Mictlantecuhtli was a god in the Aztec pantheon. Translated literally, his name means ‘Lord of Mictlan’, Mictlan being the Aztec underworld or land of the dead. The Aztecs believed that there were a number of paradises and entry into them depended on the manner of one’s death. Those who failed to gain entry to these paradises, however, would end up in Mictlan, the domain of Mictlantecuhtli.
The Aztecs believed that the cosmos was divided into three parts – Ilhuicac, (the heavens) on the top, Tlalticpac (the earth, or land of the living) in the middle, and Mictlan on the bottom. The Aztecs also believed that Mictlan was divided into different layers, nine to be exact, and that Mictlantecuhtli resided with his wife, Mictecacihuatl, in the last of these layers.