Religion was extremely important in Aztec life. They worshipped hundreds of gods and goddesses, each of whom ruled one or more human activities or aspects of nature. The people had many agricultural gods because their culture was based heavily on farming; also they included natural elements and ancestor-heroes.
They believed that the balance of the natural world, the processes that make life possible - like the rain or solar energy - and that the destiny of people depended on the will of these gods. While some deities were benevolent, others had terrifying characteristics.
The Aztecs thought that the power of the gods should be acknowledged and thanks given to them, so as to avoid the catastrophes that their rage or indifference could cause. For this reason, the monumental ceremonial centers were built and there were so many religious rites. The existence of the gods and their goodwill were maintained by offering up the most valuable human possession, life. This then, was the origin of human sacrifice and the ritual of bearing intense physical pain, which believers intentionally caused themselves.
In Aztec mythology, Chalchiuhtlicue (also Chalciuhtlicue, or Chalcihuitlicue) ("She of the Jade Skirt") was the goddess of lakes and streams. She is also a patroness of birth and plays a part in Aztec baptisms. In the myth of the five suns, she had dominion over the fourth world, which was destroyed in a great flood. She also presides over the day 5 Serpent and the trecena of 1 Reed.Her husband was Tlaloc and with him, she was the mother of Tecciztecatl and ruler over Tlalocan. In her aquatic aspect, she was known as Acuecucyoticihuati, goddess of oceans, rivers and any other running water, as well as the patron of women in labor. She was also said to be the wife of Xiuhtecuhtli. She is sometimes associated with a rain goddess, Matlalcueitl.
In Aztec mythology, Chantico ("she who dwells in the house") was the goddess of fires in the family hearth and volcanoes. She broke a fast by eating paprika with roasted fish, and was turned into a dog by Tonacatecuhtli. She also wears a crown of poisonous cactus spikes, and takes the form of a red serpent.
In Aztec mythology, Chicomecoatl ("Seven Serpent", also the name of a day of the Aztec calendar) was a goddess of food and produce, especially maize and, by extension, a goddess of fertility.
Every September, she received a sacrifice of young girl, decapitated. The sacrifice's blood was poured on a statue of Chicmecoatl and her skin was worn by a priest. She was thought of as a female counterpart to Centeotl and was also called Xilonen ("the hairy one", which referred to the hairs on unshucked maize), who was married to Tezcatlipoca. She often appeared with attributes of Chalchiuhtlicue, such as her headdress and the short lines rubbing down her cheeks. She is usually distinguished by being shown carrying ears of maize. She is shown in three different forms:
In Aztec mythology, Cihuacoatl ("snake woman"; also Chihucoatl, Ciucoatl) was one of a number of motherhood and fertility goddesses. (See also Ilamatecuhtli, Teteoinnan, Tlazolteotl, and Toci.)
Cihuacoatl was especially associated with midwives, and with the sweatbaths where midwives practiced. She is paired with Quilaztli and was considered a protectress of Chalmeca and patroness of Culhuacan. She helped Quetzalcoatl create the current race of humanity by grinding up bones from the previous ages, and mixing it with his blood. She is also the mother of Mixcoatl, who she abandoned at a crossroads. Tradition says that she often returns there to weep for her lost son, only to find a sacrificial knife.
Although she was sometimes depicted as a young woman, similar to Xochiquetzal, she is more often shown as a fierce skull-faced old woman carrying the spears and shield of a warrior. Childbirth was sometimes compared to warfare and the women who died in childbirth were honored as fallen warriors. Their spirits, the Cihuateteo, were depicted with skeletal faces like Cihuacoatl. Like her, the Cihuateteo are thought to haunt crossroads at night to steal children.
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".
In Aztec mythology, Ehecatl ("wind") was the god of wind, an aspect of Quetzalcoatl. His breath moved the sun and pushed away rain. He fell in love with a human girl named Mayahuel, and gave mankind the ability to love so that she could return his passion. He had no known permanent physical form. The One Who Causes Movement of Matter in the Universe: Yohualli Ehecatl referring to Our Creator as the Mover of Matter in the universe, as Our Father.
