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Aztec eschatology

The Aztec cosmos goes through a pattern of creation and flamboyant destruction similar to that of the Hopi universe.  However, the world’s destruction is not the result of human failing but a by-product of a power struggle between six deities (Willis 237-238).  Each age, or sun, is ruled over by one of the deities for a period that lasts for sometime between 300 and 700 years and ends with that deity’s overthrow.

The inhabitants of the first sun were all eaten by jaguars in what was presumably a very messy 13-year period.  The reigning god of the second sun was dethroned by hurricane winds that blew the sun away and somehow managed to turn all the humans into monkeys in the process, and the third was put to rest by a rain of fire.  The goddess of the fourth sun, Chalchiuhtlicue, had better luck; she lasted 676 years before a 52-year-long rainstorm drowned the world.  Most of the people turned into fish, and the few who managed to survive made the mistake of lighting a fire and roasting one of the fish.  This seriously annoyed Tezcatlipoca, the chief god: he cut off their heads, reattached them next to their buttocks, and turned them into dogs.  After these spectacular failures, the deities called a cease-fire and agreed to give existence one more chance: the fifth, our current sun, destined one day to be destroyed by earthquakes (Hathaway 30-31).


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