Mictantecutli might look sorta cute (Okay, that’s probably just me), but this lord of the underworld is a definite badass. He’s the Aztec equivalent of Hades or the Devil, and these are the AZTECS. They took their death seriously, people. I mean, the Egyptians did their thing, but really, for death, for me, it’s the Aztecs.
In all of Aztec mythology, only two deities get to wear a crown. One is the sun god, and the other is our man Mictantecutli. He is a skeleton, usually with eyeballs, who sits on the throne of the underworld Mictlampa where he oversees the eternal torture of souls. His sigils are an owl, a clump of desert grass, a corpse (it’s nice to have a spare around), and a dish of human hearts (Snacks!).
To the Aztecs, there were three types of souls: people who died normal deaths, heroic deaths (not only in battle, but also through sacrifice or during childbirth(Childbirth! Interesting)), and non-heroic. Mictantecutli is one of the few gods who had the power to rule over all three types of folk.
He’s also a married man. His wife is Mictecacihuatl.
If that wasn’t ENOUGH to make him awesome, during the day, he freaking swallows the stars. Presumably he spits them out every night.
To the Aztecs, death and life were inseparable, so when you and I look at a guy who is a skeleton, we might think he’s pretty antisocial and scary. But for the Aztecs, he might be the equivalent of the Easter bunny, symbolizing new life just as much as death.
The Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology, Rosemary Ellen Guiley