into metal. The process of making tools was a sacred and ceremonial act. Today our tools are made in factories, and Tlaltekuhtli or the other beings, such as trees, are not asked permission or given honor for the gifts of their lives. Many indigenous tribes in Mexico continue to think of tools as living beings, but do not regard factory made tools as such, especially when they were made with artificial materials like plastic or chemicals. These things were made by pillaging the oil and metals which live in the entrails of Tlaltekuhtli and are considered too distant from Her to possess a soul, agency, and will. An object made of wood, like a paint brush, or of metal, like a machete or a knife, still contains the “soul” of the tree or the Earth of which they were made. But an object made of plastic, or the highly processed and refined materials of a computer, cannot. 

One day should be set aside, on which the things we use for our work are placed on a tlamanalli, and given offerings of incense, flowers, and food. If you are a painter, your paints and paint brushes, if a gardener, your hoe, and your rake, if a scholar, your pencils and books. These tools are alive, and it is their day of rest. You might incense your computers, cell phones, or cars, for these things are also implements of work, and while we do not honor them, we honor the lives that were given up making them, and Tlaltekuhtli who gave us the gifts of metal and oil. We contemplate the use of our tools, and ask ourselves if our work is honorable, and if it helps us to repay our debt. Living beings gave up their lives for the sake of the tools you honor during Tekiloni Zewiliztli, and Tlaltekuhtli was exploited for her oils and metals. The work these tools create must be worthy of the great sacrifice by which they were made. We make offerings to the Teteoh, and to the tools themselves, to guide us in this endeavor.

From the Florentine Codex (Book 2, page 84):

“And when it was already the feast day, all the common folk made cooked maize and beans for themselves; they made etzalli for themselves. They fell to it as one. There was no one who did not prepare maize and beans for himself.

When they were cooked, then they were continually eaten; they continually presented it to one another; they continually invited one another to meals.

And some of the happy ones, the pleasure girls, and some of the brave warriors danced from time to time. Thus they just diverted themselves.

Thus were they adorned: they had circles about their eyes; they had their maize staves. They kept going to enter each one’s home. They danced the etzalli dance. With them they went grasping a handled jar, the etzalli jar.

And as they kept on dancing they chanted: “When I do, when I do, give me a little of your etzalli. If thou give me none, I shall break a hole into your house.”

And the householders then gave them a pile of etzalli. They went placing it in the etzalli jar.

Those who kept on dancing gathered some in fives, some in sixes, some in sevens.”

Modern Interpretations of Etzalkwaliztli (adapted with permission from the work of micorazonmexica)

For this feast, a tlamanalli is made for our tools, and another is made in honor of Tlalok. The house and tlamanalli are adorned with pine boughs, and blue papers and adornments are used as decorations. A bed of pine needles is spread out before the tlamanalli of Tlalok, and four balls of masa or corn dough are placed there. These symbolize Tlalok’s gift of water for the life-giving corn, which flows to the four directions. Offerings in groups of four of tomatoes or green chiles are also made. 

This is a time of washing, as the rains wash the fields. Agricultural implements or other tools which it is practical to clean are taken from the tlamanalli and ceremonially washed, and those who can go to a spring, lake, or seashore, and bathe themselves there. 

Pots of etzalli are made. In the past this was a communal celebration, like Halloween today. Every family made a pot, and the entire community would go from house to house, carrying their bowl with one hand and a staff in the other, and ask for a spoonful, and playfully threaten those who had not prepared any or who had run out. They dressed in costume, wearing Tlalok’s goggles made of paper or woven grass, or costumes of aquatic creatures, like ducks, fish, and turtles, which are sacred to Tlalok. They painted themselves blue, and all joined in feasting and merriment, and they danced holding a stock of the corn-plant in their hands.

