Ixchel, Mayan Goddess of the Moon {Tara Reynolds}

Ixchel post

Ixchel (pronounced ee-shell) is a Mayan goddess of the moon, water and the earth.

Her name is said to translate to mean “Lady Rainbow”. She is a Mother Goddess associated with fertility and procreation and was one of the most important deities in the Mayan pantheon.  Ixchel is the consort of Itzamna who is the sky God and together they had thirteen boys.

Ixchel has been portrayed in two different aspects, one of an aged woman and one as a young girl.

In her aged aspect as a midwife she is called “Red Rainbow”. This refers to a time when she brought about a great flood to bring in the New Year. Ixchel carried a jug of water and poured it over the earth which caused it to rain. This spurred a great flood which caused much destruction. This flood brought in a new age. In this aspect she is shown as an elderly woman with the headdress of a snake and the claws of a jaguar.

ixchel ix chel white maidenIxchel is also a goddess of the moon and was called “She of the Pale Face” relating it to the pale color of the moon.

In this aspect she is shown seated with a rabbit. When the Mayans gazed upon the moon they saw the shape of a rabbit. They viewed rabbits as good luck and connected to fertility. So naturally they also connected them to Ixchel, their moon goddess. Historians still aren’t sure if these two goddesses were in fact separate from each other or aspects of Ixchel.

Ixchel had a sanctuary at Cozumel and in the 16th century women were said to visit her there to pray for a fulfilling marriage.

Evidence of  her worship was also found on Isla Mujeres or “The Island of Women”. On the province of Acalan, Ixchel was venerated as the main deity.

On your altar to Ixchel, have a representation of the moon, water, colors of the rainbow, sandalwood incense, a figure or artwork of a rabbit and crystals of moonstone or quartz.

Have you ever worked with Ixchel?



– Painting courtesy of David Nathan Allen

About Tara Reynolds

2 Responses to “Ixchel, Mayan Goddess of the Moon {Tara Reynolds}”

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  1. Belinda Lashea says:

    As a midwife, Ixchel is one of the main deities that I work with most often. She is represented by the dragonfly as well as the rabbit & rainbow, and many of us wear dragonflies in her honor to births. She has 3 representations, maiden, mother, and crone. And the only time her snake (magik & healing wisdom) is not on her head, is in her mother aspect, as she is focused on raising her children rather than healing others. Rosita Arvigo is an excellent resource for information and Mayan lore surrounding Ixchel. Personally, my first encounter with this Goddess was on a trip to Cozumel, formerly the Isle of Mujers, the Island of Women, where Ixchel was revered and celebrated by the women who inhabited the island. I left her an offering and did a similar pilgrimage around her temple as devotees of old, and there in the lush heat of her island, I met her. She is a healer and a midwife, Goddess to women in childbirth and female rites of passage, and I am her Devotee.

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