The Aztec religion is one of the most popular Mesopotamian religions, and the Aztecs practice it. It requires human sacrifices, just like the other Mesopotamian religions. A large number of religious activities and festivities also accompany the worshipping of the deities in the Aztec religion. The worshippers equally followed the Aztec calendar in worshipping the deities.
The Aztec religion is polytheistic, which means it involves several deities, which are both males and females. Furthermore, the Aztecs usually inculcated deities from other regions into their religion.
According to Aztec cosmology, which is a principal part of the Aztec religion, the world is divided into 13 heavens and nine netherworlds (earthly layers). The first of the 13 heavens is considered to overlap with the first terrestrial layer, with both meetings at the earth surface. Each of these heavens and Netherworlds is linked to a particular astronomical object or deity.
The Sun is considered as the most important of all the celestial entities in Aztec religion, followed by the moon and Venus. The moon is termed as the “morning star,” while Venus is termed as “the evening star.” Each of these objects has special religious and symbolic meanings. They are also associated with specific geographical places and deities.
Many of the top deities in Aztec religion were worshiped in ancient Mesoamerican civilizations. Examples of such deities are Tezcatlipoca, Quetzalcoatl, and Tlaloc. They are given various names for veneration purposes. The Huitzilopochtli is related to the rain god Tlaloc; this is also considered as the patron deity of the Mexica tribe. Others are:
- Quetzalcoatl the feathered serpent
- The wind god
- Culture hero
- God of civilization and order
- Tezcatlipoca, the god of fortune and destiny, who is also connected to sorcery and war.
Shrines are constructed for each of the gods also. The temples are located atop the largest pyramid in Mexico-Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital. Tenochtitlan is derived from a combination of Tlaloc and Huitzilopochtli. The two deities were worshiped at the dual temple. Ehecatl, the god of the wind was worshiped at a third monument located in the plaza in front of the Templo Mayor.
Cultural Aztec gods
The cultural gods in the Aztec religion are:
- Tezcatlipoca, which means “Smoking Mirror” and he is considered to have omnipotent universal power
- Quetzalcoatl, which means “Feathered Serpent” and considered as the god of the morning star and wind
- Tlaloc, which was the god of storm, thunder, water, and rainstorm
- Mixcoatl, which means “Cloud Serpent” and was the tribal god of the Nahua. He was the god of hunting, sacrifice, and war.
- Huitzilopochtli, which means Left-handed Hummingbird” and also called the patron god; that is the god of the sun.
The nature gods are:
- Ehacatl, which is called “Quetzalcoatl-Ehecatl.” He was called the god of wind.
- Centzon Huitznahua, which was the god of stars. It also means “The 400 Southerner.”
- Chalchiuhtlicue, which is the goddess of springs and also called “Jade Her Skirt.”
- Tlaltecuhtli, which means “Earth Lord” and also called goddess of the earth
- Metztli, which is the moon