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Aztec Mythology Aztec Mythology Pictures Resources Main Gods All Gods

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1 Aztec Mythology Aztec Mythology Pictures Resources Main Gods All Gods
Myroslav Honcharuk-Khomyn AP English 8th Period B-day Pictures Resources Aztec Mythology All Gods Main Gods

2 Main Gods in Aztec Mythology
Huitzilopochtl Tlaloc Huehueteotl Ometeotl Quetzalcoatl Mixcoatl Tezcatlipoca Xipe Totec Xochipilli Tonatiuh Back

3 Aztec Religion Next Back
The religion of the Aztecs is polytheistic. Some of the religion’s gods had been known in Mexico for many years; others were adopted from the religions of the people the Aztecs conquered. The Aztec religion is one in which the practitioners were constantly trying to win the favor of the gods—to influence the gods to look favorably upon them . This was done through offerings to the gods—human and otherwise. The Aztecs believed that it took four attempts at creating the earth and mankind before the gods finally got everything right with the fifth attempt. The first creation took place when Black Tezcatlipoca (tes kah tlee POH kah), one of the four sons of the Lord and Lady of Duality, Ometecuhtli (oh may tay COO tlee) and Omecihuatl (oh may SEE wahtl) respectively, changed himself into the sun. The earth at that time was inhabited by giants who ate acorns, berries and roots. Tezoatlipoca’s rival, Quetzalcoatl(ket sahl KO ahtl), couldn’t stand the fact that Tezcatlipoca was ruling the universe, so he knocked him out of the sky. In his rage at being knocked out of the sky, Tezcatlipoca turned into a jaguar and destroyed the earth. Attempt number two began when Quetzalcoatl took over the heavens. He created people on earth who ate pine nuts. Tezoatlipoca overthrew Quetzalcoatl and destroyed the earth with a great wind. The few people who were left on earth were changed into monkeys. The third creation began when Tlaloc (TLAHL lock), the god of rain, became the sun. Quetzalcoatl sent rain which flooded the earth, killing almost all mankind. Those who did survive were turned into birds. When Chalchiuhtlicue (chahl chee oo TLEE kway), the water goddess, took over the sun’s responsibilities, the fourth creation had begun. This time, however, the earth was destroyed by flood and those men who survived became fish. Next Back

4 The final creation (the fifth sun) occurred when the gods met and decided one among them had to sacrifice himself to become the new sun. One poor, humble god did this and became the sun. However, the sun hung in the sky and didn’t move. In order for the sun to move, it was necessary for all of the gods to sacrifice themselves. Once the sun was moving across the sky, it was Quetzalcoatl who took on the responsibility of creating mankind. He did this by going to the underworld to bring back to earth the bones of past generations. While fleeing the god of the underworld with his bag of bones, he slipped and fell, breaking the bones. He sprinkled the pieces of one with his blood and turned them into men. Because the pieces of bone were all different sizes, the men and women he created were all different sizes, too . While there are different variations of this account, in all versions, each creation brings man and food closer to the ideal of mankind . This is a wonderful story to present to children, and a longer version of this myth that I have rewritten is included later in this unit. The Aztecs believed in a heaven and an underworld. There were thirteen levels of heaven and nine of the underworld. There were also four horizontal points which corresponded to the directions of the compass and were associated with the four creator gods. All beings were assigned to one of these four points, depending on the day one was born. The earth was believed to be a large disc surrounded by water at the point where the horizontal and vertical met. The Lord and Lady of Duality, mentioned earlier also were the rulers of this central point . The Aztecs believed that where you went after death depended upon what you did on earth and how you died. The eastern paradise, the “house of the sun” was the home of the souls of warrior who were killed in combat. This also included the souls of enemy warriors who had a special “god of the enemy dead.” Sacrificed victims went there also. It was believed that souls stayed in the eastern paradise for four years, and then they returned to earth as hummingbirds or other exotic birds. The western paradise, the house of corn, was believed to be for women who died in childbirth. They also returned to earth as phantoms of bad omens. The paradise of Tlaloc, the southern paradise was for people who died of lightening, leprosy or other sickness. This was a place of plentiful food. Back Next

