Honest Myth:Aztec- The Five Suns

The story I am about to tell you is extremely confusing, and I will do my best to organize it so it can be understood.

Who are the players?

  • Ometeotl is the Dual God representing every side, both man/woman and good/bad and darkness/light and so on…
  • Cipactli is a giant serpent who carried the universe on her body.
  • Tezcatlipoca is the God of the North, Temptation, Jaguars (sometimes tigers, but I think that is just a translation difference), Sorcery, and Discord. He was the chosen god, meant to become the sun.
  •  Huizilopochtli is the God of the South, Sun, War, and Human Sacrifice. He wages war with the stars each day and night.
  • Xipe Totec is the God of the West, and Life-Death-Rebirth. He was one of the four original gods (cardinal directions).
  • Tlaloc is the God Rain, Fertility, and Water. He remarried after his first wife left him.
  • Chalchiuhtlicue is the Goddess of Water, and her name is ‘she of the jade skirt’. She is a loving Goddess.
  • Quetzalcoatl is the God of the East, Light, Mercy, Mankind, and Justice. He seems to be the yin to Tezcatlipoca’s yang, meaning they are both opposites and similar, enemies at times and friends.
  • Xochiquetzal is the Goddess of Beauty, Female Sexuality, Childbirth, and Weaving/Embroidery. She was Tlaloc’s first wife.
  • Tecucizlecatl is the son of Tlaloc and Chalchiuhtlicue.
  • Tzitzimimeh are female deities of the stars. They are often described as demons.
  • Itzpapalotl is the warrior Goddess of the Moon.
Water Deity (Chalchihuitlicue), 15th–early 16th century. Photo from www.METmuseum.org

Water Deity (Chalchihuitlicue), 15th–early 16th century. Photo from http://www.METmuseum.org


In the begining there was nothing, but Ometeotl created him/herself. Now with the ability to create and destroy, Ometeotl gave birth to four gods: Tezcatlipoca, Huizilopochtli, Quetzalcoatl, and Xipe Totec. The four cardinal gods began to create beings, but each creature was lost in the void and swallowed by Cipacti. The Gods waged a great battle against her (in which she ate the foot of Tezcatlipoca), and tore her body into many pieced. He head became the thirteen heavens, her tail the underworld, her body the Earth, her eyes the caves, her hair the plants, and her mouth the river. With her destruction many other gods were also made. Now with the universe set up, a sun was needed, but to create one a god had to be sacrificed.

  • First Sun – Four Jaguars
    • Tezcatlipoca became the first sun, but because of his missing foot he was to weak. This caused him to only become half a sun. The gods then used ash to create giants and fed them acorns. The sun lasted 676 days, Quetzalcoatl began to fight with Tezcatlipoca. He knocked the sun out if the sky, and in anger, Tezcatlipoca became a jaguar killing all the life on the Earth.
  • Second Sun – Four Winds
    • Quetzalcoatl then became the sun and created humans who lived on pinon nuts. The sun lasted 364 years, but soon the people became corrupt. They stopped worshiping the Gods, and in anger, Tezcatlipoca turned the humans into monkeys as punishment, Quetzalcoatl loved his humans, even when being insubordinate, and thus he was very angry with what Tezcatlipoca had done. Upset, he sent a great hurricane which killed those living in Earth.
  • Third Sun – Four Rains
    • With both of the great gods obviously unable to remain civil with each other when given the chance to be the sun, Tlaloc became the next sun. This sun lasted 312 years, but Tezcatlipoca was jealous. Unhappy that he did not get the role he was chosen for, he seduced Xochiqutzal (some say she was kidnapped and forced to marry him). Tlaloc became depressed and was so hurt he stopped all the rain from falling on to the Earth. The people begged for the drought to end, and in anger, he sent down rain of fire. This killed most of the people, and some others were transformed into birds.
  • Fourth Sun – Four Waters
    • Tlaloc stepped down as the sun, and Chalchiutlicue (Tlaloc’s second wife and/or sister) became the new sun. Man was recreated, this time from the ash left from the fire rain, and the sun lasted 676 years. But of course it had to end, and there are two stories as to how:
      • Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca were jealous of no longer being the sun. Together they struck her down, and as she fell so did water, flooding the Earth.
      • Tezcatlipoca was jealous of no longer being the sun, so he declared that Chalchiuhtlicue’s love for man was false. This hurt her, for her love of mankind was genuine, and she began to weep flooding the Earth.
    • Many died, and others became fish.
  • Fifth Sun – Four Earthquakes
    • The world was left in darkness and the Gods had to pick a new sun. Tecucizlecatl was young and strong, so he was the chosen candidate. But when it came time to jump into the sacrificial fire, he became cowardly. Nanahuatzin, a humble God, stepped in with out fear, and the Gods approving of his dedication rejoiced. But Tecucizlecatl, ashamed and angry (for he want to be immortalized as the sun), jumped in afterwards. Now there were two suns in the sky, and the world began to die by the heat. The Gods threw a rabbit at Tecucizlecatl’s face causing him to dim and become the moon. But Nanahuatzin was not moving, still burning the Earth below. Each god made a sacrifice of their own blood to create the winds to move him around the Earth. 
    • Quezalcoatl then went to the underworld and took the bones of his dead beloved humans. Dipping them in his own blood, he resurrected them into man.
    • The Tzitzimitl were jealous of the sun, and each night, they battle along side Itzpapalotl against Huitzilopochtli. Each night they advance (thus the stars and moon become brighter) and each day they fall back (thus the sun is brighter).
    • This sun is said to one day be destroyed by an earthquake. It is our sun now.

I hope you enjoyed!

-Blog Barista

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Edited by Grimal, Pierre. Larousse World Mythology. London: The Hamlyn Publishing Group Limited, 1965, pp. 462-463. Print.




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