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					Aztec Religion

Religion Deities

Religion
 Worlds  Four worlds before the present, each called a sun, each had different types of inhabitants.  Each had perished through its own imperfections  The fifth sun or world in which people now lived

would also perish through a series of devastating earthquakes.
 

It was not know when this would occur. but it would occur at the end of one of the 52 year cycles.

 Aztec calender stone depicts four suns with the

present sun at the center.

Aztec Calendar Sun

Tonalpohualli: Calendar System
 Dividing time among gods  A day (tonalli) in the tonalpohualli consists of a number and a

symbol or day sign. Each day sign is dedicated to a god.  The twenty dayssigns and their gods are successively: 1 Cipactli Tonacatecuhtli, 2 Ehecatl Quetzalcoatl, 3 Calli Tepeyollotl, 4 Cuetzpalin Huehuecoyotl, 5 Coatl Chalchihuitlicue, 6 Miquiztli Tecciztecatl, 7 Mazatl Tlaloc, 8 Tochtli Mayahuel, 9 Atl Xiuhtecuhtli, 10 Itzcuintli Mictlantecuhtli, 11 Ozomahtli Xochipili,12 Malinalli Patecatl, 13 Acatl Tezcatlipoca, 14 Ocelotl Tlazolteotl, 15 Cuauhtli Xipe Totec, 16 Cozcacuauhtli Itzpapalotl, 17 Ollin Xolotl, 18 Tecpatl Chalchihuihtotolin, 19 Quiahuitl Tonatiuh, 20 Xochitl Xochiquetzal

http://www.azteccalendar.com/introduction-to-the-aztec-calendar.html

Monthly Festivals
 MONTH 1: Feb 13 - Mar 4 ATL CAUALO- The Ceasing of

Water.  Tlaloc, Chalchihuitlicue, Chicomecoatl, Xilonen, and Quetzalcoatl were greatly worshiped.  Poles erected and decorated with banners in both the homes and temples of the population.  Corn gods were greatly worshiped.  Children were carried to the mountains, home of several rain deities, and sacrificed there in various places.  The dead children were named and honored after the mountain they were killed upon.  Gladiatorial sacrifice rites were performed to Pie Totec. The dead victim was cut up, distributed and eaten. Much praying to all rain gods and to Quetzalcoatl in his guise as "the god of the wind", to push the rain clouds before him.

MONTH 2
 Mar 5 - Mar 24: TLACAXIPEUALIZTLI- The Flaying of Men.
 





Xipe Totec was worshiped and many temple and gladiatorial sacrifices occurred. A great feast, Tlacaxipehualiztli, meaning Skinning of Men, would last for twenty days and during this month. Priests wore skins of victims for twenty days. The flesh of the sacrificed victims was cooked with corn in a broth, the stew was called "tlacatlaolli". After eating, there was much drinking(*84) of pulque. Slaves were scalped and the hair kept as a trophy. Young warriors played games of mock battles, some dressed in the skins of victims. The owner of a sacrificed slave would often receive blood from the victim into an ornately decorated bowl and then travel to all of the temples in the area to donate blood to the various gods that he worshiped. The owner would not eat of the flesh of his captive almost developing a father/son relationship. Special agricultural dances.

MONTH 3
 Mar 25 - Apr 13 TOCOZTONTLI- Little Vigil.
  

 



Tlaloc, Centeotl, Chalchihuitlicue, and Chicomecoatl were worshiped. Agricultural planting rituals were practiced. Flowers offered. Children would let blood in their homes. Coatlicue, "She of the Serpent Skirt" was greatly honored in a ritual flower sacrifice. The flowers offered to her symbolized the first fruits of springtime. Until ceremonial flowers were offered to this goddess, the general population was not allowed to smell the new flowers. Today a ceremony of offering flowers to the Virgin of Guadalupe survives, inheriting the ancient cult of Coatlicue. Month also referred to as Tocoztontli Xochimanaloya. Xochimanaloya meaning, "The Offering of Flowers". The skin worn by priests in the previous month were ritually carried and placed in the Yopico temple. Ceremonial first plantings of corn occurred. Month may have been called "Tozoztli”

Cosmology
 Many Creations Myths

 Earth visualized as a crocodile-like monster

floating in the primeval sea.
  

edges of the sea curled up to support the sky. heavens arranged as a pyramid with 9-13 layers. Underworld-nine underworlds.

Myth 2
 The mother of the Aztec creation story was called "Coatlique",






 

the Lady of the Skirt of Snakes. She was created in the image of the unknown, decorated with skulls, snakes, and lacerated hands. Coatlique was first impregnated by an obsidian knife and gave birth to Coyolxanuhqui, goddess of the moon, and to a group of male offspring, who became the stars. Then one day Coatlique found a ball of feathers, which she tucked into her bosom. When she looked for it later, it was gone, at which time she realized that she was again pregnant. Her children, the moon and stars did not believe her story. Ashamed of their mother, they resolved to kill her. A goddess could only give birth once, to the original litter of divinity and no more.