5 The Aztec accounts of the trials a soul must go through to get to Mictlan are as follows:
1) cross a deep river—dogs were buried with their dead owners to guide them on this journey. 2) pass between two mountains which were joined together 3) climb an obsidian mountain 4) pass through icy wind that cut like a knife 5) pass through a place where flags waved 6) be pierced by arrows 7) pass among wild beasts which ate human hearts 8) pass over a narrow path of stone 9) reach this level where the soul found rest. In order to make this trip, people were buried in a squatting position with items to help them on the way. These included water, the dog (tawny in color) mentioned at the first level of hell, a jade bead to act as the dead’s heart at the seventh hell and other personal objects to give to Mictlantecuhtli (meek tlahn tay COO flee), god of the dead, or Mictecacihuatl (meek tay kah SEE wahtl), mistress of the underworld, when they got to the ninth region. There were thirteen heavens. Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl, the creator gods, lived in the double twelfth and thirteenth heavens. It was believed that the souls of babies went there was well as the souls of men waiting to be reincarnated upon the destruction of the human race (Caso 1958: 64). Agriculture was the primary focus of the Aztec religion and the forces of water and earth were directly related to agricultural fertility. The Aztecs saw human life metaphorically—like maize or a flower. Man was born to die, but carried the seed of reproduction . Therefore, ceremonies dealt with life—not afterlife—to ensure health, fertility and to avoid natural disasters. As mentioned earlier, the Aztec religion was one of constant effort to propitiate the gods in order that they might look favorably upon mankind. The Aztecs, through their religious practices, endeavored to keep a balance in nature. One religious practice to accomplish this was human sacrifice. The sacrificing of humans was looked upon as a pay back to the gods . Just as corn might be sacrificed to Tlaloc, the rain god, in thanks for that season’s harvest and to ensure future crops, so humans would be sacrificed to the gods to ensure the continuation of the human race. Sacrifice was considered a necessity for the welfare of man. Those sacrificed were considered messengers to the gods, not victims. Next Back

6 Just as the griots of Africa and the balladeers of medieval Europe passed their stories along orally, so too, the Aztecs passed along the accounts of their gods and goddesses orally. The myths depended on word of mouth although some were recorded in codices. The stories were often sung and accompanied by drums. Often there were mask wearing dancers, pantomime or stage props. The story tellers strung the stories together into epics (Bierhorst 1984: 17). These practices continued until the conquest when the stories were written down by missionary friars and Aztec nobility who had learned Spanish. The purpose of writing down the stories was not so much to preserve them as to refute them with Christianity. The friars thought that the more they learned about the Aztec religion, the better they would be able to work against it. There were, however, those who were interested in the religion simply because they had a quest for knowledge of the world Back

7 HUITZILOPOCHTLI Huitzilopochtl is the god of war and the god of the sun. Huitzilopochtl is considered to be the special guardian of Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital. His temple, which was located on the main pyramid, was the center of many fearsome sacrifices, where Aztecs would sacrifice enemy prisoners, and string their heads as trophies on "the great rack". Many consider him to be the very incarnation of the sun, and he constantly struggles with the night, in hopes of keeping mankind alive. Huitzilopochtl feeds only on "Chalchihuatl", (the blood of sacrifice) which is said to keep him alive so that he may live to fight another day. Back

8 Huehueteotl Huehueteotl, also called Xiuhtecuhtli ("old god"), is the senior-deity of the Aztec pantheon. He is the god of light in the darkness, warmth in coldness, and life in death. A god of light and fire, he is often depicted with a red or yellow face, with a censer on his head. At the end an Aztec century (52 years) it was feared that the gods would discontinue their contract with mankind. To appease them, they hold feasts at the end of each cycle, in their honor, where Huehueteotl as the god of fire was the center of their attention. Victims were placed on burning coals, after their hearts had been removed from their bodies. Back

