It's always very interesting to explore different cultures and know their beliefs on religion. Do you know that the Mexican gods had a very close relation to science? Give this a read to find out some shocking facts about the Aztec religion. Happy reading!
The Aztecs most popularly known as the Late Postclassical civilization held quite a number of multifarious and various deities. This civilization existed during the 16th century until the Spanish conquistadors invaded and destroyed them. They had round about 200 gods and goddesses. These deities further dividing into three groups, each administering one phase of the cosmos namely: Abode or the sky, rainfall, productiveness and cultivation, and eventually warfare and sacrifice. The origins of the Aztec deities draw back to the Mesoamerican faiths and also by a few civilizations of the times. They are also called pan-Mesoamerican deities. They were collectively called pantheon of gods. The top 10 most crucial of the 200 deities are as follows:
01) Huitzilopochtli ( Weetz-ee-loh-posht-lee)- He is the father of the Aztec religion and is the sun and war god. He is the highest among all the deities and his name means "Hummingbird of the left". When the Aztecs migrated from their ancient home of Aztalan, Huitzilopochtli became a patron and guided them to the city of Tenochtitlan where they established their capital. His memorial stands high on the Templo Mayor adorned with skulls and highlighted in red to represent blood.
Relation with science: The name Huitzilopochtli also means eagle. Eagle as a bird is having long vision and easily catches their prey. Similarly this deity guided the Aztecs to their capital city thus giving signs of long vision. So important is this sign eagle that the Mexican national flag bears this sign of the eagle eating its prey. Every year a corn idol of Huitzilopochtli is made which is burnt in as a celebration. Corn is symbolic of fertility. The Aztecs believed that those who died in warfare became hummingbirds. Hummingbirds are signs of strength and consciousness which guided the Aztecs. This sign also represents the midbrain stem which is the center of our consciousness. He held an armor symbolic of harvesting and contained a snake symbolizing fertility.
02) Tlaloc (Tlah-lock): He is the god of rain and storm. His origins lie in Mesoamerica. Tlaloc is one of the primal deities of the civilization. He is related to Teotihuacan, Olmec and Maya civilizations. He is the second significant god and lies beside Huitzilopochtli in Templo Mayor. He is decked in blue hands representing rain and water. The tears of new born babies were held sacred by the Aztecs and many rituals were performed containing sacrifice of children.
Relation with science: The Aztecs knew that agriculture requires rainwater for harvesting. So they worshipped rain and performed sacrifices. This deity had a close connection to the Maya civilization which was one of the most developed settlements of the times. They discovered plough and other agricultural weapons for agriculture. So agriculture as a science flourished during the Mexican era and they even found out methods of rainwater harvesting.
03) Tonatiuh (Toh-nah-tee-uh): He was the sun god. He was worshipped for warmth and fertility. Sacrifices of prisoners were performed in his name as the Aztecs believed he needed blood to continue nourishing. He was the governor of the fifth sun, an area under which Aztecs resided. He was the benefactor of warriors. Aztec sun stone has Tonatiuh's face engraved in the center.
Relation with science: Sunlight is the fundamental source for crops and also for human body. Hence the Aztecs worshipped the sun for nourishment and good health. Since the sun is the center of all planets so he was believed to be the protector of the human species ruling the area above the human settlement. The Aztecs were familiar with the cosmology that the earth revolves around the sun and so they prayed to the sun god for fertility and warmth.
04) Tezcatlipoca (Tez-cah-tlee-poh-ka): He is the god of night. His name means "Smoking mirror" and he is related with wicked authority representing death and cold. He is the opposite of his brother Quetzalcoatl and is the bearer of darkness. He is pictured as having black stripes on his face carrying an obsidian mirror.
Relation with science: Night is symbolic of darkness and evil powers. The Aztecs believed that for light darkness is very crucial and so they worshipped night. When it's dark, it's sure to be cold as the sun rays no longer give warmth. Darkness is also related to death which is more active during night. During night plants emit carbon dioxide thus harming any person coming in contact with it as well as increasing the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Thus night symbolizes evil and harmful phenomena due to which the Aztecs worshipped night to be safe and healthy.
05) Chalchiuhtlicue (Tchal-chee-uh-tlee-ku-eh): She is the goddess of running water. She ruled all aquatic elements. Her name symbolizes, "She of the Jade Skirt". She was believed to be the spouse/ sister of Tlaloc. She was also the deity of childbirth. She is figured as wearing a green/blue skirt from which a stream of water flows.
