Gods and Myth in Aztec Religion

This information is by no means comprehensive. The Aztecs may have had as many as thousands of Gods and Goddesses! In addition, there are varying spellings of names, and I have tried to use the ones most common with less variation.

Here I try to give an overview of many of the main ones and their purpose in Aztec religion and daily life. Entire papers could be written on any one of these! Many pictures including those from codices and archeological finds are included as I feel they are a great visual tool when learning about the Gods.


Quetzalcoatl - The Plumed/Feathered Serpent or Precious Twin or Wind God


Qutezalcoatl from Codex Borbonicus
Qutezalcoatl from Codex Borbonicus
Quetzalcoatl - the Plumed Serpent
Quetzalcoatl - the Plumed Serpent

Lord of Healing, Lord of Penitence, magical herbs, poetry and all beautiful things, learning, and the Morning Star (Venus in the daytime). The Morning Star's spirit, Quetzalcoatl as Tlauixcalpantecuhtli, brought the sun up each morning, bringing benefit of the sun to all people, plants, and animals. He is the god of Springtime and rising life due to his self-sacrifice by giving up everything to become the Morning Star. Both a mythical character and a real person - founder of an empire (and of kinship) and a way of life that is more religious than others before. "The breath of Quetzalcoatl is the fertilizing breath of life." He is described as "the one who emerges from the feathered serpent, just as the Morning Star rises from the horizon" (5).
Also as Quetzalcoatl Ehecatl, or Lord of the Winds, he is depicted wearing a 'wind mask' that covers his lower face with a long pointed snout. This snout was suggestive as the Earth Monster (an alligator/toad creature). As the wind god he is also depicted holding the heaven of waters with his hands above the earth, able to drive the rain with his wind (5).
He was most revered in Aztec culture for being the ancestor of the Toltec kings, and for being the Lord of Wind who cleared a path for rain to fall. There is little mention of him throughout the ritual calendar itself, expect for the first month (Atlcaualo). "None of the 20-day periods has any reference to him, but every time the day Ce Acatl, which means one, arrow-reed and was the name given to the Morning Star, came round, they made special offerings and danced in honour of Quetzalcoatl." In fact, the only time sacrifices were made to Quetzalcoatl was when Venus was in a period of invisibility (5).
Quetzalcoatl
Quetzalcoatl

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external image Quetzalcoatl_801.jpg

The Myth of Quetzalcoatl

Quetzalcoatl was sent by the supreme god to be an earthly king. He served as king and holy priest and was a good ruler of the people. One day a witch goddess named Tlazoteotl laced a drink with wild mushrooms that he drank at a ceremony. Intoxicated by the wild mushrooms, he slept with her. Ashamed that he had broken sacred traditions, he left Mexico with other creatures and his dwarfs (explains the disappearance of the stars and Venus at sunrise). When he got to the ocean, he built a raft of serpent skins. He set sail into the horizon. When he reached the horizon, he was absorbed by the fire of the rising sun and his heart could still be seen in the solar eclipse. The power behind the witch goddess was Tezcatlipoca who wanted Huitzilopochtli to become patron of the Aztecs. They believed Quetzalcoatl would return one day to overthrow his adversaries. When Cortes and the Spanish arrived from the sea and crossed back through Mexico, many saw that as the fabled return of Quetzalcoatl (5).



Xolotl - Evening Star
Xolotl in skeleton form
Xolotl in skeleton form
, Dog God

Xolotl from codex Telleriano-Remensis
Xolotl from codex Telleriano-Remensis
Xolotl was the other twin to the Morning Star/Quetzalcoatl. The planet Venus was called Tlauixcalpantecuhtli meaning "Lord of the House of Dawn" in its morning star role (5). It was shown as twin gods - the Morning Star as Venus when the sun rose and during the daytime (Quetzalcoatl) and an Evening Star as Venus when the sun was down and moon was up (Xolotl). Xolotl was a dark twin, depicted as a monster with a strange animal-like head and long tusks, a slobbering mouth, and one eye popped out and hanging insead of in its socket. We has often depicted with feet twisted around or even turned backwards. When not depicted in this way he was depicted as a skeleton-like figure. Xolotl pushed the sun into darkness everyday and stomped it down to ensure its place high in the night sky. During the times when Venus was not visible it was thought that Xolotl and Quetzalcoatl were battling it out with eachother in the underworld (5). Xolotl was also associated with fire and bad luck.