9 Quetzalcoatl Quetzalcoatl is the divine teacher, the god of learning. He is also the god of civilization, and as we all know, the Aztecs had technology well beyond their time. The symbol that people use when in reference to him is a serpent rising from the earth bearing water on its tail. In the Nahuatl language, this represents the rise of a powerful thunderstorm sweeping down, with wind raising dust before bringing rain. Quetzalcoatl is often potrayed as an old man with a black beard. Back

10 Tezcatlipoca Tezcatlipoca is characterized as the most powerful diety, the god of night, sorcery, and destiny. He is considered to be the creator of god, the god of the hunt, patron of princes, god of providence, the lord of the here and the now, the enemy on both sides. Whenever Tezcatlipoca went to war, axiety and trouble was sure to arise. He is thought to be the god that causes wars, the one who has no real ally. He is often referred to Necocyautl, or "Sower of discord on both sides". Back

11 Xipe Totec The god of suffering, spring, jewelers, and ruler of the East. He is alternatively referred to as "The Red Mirror", or as Tlatlauhqui Tezcatlipoca, meaning "red Tezcatlipoca". It is said that if one would not worship him, they would suffer from disease, boils, blisters, sores, and tumors. To signify the beginning of spring, a priest would skin a victim, and cover himself in the victims skin, signifying that Earth must shed its old skin of vegetation for a new. He is also the god of gold, because of the fact that an aged skin turns gold over time. Back

12 Tonatiuh Tonatiuh is Aztec for "The Sun" The Sun was thought to be the primary source of life. The Aztec warriors believed that the Sun was what gave them their strength in battle. The warriors would charge into battle in hopes of killing victims as sacrifice to the Sun. There was a special Sun alter, where they would sacrifice prisoners of battle. The Sun is the most important divine symbol that is not a god. Back

13 Xochipilli Xochipilli, goddess of feasting, goddess of young Maize (corn). She is the "Patroness of Exotic Love" and "Goddess of the Flowering Earth". She is worshipped in the "Coming of Frost" festival, also known as the "Farewell to the Flowers". This festival celebrates the beauty of flowers, just before they are to be swept away by the cold frost of winter. People would make merry and dry flowers for the coming of the next season. Back

14 TLALOC He is the Aztec god of rain and fertility, his name means "He Who Makes Things Sprout." Tlaloc's cult was considered extremely important and had spread throughout Mexico. Tlaloc was greatly feared. He could send out the rain or provoke drought and hunger. He hurled lightning upon the earth and unleashed the devastating hurricanes; both floods and droughts.  Certain illnesses, such as dropsy, leprosy, and rheumatism, were said to be caused by Tlaloc and his fellow deities.  Although a beneficent god Tlaloc certainly had the power to unleash floods, lightning and drought when angry. Back

15 OMETEOTL "God of the Near and Close," "He Who Is at the Center," the god above all, the being both male and female who created all life and existence. Ometeotl is dualistic, embodying both male and female, light and dark, positive and negative, yes and no. Ometoetol occupies Omeyocan, the highest of the Aztecs' thirteen heavens, and the four heavens immediately below Omeyocan are a mystery about which no one knows very much. Below the five highest heavens is a region of strife and tempest, where Ometeotl breaks into his many facets or aspects. Back

16 All Gods from Aztec Mythology
Acolnahuacatl, or Acolmiztli - a god of the underworld, Mictlan Acuecucyoticihuati (see Chalchiuhtlicue) Amimitl - god of lakes and fishermen Atl - god of water Atlacamani - goddess of oceanic storms such as hurricanes Atlacoya - goddess of drought Atlatonan (also Atlatonin) - goddess of the coast Atlaua - water god Ayauhteotl - goddess of mist, fog, vanity and fame Camaxtli - god of hunting, war, fate and fire Centeotl (see Cinteotl) Chalchiuhtlatonal - god of water Chalchiuhtecolotl - a night owl god Chalchiutlicue from Codex Ríos. Chalchiuhtlicue (also Chalciuhtlicue, or Chalchihuitlicue) (She of the Jade Skirt). (Sometimes Acuecucyoticihuati) - the goddess of lakes and streams, and also of birth; consort of Tlaloc. Chalchiuhtotoliq (Precious Night Turkey) - god of pestilence and mystery Chalmecatecuchtlz - a god of the underworld, Mictlan and sacrifices Chalmecatl the underworld, Mictlan and the north Chantico - the goddess of hearth fires, personal treasure, and volcanoes Chicomecoatl (also Chalchiuhcihuatl, Chiccomeccatl, or Xilonen) - goddess of new maize and produce, wife of Cinteotl. Next Back

