The Aztec Empire dominated Central Mexico from 1300 to 1521. It is popular for its Aztec religion, which employs human sacrifice to appease its many gods and goddesses. While the Aztec civilization has long been gone, many of its deities are still being worshipped until today.
Aztec Gods Lists
This name refers to two Aztec gods – Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl – also known as Tōnacātēcuhtli and Tonacacihuatl. According to historians, the couple lives in the Ōmeyōcān, or the highest layer of heaven.
Tōnacātēcuhtli is the fertility god and the creator of the world. He is venerated for making the earth fruitful and bountiful. He is also associated with procreation and is said to have copulated with humans.
Tōnacātēcuhtli’s partner is Tonacacihuatl, who is the goddess of fertility. Also known as the Heavenly Lady, she is also called the “Lady of our Sustenance” and the “Lady of our Abundance.”
The patron of the city of Tenochtitlan, Huītzilōpōchtli is the national god of the Aztecs. He is also venerated as the god of the sun.
There are many origin stories associated with the beginnings of Huītzilōpōchtli. He is said to be the smallest son of Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl. Together with Quetzalcoatl, they made the earth, the sun, and the first male and female humans.
Another story tells of Huītzilōpōchtli being born to the goddess Coatlicue, who was impregnated by a ball of feathers. He was said to burst out from his mom’s womb, defending her from the assassination plot of his brothers and sister.
Huītzilōpōchtli is also the god of war, which means that all the battlefield victories – even the defeats – were attributed to him. He is known to carry the Xiuhcoatl, a mythological serpent, as his weapon. As such, he is also linked to fire.
Huītzilōpōchtli is also the deity of human sacrifice, which was practiced in the many regions of the Aztec empire. According to Spanish accounts, the Aztecs fancied sacrificing multiple individuals at the many temples across the region – all to honor the great god Huītzilōpōchtli.
Tlaloc is one of the oldest universal gods in Mexico. Despite the Spanish Evangelization of the early 1600s, some Mexicans continue to venerate it.
As the Aztecs have a habit of adapting the earlier gods, he is said to be derived from the Mayan god Chaac. Other historians, on the other hand, believe him to be a reflection of an earlier Olmec deity.
Tlaloc, with his goggle eyes and fangs, is revered by many as the god of rain, water, and earthly fertility. While he is worshipped for the life that he gives, he is feared by many because he can send the frightening elements of lightning, thunder, and hail to the world.
Tlaloc is said to reside in the sacred mountain that is named after him. As such, he is associated with other mountains, as well as the caves and springs.
As per the Nahuatl language, Quetzalcoatl is known as the feathered serpent. He is said to have been venerated by the native Mesoamericans since the first century AD.
From the 1900s to the early 16th century, the worship of Quetzalcoatl was mainly centered in Cholula, where he is also known as Gukumatz or Kukulkan.
Quetzalcoatl is depicted as having a breastplate (ehecailacocozcatl) designed with conch cells. He is an important deity as he is considered the patron of the Aztec priesthood. He is also venerated as the god of air, wind, and learning.
Quetzalcoatl is represented by several animals, such as that of the rattlesnake, crow, macaw, and resplendent quetzals.
Tezcatlipoca is one of the four children of the gods Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl. He is linked to many things, including beauty, rulership, sorcery, and divination. He is associated with negative events, such as temptation, discord, strife, and war. The earth, hurricanes, night winds and sky, the northern direction, even the jaguar, are also connected to the god Tezcatlipoca.
His name in Nahuatl alludes to ‘smoking mirrors.’ This explains his association with the obsidian, the stone from which early mirrors were made.
In ancient drawings, Tezcatlipoca is portrayed with a black and yellow stripe drawn across his face. In place of his right food is either an obsidian, snake, or bone. As with the Aztec tradition of adopting earlier gods, some believe Tezcatlipoca to be a spin-off of the Mayan deity Tohil.
Also known Camaztle or Camaxtli, Mixcoatl is the Aztec god of heavens and hunting. While he was less important than the above-mentioned deities, he was venerated in many cities, including Tlaxcala and Huejotzingo.
He is said to be one of the four children of Tonacatecutli and Cihuacoatl. He is also the father of Coyolxauhqui and 400 sons collectively known as Centzon Huitznahua. They were said to be vanquished by Huitzilopochtli when they tried to kill their mother Coatlicue.
According to depictions, Mixcoatl dons a black eye mask and is flanked with red and white stripes around his body. He is fashioned with an Amhimitl, a weapon likened to a harpoon or dart.
7. Xipe Totec
Xipe Totec is known by many names, including Tlatlauhca and Youalahuan.
Most Aztec gods represent many things, and such is the case with Xipe Totec. Not only is he the life, death, and rebirth deity, he is also the god of spring (and the other seasons), vegetation, and agriculture. He is also venerated as the deity of goldsmiths, silversmiths, and liberation. As the god of disease, he is attributed to the plague, as well as the onset of eye diseases and pimples.
According to ancient beliefs, Xipe Totec flayed himself to feed mankind. As such, images depict him to be golden – because he is without skin. He is dressed in war attire, which includes a pointed headdress and a rattle-shaped staff.
Before the Spanish conquest, Xipe Totec was widely worshipped in Central Mexico – even the far recesses of the Yucatan Peninsula. As an important deity, Xipe Totec has his own temple, the Yopica, alongside the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan.
The Aztec religion features several gods, with each symbolizing many things. While Catholicism has become the dominant religion in Mexico, there are still some people who look back to these ancient deities.
I hope that this article on Aztec gods was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Ancient History Page!