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The Civatateo

Yay! More vampire mythology! Today we’re traveling to ancient Mexico and jumping into the bloody world of the Aztecs to discover the Civatateo.

The Civatateo were Aztec vampires, the most vampiric of all the Aztec deities. They were hideous creatures with pale faces, arms and hands covered in white chalk (called ticitl) and crossbones painted upon their tattered dresses. But, believe it or not, they were once beautiful noblewoman. But these lovely women died in childbirth and therefore were doomed to return as a horrific Civatateo.

They were said to be servants of the gods Tezcatlipoca and Tlazolteotl. Tezcatlipoca being the god of the moon, nocturnal sky, god of the ancestral memory, god of time and the Lord of the North. Tlazolteotl was the goddess of the moon, of ritual cleansing (she was known as “the Eater of Filth”), human fertility and of sexuality. As the god’s servants, the Civatateo had the magical powers of a priest. The Civatateo were also given the honorific title of civapipiltin (princess) for dying in childbirth.

Supposedly, the wicked Civatateo returned to earth riding broomsticks, haunting crossroads and holding sabbats with others of their kind. When they weren’t doing that they were wandering the night looking for defenseless children to feed upon. They left the poor child either paralyzed or diseased. But that’s not all; some also believe that they would mate with human men, giving birth to vampire children.

To keep their children safe, the people would create shrines full of food at crossroads in hopes that the food would sate the hungry vampires (it was believed that their favorite offering is a cake in the shape of a butterfly). But that wasn’t their only reason, they also hoped that a Civatateo would be so busy eating its feast it wouldn’t notice the rising sun, for the sun would kill a Civatateo.

– Moonlight

Aztec mythologyAztec vampirecivapipiltinCivatateoTezcatlipocaTlazolteotlvampie lorevampire myth

Moonlight • May 1, 2010


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  3. Luis Cortez July 7, 2010 - 1:24 pm Reply

    I think you’re interpretation of the Civatateo is a bit misconstrued. Aztecs didn’t have a concept of a vampire as we know it today. Your assesment that civatateos were the most vampiric is correct but that’s because they shared traits with vampires. They were not labeled vampires until the Spanish conquest of Mexico and South America by the conquistadors. From the Aztec perspective, civatateo’s were not cursed but beatified by their loved ones. Allow me to explain. Every aspect of their culture is warlike. From childhood, both genders were preparred for a hard life of combat. Men fought in the fields why women fought in the spiritual world. Given that new life was such a mystery to the Aztecs and the mortality rate so high, women were thought to go to a spiritual war to fight for the birth of their baby. Women who died were considered saints (by our reckoning) and accompanied the Gods–particularly Tezcatlipoca. They were said to accompany Huitzilopochtli (the sun god) to his death from the noon hour till the evening. As they believe that Huitzilopochtli was born every day and died every day. Civatateos were more like angels carrying out the wishes of the gods. They would kill if ordered to and occassionally a few would follow a darker path but they were not all evil or required blood to live like a vampire.

    • Moonlight July 7, 2010 - 2:09 pm Reply

      True, but they are vampire-like and since we cover every creature with vampiric traits, here they are. :)

  4. Robert Pinales November 9, 2010 - 9:34 pm Reply

    I wonder if the Civatateo had a male counterpart. Is there anything written about the Civatateo and where can I find it? This is all so interesting.

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