Myth 2, con’d
 During the time that they were plotting her demise,    

Coatlique gave birth to the fiery god of war, Huitzilopochtli. With the help of a fire serpent, he destroyed his brothers and sister, murdering them in a rage. He beheaded Coyolxanuhqui and threw her body into a deep gorge in a mountain, where it lies dismembered forever. The natural cosmos of the Indians was born of catastrophe. The heavens literally crumbled to pieces. The earth mother fell and was fertilized, while her children were torn apart by fratricide and them scattered and disjointed throughout the universe.

http://www.crystalinks.com/aztecreation.html

Deities
 Organized by fundamental characters, cult

themes, and clusters.  Most Important:  Tlaloque-Main rain god




Also lesser rain gods, tlaloque, resided in mts. and produced rain clouds. Mount Tlaloc, is aligned with the location of the Tlaloc shrine on top of the great temple at Tenochtitlan.



Hutizilopochtli-War God, god of the Mixecabecame very important-sun.

Multiple aspects of most gods.
 Creator deities come in pairs and in both

sexes.  Most gods have four of five aspects that are related to the four directions and the zenith (fifth).  directions were associated with different colors.  White god of the east (Quetzacoatl)  Red god of the west (Xipe)

Tlaloc
 "He who makes things grow“  In ancient Chichimec times may have been worshipped

under the name of Tlalocateuctli, meaning "Land-lierLord". Tlalocateuctli was considered by Alcaron to be a metaphor for the owner of a sown field.  Known to the Olmec as "Epcoatl", meaning Seashell Serpent. There is speculation that this deity originated with the Olmec. Known to the Maya as Chac, to the Totonacs as Tajin, to the Mixtecs as Tzahui, to the Zapotecs as Cocijo and throughout Mesoamerica.

http://mrburnett.mine.nu/GCII/U1/outside/aztec/a-god1.html

Tlaloc

Huitzilopochtli
 Left Handed Hummingbird  God of War-Lord of the South-The Young Warrior-Lord

of the Day- The Blue Tezcatliopoca of the South-Patron God of the Mexica. Known metaphorically as "The Blue Heron Bird", "The Lucid Macaw", and "The Eagle".  The derivation of his name may have come from the ancient Chichimeca "Tetzauhteotl", possibly meaning "Omen-God“  He is considered an incarnation of the sun and struggles with the forces of night to keep mankind alive. Only to have found a place of major worship among the Aztec peoples. Huitzilopochtli is credited with inducing the Aztecs to migrate from their homeland in "Aztlan" and begin the long wanderings which brought their tribe to the Mexico Valley.
http://mrburnett.mine.nu/GCII/U1/outside/aztec/a-god1.html

Huitzilopochtli

http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/mythology/huitzilopochtli_sun.html

Coatlicue
This massive monolith of the earth deity Coatlicue ("she of the serpent skirt") wears, aside from her diagnostic skirt of serpents, a necklace made of human hearts and hands.

http://www.mesoweb.com/features/jpl/85.html

QUETZALCOATL- "The God of Wind"
 The Creator God-The Feathered Serpent-The

Founder of Agriculture- Precious Feather Snake- The Road Sweeper.  Often portrayed with a black beard to represent age or as an old man. Covering his mouth there is often a red mask in the form of a bird's beak.  His mask identifies him as the god of wind and he was worshiped under the name of Ehecatl, or wind. One of the greatest gods, god of wind, light, and Venus
http://mrburnett.mine.nu/GCII/U1/outside/aztec/a-god1.html

Quetzalcoatl

http://mrburnett.mine.nu/GCII/U1/outside/aztec/a-god1.html

XIPE TOTEC- "Our Lord of the Flayed One"
 God of suffering. God of Spring-God of Jewelers-

Ruler of the East- The Red Tezcatlipoca. Also known as "The Red Mirror" and his disguise was that of the Eagle.  May have been worshiped by the name Tlatlauhqui Tezcatlipoca, meaning the red Tezcatlipoca.  According to Sahagun this god was originally from Zapotlan, a town in the state of Xalisco and was well honored by all those living near the seashore. Itching, diseases of the eyes, and tumors were attributed to this well worshiped god. His cult was greatly enhanced by Tlacaelel, half brother to Moctezuma I.

http://mrburnett.mine.nu/GCII/U1/outside/aztec/a-god1.html

Xipe Totec
As a symbol of the new vegetation, Xipe Totec wore the skin of a human victim - the "new skin" that covered the earth in the spring.

http://home.freeuk.net/elloughton13/xipe.htm

TEZCATLIPOCA- "The Mirror That Smokes" "One Death"
 The creator God - The God of the Hunt - Patron of

Princes - God of Providence. The Lord of the Here and Now - The Enemy on Both Sides.  The true invisible god who walked over the heavens and surface of the earth and hell. Where ever this god went wars, anxiety, and trouble were sure to follow.  Tezcatlipoca was thought to incite wars against one another and was called Necocyautl, which means "sower of discord on both sides".

http://mrburnett.mine.nu/GCII/U1/outside/aztec/a-god1.html

Tezcatlipoca

http://www.azteccalendar.com/god/Tezcatlipoca.html

XOCHIQUETZAL- "Flower Quetzal-or Plumage"
 "Patroness of Erotic Love" "Goddess of the

