Aztec Creation myths

Aztec Creation myths


The Aztecs civilization flourished in Central America a few hundred years after the Mayans.

The creation myth according to the Aztecs is a continuous story of creations and destructions, called suns. The myth which tells the story of the creation is called the Legend of the Fifth Sun.

At the beginning of the world there was only darkness, void. Creation began when the dual Ometecuhtli (Lord of Duality) / Omecihuatl (Lady of Duality) created itself. This first god was good and bad, male and female, and gave birth to four other gods: Huizilopochtli, Quetzalcoatl, Tezcatlipoca and Xipe Totec. These gods created the world.

The first things created by Quetzalcoatl and Huitzilopochtli were fire and a half sun. They then undertook the creation of humanity by sacrificing a god whose blood drops on a mass of ground-up bones produced the first man and woman, named Oxomoco and Cipactonal respectively. The birth of each took 4 days.

After the creation of man, the gods continued creating the lords of the underworld, the heavens and waters, a crocodile-like water creature named Cipactli, and the rain god Tlaloc and his wife Chalchiuhtlicue.

When the initial creation was completed, a cycle of 5 suns followed which corresponded to 5 world ages, each one ending in destruction. According to the Aztecs, we are currently on the 5th sun of the creation.

First Sun: The element of this first age is earth. Tezcatlipoca was chosen to be sacrificed to create an energy source for the planet, though he only managed to become a half sun.

During this age, a fight transpired between Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca. Quetzalcoatl was the victor, but Tezcatlipoca takes revenge by sending jaguars on Earth to destroy the giants. Thus came an end to the first sun.

Second sun: The element of this second age is air. Quetzalcoatl is in control in this era. Humans were created according to our current likeness but became corrupt. As a result, Tezcatlipoca transformed them into monkeys, and Quetzalcoatl sent hurricanes to wipe the monkeys out. There were survivors who, according to the legend, are current day monkeys.

Third Sun: The element of this age is fire and the god responsible for this era is Tlaloc, the god of rain and water. A fight ensued between Tezcatlipoca and Tlaloc when Tezcatlipoca stole Tlaloc’s wife. Out of revenge, Tlaloc transformed all of humanity into turkeys, dogs and butterflies.  Quetzalcoatl rained fire and ash down on the atrocities, causing the destruction of humanity for the third time.

Fourth Sun: The element related to this world age is water, and god chosen to reign is Tlaloc’s sister, Calchiuhtlicue. During this sun, Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca were filled with jealousy and brought the sun down. The population were turned into fish, and this age was ultimately terminated by a great flood.

Fifth Sun: This is said to be the age that we are currently in, and the god Nanahuatzin is responsible for it. The legend foretells that this era will end with earthquakes.

A representation of one version of the creation myth, along with the five suns, is thought to be inscribed on the Aztec Calendar Stone.

It is interesting to note that in Aztec legends, multiple Gods again play a prominent role in creation, and quarrels between gods determine the course of humanity in much the same way as in the Egyptian texts, Sumerian texts, Greek mythology, and the major religions.

By April Holloway

Related Links:

Aztec Creation Story

Aztec Cosmology

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