The Aztec empire dominated central and southern Mexico from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century. The Aztecs’ complicated pantheon included a number of incarnations of a number of deities. The historic Aztecs believed that continuous human sacrifice was needed to ensure that the universe to perform and for the gods to survive.

The pantheon of the Aztecs might be daunting to the trendy reader. The following data is a place to begin for additional analysis into this fascinating mythology.

Deities

Coatlicue, or “serpent skirt,” was each an Earth mom and a monster. She was the goddess of fertility and loss of life, the mom of the gods and of the celebrities of the southern sky. She was the allgiving and all-devouring mom who was each the womb and the tomb. Coatlicue was portrayed as a girl with clawed fingers and toes, a skirt of snakes, and a necklace of human hearts. Coatlicue grew to become pregnant when she stuffed a ball of feathers that had fallen from the sky in her bosom. Her outraged kids sought to slay her, however the god Huitzilopochtli emerged totally armed from his mom’s womb and slew many of his brothers and sisters.
Huitzilopochtli then grew to become the fierce god of battle and the principal god of the Aztecs. Sacrifices to him had been made each day, in echo of the story of his slaying his brothers and sisters, and to reflect the limitless battle between day and evening.

Coyolxauhqui, or “golden bells,” was the sister of Huitzilopochtli. She led the rebellious try to slay Coatlicue. In the battle, Huitzilopochtli lower off Coyolxauhqui’s head and tossed it into the sky, and it grew to become theMoon. Coyolxauhqui was then often called the Moon goddess.

Other deities filled varied very important roles within the Aztec faith. One of these was Chicomecoatl, the maize goddess, the feminine facet of corn and nourishment. Each year, a younger lady was sacrificed to her by decapitation. This could have symbolized the reducing down of the corn stalk. The sacrifice’s blood was then poured over a statue of the goddess, presumably symbolizing life and life-giving moisture in a single. The corpse was then flayed, and the pores and skin worn by a priest, presumably symbolizing the corn’s rebirth.

Tlaloc was the god of rain and agriculture. He took the souls of these killed by water, lightning, or contagious illness. When he grew to become offended at people, he would use lightning to deliver illness. Some accounts say that he had 4 varieties of water at his command. The first kind was life-giving, the second introduced blight to crops, the third introduced frost, and the fourth might destroy all. Victims had been sacrificed to Tlaloc by drowning. Tlaloc truly predates the Aztecs and most likely got here from the Toltecs, a people who dominated Mexico earlier than the approaching of the Aztecs.

Tlaloc’s spouse was Chalchiuhtlicue, the goddess of lakes and streams and of youthful magnificence and ardour. She dominated all of the waters. In the times of creation, she was the one who introduced a flood to destroy the depraved fourth world, the world that got here earlier than this one.
Another husband-and-wife group of deities was Mictlantecuhtli, the god of loss of life, who dominated over Mictlan and guarded the bones of the useless, and his spouse, Mictecacihuatl, the goddess of loss of life, who helped him rule and shield the bones of the useless.

Chantico, or “she who dwells in the house,” was the Aztec goddess of fireplace fires and volcanic fires, in addition to the protector of treasured objects. When she violated the ban on consuming paprika on fasting day by consuming roasted fish with paprika, Chantico was was a canine. In the Aztec faith, even the deities had been punished for violating taboos.

Tlazolteotl, “the eater of filth,” was the goddess of each intercourse and purification. On listening to a dying man’s confession, Tlazolteotl cleansed the person’s soul by consuming his sins, or his ethical filth.
Ueuecoyotl, or “old, old coyote,” was the god of wildness and irresponsible intercourse and gaiety. He stands out as the similar trickster figure as Coyote or Old Man Coyote identified to indigenous peoples of the American Southwest.

Xochipilli, or “flower prince,” was also referred to as Macuilzochitl, or “five flowers.” He was the god of flowers, video games, and magnificence, in addition to love, dance, and music. It is feasible that Xochipilli was additionally the god of hallucinogenic crops and their use.
Ehecatl, the god of the winds, introduced life to all and, since he fell in love with a mortal lady, love to humankind.

Quetzalcoatl, “the feathered serpent,” was the deity who created humanity and gave the people varied presents, together with the calendar and maize. Rituals worshipping Quetzalcoatl had been among the many few that didn't contain human sacrifice. Quetzalcoatl’s brother was Xolotl, the god of lightning and lord of the night star, Venus. Xolotl guided the useless safely to Mictlan. He was portrayed variously as a dog-headed man, a skeleton, and even as a canine companion.
Perhaps essentially the most mysterious of the deities was Ometeotl (Ometecuhtli, male, and Omecihuatl, feminine), the androgynous creator god. The highest god of the Aztec pantheon, Ometeotl was the ruler of duality and opposites united. This deity had no formal worship, however was stated to be current in all issues.

Sacred Places

Aztlan was the legendary web site out of which the Aztec people had been believed to have emerged. This is opposite to archaeological proof, which reveals that they traveled down via North America to settle in Mexico.

Mictlan was the underworld, the place each soul descended to find relaxation. To attain the underworld safely, the souls of the useless wanted magical powers and had been guided by the god Xolotl after wandering for 4 years beneath the earth.
Tlillan-Tlapallant was the center of the three Aztec heavens, reserved for individuals who shared within the knowledge of Quetzalcoatl.
Talocan was the heavenly realm of the gods, uppermost of the three heavens.

Monsters

Ahuizotl was a half-human, half-monkey creature bearing a hand on the finish of its tail. It lived close to water, ate people, and used its additional hand to catch prey.

Cipactli was a primordial sea monster, a fishlike crocodile, from whose physique the gods created the earth. The god Tezcatlipoca sacrificed his foot to the creature in a mythic parallel to the Norse god Tyear sacrificing his hand to the monstrous wolf Fenrir.
Tzizimimet, or “the monsters descending from above,” had been malevolent stellar beings.

Aztec mythology could seem significantly alien to many readers, however it's a wealthy mine for intrepid storytellers and an intriguing look into one tradition’s makes an attempt to make sense of the world.