Aztec Gods
Aztec Gods
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Over 70 entries in their section devoted to Aztec mythology.
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Among the pantheon of Aztec deities and their many guises are two who remain as popular as ever through their syncretic power to tell their story in the wrappings of the present. The compassionate Quetzalcoatl as Christ may often be found in a household, but it is the Lady of Guadalupe who more often attains a central position on the altar.  For nearly 500 years they were given an able assist by the church. Now as we approach the uncertain end of the 5th age they remain vital and alive.

Dia de Los Muertos in pre-Columbian America is at least as old as the vivid recorded art history; in other words, over 3000 years. Its best know symbol, the skull head, represents rebirth as well as death. Life was but a dream or mask, and death was when one would meet the real world. Like with its spring counterpart, Carnaval, the Catholic church authorities attempted to repress it, but it was too deeply ingrained in the people. While Spaniards viewed death as the end of life, the natives believed the dead came back and visited.  You are connected to your ancestors and they to you.
We began's Aztec gods page source here. Find Aztec God descriptions on this page copyrighted 1994 by D.W. Owen
Gods of the ancient Mexicans.
Best comprehensive compilation of Aztec gods on the web
The Gods of the Ancient Mexicans  written as an appendix to author Graham Watkins' The Fire Within, Cloud Serpents, and Crystal Spiders.

Today we yearn for this different more metaphysical consciousness that associates the non-dual approach of peace with the four directions. For American Indians like the Aztecs, to be at peace within the community is to submit to a communal expression of conscience which functions as intelligence of the heart.

The Aztec achievements were a late culmination of 3000 years of civilization well-known through the stunning art preserved in the ruins of the Olmec, Mayan and Toltec civilizations and disseminated throughout the Americas among the more advanced native populations. Their myths and the story of the people are still very much alive, particularly during holidays that seek to honor the past with ritual like Day of the Dead. They are best told through the use of song, dance, chant, blood, and fire rituals.

Here is a brief introduction to the most important and still vital Aztec gods, along with their essential stories.
Edgar's Mesoamerican Art Page By Edgar Martín del Campo more than 400 Prehispanic works here span from the northwestern regions of Mexico to southern Panama and over three thousand years of civilization in Mexico and Central America.
Surprizingly not too helpful. We did better by searching on the individual names
cabrakan/death.htm || Home page
The Land of the Dead. Descriptions and photos of mesoamerican death  gods from Edgar's Mesoamerican Art Page By Edgar Martín del Campo

"The four hundred gods of the south, seeing their mother was with child, were very annoyed and said:
"Who has done this to you? Who has made you with child? This insults us, dishonors us."
And their sister Coyolxauhqui said to them:
"My brothers, she has dishonored us, we must kill our mother, the wicked woman who is now with child. Who gave her what she carries in her womb?

Translated from the Florentine Codex Nahuatl by Miguel Leon-Portilla


Goddess of the Serpent Skirt
Coatlicue is shown with a skirt of serpents and a necklace made of human hearts and hands. The human female skin that she wears, also a symbol of regeneration, is reminiscent of the one worn by Xipe Totec. Her head has been substituted by two snakes symbolizing the dual nature of life and her role as creator/destroyer. The statue is a masterly synthesis of Aztec ritual and cosmology.
It is considered one of the great masterpieces of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, embodying the complexity and mystery of existence. This famous monumental sculpture rests in National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.

The lady of Serpent Skirt prepares for the creation of a new prehistoric world age.

The Earth goddess of life and death and the mother of the Aztec gods. Coatlicue generally has a horrifying appearance.
COATLICUE may be shown with a skull or and infant between her navel and genitals, symbolizing the ultimate power that generates, produces and consuems all life in the world. She is a terrifying figure who both bestows life and takes it away.
In the darkness and chaos before the Creation, the female Earth Monster swam in the waters of the earth devouring all that she saw. When the gods Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca decided to impose form upon the Earth, they changed themselves into serpents and struggled with the Earth Monster until they broke her in two. Coatlicue's lower part then rose to form the heavens and her upper part descended to form the earth. Her husband was Mixcoatl, the cloud serpent and god of the chase. Coatlicue has an endless, ravenous appetite for human hearts and will not bear fruit unless given human blood.


