The Hideous Twin of Quetzalcoatl, Xolotl, the Evening Star, is the Psychopomp of the Aztecs, leading people to the hall of Mictlan.
The dark twin of Quetzalcoatl, Xolotl is the god of bad luck, the evening star to his brother’s morning star. In spite of his negative associations, Xolotl feels a responsibility toward mortals, and does his best to care for them. Together with his brother Quetzalcoatl, Xolotl stole fire from Mictlán and gave it to humanity. Xolotl leads the dead on their arduous, four-year journey to Mictlán, and he guards the sun faithfully during the night. He does his various jobs dutifully, knowing he’s unlikely ever to get any proper respect for his hard work.
Xolotl is fearsome to behold. He appears as a skeleton, his bright red bones scorched by fire. His feet are on backwards (so that he can lead the way to Mictlán while keeping an eye on his charges), and he sometimes replaces his skull with the head of a dog, in imitation of his canine assistants. Xolotl is usually accompanied by several large, hairless dogs (one breed, the Xoloitzcuintle, even bears his name). These loyal hounds assist Xolotl in his role as a guide through the Underworld. When Quetzalcoatl journeyed to Mictlán to create the People of the Fifth Sun out of bones, Xolotl went as well, in order to create dogs. In exchange for people taking care of dogs during life, Xolotl decided, dogs would care for people in the afterlife. Many ancient Mesoamericans were buried with dogs, to ensure they wouldn’t need to journey through the Underworld alone.
In modern times, Xolotl has been a wilderness guide, a seeing eye dog trainer, and an insurance agent.