Talk:Aztec religion

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This title used to redirect to Aztec mythology. I resurrected the old text and Wikified it somewhat. I also merged in text from the Aztec article.

Please go to Talk:Aztec and read the comment titled "Moved much of the "Religion" section to Aztec religion article"

Richard 09:04, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Sacrifice question[edit]

Two different sections give two different views of deity impersonation and sacrifice. One, that the god itself is being sacrificed by proxy or reenactment; another, that a person dressed as a deity is sacrificed to that deity. Some clarification and references would be nice. Maybe it's even an unsettled question: if so article should note that, not give conflicting interpretations. Below are relevant excerpts. Kace7 (talk) 13:19, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

  • From section Cosmology and Ritual
    • "... for the most important rites one would offer one's own blood; ..., or even a god's life."
    • "A person with the honorable charge of impersonating a god ... was venerated as an actual physical manifestation of the god - until the inevitable end when the god's likeness had to be killed as the ultimate sacrifice ...."
  • From section Human sacrifice
    • "The victim(s) would then take on the persona of the god he was to be sacrificed for."


Another form of giving blood to the gods is called bloodletting. Bloodletting is done by the shaman or ruler piercing their bodies with stingray spines or obsidian blades and then collecting it on paper then burning it to get the blood to the gods. This is a spiritual ritual in which the blood letter would actually see their ancestors. This was actually a rush of endorphins because of all the blood that is lost in this ritual.


Given a spate of recent anon vandalism here, I've semiprotected the page for a couple of days. After that, we'll see how it goes.--cjllw | TALK 06:43, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Section cut from Nahuatl speakers of Huasteca[edit]

Maybe some of this can be incorporated into the article here


The Aztec pantheon entailed several gods. The gods were not anthropomorphic but did display supernatural qualities. The Aztecs defined the concept of the deity or sacred power called teotl. There are approximately over 200 deities in the Aztec religion. Some of the most important were Ometeotl, the creator of the rest of the gods, Tlaloc, the rain god, Mictlantecuhtli, the god of death and the underworld, and Quetzalcoatl, the god of learning and knowledge.[1]


According to Aztec religion, there were four previous creations called suns. The Aztecs at that time were living in the fifth sun. Each sun was inhabited by a different race of people and ruled by a different god. The first sun was inhabited by giants. These giants were ruled by the god Tezcatlipoca. This sun ended when the giants were eaten by jaguars. The second sun was inhabited by humans who ate acorns. Quetzalcoatl was the ruling god. This sun ended when the earth was destroyed by hurricanes. Some humans survived the hurricanes by jumping to the top of trees. These humans became monkeys. The third sun was dominated by water. Tlaloc was the ruling god. The earth was inhabited by humans who ate aquatic seeds. This sun was ended by a fiery rain. The people were replaced with dogs, turkeys, and butterflies. The fourth sun was ruled by the god Chalchiuthtlicue. The earth was inhabited by people who ate wild seeds. This sun was ended by a flood. The people of this sun became fish. The fifth sun was currently inhabited by the Aztecs, or the people who ate maize. The ruling god was Tonatiuh, the sun god. It is thought that this sun will end due to large earthquakes. [1]

Heavens and Underworld[edit]

According to the Aztecs the universe was divided between the heavens, the earth and the underworld. They were connected by a central axis. There were thirteen floors, or levels, of heaven. Floors twelve and thirteen are the most important floors. These floors called Omeyocan, which means the place of duality. Ometeotl, the god of duality, lives in these floors. The Underworld consists of nine floors. The lowest level is called Mictlan, where the god Mictlantecuhtli rules. In order for a person to reach Mictlan, one must pass several tests. When one reaches Mictlan then he or she is able to rest. The Earth is called Tlalticpac. The Aztecs believed that the Earth was the center of the universe. According to the priests, the earth was surrounded by water. This water merged with the surrounding heavenly water at the horizon. [1]


Upon death, the soul would leave the body. The soul would go to one of three different places depending upon the nature of the death and the burial given. The first place an Aztec could go after death was the house of the sun, heaven level three. This was for Aztecs who died in battle, as a sacrifice, or during childbirth. The second place an Aztec could go after death was Tlalocan. This place was green, had plants and fruits and was always summer time. An Aztec would come here if the death was water related. The third place where an Aztec would go after death is to Mictlan. Anyone who died a natural death would come here. The journey to Mictlan is difficult due to several obstacles. [1]


The Aztecs practiced confession. One would confess a sin and immediately be forgiven as if it never happened. The catch with Aztec confession is that once you confess a sin you can never do that same type of sin again. Forgiveness is not granted to those who commit the same sin multiple times. [1]


The Aztec priests participated in two types of sacrifice: involved humans and animal. Quail was the most common animal sacrifice. There were two types of human related sacrifice: self- sacrifice and human sacrifice. During self- sacrifice, an Aztec priest would intake in bloodletting. He would cut his ears, arms, tongue, thighs, chest, or genitals. This was used to purify the priest of any sins. The human sacrifice usually meant heart sacrifice. Five priests, known as the Tlenamacac, performed this sacrifice. They would lay the victim on a table, hold him down and then cut out the heart. This usually occurred at the top of a pyramid. The victims were usually warriors and sometimes slaves, depending upon the god. The higher the rank of the warrior the better he is looked at as a sacrifice. These sacrifices held two purposes. The first purpose of these sacrifices was to appease the gods and ensure the existence of the world. The gods needed blood and would punish the people by natural disasters if they did not receive it. The second purpose of these sacrifices was to spread propaganda. The Aztecs invited rulers from other nations to these ceremonies in order to show the dominance of the Aztec empire. [1]