17 Mixcoatl Mixcoatl or Camaxtle was the god of the hunt and identified with the Milky Way, the stars, and the heavens in several Mesoamerican cultures. He was the patron deity of the Otomi, the Chichimecs, and several groups that claimed descent from the Chichimecs. While Mixcoatl was part of the Aztec pantheon, his role was less important than that of Huitzilopochtli, who was their central deity. Under the name of Camaxtli, Mixcoatl was worshipped as the central deity of Huejotzingo and Tlaxcala Back

18 Next Back Chicomexochtli - a patron of artists
Chiconahui - a domestic fertility goddess Chiconahuiehecatl - associated with creation Cihuacoatl (also Chihucoatl or Ciucoatl) (Woman Serpent) - an aspect of Ilamatecuhtli, Toci and Tlazolteotl, as well as the title of the vice-ruler of Tenochtitlan. Cinteotl (also Centeotl or Centeocihuatl) - the principal maize god, son of Tlazolteotl Cipactonal - god of astrology and the calendar Citlalatonac (see Ometeotl) Citlalicue - a creator of the stars Coatlicue (She of the Serpent Skirt) - legendary mother of Coyolxauhqui, the Centzon Huitzahua, and Huitzilopochtli Cochimetl (also Coccochimetl) - god of commerce, bartering, and merchants Coyolxauhqui - legendary sister of Huitzilopochtli, associated with the moon, possibly patroness of the milky way Cuaxolotl - a goddess of the hearth Ehecatl (also Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl - the god of the Wind and creator of the earth, heavens, and the present race of men. As god of the west, one of the skybearers Huehuecoyotl (also Ueuecoyotl) - a trickster god of indulgence and pranks. A shapeshifter, associated with drums and the coyote Huehueteotl (also Ueueteotl, Xiuhtecuhtli, Xiutechuhtli) - an ancient god of the hearth, the fire of life. Associated with the pole star and the north, and serves as a skybearer Huitzilopochtli (also Mextli, Mexitl, Uitzilopochtli) - the supreme god of Tenochtitlan, patron of war, fire and the sun Huixtocihuatl (also Uixtochihuatl) - a goddess of salt and saltwater Ilamatecuhtli (also Cihuacoatl or Quilaztli) - aged goddess of the earth, death, and the milky way. Her roar signalled war Itztlacoliuhqui-Ixquimilli - god of stone, obsidian, coldness hardness, and castigation. Aspect of Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli Itzli - god of sacrifice and stone knives. Next Back