Xolotl from codex Fejervary-Mayer
Xolotl from codex Fejervary-Mayer





Xolotl
Xolotl

Xolotl mask
Xolotl mask

Tezcatlipoca - Smoking Mirror.

God of fate, patron of warriors and war, very powerful, he is said to have been able to reveal the future through a polished obsidian mirror. He is depicted as having a mirror for a left foot. He is rival to Quetzalcoatl said to have been responsible for his exile from Tollan which resulted in civil far and the fall of the Toltecs. His calendar name is One Death (1). It is said that to gaze into his mirror would cause a person to fall into a trance, used to scry into for divination. He made promises to the people that they would rule an empire spanning the continent. In the middle of summer, while the sun was high in the sky, he took on the persona of Huitzilopochtli ("Blue Hummingbird"). At night he took on the role of a constellation in the night sky. This constellation was seen as the "footprint of the god who had lost his other foot when he drew the earth out of the waters in the titanic struggle before mankind was created" (5). This god led the Earth Monster to the surface of the water, when the monster bit his foot off, he tore off the lower part of the monster's jaw so she would never be allowed to go back into the water and survive. On the back of the Earth Monster, "all tribes of men were created and lived" (5).
A god who rules the earth's surface, he had associations with each of the four directions. "In the east, his colour was yellow in honor of the rising sun, and the fruitfulness of the maize plant. The [south] was the Blue Hummingbird [Huitzilopochtli]. In the west his colour was red, and symbolized the blood of sacrifice. In the north was the field of the black Tezcatlipoca, who was the spirit of witchcraft and black magic." (5) He had a role in anything that had to do with magic and sacrifices. He was sometimes called "Titlauacan" meaning "he who is closest to the shoulder" as he was the one responsible for whispering violent or trickster-like thoughts into the minds of all the people by his presence on every shoulder. He was thought to be the most powerful, besides Ometecuhtli the great power, and "overshadowed" all of the other Aztec gods (5). He was the rival of Quetzalcoatl, an example of the dualistic nature of Aztec religion.This nature of opposites is also reflected in Mayan religion. See John Robertson's page on Mayan religion for more information.
Tezcatilpoca's role as Huitzilopochtli formed the patron god of the Aztecs. Huitzilopochtli was a form of the smoking mirror. It is a difficult concept to understand. The way I see it it was a more personification of the 'shadow' of Tezcatilpoca, an aspect of him as leader of the Aztecs, as hero-idol meant to lead them to the great empire they were meant to have. Huitzilopochtli also led the Aztec ancestors to what would be the center of their empire - the city of Tenochtitlan.
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Tezcatlipoca from the Codex Borgia
Tezcatlipoca from the Codex Borgia

Tezcatlipoca mask and skull found
Tezcatlipoca mask and skull found




Huitzilopochtli from the Codex Telleriano-Remensis
Huitzilopochtli from the Codex Telleriano-Remensis

Tezcatlipoca's Role in the Demise of the Toltecs

Tezcatilopca was thought to be the one responsible for the fall of the Toltecs in Tulla. The Toltecs were ruled by the Quetzalcoatls, and Tezcatilpoca sought to overthrow people ruled by his arch-rival.
He was thought to be the father of the last king of the Toltecs, Huemac, who was in power when Tulla fell. The legend states that Tezcatilpoca came to the market of Tulla with the purpose of tempting the daughter of the high ruler. He shows up naked painted half red and half blue, his penis so beautiful and large and desirable that she could not resist him. She bore an ill-fated son, Huemac, who would live to be in power and see the fall of the Toltecs. After Huemac as in power, Tezcatlipoca was thought to have turned himself into a giant being who rose to defeat the Toltecs. His plan was to cause himself to be killed, and with his huge dead body just laying there to rot, he caused great disease to kill most of the Toltecs (5).
The Toltecs knew that one day Quetzalcoatl would return one day and bring new life to the Toltecs and overthrow Tezcatlipoca/Huitzliopochtli's people. The Aztecs may have viewed the invasion of strange people come to overthrow them ( the Spanish) as just that fabled return.

