How the World Will End, According to the Aztecs

Aztec sacrifice to the gods. Nature.com

The Aztecs were a Mesoamerican civilization that existed from the 13th to the 15th centuries. They dominated central Mexico and united numerous city-states by the 15th century. Their language of Nahuatl was the dominant language of central Mexico by the mid-13th century, and many words from their language were incorporated into Spanish and English, including chili, avocado, coyote, and chocolate.

The Aztecs had a creation myth known as the Five Suns which referred to the five worlds that existed. According to the Aztecs, there had been four worlds before the current world, and that the current world or sun was the final one. Each of the worlds that the Aztecs focused on had ended in very specific ways large based upon the anger of the Gods.

The Aztec creation myth began with one god, Ometeotl, who emerged from the void of the universe. Ometeotl was both male and female and ended up giving birth to four children, known as the four Tezcatlipocas. Each Tezcatlipoca presided over one of the four cardinal directions. The White Tezcatlipoca, Quetzalcoatl, presided over the West as the god of light, mercy, and wind. The Blue Tezcatlipoca, Huitzilopochtli, presided over the South as the god of war. The Red Tezcatlipoca, Xipe Totec, presided over the East as the god of gold, farming, and Spring. Finally, the Black Tezcatlipoca, Tezcatlipoca, presided over the North as the god of judgement, night, deceit, sorcery, and the Earth itself.

Huitzilopochtli. Mythopedia

These four gods created the world and all other gods. They created Chalchiuhtlicue for the bodies of water, and Tlaloc to be the god of rain. But there was no light, so Black Tezcatlipoca was chosen to be the sun, but for some reason he only managed to become half a sun. Then they created the people who were giants. This world flourished for a period until Quetzalcoatl became jealous of his brother Tezcatlipoca and knocked him out of the sky, plunging the world in darkness. Tezcatlipoca retaliated by having jaguars eat all the people of the world.

The gods created a new people to inhabit the Earth and this time they were of average size. Quetzalcoatl became the new sun and again the world flourished for a time. Eventually the people became less civilized and stopped showing the gods the honor that they deserved. Tezcatlipoca decided that the humans needed to be punished and turned them all in to monkeys. This angered Quetzalcoatl, who had loved the people regardless of their flaws, so he sent a hurricane to Earth to blow all the monkeys away.

Then the gods decided once again to create a new world and this time it was Tlaloc that would be the next sun. Once again, for a period the world flourished until Tezcatlipoca seduced the wife of Tlaloc. The rain god became distraught and would do nothing but wallow in grief over the loss of his wife. The world suffered a severe drought which led to the people constantly praying for rain. Tlaloc became angry at their prayers and rained fire down on the people. All of them were destroyed except for the birds and those people who managed to become birds.

What was the final end to the world, and how do the Aztecs believe our current world will end? Read on to find out.

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  • Frank Aguilera

    There are some parallels between the Aztec and Sumerian stories of man’s creation. Chances are they derive from the same sources.