Quetzalcoatl, a feathered serpent or ‘plumed serpent’, was one of the most important gods in the ancient Mesoamerican pantheon. The name Quetzalcoatl is a combination of two Nahuatl (the language of the Aztecs) words, quetzal, which is the emerald plume bird, and coatl, which means serpent. Therefore, Quetzalcoatl is commonly also known in English as the Plumed Serpent or Feathered Serpent.
Finding the Origins of Quetzalcoatl
But this deity was known by other names in other Mesoamerican civilizations. The Maya people, for instance, referred to Quetzalcoatl as Kukulkán, whilst the Quiché of Guatemala knew this god as Gucumatz.
The Aztec god Quetzalcoatl as depicted in the Codex Telleriano-Remensis (16th century). (Public Domain)