How did the Aztecs come to settle in Tenochtitlan?

The Aztecs believe that they originally settled in a place called "Aztlan" (Place of the White Heron(2) or probably more accurate is the Place of the Purple Heron (3)) through the bowels of the earth through seven caves or "chicomostoc"(2) . Though the exact location is unknown, it is believed to be northwest of the Valley of Mexico, at a sacred mountain.
The last of seven "nahuatlacas" (nahuatl-speaking), they were forced south after the collapse of Tollan (2). Their ancestral hero/God Huitzilopochtli told them to head south and look for a place where an eagle is perched on a cactus which grows out of a rock. Just as he predicted, when they saw the eagle they stopped and there, on an island in the middle of a lake (Lake Texcoco), and formed Tenochtitlan. It is said that the exact spot the eagle was found was where they built the Templo Mayor and information depicting this moment can be viewed in the Codex Mendicino (3). See The Temples and Rituals for historical/archaeological information and for more info on the Templo Mayor.
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Engraving of Aztec Pilgrimage Map (1)

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Depition of the eagle symbol that marked the site for Tenochtitlan (5)

Huitzilopochtli - Warrior hero, adopted as patron god to the Aztecs, form of Tezcatlipoca (see above).

Huitzilopochtli
Huitzilopochtli
Huitzilopochtli can be seen as a kind of alter-ego of Tezcatlipoca (see above) and was described as the Blue Tezcatlipoca. If Quetzalcoatl was "Patron God of the people", Huitzilopochtli was the warrior hero and patron God of the Aztecs and their sacred city, Tenochtitlan. He was an elevated primary figure in Aztec religion... Probably the most important in everyday life. The temples atop the Templo Mayor in the heart of the empire at Tenochtitlan were devoted to Tlaloc and Huitzilopochtli. It is complicated, and tension may have existed among the people as to who they sould devote themselves to: Quetzacoatl, the old Toltec God, or Huitzilopochtli, the one who led them to their beloved city (see above), was responsible for triumph over other tribes, and owed through ritual sacrifice for the rise of the Aztec empire as a whole (5). His name means "Hummingbird on the left" or "Left-handed hummingbird" and if often depicted with feathers around his head and left leg, a black face, and he often holds a snake scepter and mirror (6).






Coyolxauhqui pendant
Coyolxauhqui pendant
Coyolxauhqui - Lady Golden Bells -
Coyolxauhqui depicted dismembered, found at bottom of steps to the Templo Mayor
Coyolxauhqui depicted dismembered, found at bottom of steps to the Templo Mayor

Half-sister to Huitzilopochtli. Associated with the moon. Before Huitzilopochtli was born, he heard that the planets and stars wished to destroy him (their mother, Coatlicue (see below), gave birth to Coyolxauhqui and the stars first and when they found out she was pregnant with Huitzilopochtli and Xolotl they became angry as she was only supposed to give birth to the original pantheon). When he was born he jumped from mother earth prepared to kill all creatures around him. The first thing he met after birth he decapitated instantly, not realizing it was his sister. In a moment of regret, he quickly took the head and threw it up into the sky where the Golden Bell (Moon) would shine more than anything else in the night sky (5). The rising and setting of the sun is representative of the battle between Coyolxauqui and Huitzilopochtli. She is often depicted with bells hanging from her cheeks and a moon-like nose ornament. Her stone depicted to the right became a symbol of Aztec warfare, a threat of dismemberment to all those who wished to destroy them, and was placed at the bottom of the steps in the courtyard of the Templo Mayor in Tenochtitlan.

