View Full Version : Aztec Creation Myths {Myth of the Week}

September 18th, 2007, 04:09 PM
Aztec Creation Myths

Quetzalcoatl, the light one, and Tezcatlipoca, the dark one, looked down from their place in the sky and saw only water below.

A gigantic goddess floated upon the waters, eating everything with her many mouths. The two gods saw that whatever they created was eaten by this monster. They knew they must stop her, so they transformed themselves into two huge serpents and descended into the water. One of them grabbed the goddess by the arms while the other grabbed her around the legs, and before she could resist they pulled until she broke apart.

Her head and shoulders became the earth and the lower part of her body the sky. The other gods were angry at what the two had done and decided, as compensation for her dismemberment, to allow her to provide the necessities for people to survive; so from her hair they created trees, grass, and flowers; caves, fountains, and wells from her eyes; rivers from her mouth; hills and valleys from her nose; and mountains from her shoulders.

Still the goddess was often unhappy and the people could hear her crying in the night. They knew she wept because of her thirst for human blood, and that she would not provide food from the soil until she drank. So the gift of human hearts is given her. She who provides sustenance for human lives demands human lives for her own sustenance. So it has always been; so it will ever be.

Myth 2

The mother of the Aztec creation story was called "Coatlique", the Lady of the Skirt of Snakes.

Coatlicue, also known as Teteoinan (also transcribed Teteo Inan) ("The Mother of Gods"), is the Aztec goddess who gave birth to the moon, stars, and Huitzilopochtli, the god of the sun and war. She is also known as Toci, ("Our Grandmother"), and Cihuacoatl, ("The Lady of the serpent"), the patron of women who die in childbirth.

The word "Coatlicue" is Nahuatl for "the one with the skirt of serpents". She is referred to by the epithets "Mother Goddess of the Earth who gives birth to all celestial things", "Goddess of Fire and Fertility", "Goddess of Life, Death and Rebirth" and "Mother of the Southern Stars".

She is represented as a woman wearing a skirt of writhing snakes and a necklace made of human hearts, hands and skulls. Her feet and hands are adorned with claws (for digging graves) and her breasts are depicted as hanging flaccid from nursing. Coatlicue keeps on her chest the hands, hearts and skulls of her children so they can be purified in their mother's chest.

Almost all representation of this goddess depict her deadly side, because Earth, as well as loving mother, is the insatiable monster that consumes everything that lives. She represents the devouring mother, in whom both the womb and the grave exist.

According to the legend, she was magically impregnated while still a virgin by a ball of feathers that fell on her while she was sweeping a temple. She gave birth to Quetzalcoatl and Xolotl. In a fit of wrath her four hundred children, who were encouraged by Coyolxauhqui (her daughter), decapitated her.

The god Huitzilopochtli afterward emerged from Coatlicue's womb fully grown and girded for battle and killed many of his brothers and sisters, including decapitating Coyolxauhqui and throwing her head into the sky to become the Moon. In a variation of this legend, Huitzilopochtli himself is conceived by the ball-of-feathers incident and emerges from the womb in time to save his mother from harm.

A massive sculpture known as the Coatlicue Stone was discovered by the astronomer Antonio de León y Gama in August of 1790 after an urban redevelopment program uncovered artifacts. Six months later, the team discovered the massive Aztec sun stone. De León y Gama's account of the discoveries was the first archeological work on Pre-Columbian Mexico.
Coatlicue was created in the image of the unknown, decorated with skulls, snakes, and lacerated hands. There are no cracks in her body and she is a perfect monolith (a totality of intensity and self-containment, yet her features were sqaure and decapitated).

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.

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.

Ometecuhlti and his wife Omecihuatl created all life in the world. Their children were:
Xipe Totec - The Lord of the Springtime
Huitzilopochtli - the Sun god
Quetzalcoatl - the Plumed Serpent
Tezcatlipoca - the god of Night and Sorcery
Coatlicue - She of the Serpent Skirt

FROM: Here (http://www.crystalinks.com/azteccreation.html).

