Religion has always been an essential part of our culture. It has been the foundation of our daily lives since the beginning. It was only later that Christianity came to dominate the world we live in. For most of our history, religions other than Christianity have conquered the world around us. Greek religion, as well as Buddhism, had a strong influence on this, and we all have a basic understanding of its mythologies. However, this only applies to Europe and Asia.
The Aztecs are no exception; they have their religion, known as polytheism, which means they believe in multiple gods, a mix of male and female entities. Of course, how they praise them depends on their beliefs, and because their religion is similar to that of the Greeks, they believe that if their deities are not well honored, they will turn their backs on them and become angry with their tribes. To avoid this, they made human sacrifices, believing their gods required a constant supply of blood to help their entire Tribe prosper.
Here are four main Aztec gods and what they contribute to the prosperity of the Aztecs.
Huitzilopochtli is regarded as one of the most important deities in the Aztec Pantheon. He is well known as the Sun God, the Deity of War, and the Patron of their city, Tenochtitlan. The name of this Aztec God, Huitzilopochtli, literally means "Hummingbird of the South," most likely because they believe that the bravest warriors who fought and died on the battlefield are reincarnated as hummingbirds.
Huitzilopochtli is the son of Coatlicue, the Aztec Earth Goddess. According to their mythology, a feather magically impregnated Coatlicue while sweeping a temple once. Coatlicue had three children before him who were fully grown deities.
Because Huitzilopochtli's two brothers and one sister disliked him before he was born due to how he was conceived, these three Coatlicue children decided to kill him before he was born, but to do so, they must first murder their mother. Huitzilopochtli learned about their plan while still inside his mother's womb, which enraged him and led him to force himself out of Coatlicue's womb to protect both of them from his siblings.
The soon-to-be-recognized as one of the essential Aztec Gods fought them and successfully beheaded his sister, who was thought to be the moon, and chased his brothers, who scattered in the sky, becoming known as the stars. At the same time, Huitzilopochtli was regarded as the Sun god due to his burning hatred for his siblings. According to Aztec myth, night and day exist due to their sun god relentlessly chasing his brothers around the world.
This Aztec god was revered by the Mexicas (Aztecs) as the most ferocious and powerful deity. He also played an essential role in the world's creation, which is why Aztecs refer to themselves as "the sun's people" because they consider this god to be their father. He was also the Aztec god who led the priest to the eagle perched atop a cactus, where their empire began to rise.
The Mexicas believed Huitzilopochtli provided the sun to nourish their crops and keep the empire fed and also thought that Huitzilopochtli was the one who guided their Tribe's defeats and victories on the battlefield. That is why they continued sacrificing humans to keep their Sun god alive.
Tezcatlipoca is the Aztec Pantheon's primary deity. He was one of the Aztecs' major gods, frequently represented as having black magic or evil power, and was associated with death. The Toltecs founded this Aztec god's sect in Central Mexico, and the Aztecs worshiped him as their god.
Tezcatlipoca's name means "Smoking Mirror," He is usually depicted with black stripes across his face and Obsidian Mirrors on some parts of his body. For the Aztecs, the mirror represents this Aztec god as all-seeing, allowing him to see everything happening in the world. He is one of the four sons of Omoteotl, the dual god and creator of all, and he was the one who influenced the nomadic tribes to practice human sacrifice.
His main festival, Toxcatl, was held in May and featured the sacrifice of a young, handsome man who lived like a god for a year before being offered to him. Known as the god of the night, legend has it that he sometimes appears in front of unsuspecting warriors to challenge them, and according to some codes, Tezcatlipoca was the one who brought the Toltec civilization to an end.
Quetzacoatl is one of the most important gods, along with Tezcatlipoca and Huitzilopochtli, mentioned earlier. The Aztec god Quetzacoatl is known as the "Precious Serpent" or "Feathered Serpent." His name was derived from the phrase "Wisest of Men." He is said to be related to the Aztec God of the Wind, Ehecatl, and they are one entity with two names.
Like the first two gods, there are numerous myths surrounding Quetzacoatl's birth. Some well-known tales are as follows: first, he was the son of the Dual god, Omoteotl, making him Tezcatlipoca's brother who, according to their history, will cooperate even after Tezcatlipoca's betrayal to exile him from his position as King.
Other myths claim that he was a child of Coatlicue, the earth goddess, who already had many children who made up the universe, making him somehow related to Huitzilopochtli. He is significant to the Aztecs because he is the Patron of Priests, which is why two known Aztec priests bear his name. He is also known as the god of everything, a creator god who assisted in the creation of humanity.
4. XIPE TOTEC
Xipe Totec, the fourth most crucial god on our list, is well-known as the Resurrection deity, fertility deity, and agricultural god. The Nahua people of Tlaxcala worshiped him under the name Camaxtli. Tlatlauhca was another name for him. This Aztec God is commonly associated with Spring and is said to be the source of new plants.
Xipe Totec translates as "The Flayed One." He was worshiped by priests who wore the skins of their flayed-sacrificial victims to enact the earth's death and rebirth, and the Toltecs and the Aztecs revered him.The Aztec myth says that this Aztec God is the first son of the Dual god, Ometeotl, who is usually depicted with half of his body painted yellow and the other half tanned while wearing flayed human skin.
His honor, an annual festival known as the Tlacaxipehualiztli, or literally "Flaying of Men," is held near the end of the Spring. Captured enslaved people from war will be dressed as living gods forty days before the festival. They will be killed and flayed on the festival day, and their flayed skin will play a significant role the following day.
The Aztecs will host a game of canes in which two bands will perform for the festival. One band will be dressed in the flayed skin of the executed prisoners, while the other will be made up of fearless soldiers. They will fight each other.