Tlaloc - God of Rain

external image tlaloc2c_codex_rios2c_p_20r.jpgTlaloc was the god of all sources of water, and his wife/consort was Chalchiutilcue (Lady Precious Green). The Tlaloques were forms of the rain spirit that were controlled by Tlaloc and lived with him at his temple in the middle air. They represented the rain clouds of each of the four directions of the universe. When the offerings of the people were made properly, he would send out the rain clouds to fertilize the earth with water from the sky. The northern rain was thought to be a bad omen, that Tlaloc was not happy. When the northern rains came they often fell with hail and lots of thunder. The hail or snow corresponded with the bones of the dead. When Tlaloc was happy, he sent the rain of the east. Eastern rain fell lightly in a golden shower over the fields to encourage new plants to sprout. The southern rain (or blue rain after the blue color of Tlaloc) was thought to be the rain of summer and fertility, bringing with it growth, richness, and warmth. The western rain was colored by the sunset so was called a red rain, and brought with it ideas of richness and success through autumn's bountiful harvests before the fields were left empty to prepare for new planting (5). You can see that the rain of Tlaloc corresponded with the seasons, with the directions, as well as different types of weather and precipitation. He was similar to the Mayan rain God "Chac". See John Robertson's wiki on Maya Religion for more information on Chac.

The Four Directions and the Cosmos

When thinking about religious thinking it is important to know how the directions and their correspondences were viewed in the Aztec world. The sun rose in the east and was also home to the Morning Star, was highest in the south and was home to Mother Earth, set in the west which was the home of the Lord of Jewels, and was not visible in the north which was the Land of the Dead and of maize seed. The sun passing through the sky represented life growing then weakening, and sets into the underworld representing death to be reborn in the morning. The Gods had their homes among the stars in the zodiac signs (5).
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Xiuhtecuhtli- Lord of Fire and Four Directions

Xiuhtecuhtli - Fire Lord or Turquoise Lord.

(also see above - Four Directions)
Also known as Ixcozauhqui, Huehueteotl, or Cuezaltzin (12).
Lord of fire and time, and representation of Ometeotl - possibly Huitzilopochtli and Quetzalcoalt's "father".(4) Solar diety and patron god of kings. "Midwives performed special bathing rituals for children in his honor" (1). Lord of the four directions.

Xiuhtecuhtli
Xiuhtecuhtli
Xiuhtecuhtli
Xiuhtecuhtli


Chalchiuhtlicue- Lady Precious Green/She Who Wears a Jade Skirt

Tlaloc's consort (see above). She lived with him in the underworld filled with butterflies, green land, a constant mist of rain and lots of rainbows (5).
Chalchiuhtlicue
Chalchiuhtlicue
As Tlaloc's consort, she was associated with water as well, but on land in the form of fresh waters of rivers and streams, seas, and lakes (9). She is often depicted with green skin, with an elaborate piece of nose jewelry. In the picture below you can see water flowing off of her like a river.
Chalchiuhtlicue
Chalchiuhtlicue


Chalchiuhtlicue-style nose jewelry
Chalchiuhtlicue-style nose jewelry





Xochipilli, The Flower Prince and his twin - Xochiquetzal, Lady of the Earth's Surface, of Graves, Love

Xochipilli was God of royal feasts, games, poetry, dance, music, love, flowers, and maize. In this picture he sits on a platform that represents hallucinogenic plants. The use of hallucinogenic plants were used to speak with deceased ancestors and directly with the Gods. He can be recognized by the flowers on his body and is usually depicted in an animated way (1). His twin sister was Xochiquetzal, Goddess of Love, and his wife was Mayahuel.
Xochipilli the Flower Prince
Xochipilli the Flower Prince

