Religion and Beliefs of the Aztec Empire

Aztec religion

The Aztecs of Mexico, who dominated from the 14th to 16th centuries believed in and worshipped hundreds of gods and goddesses.

According to Aztec religion, the Aztecs believed that the gods ruled both nature and human personality, so to avoid incurring the rage of the gods, they had to rever and praise them.

As an empire that relied upon farming, it was important that the gods of nature were kept happy. The anger of the gods could mean drought or other disasters which would harm the Aztecs

Bloodthirsty Sun God

Aztec religion accredited the daily sun rise to their providing nourishment to the most important god, the sun god, with blood and living hearts, without their nourishing the gods, they believed that the sun may not be able to continue rising.

Aztec religion

Most Aztec religious sacrifices took place in the same way. The victim would be marched to the top of a pyramid or temple and be lain out on the altar. The Aztec priest would open up the chest and pull out the living heart which would then be burned. The body would be pushed down the steps of the pyramid and it is believed that many of these bodies were feasted upon following the ritual.

As many as 20,000 sacrifices took place each year, most of which would be prisoners, captured from outlying tribes.

Human Sacrifice

The goddess of food would receive a young decapitated girl as sacrifice in September and sacrifices to the god Huehueteotl involved the victim being thrown into a fire, and then extracted to remove the live heart which would then be returned to the fire.

According to Aztec beliefs, the rain gods required that children be sacrificed in order to appease them.

It was believed in Aztec religion that slain warriors and sacrificed victims were led to the skies by the god, Camaxtli, to become stars in the night sky.

How a person died depended on if they went to one of the heavens or the underworlds of the Aztec religion. A person who died a normal death had to pass the 9 underworld levels in order to reach heaven. Warriors or women who died in childbirth would go directly to one of the different heavens.