Ix-Chel: Mayan Goddess Of The Moon

As an ancient fertility goddess, Ix-Chel was responsible for sending rain to nourish the crops. When fulfilling that function, she was called “Lady Rainbow.” She helped ensure fertility by overturning her sacred womb jar so that the waters would flow.

​Though sometimes depicted as a goddess of catastrophe (the woman who stands by as the world floods), many of her myths show her in a more benevolent light—as a goddess who refused to become a victim of oppression.

​This was a woman who, when faced with adversity, took charge of her life and turned it around!

Ix-Chel Falls In Love

Ix Chel
Ymblanter, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

​Ix-Chel was almost too beautiful, this girl with opalescent skin who sat in the skies brushing her shimmering hair for hours on end. All the gods were captivated by her. All but one that is.

​Kinich Ahau, the Sun God, seemed immune to Ix-Chel’s charms. Yet he was the only one she really ever wanted. For years she had longed for him as she watched him glide across the sky in all his golden splendor.

​But the more Ix-Chel followed him around, the worse the weather on earth became. As she chased after him, the tides would rise, creating floods that inundated the fields and caused the crops to die. So enamored was she that Ix-Chel did not even notice the havoc she was causing.

​Like many moon goddesses, Ix-Chel was a fine weaver, and it was the beautiful cloth she wove that finally captured Kinich Ahau’s attention. Soon they became lovers.

Trouble In Paradise

​Ix-Chel bore the Sun God four sons. They were the jaguar gods and could creep through the night unseen. They were named for the four directions, and each one was responsible for holding up his corner of the sky.

​Unfortunately, Ix-Chel’s love affair with the Sun God drew the ire of her disapproving grandfather. In his anger, he struck Ix-Chel with lightning, killing her. For the next 183 days, she lay lifeless as hundreds of dragonflies surrounded her body and sang to her. Waking suddenly, she returned to the palace of the Sun God.

Ix-Chel In a Toxic Relationship

​Their relationship was turbulent—Kinich Ahau had a suspicious nature and was often consumed with jealousy. To make matters worse, he also had a fiery temper. Suspecting that the innocent Ix-Chel was having an affair with his brother (the Morning Star), Kinich Ahau threw her out of the sky.

​Ix-Chel quickly found refuge with the vulture gods. Hearing this, Kinich Ahau rushed to plead with her to return and promised never to treat her so poorly again. Little time passed before he became jealous and abusive again.

Escaping The Abusive Spouse

​Finally, Ix-Chel realized he was not going to change. She decided to leave him for good. Waiting until he fell asleep, she crept out into the night, taking the form of a jaguar and becoming invisible whenever he came searching for her.

Ix-Chel, the Protector of Women

​Many nights she spent on her sacred island (Cozumel) nursing women during their pregnancies and childbirth. Ix-Chel, like other moon goddesses, governed women’s reproductive systems, so it was quite understandable that she would become the protector of women during pregnancy and labor.

​The small Isla Mujeres (“Island of Women”) was devoted to the worship of Ix-Chel. Comfortable with all phases of life, she was honored as the weaver of the life cycle. She protected the fertility of women and was also the keeper of the souls of the dead.

Legacy

​Ix-Chel encourages us to acknowledge the negative forces affecting our lives. And she prompts us to assert ourselves fully in the face of physical or emotional violence that would diminish our sense of self.

Ix-Chel Symbols

Just like many other fertility goddesses from other cultures, Ix-Chel was also associated with the moon, rain, water, and weaving. However, her story is far from a typical one, as she became a symbol of escaping toxic relationships…

General

Moon was always associated with fertility and femininity. It goes through cycles just like woman’s bodies and nature go through their cycles. As such, the moon is one of the main symbols of Ix-Chel.

Her other symbols are rain, water, crops, and weaving-related objects, such as a loom and spindle.

Animals

Since Ix-Chel gave birth to four jaguars and could transform into one, she is often associated with this animal. Jaguars symbolize power, stealth, exotic beauty, fertility, and protection.

Other animal symbols of Ix-Chel are dragonflies, vultures, snakes, and spiders.

Plants

Apart from being a goddess of fertility, Ix-Chel was also a goddess of healing and medicine. This is why various healing herbs can be used to symbolize this goddess.

Perfumes/Scents

Rose, frankincense, saffron, litchi, raspberries, rosemary, and spearmint, are all scent notes associated with Moon and Ix-Chel. 

Gems and Metals

Silver, moonstones, pearls, titanium, iron, aquamarine, sapphire, aventurine, and gold, are gems and metals that perfectly represent Ix-Chel. 

Colors

Silver, white, and shades of green and blue are the most suitable colors for Ix-Chel, as they symbolize water and fertility, both concepts under the Ix-Chel’s rule.

Other Goddesses

If you enjoyed this post we are sure you will enjoy getting to know some of the other goddesses we also write about. You can find the complete list of goddesses sorted across regions and religions here.

Featured Image Credit: Salvador alc, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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Liz Turnbull

Sharon and Elizabeth Turnbull, mother and daughter team and the website's midwives, had over 45 years of combined work and continuous study in psychology when they decided to create the Goddess Quiz and goddessgift.com. In 2001, we launched our mission to provide visitors with tools for personal insight, self-knowledge, inspiration, and refinement. Sharon, the bestselling author of Goddess Gift (a book about finding the goddess in yourself) worked as a senior partner in a consulting firm, a speaker at seminars and conferences, and as a professor and administrator at four universities during an academic career that spanned over three decades. Liz is also a published author who works as a healthcare provider, an instructor in communication skills for healthcare providers, and leads workshops on multiple subjects including health/healing, communication, and personal growth. It is our greatest hope that our gift may help the Sacred Feminine within and all around us thrive and bless us all with Her Gifts.