Today, it is unlikely that one’s neighbors will also be celebrating Etzalkwaliztli, but, until such a time as the ceremonies and festivities of our ancestors shall again become widespread, invite your neighbors, friends, and family, and together partake of the meal of etzalli. Perhaps you can go in procession, dressed in costumes of aquatic creatures, and give little cups of etzalli to the strangers you pass, and give thanks with your loved ones to Tlalok, for the abundance of which you partake, which is his gift to you. 

Etzalkwaliztli, Codex Tovar
Monthly Rituals


Toxkatl – “Dryness”

Toxkatl is the 4th Zempowaltonallapowalli of the year, and takes place during the season of rain, and gives honor to Tezkatlipoka, the lord of destruction and the whims of fate. He rules over the most critical period of the year, when the rains must fall, or the people die. Therefore, this Zempowaltonallapowalli is called Toxkatl, or “dryness,” for we petition Tezkatlipoka to save us from drought, and not to bring death to his people. 

Just as Tonalko begins with a ceremony of sweeping and cleaning the home, so begins Xopan. But here, the house is cleansed with smoke of Kopal. At the beginning of Toxkatl, the entire house must be incensed, every corner, window, and doorway. After the house has been blessed with the smoke of Kopal, the things within the house are blessed as well, such as the pots and utensils for cooking, which give us life through the food we eat, and the tools of our work, such as computers, and the cars which take us to our jobs. We give thanks to our home for sheltering us, and thanks to the things we use, for cooking, working, and transportation, for feeding and aiding us. Thus, the home is cleansed with fire and smoke just as the rains descend, so that the male fire and the female rain are joined in harmony in this ceremony of blessing. 

Tezkatlipoka is also the patron of the nobility. All who find themselves in a high position owe their success to him. Therefore, during Toxkatl the wealthy give him offerings, and share their wealth with the poor. It is he who raised them up, and it is he who brings them down, therefore on these days they tremble for their future, and beg him to keep the wheel of destiny from grinding them into the dust. Before the coming of the Spaniards, it was understood that the role of the nobility was to fight in war, and to give up their lives in battle. This was seen as a sacrifice, made for the sake of Tonatiuh the Sun, Tlaltekuhtli the Earth, and their community. The fine plumes, the gold and turquoise with which they adorned themselves, were earthly rewards, given at the price of their own lives, for which they must ultimately pay. Today many of those who are wealthy and powerful mistakenly believe they won their position through their own merits. But without the gifts of the Teteoh, the usually high position of their parents, and the support of the society around them, they could not have achieved anything. Toxkatl is a time for the wealthy to remember how they arose, to whom they owe their debt, and to pay it, with gifts and largesse to the poor, else Tezkatlipoka rip them from their high position and cast them to the dust.

Tezkatlipoka, whose foot has been taken by Tlalteotl, earth teotl. Codex Féjérvary-Mayer

We also give honor to Witzilopochtli, who is Our Lord the Sun. Before the coming of the Spaniards, wars were fought during the dry season of Tonalko. These wars were sacred, as the force of teyollia contained in the hearts and blood of the warriors was spilled, feeding the dry and hungry Earth, and giving Her the power to bring life back to the maize. These wars were a sacrifice, demanded of us by the Teteoh. Today, we no longer fight the Flowery Wars in which the blood of brave warriors was spilt. But Tlaltekuhtli still demands sacrifice from us. During Tonalko we danced for her, spilled our own blood for her with maguey spines, and burned Kopal for her. And we have made her other sacrifices, such as donating money, volunteering, picking up trash in the wild places, or have otherwise found ways to sacrifice and pay our debt. With the ceremonies of Toxkatl, we give honor to Witzilopochtli, and remind him that we have paid our debt to Our Mother the Earth, so that she might bloom once more.

Witzilopochtli in the Codex Borbonicus 

From the Florentine Codex (Book 2, pages 9-10)

This feast was the most important of all the feasts. This youth, reared as hath been said, was very comely, and chosen from many. He had long hair down to the waist.

