According to the Aztecs, the first god who appeared out of nowhere was Ometteotl. This self-begotten god appeared in both male and female aspects. He was the god of duality, masculine and feminine but also order and chaos, light and darkness, matter and spirit. This duality spawned two gods, the masculine Tonacatecuhtli which means “lord of our flesh” and the feminine Tonacacihuatl, “lady of our flesh”. The mission that was given to these two gods was to fill the universe, then occupied by nothingness. To do this, this couple gave birth to four other gods.

The creation of the world

After 600 years of inaction, all these characters wondered how to create a work that would give them the dignity of gods. Hultzilopochtli, the blue god, then made a big fire, around which all the gods sat down to discuss. After having discussed, they decided to create three places, the sky, the ground and the mitclan which corresponds to what one would call the hell. The sky according to them, was composed of thirteen levels which rose from the surface of the earth. At the thirteenth level remained Ometteotl and no other human, nor other god, could reach it. They also created, below the sky, the earth, and, on it, the center of the universe. It corresponds to the place where Tenochtitlan was erected. At that time, the earth was covered with water and there lived only a horrible creature named Cipaclti. She resembled according to the Aztecs, at the same time a crocodile, a fish and a frog. They also created the mitclan. This world was on thirteen levels which they entrusted to Mictlantecuhtli, represented as a stocky skeleton wearing a pointed hat and bulging eyes. But at that time, if the earth, the sky and the mitclan had indeed been created, there were still no humans or sun or moon…


Each of the gods born from the union of Tonacatecuhtli and Tonacacihuatl had a color and was associated with a different cardinal point. One of them, the most famous, is Quetzacoatl also called Feathered Serpent. This one was born white with blond hair and blue eyes. He was the god of priests, the inventor of the calendar and the protector of craftsmen. He had four attributes representing the four elements: an ear of corn for earth, a fish for water, a lizard for fire and a vulture for air. He was associated with the west. The second, Tezcatlipoca, was born black. Appointed Lord of the Night Sky or Smoking Mirror, he possessed the claws and fangs of a Jaguar. He was Quetzacoatl’s main adversary. His main attribute was the Obsidian Blade. It represented cold, darkness and the icy wind. Its cardinal point was north. Xipe Totec was born red and without skin to cover his body. Called the stripped, he was the god of the renewal of nature and of the beneficent night rain. He was associated with the east. Finally, Huitzilopochitli, the blue, named left hummingbird or resurrected warrior, was born with half his body emaciated. It represented the triumphant sun at its zenith. It was the tribal god of the Aztecs who guided them in their migrations. It is associated with the south. To these four main gods were added two water-sounding gods, the god of rain named Tlaloc and the goddess of water called Chalchiuhtlicue as well as the god of the underworld, Mictlantecuhtli.