Xochiquetzal was Goddess of flowers, plants, beauty, of love-making and romantic love. She was associated with the surface of the earth, but also a little below the surface to include the graves of the dead. Her flower was a marigold and in modern day Mexico, on All Saints Day, the streets are filled with marigolds strewn all over as the official flower of the Day of the Dead where deceased family members are invited to dine with their families and asked to watch over them from heaven. Her name means "Beautiful Flower" (xochitl - beautiful, questzal - flower or precious). Named quetzal, and associated with Xochiquetzal, the quetzal bird's brilliant green feathers were used in making head-dresses for the gods and rulers of the Aztec people (5). To some, she was the same as Chalchiuhtlicue, and to others she was the same as Mictlantecihuatl hence the Day of the Dead similarities. She was probably different aspects of these Goddesses. Her myth says that she was the original wife of Tlaloc (pre-Chalchiuhtlicue) who was so beautiful that she was abducted in the night by Tezcatlipoca who made her the Goddess of Love (11).
Xochiquetzal the Aztec Goddess
Xochiquetzal the Aztec Goddess




Centeotl - Also called Chiomecoatl (1)- Goddess of maize

Centeotl
Centeotl
The name Chiomecoatl marks her birth and feast day of Seven Snake (1). Cinteotl seems to be the male version (which version, male/female, was called depended on where you were in the agricultural season) was one of the most important earth deities associated with agriculture. Chiomecoatl was associated with Mother Earth, may be another aspect of Chalchiuhtlicue (12), and was celebrated after the fruit on the maize canes was observed (5). Xilonen was the name for the unripened corn cobs, and when she matured she was celebrated by dancing and singing around the crops, young women running bare breasted with flower petals being thrown into the air, let their hair down, and frolic happily in the fields. The young girls with their bare breasts (in a society of moderation) were seen as "promises of food and life." The last five cobs of the season were picked and cared for as if it were a human infant for it represents Chiomecoatl and the spirit of the maize. As a fertility goddess, the spirit of the earth, she "was responsible for caring for life as a kind of great mother to the people"(5). Maize was a huge part of Aztec agriculture. The appeasement of the Gods was not only shown to the people by the sun rising each day, but through harvests of maize and weather necessary for production. Maize was also integral in the everyday life of the Maya. See Robertson's Page under the "Corn" heading. John Robertson also shares that corn was an integral part in actually creating humans in the Maya origins accounts. That is how important Maize was to Mesoamerican societies.


Coatlicue - Mother of Huitzilopochtli and therefore Mother Goddess of all the Aztec people.
Coatlicue
Coatlicue

Coatlicue
Coatlicue
If Chiomecoatl was associated with Mother Earth, Coatlicue would be like THE Great Mother Earth or mother of the Gods. She is depicted in one of the statues that stood in the courtyard of the Templo Mayor which was destroyed during conquest. Even to this day, people of Mexico offer her fruit and flowers in autumn at the time of the festival and lay them out in the courtyard square. When the courtyard was excivated, they found her statue. Coatlicue had no possessions, she gave of her body to make the world. Rattlesnakes were sheltered in the holes in the ground, so Coatlicue was believed to wear rattlesnake skins and was associated with rattlesnakes as a symbol of her poverty. Her feet and hands are depicted as claws to dig the graves of the earth. Her head was shown as two rattlesnakes facing each other, and her neck is associated with the eagle vases that hold the hearts of human sacrifice. She is shown with a skull over her heart representing the death of her children who return to her. The pain of hard work and living on the earth is associated with her pain of having given birth to all the people of the world. Her statues (as "scary" as they may look) represent gratitude to her for all of her sacrifice to give life and food to the people of the world (5). Coatlicue was the mother of the original pantheon, but angered her daughter Coyolxauhqui when she became pregnant with Huitzilopochtli and Xolotl from catching a ball of feathers and tucking it into her bosom. As the patron of women who die in childbirth, she can also be depicted as Cihuacoatl. The modern-day worship of Our Lady of Guadeloupe has roots in Mexico in the worship of Coatlicue.