Relation with science: Since women are related with maternal instincts so this deity is goddesses. We can understand the advancement of science as the view of underwater civilizations existed. The flowing of water is the symbolic of rivers and streams which are essential for harvesting.
06) Centeotl (Cen-teh-otl): He was the God of Maize. His name symbolizes, "Maize cob Lord". He is linked with Tlaloc and represented as a young man wearing a maize cob germinating from his headdress.
Relation with science: The concept of young man is very significant as a young man is believed to have the strength for the strenuous works of cultivating. So a young man should always work hard for his land. The Aztecs worshipped crops as they knew that foodstuffs are the basis for sustenance.
07) Quetzalcoatl (Keh-tzal-coh-atl): He is represented as the feathered serpent and is the most famous of Aztec deities. He is famous in Maya civilization and Mesoamerican cultures as well. He is the positive foil of Tezcatlipoca. He was the god of knowledge, creativity and learning. He is often referred as the Aztec emperor Moctezuma. His prophecies were thought to be fulfilled when the Spanish conquistadors returned. Though recent studies now consider this as a myth of the post-conquest era.
Relation with science: Serpents were symbolic of fertility. The Aztecs knew that creativity is very essential for any productive work and so they worshipped creativity and knowledge. This god also has a close link with astrology science as he can give prophecies which are later fulfilled. Thus he has the future seeing capacity or time-travel in words of science.
08) Xipe Totec (Shee-peh-Toh-tek): He is the god of fertility and sacrifice. He is described as the god with flayed skin. He was the Lord of agriculture, fertility, the east, and the goldsmiths. He wears a flayed human skin symbolic of death of the old and the growth of new flora.
Relation with science: The Aztecs seem to be worshipping fertility and agriculture the most. This is because they were mainly agriculture based economy. Gold as a metal had high value in the Mexican civilization so they worshipped gold. This deity symbolized death of the old and growth of new. This means not only the aged generation but also the primitive thoughts. As this age old beliefs would cease, new technologies with new thoughts would come up. All these altogether later gave birth to the scientific revolutions and new innovations.
09) Mayahuel (My-ya-whale): She is the goddess of Maguey plant. The sweet juice of the plant was considered as her blood. She is also called as the woman of 400 breasts as she fed her children namely the Centzon Totochin or 400 rabbits.
Relation with science: The Aztecs worshipped plants as they knew the benefits a plant could give. The Maguey plant had a sweet secretion which was very good for health. As a woman is believed to have nourishing qualities so she is portrayed as having numerous breasts thus feeding her rabbits symbolic of her children in form of human species. She is also a female deity symbolizing plants as female that protect the human civilization like a mother providing life sustainability in form of shelter, eatables and Oxygen (the gas most essential for living).
10) Tlaltecuhtli (Tlal-teh-koo-tlee): She is the monstrous earth goddess. Her name suggests one who gives and devours life. She requires many human sacrifices to uphold her. She represents the earth's surface. She is believed to eat the sun every evening with rage and give it back the next day.
Relation with science: Science is always woven with the wheel of mythology. Similarly the Aztecs defined the rotation of the earth with the devouring of the sun by their deity. They respected the earth they lived in and worshipped it to gain fertility and get new life. This is representative of the fact that earth gives life to all as the human body is made up of five elements namely water, sky, earth, fire and air.
We can also relate to the fact that these deities might be extraterrestrials who came from space and helped the Aztecs with modern technology. As we know that time is a cycle which rotates and civilizations destroy and again new civilizations are formed. The people who go up on space to live come back after millennia. Since time goes on slowly in space, they do not get older compared to earth. So humans are likely to set up colonies in the space in the near future. So back in those times, the same time rap took place and probably these aliens came to earth and gave them the knowledge of updated technologies. Since they were scientifically advanced and huge in size with renewed age, these people took them as Gods and worshipped them. The Mexican deities are portrayed to be wearing helmets which might be space suits. They represent the figure of modern day astronauts. Humans have taught humans. These space humans might have come and taught them modern machineries thus fostering technological advancement and beginning the journey from primitive to modern world again.
So these were the top 10 deities of the Mexican mythology and how they are related to science. Quite interesting! Isn't it? So keep following my blog for more such fascinating facts. I will be back soon with more astonishing informations. Till then take care and stay safe.
If you want to expand your business or looking for mentoring and investment support please be in touch.