This polytheistic religion has many gods and goddesses; the Aztecs would often incorporate deities that were borrowed from other geographic regions and peoples into their own religious practices . The cosmology of Aztec religion divides the world into thirteen heavens and nine earthly layers or netherworlds.
Most Maya today observe a religion composed of ancient Maya ideas, animism and Catholicism . Some Maya still believe, for example, that their village is the ceremonial centre of a world supported at its four corners by gods. When one of these gods shifts his burden, they believe, it causes an earthquake.
The Aztecs had many gods but worshipped Huitzilopochtli, the god of the sun and war, above all others. The Aztecs believed that they lived in the era of the fifth sun and that any day the world could end violently. In order to postpone their destruction and appease the gods, men performed human sacrifices.
According to Pantheon, both the Maya and Aztecs credited Kukulcan/Quetzalcoatl with creating humankind, teaching them how to farm maize and acting as a god of fertility, wind, water, Venus and artistry.
In many indigenous communities, ancient beliefs and customs co- exist with those of Christianity. This blending of religions is known as ‘syncretism’. Today the descendants of the Aztecs are referred to as the Nahua. Most Nahua worship in the local church and take part in church festivities.
MATOS MOCTEZUMA: The Aztec religion was primarily polytheist . They had different gods, male and female. The sun god was Tonatiuh. There were many deities, and they were revered in monthly festivities with rich offerings.
The Mayans religion involved several aspects of nature, astronomy and rituals. Most Gods represented a form in nature, for example, Sun God , Kinih Ahous, or Maize God , Yum Kaax . The Mayans were known for their calenders and astronomical buildings. These were used during their religious rituals.
After assembling a record-setting 154 radiocarbon dates, the researchers have been able to develop a highly precise chronology that illuminates the patterns that led up to the two collapses that the Maya civilization experienced: the Preclassic collapse, in the second century A.D., and the more well-known Classic
Scholars have suggested a number of potential reasons for the downfall of Maya civilization in the southern lowlands, including overpopulation, environmental degradation, warfare, shifting trade routes and extended drought. It’s likely that a complex combination of factors was behind the collapse.
In addition to slicing out the hearts of victims and spilling their blood on the temple altar, it’s believed that the Aztecs also practiced a form of ritual cannibalism. The victim’s bodies, after being relieved of their heads, were likely gifted to nobleman and other distinguished community members.
Many contemporary Aztecs continue to worship and make offerings to the ancient earth gods that they address as “Grandfather” and “Grandmother” [see photographs 14-15]. Earth gods under many different names and forms were important deities for the ancient Aztecs .
Mysterious Decline of the Maya From the late eighth through the end of the ninth century, something unknown happened to shake the Maya civilization to its foundations. One by one, the Classic cities in the southern lowlands were abandoned, and by A.D. 900, Maya civilization in that region had collapsed.