Mictlantecuhtli and Mictlancihuatl -Lord and Lady of the Dead/Gods of the Underworld

Mictlantecuhtli was the "lord of the dead who resided in a desert-like underworld of permanent twilight. Sould strong enough to survive a series of challenges through nine realms were guaranteed a place of permanent rest in Mictlan"(1). His wife was Mictlancihuatl, Lady or Queen of the underworld.
Mictlancihuatl - Lady of Mictlan
Mictlancihuatl - Lady of Mictlan

Life After Death : The Underworld - Mictlan

When a person died through natural causes, they were dressed in fine clothes, a small meal was prepared, and a red dog was slaughtered to accompany the dead on their journey to the underworld. The third day after death the body was cremated and the journey began. As mentioned above, a person had to survive a series of challenges through many realms. Some of these challenges would be having to pass through a cave where two very large rocks would close together every so often possibly crushing the body, passing over a narrow mountain ridge and not falling off the sides, passing through the wind of knives where sharp flint blades cut all the flesh off the body, etc. After three years of travel, if the soul survived the challenges, the soul came to rest in the land of the death gods where these living skeletons would exist happily in the underworld and would celebrate, dance, and feast at the court of Mictlantecuhtli and his consort goddess Mictlantecihuatl. The Aztecs seemed to believe that resurrection was possible, through a fire that continually burned in the center of the underworld and its sparks that fly upward. The many layers of the underworld included separate places or states of being. Babies who died before they finished weaning when to a place in the underworld called the Heaven of the Milk Tree. Tlalocan was a place where people went if they died in association with water like drowning, or with a water associated disease. Here the god Tlaloc lived with his consort Chalchihuitlicue ("Lady Precious Green") and those that lived in the dryer more arid places in Mexico saw this paradise and absolute happiness. The highest and most prestigious level of the heavens was reserved for those that had given up their life for the Empire. People here would have been killed in battle, volunteered to be sacrificed at the temple, and women who died in childbirth (5). Roots of the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertes "Day of the Dead" celebrated on November 2nd have roots in Aztec religion in honoring Mictlantecihuatl.



Cihuacoatl and Tzitzimitl (plural Tzitzimime/Tzitzimimi/Tzitzimimeh)

Female version of Mictlantecuhtli (separate deity) depicted as Cihuacoatl who had "frightening powers" as a member of spirit beings called "tzitzimime" and represented the "belief in the connection between disease, drought, war, sacrifice, death, and divine castignation." In events like solar eclipses, the people feared the tzitzimime would show themselves as stars and attack the sun and end the world. The tzitzimime were also associated the with sending out clouds to bring rain and storms, fertility, and drunkenness or "violent discord" (1). The festival Xiuhmolpilli, or "The Tying Together of the Years", was held every 52 years to keep the earth alive. Part of the festival was to ward off the Tzitzimime from attacking and destroying the world if humans and Gods fail to keep it alive (7). See the Rituals page for more information. The Tzitzimime lived in a special paradise called Tamoanchan, which is were the Gods created the human race out of sacrificial blood stolen out of Mictlan. The ruler of this place is Iztpapalotl, or "Clawed/Obsidian Butterfly" (8). Cihuacoatl was associated as being an aspect of Coatlicue also in the relationship of her being the patron of women who die in childbirth.
Tzitzimime
Tzitzimime



Mixcoatl- Cloud Serpent, God of Hunting (also called Camaxtle in Tlaxcala)

Identified with the Red Tezcatlipoca, the Milky Way, and the stars. Mixcoatl was the God of hunting, and identified with the sacrificed warriors and also associated with war and fire. He is depicted wearing a black mask and his body is painted with red and white stripes. Some myths state he is the father to Quetzalcoatl and the 400 stars that fight with Huitzilopochtli after he is born (12).
Mixcoatl
Mixcoatl


Ometecuhtli - The Two Lord or Ometeotl/Xiuhtecuhtli/Huehueteotl (The Old God)