When, on this feast, they slew the young man who had been reared for the role, they at once produced another, who was to die after one year. He walked everywhere in the town finely arrayed with flowers in his hand, and with people who accompanied him. He greeted with good grace those whom he met. All knew that this one was the likeness of Tezkatlipoka, and they bowed before him and worshiped him whenever they met him.

Twenty days before this feast came, they gave this young man four comely young women reared for the part, with whom for all the twenty days, he had carnal relations. And they changed his array when they gave him these young women: they clipped his hair like a war captain and gave him more finery even braver than what he had had.

Five days before he was to die, they celebrated feasts for him and banquets, in cool and pleasant places. Many of the leading men accompanied him. On the arrival of the day where he was to die, they took him to a pyramid or sanctuary which they called Tlakochkalko; and, before he arrived there, at a place which they called Tlapitzawayan, the women with-drew and left him. Arrived at the place where they were to kill him, he ascended the steps himself; on each of them he shattered one of the flutes which he had played as he walked, all during the year. When he had reached the summit of the temple, they threw him upon the sacrificial stone; they tore out his heart; they brought down the body, carrying it in their hands; below, they cut the head off and ran through it [the crosspiece of the skull rack] which is called tzompantli. Many other ceremonies were enacted in this feast.”

The human ixiptla (representation) of Tezkatlipoka is prepared for Toxkatl. Florentine Codex Book 2, illustrations 18-20

Modern Interpretations of Toxkatl (adapted with permission from the work of micorazonmexica):

On Toxkatl we give honor to Tezkatlipoka Titlakawan, the Smoking Mirror, He Whose Slaves We Are, who is night, darkness, and the whims of fate. Likewise, we pray to Witzilopochtli, the Hummingbird on the Left, who is day, light, and war. We have fed Witzilopochtli with war and sacrifices over the dry metztin of Tonalko, we have paid our debt, and now, with the coming of Xopan, we beg Tlalok to release the beneficial rains, and Tezkatlipoka to spare us from disaster. 

Amaranth or bread figures of Tezkatlipoka and Witzilopochtli are made and placed on their respective tlamanallis. They are dressed in paper regalia, and hearts which are stones of jade, crystal, or turquoise, or some other precious stone, are inserted into their chests. Witzilopochtli is placed atop a platform painted with writhing snakes, which represents the skirt of Our Mother the Earth, Koatlikwe, from whom he is born every morning. A tekpatl or knife emerges from his headdress. Offerings of arms and legs made of amaranth, or bread are offered to both Teteoh. Before Tezkatlipoka, they are the arms of the mighty whom he first raised and then brought low. Before Witzilopochtli they are the body of his sister the Moon and his brothers the stars, whom he has defeated in battle. Food is offered to Them, many delicious things to eat, and quail, which symbolize the starry night sky. They are night whom Witzilopochtli has conquered, and night embodied by Tezkatlipoka. 

The young women who join the ceremony anoint themselves with perfume, and paint their arms and legs red, and wear red feathers in their kopilli, which symbolizes fire and sacrifice and the light of Witzilopochtli, and they carry banners painted with black stripes on a white ground, which symbolize the darkness of Tezkatlipoka. Only the women bear banners and are painted red, for we are in Xopan, the season of rain and the female principle, and it is they who rule. Small cages of woven cane decorated with paper flags are given to the women, and within are placed the dried, paper-wrapped corncobs which had been blessed on Wey Tozoztli, and which are the heart of the kitchen and granary. They tie them to their backs with shawls, as one ties a baby, and they dance about the tlamanallis, giving honor first to Tezkatlipoka and the powers of night, then to Witzilopochtli and the light of the Sun.  

The men wear crowns of feathers and flowers, both white, and dress simply in white, without adornment. They carry wands adorned with black feathers. They wear popcorn chains about their necks, and crowns made of popcorn. After the women have finished dancing, the men join them, dancing in a chain with their arms about one another. Thus, do we dance with our arms linked, for we embrace Witzilopochtli and Tezkatlipoka with our steps. We ask Them to bless us, to guide us, and to spare us from harm. 