COYOLXAUHQUI: "Golden Bells"


"The Coyolxauhqui Stone," a giant 11 foot monolith found at the base of the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan.
Click image to enlarge


The Old Coyote.

Associated with gaiety and sex. A god of spontaneity, of ostentatious ornament, of unexpected pleasure and sorrow. A trickster and troublemaker. Considered unlucky.

Coyolxauhqui was the Aztec Moon goddess, slain by her brother the sun god at the moment of his full-grown birth by immaculate conception from the womb of the Earth goddess, Coatlicue.

Coyolxauhqui decapitated her own mother, Coatlicue, when she became pregnant in what her children deemed unseemly circumstances. Immediately the sun-god Huitzilopochtli sprang fully armed from Coatlicue's womb and slew Coyalxauhqui and many of their kin.  

In Tenochtitlan, ritual sacrifice was performed at the top of the Templo Mayor. The bodies of the victims were rolled down the mountain of serpent stairs, landing upon the stone after their still beating hearts had been torn out and offered up the warrior god Huitzilopochtlito, whose temple crowned the pyramid. This assured the Aztec people that the eternal cycle of life might continue. The placement of the stone at the base of the pyramid stairs served to integrate the central myth of their people into everyday ritual.

"hummingbird on the left" & "the bird of darts"

The blue staff represents the fire serpent, Xiuhcoatl, with which he cut off the head of the moon goddess Coyolxauhqui. He is shown as a blue man fully armed with hummingbird feathers on his head.


The great main temple in Tenochtitlan was dedicated to Huitzilopochtli. Before the Spaniards destroyed it, it was the scene of innumerable sacrifices of captives. The high bloody praise given related to the mystical conception of warfare. The Aztec "people of the sun," pledged themselves to the conquest of all other nations, which also assured a steady supply of captured victims for sacrifice. For Huitzilopochtli, the sun god and source of all life, would die unless he was fed with human blood.

ITZPAPALOTL Obsidian Butterfly. 

Beautiful, demonic, armed with the claws of a jaguar.

The female counterpart of Itzcoliuhqui.

The Twisted Obsidian One, the God of the Curved Obsidian Blade.

God of darkness and destruction. Blinded and cast down from the heavens, Itzcoliuhqui strikes out randomly at his victims.


Principal god of the Aztecs. Sun God of war and son of Coatlicue.  His warrior aspect is symbolized by the eagle.

Huitzilopochtli, the warrior,
He who acts on high
Follows his own path

Coatlicuethe, Mother of the Gods, was impregnated by a falling ball of down while ritually sweeping a temple. Her daughter, Coyolxauhqui, incited her brothers, the Centzon Huitznahua (the Four Hundred Stars) to destroy Coatlicue, because her pregnancy brought disgrace on the family. Still in the womb, Huitzilopochtli swore to defend his mother and immediately on being born put on battle armor and war paint. Just before the mob of warriors reached the top of the serpent mountain, Coatlicue gave birth to Huitzilopochtli as a full grown warrior. Huitzilopochtli cut off Coyolxauhqui's head and threw it in the sky to become the Moon. Coyolxauhqui's  decapitated body rolled down the mountain, to lay dismembered at the bottom. Huitzilopochlti then triumphed over the remaining siblings, and lay claim to his title as God of War.

His name translates literally as Hummingbird on the left; left refers to the South, suggesting the cyclical nature of the sun's rebirth. According to Aztec belief, the hummingbird died in the dry season, attaching itself by its bill to the bark of a tree until the beginning of the spring, when it was reborn once more. 

Unlike the compassionate god, the plumed serpent  QUETZALCOATL, who was central to the Aztec mother tribe (the Toltecs), Huitzilopochtli was an Aztec god with no clear precedence among Mesoamerican mythology. He does not appear in the first Aztec creation story or their "Migration Myth," but does lead the Aztecs on their long journey to the place of their destiny, Tenochititlan.

Huitzilopochtli is said to be a representation of Tezcatlipoca in midsummer, as the high sun in the southern sky. His name may have derived with his association with the color blue, as when staring at the sun, spots of blue are seen by the eyes after looking away. His association with "on the left" was because when facing in the direction of the sun's path, east to west, the sun passed on the left.

