From the Oak: Let’s hear it for the God!
Many are those that focus on female divinities, leaving male divinities in the shadows if they get mentioned at all. This is a shame. Here I will share my thoughts, stories and prayers on male divinities.
Of Confusion and the Mesoamerican Pantheons
Of the blogs I’ve written so far, this one by far has taken up the most of my time, frustration and with not nearly enough to show for it. I’ve got more questions than answers. This week’s deity is from the Mesoamerican pantheon. This area is widely known home for the Mayans, Aztecs and Incans. Their pantheons overlap so much it is hard for a layman to pick one out from the rest. So I’m going to tell you what I found on one of their deities that caught my attention, listing it in the order that I found it. I make no promises of the accuracy, so this is mostly just an information dump to start you on your own search or for you to throw more information to aid me in mine.
In reviewing an item, I came across a deity named Acat who was described as a Mayan deity of tattooing and tattoo artists. Now I thought this was pretty cool, so I wanted more information. Commence headache. The majority of the information I found in English was the same thing ad nauseum.
Acat, Acat-Cib, Acaat, Ah-Kat: god of tattoos, tattooing and tattoo artists; god of fetal growth and development; God of Life; possible Becab(Bacab) of the East
So then it was suggested when I hit various groups looking for more information that I try looking in Spanish and rely upon translating software. I found more information this way.
Acatlis (Acatl in Aztec) is a Nahuatl day name which means reed (though sometimes translated as cane). It is the 13th day of the 20 day Aztec month representing East, Arrows and governed by Tezcatlipoca.
Ah Cat(Kat) means “he of the storage jar”, were cat/kat means jar (Khanan = cana= khana = kat = kan = net, sacrifice)
In Yucatec, Acat is the god of tattoos and sacrifices
Acatl is the reed used in tattooing; hence may be a nickname or epithet of another god; Acatl is the god of dwellings
Cib = wax, owl/vulture, soul, insect, lizard, maize
Akna is a mother goddess who rules over human fertility and births while Acat forms the fetuses in the (her?) womb; she is associated with the Becabs and possible the moon and rabbits (though that may be a different goddess with the same name)
Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities (edited by Charles Russell Coulter, Patricia Turner) states that Acat is a god of life and tattooers for the Maya People of the Yucatan; one of the Bacabs aka Wind Gods aka four pillars of heaven whose names differs with each culure in the area. Acatl is a year god for the Aztec people of Mexico who is in charge of the east region; possible the same as Acat who along with his brothers (the Becabs) were similar to the Incan Tahuantin Suyu Kapac; Acatl corresponds to the skybearer Tlauixacalpantecuhtli
Tlauixacalpantecuhtli is listed as the Lord of the Morning Star; a manifestation of Quetzalcoatl; a god of war; but he is associated with the 12th day not the 13th.
Tezcatlipoca also called Omacatl (Two Reeds) , smoking mirror (obsidian), Great God, Carved Obsidian Knife; whose bird is Horned Owl; has various aspects associated with various directions; brother of Quetzalcotl (who is sometimes called White Tezactlipoca) and often his opposition.
Now none of these refer to tattoos or fetal development. So let’s go back to the Becabs.
Becabs (Bacabs) are a set of divinities, creator gods, Lords of the Winds, Deities of agriculture, rain and fertility, patrons of beekepers which are seated at each of the four cardinal points holding up the sky, appearing various as iguana-type entities, old men, frogs, tortoises, jaguars or trees. Now Becab of the east is various listed as Kan, Acat, Acatl, Chac, Muluc and Hobnil. His color is sometimes listed as red, other times yellow.
Do you see where this is going? In circles I think, cause I can no longer see my way out. Now several of these may be the same divinity saw through different tribal lenses but I can no longer pick who, how or which. They all blur together.
One more wrench to throw in because why not?
Acat – a type of dwarf that turns into a flower
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