The small cages of maize worn by the women are removed, placed upon the tlamanallis of the two Teteoh, and smoked with Kopal. Then, Witzilopochtli and Tezkatlipoka are taken from the tlamanallis, their paper regalia removed and carefully placed in a box, and their hearts cut out with the blade in the crown of Witzilopochtli. They are broken to pieces, and they and the food on their tlamanallis shared among all who have participated in the ceremony, who are blessed by the powers of darkness and light. 


Wey Tozoztli

Wey Tozoztli – “the Great Perforation”

The third Zempowaltonallapowalli is called Wey Tozoztli, which means “the Great Perforation.” It is called this because towards the end of this Zempowaltonallapowalli the skies open, and the life-bringing rains begin to fall in torrents. The skies are “perforated,” they are drilled, and the waters which are held up in the heavens throughout Tonalko fall upon a thirsty Earth below. 

During Wey Tozoztli we give thanks to the Lords of Maize. We honor Chikomekoatl, Seven Serpent, who is the grown plant, who gives Her fruit for us to eat, and we honor Chikomexochitl, Seven Flower, also called Zinteotl, Our Lord the Maize, who is the cob itself, whose flesh we grind on the metate to make the tortilla which is the staff of life. They die for our sake, and so we give them honor and sacrifice as the rains begin to fall in earnest, and ask them to return, to be reborn, and to give us the gift of their miraculous flesh once more. 

Huey tozoztli. Primeros Memoriales, f. 250v.

In the past, and in many rural communities in Mexico still, our connection to the corn and the life of the fields was much more intimate. The purpose of the ceremonies of Wey Tozoztli is to seek the blessings of the Lords of Maize, so that the corn will grow with the coming of Xopan. However, today, most of us live in cities, or, even if we live in the country, we do not raise the maize we eat ourselves. Therefore, the ceremonies of Wey Tozoztli cannot be carried out as they had been by our ancestors, and still are in many Indigenous communities. But this does not absolve us of our responsibility to give thanks to the Lords of Maize or release us from our debt. We therefore spill our blood before Chikomekoatl and Zinteotl and give thanks to them for their bounty. We dance in ceremony and burn Kopal at our tlamanallis.

The Zempowaltonallapowalli of Wey Tozoztli is also a time of naming. Young children and babies are taken to the temple or tlamanalli at night, by the light of candles or torches, and are there given their Nahua names by the elders of the community. In the past, everyone was given their name as children at this time, but today, adults are given their names at the solstices and equinoxes, if they have come to these traditions later in life. Children receive their names during Wey Tozoztli for it is the start of the rains, when the maize in the field will begin to grow. They are given their names by the smoke of incense and the sound of conch trumpets, and they are given the tiniest of cuts, so that no more than a thin line of red appears, on their earlobes, and if male on their penis as well. This is a sign of our covenant of sacrifice with the Teteoh, and a beginning of the journey of sacrifice the Teteoh have asked of us. The children shall grow like the corn, blessed by the Teteoh and the Lords of Maize, whose divine bodies they will eat throughout their lives and who will transform into their very flesh, and in the first spilling of their blood, they begin the life-long process of repaying their debt.

Florentine Codex, Book 2, illustration 13

 From the Florentine Codex (Book 2, Page 7):

“In this feast they placed reeds at the doors of the houses. They sprinkled them with the blood from their ears or from the calves of their legs. Besides these, the nobles and the rich set up in their houses some branches which they called akxoyatl. Likewise, they set up branches for their gods, and set forth flowers for [the gods] which each one had in his house.

After this, they went about the maize fields and brought stalks of the maize (which was still small), and they garnished them with flowers and went to place them before their gods, in the house called kalpulli; and they set food before them.

