Until all the hoopla about the end of the world started revving up, I think I had heard Quetzalcoatl's name maybe twice in my lifetime--- enough to know how to pronounce it, but, not enough to know who or what Quetzalcoatl was.
Strange though it may be, I have found that I like the name Quetzalcoatl, and even enjoy saying it over and over again. The problem with liking such an uncommon word---all the strange looks you get when you randomly spout the name in the grocery store.
That's why I love working where I do. One of the benefits of working in a bookstore is you can use random words, like the name of a strange world-ending creature, in everyday conversation and no one will think anything of it. "Have you read the new book on Quetzalcoatl's return?"
A Meso-American deity whose name means, "Feathered Serpent," Quetzalcoatl was first documented around 100 B.C. The god of light, mercy and wind-- Quetzalcoatl presided over the Western cardinal direction (his three brothers each preside over a different cardinal direction) and was the patron of priests.
He also created the infamous Mayan Calendar that had doomsdayer's counting down to the calendar's end-date of 12/21/12.
One Aztec story states that Quetzalcoatl was tricked by one of his brothers into getting drunk and sleeping with a celibate priestess. In remorse for what he had done, Quetzalcoatl burned himself up.
Another story has him being banished on a raft of snakes, vowing to return on a day of his own energy. Quetzalcoatl always told the Mayans that he would return in a year One Reed, which occurs every 52 years. The next year One Reed will occur in December 2018---- so, the end of the Mayan calendar didn't bring about the end of the world. Perhaps it will take the creator of the Mayan calendar to set things right...or, perhaps to end it all?
the west wind cries,
Morning Star returns.
In feathered might,
on serpent feet,
the maligning world burns.