Principal Beliefs of the Aztecs

Topics: Aztec, Quetzalcoatl, Mesoamerica Pages: 6 (2128 words) Published: December 28, 2011
Content Booklet

Origins of the Universe
Origins of the Universe
The Aztecs believed that it took the Gods five tries to create the world as it is today. Each of these worlds coincided with a sun and a sun God. It took this many attempts as the Gods always ended up fighting. This is how each world is destroyed and then born again. The fifth sun and its world is the one we live in and with today. This First Sun creation was the Jaguar Sun Ocelotl. Its world was ruled by Tezcatlipoca (Smoking Mirror). In the world lived giants. This world was destroyed because Tezcatlipoca’s brother, Quetzalcoatl (Plumed Serpent) had the Giants eaten by Jaguars. The Second Sun was the Sun of Air-Ehecatl. Its world was ruled by Quetzalcoatl and was destroyed by winds. The inhabitants of the world were human people. At the destruction of the world, the people who lived there were turned into monkeys. The Third Sun Creation was Quiahuitl. The world was ruled by the Rain God Tlaloc. Its end came from a rain of fire and the people were turned into birds. The fourth sun was the water sun. It was called Atl. The fourth world was ruled by Tlaloc’s sister, Chalchiutlicue. The world destruction came about with floods and all the survivors were turned into fish. The fifth and final sun is Ollin. It is ruled by the sun god Tonatiuh and it is the world that we currently live in. It is believed that this is the last world which will end in cataclysmic earthquakes. This was the fifth try of the Gods creating Earth and now it is as they wanted it.

Principal Beliefs
The ancient Aztec religion was highly focused on keeping nature in balance. The Aztecs had many principal beliefs. Most of their beliefs were either built upon the beliefs of the Five suns and Worlds or of how the Gods, Humans and nature were unified. They had a strong belief in the layers of the universe(13 heavens, 9 hells and Earth). Another principal belief was the belief of human sacrifice. They also had a belief that every 52 years, the world would end. Another belief was that the sun wrestled with darkness each night. They also had strong beliefs in their Gods and also in the Afterlife. 

The world in ancient Aztec religion was divided up into 4 quadrants, and at the centre was their city Tenochtitlán.  The heavens were divided into 13 ascending layers, and the underworlds(hells) 9 descending layers. The temple in Tenochtitlán was also the place where the forces of heaven and earth intersected. The Aztecs believed that hell was a place of darkness, fear and misfortune. Heaven was an ‘exclusive’ place and only a few people were bound for the happy realms. The key factor that determined where one was bound in their afterlife was not how they lived, but how they died. People who died a natural death were sent to one of the hells. Warriors killed in battle, women who died during childbirth and those who took their own lives were sent to a heaven, along with those who were sacrificed.

The Aztecs had a strong belief in human sacrifice. It was also seen as a religious ritual. The Aztecs held ceremonies of sacrifice in temples or mountain tops. To the Aztecs, sacrifice was widespread and frequent. There were many victims, men, women, children and sometimes animals. Most sacrifices were done by the removal of the heart. This was done in order to appease the gods so that cosmic order remained. It was also seen as a continual repayment of the sgergenjlgdebt that humans owed to the gods.

Supernatural Powers & Deities
The Aztec worshipped hundreds of Gods and Goddesses. They believed that giving human hearts and blood gave the Gods strength and appeased them when they were angry. This was part of human sacrifices. There were gods that represented the powerful forces of nature. They appeared as supernatural characters in the codices, shaping the world through epic battles, and giving life to every feature of the earth and heavens. There were gods of wind, fire and water, of...
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