Having done this in the various suburbs, they went to the pyramid of the goddess whom they called Chikomekoatl, and there, before her, they enacted skirmishes in the manner of battles. And all the girls bore upon their backs ears of maize [grown] the year before. They went in procession, to present them to the goddess Chikomekoatl, and they returned them once more to their houses as blessed thing[s]; and from them they took the seed to plant next year. And also, they put it away as the heart of the grain bins, because it was blessed.

They made of dough (which they call tzoalli) the ixiptla of this teotl in the courtyard of her temple; and before her they offered all kinds of maize, and all kinds of beans, and all kinds of chía. For they said that she was the maker and giver of all those things which are the necessaries of life, that the people may live.”

Offerings are made to the amaranth Ixiptla of Chikomekoatl, Florentine Book 2, illustration 14

Modern Interpretations of Wey Tozoztli (adapted with permission from the work of micorazonmexica):

If you are a farmer who raises corn, or can grow corn in your garden, the ceremonies of Wey Tozoztli can take place much as they did for our ancestors. If you are an urban dweller, or otherwise find it impossible to grow corn, then the ceremonies will be very different for you. But in either case, this is a time to give thanks to the Lords of Maize. 

Images of Chikomekoatl and Zinteotl are placed at dawn upon the tlamanalli, and hung with paper banners and flowers, and leafy branches are hung there as well. Before the images of the Teteoh beds of spanish moss are made, upon which pots of soup are placed. For those who can, stalks of dried maize from the previous year’s harvest are collected from the field or garden with the smoke of Kopal, and are brought back to the tlamanalli, and reverently placed there, for they are the divine body of Chikomekoatl. If you cannot find dried maize plants, simply decorate it with flowers, and place paper maize plants upon your tlamanalli instead, and give thanks to the Lords of Maize for their harvest. Five cooked frogs, or clay or paper images of frogs, are placed before the Lords of Maize. Frogs are symbols of the Lords of Rain and represent life and water. Likewise, they represent Zipaktli, one of the manifestations of Our Mother the Earth. Leaves from the maize plants are inserted into their backs, or if such cannot be found, paper flags. If the frogs are made of paper, these flags are laid down upon them. The corn leaves or paper flags symbolize the corn growing from the body of Our Mother the Earth. Finally, seven cobs of dry corn are placed upon the tlamanalli, to the sound of conch trumpets and the smoke of Kopal. All the papers, flags, and offerings are painted red, the color of sacrifice and blood. These offerings remain all day upon the tlamanalli. 

At night guests are invited to the ceremony who come with their own dried corncobs to cleanse with Kopal. The soup and frogs and other offerings are eaten with joy and merriment by the party. Young women take up the cobs of corn, in groups of no more than seven, and wrap them in their mantles or rebozos. 

Their legs and arms are painted red, and an elder dips a daisy in liquid rubber or black ink and spatters it across their faces. In the past the young women led the gathered people to the temples of Chikomekoatl and Zinteotl to venerate the seeds, but today their temples no longer exist. Therefore, they take them instead to the field or garden where the maize is to grow, for this is their home, and sacred to them, and here they, with the elders of her community, seek the blessings of our Mother and Father the Maize. With the smoke of Kopal we ask that they give us the gift of Their sacred flesh. The procession to the field takes place in silence. No one may speak, and if any speak, they should be reprimanded. If there are no fields or gardens at which to bless the corn-cobs, then the maidens should walk in a circle six times, perhaps around the block on which you live or even just in your living room, while honoring the four directions, of Our Father the Sky and Our Mother the Earth, and ask all of the Teteoh to bless the seeds and to bring abundance into our lives. The corn is then wrapped in papers and spattered with rubber or ink, and if you have a granary, they are placed there, and left there throughout the year, for they are its heart, they are the representation of Chikomekoatl, in whom She dwells. If you do not have a granary, they remain in your kitchen, on a tlamanalli, where they will bring abundance into your life. 

Wey Tozoztli, Codex Tovar