The first sun, the watery sun, was
carried off by the flood. All that lived in the world became fish.
The second sun was devoured by
The third was demolished by a fiery
rain that set people ablaze.
The fourth sun, the wind sun, was
wiped out by storm. People turned into monkeys and spread
throughout the hills.
Memory of Fire: Genesis,
This is the age of the fifth sun.
After the destruction of the fourth sun, the gods gathered together
to decide who would become the next sun. Tecciztecatl, proud and
rich, volunteered, but they needed someone else. So Nanauatl, a
poor god, was chosen. A huge bonfire was built, and when the time
came, Tecciztecatl attempted to throw himself into the flame, but
his fear overwhelmed him. Nanauatl closed his eyes and jumped.
Ashamed, Tecciztecatl follows him into the fire. Eventually, two
bright suns rose in the sky. Angry that Tecciztecatl continues to
follow Nanauatl, the other gods throw a rabbit at him, dimming the
sun and leaving an imprint of a rabbit on his face. This is why the
Aztecs say there is a rabbit in the moon.
But even though they now had a sun, it
would not move. The gods knew that they had to sacrifice themselves
in order for the sun to move and the people that they had created to
live. So, the world of the fifth sun, the Aztec world, was created
through sacrifice. Men had to repay the gods with sacrifice to keep
the universe in balance. This is why the Aztecs sacrifice; to
prevent the fifth sun from being destroyed like the other four
This myth is only one of several
creation myths in Aztec mythology. This one probably originated
from one of the native civilizations that the Aztecs conquered. The
Aztec pantheon is just as diverse as is the mythology, but there are
three main gods to speak of:
a god of the
original nomadic Aztecs. He is the god of war, the sun god– but not
the one of the four suns myth above – and the patron of the Aztec
According to myth, he is the one who guided the Aztecs to Mexico.
His mother is Coatlicue, who gave birth to him after
finding a ball of feathers and tucking in her bosom for
safekeeping. Later, when looking for the ball, she couldn’t find
it, but discovered herself pregnant. Her other children, the moon
and stars, became jealous and embarrassed, because a goddess was
only supposed to give birth to the original pantheon, and
Coyolxauhqui, the moon, incited a rebellion among the children
against their mother. Huitzilopochtli sprung from the womb fully
dressed in battle gear and defeated his siblings. He beheaded his
sister, Coyolxauhqui, and threw her head into the sky to remain
there as the moon.
Tezcatlipoca: The main
Aztec deity, almost an antithesis to Huitzilopochtli. He is the
night sky to Huitsilpochtil’s day sky. Controls man’s destiny.
Tezcatlipoca is considered to bring war and misfortune into the
world, and is rarely credited with good fortune. He is
associated with royalty. The Jaguar is his symbol.
Quetzalcoatl: the god of
civilization and learning. Quetzalcoatl himself was the second
sun, and created the fourth. After the creation of the fifth
sun, it was Quetzalcoatl who brought agriculture and learning to
humans. He is the feathered serpent featured in the mythology
of many Mesoamerican civilizations, not just the Aztec.
"Aztec Gods and Religion." Aztec Civilization.
Crystalinks Metaphysical and Science Website. <http://www.crystalinks.com/aztecgods.html>
Welker, Glen. "Aztec Creation
Story." Indigenous People's Literature. Indians.org. <http://www.indians.org/welker/aztecs.htm>
"Les religions d'Amérique." 14
September 2003. <http://religion.mrugala.net/Ameriques/>