Also see:
Aztec Mythology - Origins and influences, Major themes and deities (http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0oGkltwMfBG0aoAjRlXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTFhdDZtajRuBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMTAEY29sbwNzazEEdnRpZANGODYxXzExN ARsA1dTMQ--/SIG=12er6uk94/EXP=1190232816/**http%3a//www.mythencyclopedia.com/Ar-Be/Aztec-Mythology.html)
94.03.03: Aztec Mythology (http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0oGkltwMfBG0aoAfxlXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE5YjdoNWtjBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDNARjb2xvA3NrMQR2dGlkA0Y4NjFfMTE0B GwDV1Mx/SIG=12ldtccba/EXP=1190232816/**http%3a//www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1994/3/94.03.03.x.html)
AZTECS: History and Myth (http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0oGklg.MvBGR5kAgp5XNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTFhMDMwOWhiBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMTUEY29sbwNzazEEdnRpZANGODYxXzExN ARsA1dTMQ--/SIG=11ukghklh/EXP=1190233022/**http%3a//www.carnaval.com/dead/aztecmyth.htm)

September 18th, 2007, 04:17 PM
Thanks for the cool info, I've wanted to read some Aztec myths for ages.

Edit: Just wanted to add, Ometecuhlti and his wife Omecihuatl, from what I've read, didn't really create the world and all life, they are more "parents" of the gods (in fact, they're not really conscious of this universe and probably not even the gods.

This site (http://amoxtli.org/cuezali/universe.html), by a very knowledgable Aztec recon explains it better:

The highest level of heaven is known as Omeyocan, the Place of Duality. It is here that Ometeotl, the Divine Duality, dwells. Ometeotl is not by nature a personified god, but rather pure divinity. It is often, however, represented by Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl, the Lord and Lady of Duality. From their union all the gods and goddesses were created. Each successive level of the heavens comes closer to the earthly one, ranging from the purely spiritual levels, to the “black” heaven (the void of space), to layers of the stars and planets. Similarly, each level of the underworld comes closer to the Place of the Dead (Mictlan).
Again using the wheel concept of the universe, the divinity of the universe is again separated in the Mesoamerican worldview- the outer ring being raw divinity (once again, Ometeotl), the middle ring being the realm of the gods, and the center ring being the physical world. As these wheels turn, the spiritual world interacts with the physical world, and it is from this concept that the Tonalpohualli (the sacred calendar or “Count of Fate”) was born. The gods may influence the physical world through their actions in the spiritual world, but they also may choose to act in the physical world itself. In addition, it is also possible for a person to gain access to the spiritual world. In any case, it is the gods, and not Ometeotl, who have conscious influence on the universe.

And this page (http://amoxtli.org/cuezali/wicca.html):

In Aztec belief, the source of the universe was believed to be Ometeotl, the Divine Duality. Ometeotl is divided into the dual components of Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl, two opposing forces of the same source. While Ometeotl could be misconstrued as “the God and the Goddess,” this is inaccurate to Aztec belief, in which Ometeotl is merely the unconscious and uncaring source of all divinity. Rather than being deities, Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl were primordial forces, remote and unfocused upon the mortal realm, or any other thing in particular. The gods were seen as individual beings created by Ometeotl, its “children,” rather than mere aspects or facets. The earth and all things on it were seen as creations of the gods, in turn. Importantly, the Aztecs did not do much in the way of worship in regards to Ometeotl, as it was considered inaccessible and unaware. Therefore, to invoke Ometeotl in rituals and spells the way that Wiccans often invoke the Goddess and the God, would be viewed as essentially pointless in Aztec thought. The numerous gods were seen as the ones to turn to, truly conscious beings which were the true creators and influencers of the mortal realm.

Anyway, just wanted to add that, but still great info :).