The Aztec’s performed several ceremonies throughout the year. Most involved some aspect of agricultural fertility. Each month had a different ceremony. Each monthly ceremony had a different purpose, victim, and ritual. [1]

·Maunus· ·ƛ· 06:24, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

Letsee.. On the afterlife section, Tamoanchan is missing; the paradise of children and babies that die.

On the confession section is a bit inaccurate. It was confessions to Tlazolteotl the sin eater that was once a lifetime. Tezcatlipoca, especially, and sometimes Xochiquetzal also heard confessions. Since Tezcalipoca is ominpresent he was thought to see everything and therefore heard confessions.

On the important gods part... Ometeotl wasn't worshipped. I would think we should just say the 4 Tezcatlipoca's were important. I do believe Tezcatlipoca was more revered than Tlaloc in any case. He was a god that was worshipped by all walks of life, from nobility to slavery. And I won't get started on his various aspects. For example: Itztlacoliuhqui & Tepeyollotl. He had more aspects than any other deity. Xuchilbara (talk) 15:49, 6 April 2008 (UTC)


Is it accurate to say that the Aztec religion does not have a proper name? It seems strange, but I have never heard it called anything but "the Aztec religion," but most religions have proper name; for example, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc. Why do you suppose the Aztec religion has no name? -ErinHowarth (talk) 22:57, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

Most religions doesn't have a name. Maya religion, Babylonian religion, Norse religion, Zulu religion, Roman religion, Greek religion. Names have been given to a couple of prominent religions of the last few centuries. Nothing strange about that.·Maunus·ƛ· 23:29, 21 August 2009 (UTC)


Simon Burchell (talk)

An accusation of plagiarism was recently inserted at the end of the introductory text (which I reverted), so I've flagged this article as a possible copyright violation. Simon Burchell (talk) 10:44, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

Going by the prior edits of that anon ip who inserted the plagiarism allegation, I wonder whether the intent was more mischievous than genuine. Or if genuine, perhaps they've stumbled across some mirror site: by its edit history this article has developed incrementally, I think it unlikely that slabs of it have been lifted from elsewhere. The lead for eg is largely as it was originally rewritten by Maunus, tho there have been subsequent tweaks to it.--cjllw ʘ TALK 23:55, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

I had my doubts, but it was best to be sure... Simon Burchell (talk) 12:19, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Hi - I'm Dr Ray Kerkhove - yes much of this article seems a direct lift (re-worded and summarized) from the introductory section on 'Aztec religion' I wrote in my 1994 Masters thesis on 'Explaining Aztec Human Sacrifice' (it's online -google it under that name if you want to check - pp.13-18). The sources I used are noted, but not the fact that this was my summary. I don't mind the publicity, but would appreciate an acknowledgement (contact me: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:18, 1 December 2014 (UTC)


is it right to call a willing sacrafice a "victim"? (talk) 03:00, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

Yes, in my view. Even if the victim participates willingly. HappyGod (talk) 07:58, 28 June 2016 (UTC)

Name: Tlateōtoquiliztli - Misleading Information being Presented[edit]

Okay, I think the "name" tlateōtoquiliztli should be removed from the lead. Perhaps it should be discussed somewhere else in the article? The way it is presented makes it seem that "tlateōtoquiliztli" was the native name for the Aztec religion. This is not the case. "Tlateōtoquiliztli" literally translates to "erroneously considering something to be a deity", i.e. idolatry. Now it may very well be the case that some modern or contemporaneous speakers of Nahual call the Aztec religion "idolatry" but it is not in any way an official name for the religion or a direct translation of "Aztec Religion" as the article currently presents. (I believe it might have been coined by Catholic missionaries as a contemporaneous derogatory "name" for the religion. The situation is similar to how contemporaneous Christian missionaries called followers of the Old Norse religion "Heathens", yet modern Norse Neo-Pagans have adopted the name "Heathenry" for their religion). "Tlateōtoquiliztli" is contrasted to "Tlateōmatiliztli", which translates to "thinking or being concerned with a deity", i.e. devotion. But keep in mind both of those words are neologisms and nothing the Aztec themselves would have used. Flygongengar (talk) 05:37, 26 October 2012 (UTC)


Tavarez, David. The Invisible War: Indigenous Devotions, Discipline, and Dissent in Colonial Mexico. (Stanford University Press: 2011) pp. 15. Flygongengar (talk) 05:37, 26 October 2012 (UTC)

  • Agree: I concur with the validity of the explanation, rationale, and solution. Boneyard90 (talk) 17:23, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
    • ^ a b c d e f g Tuerenhout, Dirk Van. The Aztecs: New Perspectives. ABC-CLIO, 2005