|Behind the Scenes|
The Tzitzimimeh (singular: Tzitzimitl) are female skeletal star deities from Aztec mythology, and are ruled by the goddess Ītzpāpālōtl, queen of the realm of Tamoanchan, where the human race was created.
Coming from a realm beyond the night sky, the Tzitzimimeh have traditionally been depicted as female skeletal deities wearing skirts, and often had snake motifs as well. They're deeply associated with stars and are said to be responsible for solar eclipses, as they descend upon the Earth during such periods in order to devour people and spread chaos.
On the other hand, these creatures are also venerated as progenitors of humanity and protectors of women; and are generally associated with fertility and pregnancy. Like many other deities, they seem to have an ambivalent role in both creation and destruction of life.
Some sources claim that in periods of cosmic instability; such as at the end of the 52-years Aztec calendar cycle; the Tzitzimimeh require a special ritual to be kept appeased. The "New Fire" ritual involves extinguishing all hearths save from one, and trying to create a new fire. It's believed that if the ritual failed, the Tzitzimimeh would invade the human world and prey upon all living beings. If successful, however, the New Fire would postpone this event for the next 52 years.