Ometecuhtli was seen as the supreme creator in the Aztec gods, and had both male and female aspects. One male aspect was that of Tonacatecuhtli (Lord of Fate) who is depicted with a head-dress with the star dragon on it - the sign of the milky way (5). See below. The other aspect or representation of Ometecuhtli was Xiuhtecuhtli (Lord of Fire and of the Four Directions). He is also associated as Huehueteotl and referred to as Xiuhtecuhtli-Huehueteotl. Ometeotl was father-figure to Huitzilopochtli, as Coatlicue became pregnant with him and Xolotl as a virgin. No temple was ever erected in his honor, as he was seen as a distant god living far away in the 13th heaven (10).
Ometecuhtli
Ometecuhtli

Aztecs view of their world & Ometecuhtli

The Aztecs believed their earth was flat, and stood above the waters and underworld in a great ocean that reached all the way past the horizon and reached to the edge of the sky. The sky was in several layers above the earth where the planets, stars, and heavens revolved. The point that never moved, or Pole Star, was "thought to be an extension into an unknown universe, wherein lived the power above". This power had male and female characteristics and called the Two Lord - Ometecuhtli. "In his hands he held a drop of water, and in this drop of water there was a single green seed; this tiny seed was the whole of our world immersed in the ocean." No temple was ever built for him on earth because his temple was the universe. He had a sacred place in the middle of every household - at the hearth, at the center of all things and at the heart of all people, fertilizing every womb and giving life to every child (5).


The Age of the Fifth Sun

The Aztecs believed they lived in a final world in a series of five worlds, each representative of an element and corresponded to deities, calendar dates, and races of people. The death of each sun, or world, was dictated by the element ruling the world. Each incarnation of the sun brought a better world to live in. Each sun/world had myths about its creation, destruction, and resurrection as a new world. The age of the Aztecs was the fifth sun, the sun of movement, after earth, air, fire, and water. The end to this sun was fabled to occur on a specific day and as a result of earthquakes (12). It is amazing to understand how deeply the Aztecs believed in and were loyal to their empire, knowing that one day their demise was eminent. According to Miguel Leon-Portilla, the Aztecs may have reconciled this idea of life on earth being temporary with thoughts that life was just a dream, and that when the universe cannot sustain itself it will be enveloped by the gods - everyone will go back to the creator. Evidence of this can be found through the writings of the Friars and Nahuatl literature (4).
external image sungodaztec.jpg



Citations:
1. Pohl, John M. D, and Claire L. Lyons. 2010. The Aztec Pantheon and the Art of Empire. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, Print.
2. http://www.indians.org/welker/mexmain1.htm
3. Moctezuma, Eduardo Matos. Dec 1985. Archaeology & Symbolism in Aztec Mexico: The Templo Mayor of Tenochtitlan. Journal of the American Academy of Religion 53(4):797-813, 75th Anniversary Meeting of the American Academy of Religion. Oxford University Press Stable URL:http://www.jstor.org/stable/1464276
4. León Portilla, Miguel. 1971. Aztec thought and culture; a study of the ancient Nahuatl mind. The Civilization of the American Indian series, 67. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.
5. Burland, C. A., and Werner Forman. 1985. The Aztecs: gods and fate in Ancient Mexico. Echoes of the ancient world. London: Orbis.
6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huitzilopochtli
7. http://www.mexicolore.co.uk/index.php?one=azt&two=god&id=373&typ=reg
8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Itzpapalotl
9. Chalchiuhtlicue. (2010). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved December 04, 2010, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/104607/Chalchiuhtlicue
10. Ometecuhtli. (2010). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved December 04, 2010, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/428358/**Ometecuhtli**
11. Xochiquetzal (2010). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved December 04, 2010, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/650886/**Xochiquetzal**11.Xochiquetzal.
12. Aguilar-Moreno, Manuel. 2006. Handbook to life in the Aztec world. New York: Facts on File.