19 Itzpapalotl - Queen of Tomoanchan and one of the Cihuateteo (night demons) and tzitzimime (star demons) Ixtlilton - the god of healing, dancing, festivals and games. Brother of Xochipilli. Macuilcozcacuauhtli (five vulture) - one of the Ahuiateteo (gods of excess) Macuilcuetzpalin (five lizard) - one of the Ahuiateteo (gods of excess) Macuilmalinalli (five grass) - one of the Ahuiateteo (gods of excess) Macuiltochtli (five rabbit) - one of the Ahuiateteo (gods of excess) Macuilxochitl (five flower) - the god of games and gambling, and chief of the Ahuiateteo (gods of excess) Malinalxochitl - sorceress and goddess of snakes, scorpions and insects of the desert Matlalceuitl (also Matlalcueje) - goddess of rainfall and singing. Identified with Chalchiuhtlicue. Mayahuel (also Mayahual, or Mayouel) - the goddess of maguey, and by extension, alcohol Metztli (also Metztli, Tecuciztecatl, Tecciztecatl)- lowly god of worms who failed to sacrifice himself to become the sun, and became the moon instead, his face darkened by a rabbit. Mextli - a god of war and storms Mictecacihuatl (also Mictlancihuatl) - goddess of death and Lady of Mictlan, the underworld Mictlantecuhtli (also Mictlantecuhtzi, or Tzontemoc) - the god of death and Lord of Mictlan, also as god of the south, one of the skybearers Mixcoatl (cloud serpent) - god of hunting, war, and the milky way. An aspect of Tezcatlpoca and father of Quetzalcoatl Nanahuatzin (also Nana, Nanautzin, or Nanauatzin) - lowly god who sacrificed himself to become sun god Tonatiuh Omacatl (see Tezcatlipoca) Omecihuatl (see Ometeotl) Ometecuhtli (see Ometeotl) Ometeotl (also Citlatonac or Ometecuhtli (male) and Omecihuatl (female)) - the god(s) of duality, pregenator(s) of souls and lord/lady of heaven Next Back

20 Ometotchtli (two rabbit) - drunken rabbit god, leader of the Centzon Totochtin
Opochtli - left-handed god of trapping, hunting and fishing Oxomoco - goddess of astrology and the calendar Patecatl - the god of medicine, husband of Mayahuel Paynal - the messenger to Huitzilopochtli Quetzalcoatl in human form, using the symbols of Ehecatl, from the Codex Borgia. Quetzalcoatl (also Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli) (quetzal-feathered serpent) - creator god and patron of rulership, priests and merchants. Associated with Ehecatl as the divine wind Quilaztli (see Ilamatecuhtli) Tecciztecatl (see Mextli) Temazcalteci (also Temaxcaltechi) - goddess of bathing and sweatbaths Teoyaomicqui (also Teoyaomiqui)- the god of dead warriors Tepeyollotl - (The jaguar form of Tezcatlipoca) god of the heart of the mountain, associated with jaguars, echoes, and earthquakes Tepoztecatl (also Tezcatzontecatl) - god of pulque and rabbits Teteoinnan - mother of the gods Tezcatlipoca (also Omacatl, Titlacauan) - omnipotent god of rulers, sorcerers and warriors; night, death, discord, conflict, temptation and change. A sinister rival to Quetzalcoatl. Can appear as as a jaguar. Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli - destructive god of the morning star (venus), dawn, and of the east. One of the skybearers Tlaloc (also Nuhualpilli) - the great and ancient provider and god of rain, fertility and lightning Tlaltecuhtli - goddess of earth, associated with difficult births Tlazolteotl (also Tlaelquani, Tlazolteotli)- the goddess of purification from filth, disease or excess Tloquenahuaque - a creator god or ruler Toci (also Temazcalteci) - grandmother goddess, heart of the earth and mother of the gods. Associated with midwives and war Next Back

21 Tonacatecuhtli - the aged creator and provider of food and patron of conceptions
Tonacacihuatl - consort of Tonacatecuhtli Tonantzin - a mother goddess Tonatiuh - a sun god and heavenly warrior, associated with eagles and with the Maya Tzitzmitl - aged grandmother goddess Ueuecoyotl - god of promiscuity and wildness Xilonen - the goddess of young maize Xipe Totec - the god of the seasons, seed germination and renewal, considered the patron of goldworkers Xiuhcoatl (fire serpent or turquoise serpent) - embodiment of the sun's rays and emblem of Xiuhtecuhtli Xiuhtecuhtli -(also called Huehueteotl) Xochipilli - the young god of feasting, painting, dancing, games, and writing. Associated with Macuilxochitl and Cinteotl Xochiquetzal - goddess of female sexuality, prostitutes, flowers, pleasure, craft, weaving, and young mothers Xocotl - star god associated with fire Xolotl - canine companion of Quetzalcoatl and god of twins, sickness and deformity. Accompanies the dead to Mictlan Yacatecuhtli (also Yactecuhtli) - the god of merchants and travelers Back

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