Lord of the Vanguard

He who sustains the four seasons, represented by the cross. The patron god of travelers, especially merchant travelers.

The Prince of This World, the Mirror that Smokes, the One Always at the Shoulder, the Shadow.


QUETZALCOATL (Kayt-zal-CO-atl)

Quetzalcoatl & Christianity 
Many parallels discussed in depth

According to the Book of Morman Quetzalcóatl is the name of Jesus as recorded by the Aztecs
  from The Quetzalcoatl web site
The Quetzalcoatl Myth is the Great Epic of Mesoamerica



A trickster, revered particularly by soldiers and magicians. The name refers to the black obsidian mirrors used by magicians which become cloudy when scrying. A god of wealth and power, Tezcatlopoca's favors can only be won by those willing to face his terrors. Ruler over the early years of a man's life.
master of human destiny

The Feathered Serpent. The Precious Twin who lifts the sun out of darkness, god of the winds and the breath of life, Lawgiver, civilizer, creator of the calendar. LORD of the DAWN.  

Quetzalcoatl created humans and rules the fifth world cycle, which nears it end on the winter solstice of 2012. He takes on different espects: Ehecatl, god of the wind; Tlahuizcalpantechtli, god of Venus as the morning star; Ce Acatl (One Reed), a warrior. Quetzalcoatl represented the forces of good and light. The most benevolent of Aztec and Toltec gods, Quetzalcoatl nightly would be swallowed by the sky goddess and resurrected every morning, thus symbolizing the integration of the four directions with the self to find peace with the universe.

Demons tempted Quetzalcoatl constantly to commit murder and human sacrifice, but his love was too great for him to succumb. To atone for great sins, Quetzcoatl threw himself on a funeral pyre, where his ashes rose to the heavens as a flock of birds carrying his heart to the star Venus. A frieze in the palace at Teotihuacan shows his first entry into the world in the shape of a chrysalis, from which he struggles to emerge as a butterfly, the symbol of perfection.

He brought seeds, a gift from the gods, and introduced agriculture. Quetzalcoatl also taught astronomy, metallurgy and medicine and was bestowed with the ability to heal the sick. He is also a god of wind, wisdom, water and fertility. His breath moved the sun and pushed away rain. He fell in love with a human girl named Mayahuel, and gave mankind the ability to love so that she could return his passion.

He was one of four Creator Gods born to the Divine Pair, Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl, the Mother and Father from the Thirteenth Heaven called Omeyocan, ‘The Place of God.’

In the days after the fall of the Toltecs, Quetzalcoatl as the Feathered Serpent became the symbol of legitimate authority, a kind of coat of arms for any ruler who pretended to power beyond the circuit of his own walls. The Aztecs considered themselves the descendents of this political tradition, even if Huitzilopochtli had become their primary tribal god.

The Codex Cospi pls. 9-11, as well as the Codex Borgia, pl. 53f, contain references to his association with the planet Venus and it's destructive powers.

Quetzalcoatl was thought to have a pale, bearded face; his eventual return was a central belief. This was one reason Montezuma mistook Cortez in 1519 for the returning benevolent deity. The god has a great affinity with the priest-king Topiltzin Ce Acatl Quetzalcoatl, who ruled the Toltecs in Tula in the 10th century, and perhaps Chichen Itza as well.

The early Spanish missionaries adopted the myth of Quetzalcoatl, and some thought that he was actually St. Thomas the Apostle, who had earlier come to Mexico to help convert the Aztec Indians to Christianity.

Quetzalcoatl is the most widely known deity among the dozens which populate the many stories of our Mesoamerican mythical inheritance. The Book of Morman calls him the Aztec Christ. Both were considered to be men who ascended into heaven upon their death; Christ to sit at the right hand of God, Quetzalcoatl to become the Morning Star. Both were tempted by evil powers; Christ by Satan, Quetzalcoatl by the wizard-god Tezcatlipoca. And both were prophecied to one day return to earth: Christ as the Prince of the Kingdom of Heaven, Quetzalcoatl as a god-king returned to claim his kingdom in Central Mexico.

Today the figure of Quetzalcoatl can be seen in department store windows in Mexico City replacing a traditional Santa Claus figure. This figure wears a garland of feathers and a representational mask of the old venerated god, and symbolizes the bringing of life and gifts.

