­An Outrageous Coloring Book

Icons of Aztec Deities and Commentary

By Richard Balthazar


For free download as a pdf file, right click here and select “Save Target (or Link) As.”

ATL, Aztec God of Water

ATL, Aztec God of Water

ATL {atł} is the deified element of water, and is a nagual (manifestation or bodhisattva) of TLALOC, the ancient God of Storms (Rain).  In the tonalpohualli or ceremonial count of days, also called the Turquoise Year, Atl is 9th of the 20 named days in the month, a lucky day.  As above, Nahui Atl (Four Water), the 4th of the 13 numbered days in one of the weeks, is the day-name of the Fourth Sun, a previous world ruled by CHALCHIUHTLICUE and destroyed by Water.  Its humans were turned into fish.  The four dots are the Aztec numeral 4.  The extended upper lip (harelip?) has been traditional for Mesoamerican water deities ever since the Olmec.


 Rather long ago for my book CELEBRATE NATIVE AMERICA, I originally drew the Aztec deities for the ceremonial calendar.  Now I’m redrawing in the digital medium and expanding them into full-scale icons.  And believe it or not, the YE GODS!  THE AZTEC ICONS coloring book is offering you these amazing neo-Aztec icons for FREE.  That’s right—at no risk—not even any postage.

Color them in as you wish with my compliments.  The wrinkle is that this coloring book will be posted serially as each icon is completed.  That could well take the next couple years—a good reason to keep checking back with me.  At the moment only one is available, but there are four more almost ready for posting, and a sixth is well on the way.

The Aztec deities are a fascinating crowd of inter-related personalities involved in a soap-opera mythology of creation/destruction, love/strife, and life/death that makes the gods of Olympus look like wimps.  Perhaps the confusing dramas, frequent aliases, and surreal images are due to the fact that the Aztecs and their deities indulged in psychoactive drugs like alcoholic pulque, peyote, hallucinogenic mushrooms, and other psychedelic herbs.  So hold on to your hats for some challenging images to color, such as the current posting above.

Using only a bit of my artistic license, I’m basing YE GODS!  THE AZTEC ICONS on extant Aztec artifacts and their surviving picture-booksYou can use these almost authentic Aztec icons as cartoons for large-scale murals, smaller-scale tattoos, needlepoint patterns, and other design or illustration needs.

YE GODS!  THE AZTEC ICONS should also be seen as a free and unique teaching tool for classes not only in art, but also in cultural and historical studies.  In addition, YE GODS!  THE AZTEC PANTHEON is an illustrated encyclopedia of Aztec deities that comprises a crash course in Aztec cosmology, mythology, ritual, society, and history.

Don’t be shy.  Make lots of copies to experiment on.  You’ll need to.


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