Huehueteotl ("Old god"; agéd god in Nahuatl) is a Mesoamerican deity figuring in the pantheons of pre-Columbian cultures, particularly in Aztec mythology and others of the Central Mexico region. He is also sometimes called Ueueteotl. Although known mostly in the cultures of that region, images and iconography depicting Huehueteotl have been found at other archaeological sites across Mesoamerica, such as in the Gulf region, western Mexico, Protoclassic-era sites in the Guatemalan highlands such as Kaminaljuyú and Late-Postclassic sites on the northern Yucatán Peninsula.
Huehueteotl is frequently considered to overlap with, or be another aspect of, a central Mexican/Aztec deity associated with fire, Xiuhtecuhtli. In particular, the Florentine Codex identifies Huehueteotl as an alternative epithet for Xiutecuhtli, and consequently that deity is sometimes referred to as Xiutecuhtli-Huehueteotl.
However, Huehueteotl is characteristically depicted as an aged or even decrepit being, whereas Xiutecuhtli's appearance is much more youthful and vigorous, and he has a marked association with rulership and (youthful) warriors.
His temple (next to that of Tlaloc) on the Main Pyramid was the focus of fearsome sacrifices of prisoners captured by Aztec warriors. Victims' heads were strung as trophies on a great rack, the Tzompantli, erected in the precinct below.
God of War-Lord of the South-The Young Warrior-Lord of the Day- The Blue Tezcatliopoca of the South-Patron God of the Mexica. Known metaphorically as "The Blue Heron Bird", "The Lucid Macaw", and "The Eagle".
The derivation of his name may have come from the ancient Chichimeca "Tetzauhteotl", possibly meaning "Omen-God".
He is considered an incarnation of the sun and struggles with the forces of night to keep mankind alive. Only to have found a place of major worship among the Aztec peoples. Huitzilopochtli is credited with inducing the Aztecs to migrate from their homeland in "Aztlan" and begin the long wanderings which brought their tribe to the Mexico Valley.
According to Aztec legend, Coatlicue, goddess of the earth had given birth to the moon and stars. The moon, Coyolxauhqui, and the stars called, Centzonhuitznahuac, became jealous of Coatlicue's pregnancy with Huitzilopochtli. During his birth, Huitzilopochtli used the "serpent of fire" and the sun's rays to defeat the moon and stars. Every day the battle continues between day and night. The Mexica saw the sunrise as a daily victory for this deity over the forces of darkness.
Huitzilopochtli can only be fed by Chalchihuatl, or the blood of sacrifice, to sustain him in his daily battle. He resides in the seventh heaven of Aztec mythology. The seventh heaven is represented as blue. His temple on the great Pyramid in Tenochtitlan was called Lihuicatl Xoxouqui, or "Blue Heaven". Over 20,000 victims are thought to have been ritually killed at the opening of his great temple in Tenochtitlan during a four day period.
Duran relates that the great temple contained a wooden statue carved to look like a man sitting on a blue wood bench. A serpent pole extended from each corner to give the appearance of the bench as a litter. On his head was placed a headdress in the shape of a bird's beak. A curtain was always hung in front of the image to indicate reverence.
In Aztec mythology, Xochipilli was the god of love, games, beauty, dance, flowers, maize, and song. His name contains the Nahuatl words xochitl ("flower") and pilli (either "prince" or "child"), and hence means "flower prince". He is also referred to as Macuilxochitl, which means "five flowers".
His wife was Mayahuel and his twin sister was Xochiquetzal. As one of the gods responsible for fertility and agricultural produce, he was associated with Tlaloc, god of rains, and Cinteotl, god of maize.In the mid-1800s, a 16th-century Aztec statue of Xochipilli was unearthed on the side of the volcano Popocatepetl near Tlamanalco. The statue is of a single figure seated upon a temple-like base. Both the statue and the base upon which it sits are covered in carvings of sacred and psychoactive plants including mushrooms (Psilocybe aztecorum), tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum), morning glory (Turbina corymbosa), sinicuichi (Heimia salicifolia), possibly cacahuaxochitl (Quararibea funebris), and one unidentified flower. The figure himself sits crosslegged on the base, head tilted up, eyes open, jaw tensed, with his mouth half open. The statue is currently housed in the Museo Nacional de Antropologia in Mexico City.
It has been suggested by Wasson, Schultes, and Hofmann that Xochipilli represents a figure in the throes of entheogenic ecstasy. The position and expression of the body, in combination with the very clear representations of hallucinogenic plants which are known to have been used in sacred contexts by the Aztec support this interpretation.