Flowering Earth".  Celebrated during the "Farewell to the Flowers" festival signifying the coming of frost. This was a solemn festival. People would make merry and smell flowers knowing they were about to dry up and wither for the season. A feast in honor of the flowers would occur.  Xochiquetzal was also the divinity of painters, embroiders, weavers, silversmiths and sculptors.
http://mrburnett.mine.nu/GCII/U1/outside/aztec/a-god1.html

Xochiquetzal
 The image of this

deity was of wood in the shape of a young woman.  A gold ornament was placed over her mouth and a crown of red leather in the form of a braid was placed on her head.  A Green bright feathered decorated this headband in the shape of horns. http://www.azteccalendar.com/god/Xochiquetzal.html

Aztec Creation Story
 The mother of the Aztec creation story was called "Coatlique",

 

 

the Lady of the Skirt of Snakes. She was created in the image of the unknown, decorated with skulls, snakes, and lacerated hands. Coatlique was first impregnated by an obsidian knife and gave birth to Coyolxanuhqui, goddess of the moon, and to a group of male offspring, who became the stars. Then one day Coatlique found a ball of feathers, which she tucked into her bosom. Whe she looked for it later, it was gone, at which time she realized that she was again pregnant. Her children, the moon and stars did not believe her story. Ashamed of their mother, they resolved to kill her. A goddess could only give birth once, to the original litter of divinity and no more. During the time that they were plotting her demise, Coatlicue gave birth to the fiery god of war, Huitzilopochtli. With the help of a fire serpent, he destroyed his brothers and sister, murdering them in a rage. He beheaded Coyolxauhqui and threw her body into a deep gorge in a mountain, where it lies dismembered forever.

Basic ritual pattern-Ceremonies
 Mainly elitist in organization, involved members of the

stae-supported church or upper class.
  

usually preceded by fasting and other abstentions. offerings, processions, deity impersonations, dancing and singing, mick combats and human sacrifice. followed by feasts.

 Calendrical and non-calendrical.  365-day ceremonies were fixed, occurred during each of the 18 months.  260-day ceremonies had movable feasts which rotated in relation to the 365-day year. i.e. Christian easter.  noncalendircal were tied to life cycle, crises, homecoming, domestic rituals, curing, etc.

Ceremonies
 Ceremonies held in temples, several aspects

similar to Christianity,
  

such as confession of sins, sacred dough which was made in the image of a god and eaten, similarity of the mother of the gods, Coatlicue, and the Virgin Mary were noted.

 Also many personal gods to different jobs,

tlaloc to farmers, Yacateuctli to merchants.

Cult themes
 Celestial creativity and divine paternalism  most abstract, poetic, and philosophical segment.  Tezcatlipoca (Smoking Mirror) belongs to this cult, supernatural and associated with night and darkness.

 Rain, moisture, agricultural fertility.  Tlaloc and his helpers.  fermented cactus juice of the maguey plant overseen by deities (obviously some form of intoxicating beverage).

Themes, con’d
 Death and rebirth  Xipe-Totec complex, sacrificing of human victims.  Quetzalcoatl, crossed many lines, but associated with war and blood nourishment.  Blood nourishment of the sun and earth by war and

sacrifice.
 

human sacrifice to prevent the end of the world. war was necessary to provide victims.

 Death god and Sun god complexes  Tonatiuh, patron of warrior societies, eagle and jaguar knights.

Human Sacrifice

Human Sacrifice, con’d

Aztec Medicine
 Perhaps the most vital document on their

medical practices is The Badianus Manuscript.  Created in 1552, this manuscript book of traditional medicinal knowledge is the legacy of an Aztec artist who labored at a Catholic mission to produce it.

Badianus Manuscript
 There are 184 plants and trees depicted in brightly


  

colored illustrations within the 63 folios of the Codex. The book is arranged in 13 chapters, that deal with different groups of afflictions, some related to one another; others of no apparent connection. The first chapter, for example, provides remedies “on the curation of the head, boils, scales of mange, coming out of the hair, lesion or broken skull.” Above each illustration is the Aztec name of the plant written in crimson ink. Beneath the plant illustration is the name of the disease or condition for which the plant serves as a treatment.

Badianus Manuscript

http://wwwa.concise.britannica.com/ebc/art-5900

Manuscript, con’d

http://www.incois.gov.in/Tutor/badianus.html

Other Remedies
 For fevers they suggested to take regular steam

baths, and they thought that the heat would clean and relax them and also sweat out the evil spirits that were poisoning them.  For earaches, Aztec doctors suggested putting liquid rubber in their ears.  For broken legs doctors tied splints to the leg, but for legs that were cut, doctors sprinkled ground-up obsidian glass on the wound to help it heal.  For colds, doctors suggested putting a drop of collected dew (from the fields) into each nostril twice a day.
 http://library.thinkquest.org/27981/medicine.html

Mexican Chocolate?
 Cacao beans
 

Used as currency. Also used as medicine to treat fatigue, fever, intestinal disorders


				
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