God of the Sun

Poor and ill, Tonatiuh cast himself into the flames, was burnt up, and then resurrected. Daily, Tonatiuh repeats his passage across the heavens, down into darkness, and back again into the sky. Tonatiuh carries all brave warriors who have died in battle and all brave women who have died in childbirth with him. He carries the greatest heroes with him to the greatest heights. In Tonatiuhican, the House of the Sun, dwell those who have won even greater enlightenment than those who dwell in Tlillan-Tlapallan.

This decoration is taken from a stone altar often called the Sun Stone, or the Aztec Calendar. Huitzilopochtli also represents the sun god, Tonatiuh. His tongue is formed by the tecpatl (stone knife), a reference to the human hearts offerings necessary to keep the sun rising and hold the end of the 5th age at bay.


Polychromed ceramic vessel from the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan, Mexico, depicting the rain god Tlaloc.
Museo del Templo Mayor, Mexico.

Lord of all sources of water, clouds, rain, lightning, mountain springs, and weather. Always pictured with fangs and eye-rings.

The consort of the water goddess Chalchiuhtlicue and sometimes regarded as the father of the moon-god Tecciztecatl. Each year a large number of children were sacrificed by drowning. Very popular with  the Toltecs, he presided over the third of the five Aztec world ages.

Tlolac brought on great wrath upon the Aztec people. He often used his lightning bolts to make the people sick. It is said that he had four different jugs of water in his possession. When he emptied the first one, it brought life to plants. The second would cause blight, the third brought on frost, and the fourth would bring total destruction.



MICTLAN Below the world of living men there are nine underworlds; the lowest  of the nine levels was Mictlan proper, a vast cave filled with skeletons and ruled by the Lord and Lady of Death, Mictlantechupi and his consort Mictlancihuntl. Souls who win no merit in life come here after death, but they do not suffer as in the Christian hell. Instead, they merely endure a rather drab and colorless existence before passing again into the world of the living. As a man disappears into the West, the direction of the dead, the seeds of his rebirth are sown.

TLALOCAN Kingdom of Tlaloc, a heaven of sensual delights, of rainbows, butterflies and flowers, of simple-minded and shallow pleasures. Souls spend only four years here before returning to the land of the living. Unless it strives for higher and nobler things while living, a soul is destined for this endless round of mortal life and Tlalocan. When a life had been particularly evil, a soul might journey instead to Mictlan.

LILLAN-TLAPALLAN The land of the fleshless. The Land of the Black and Red: the colors signifying wisdom. A paradise for those who successfully follow the teachings of Quetzalcoatl. Those souls who come to Tlillan-Tlapallan have learned to live without fleshly bodies, a state greatly to be desired.


"Lord and Lady of Duality," "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 13th and highest Aztec heaven. 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.
The name  ‘the being at the center,' refers to the still point of the center of a moving ring, where everything is at balance and at rest.

Among the nobility the belief in a supreme God of Duality was strong. This power with both male and female aspects encompassed: Mictlantecuhtlitli and Mictecacihuatl; also Tloque-Nahuaque, "Lord of the Close Vicinity"; sometimes Ipalemohuani, "Giver of Life"; sometimes Moyocoyatzin, "He who Creates Himself." The being was was also invoked as Ometeotl, or given the double names Ometeccuhtli & Omecihuatl.

XIPE TOTEC: "Our Lord the Flayed One"

Aztec god of spring and rebirth. Also the god of the west and the patron of goldsmiths. SHEE-pay TO-tec

Synonymous with the plant god group including Cinteotl (corn god), Xochipilli (Flower Prince) and Macuilxochitl (Five-flower).
In order to stimulate the growth in both nature and mankind, he flayes himself to offer food to humans (such as the maize seed loses its outer skin to enable the shoot to grow). After he has shed his skin, he appears as a shining, golden god. 
In his honor,  people were sacrificed to him each year in the beginning of spring (Feb 22). These victims were flayed alive and the priests wore these skins in various rituals.

Find the web's most comprehensive list of Aztec deities here from the web's best forever free resource












Centzon Totochtin




















Coyolxauhqui Ehecatl
































Xipe Totec
























Last Update: 08NOV2005
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