Creativity Principles of the Gods

The gods and goddesses of ancient Aztec Mexico wanted priests to tell the people the truth about deceit, treachery, death, destruction, filth, and sin. So he told them the stories about the ancient creators, who are themselves creative principles of all.  He told them about the beginnings and endings, and everything that came before and after the world.

I’m going to start with a bit of what I know from the web about the topic of creator gods and goddesses that are not devoid of imagination.

The gods and goddesses of ancient Mexico are the ones that commanded many ethnic groups to celebrate life and death and to direct themselves to the pursuit of science, art, and culture, building many cities, inventing alphabets and writing, developing a mathematics and a calendar, and devoting their lives to a higher purpose than agriculture and the land.

Ometeotl – The Dual Lord, the male creative principle.
Omecihuatl – The Dual Lady, the female creative principle.

The Creators are seen as old, distant, too busy with cosmic matters to have much interest in what happens to men and women. They are also known as Tonacatecuhtli, “Lord of Our Substance,” and Tonacacihuatl, “Lady of Our Substance.”There is also a concept of these two as a unity, known as Tloque Nahuaqui

Aztec Mythology clearly states that the gods and goddesses all embody creativity in various forms.

from Wikipedia:

Multiple Nahuatl sources, notably the Florentine Codex, name the highest level of heaven Ōmeyōcān or “place of duality” (Sahagún specifically terms it “in ōmeyōcān in chiucnāuhnepaniuhcān” or “the place of duality, above the nine-tiered heavens).”[1] In the Histoyre du Mechique, Franciscan priest André Thevet translated a Nahuatl source reporting that in this layer of heaven there existed “a god named Ometecuhtli, which means two-gods, and one of them was a goddess.”[2] The Historia de los mexicanos por sus pinturas names the inhabitants of the uppermost heaven Tonacatecuhtli and Tonacacihuatl (Lord and Lady of Abundance).[2] Sahagún concurs that these are epithets of “in ōmetēuctli in ōmecihuātl,” giving as another name of ōmeyōcān “in tōnacātēuctli īchān” (“the mansion of the Lord of Abundance”).[1]

There is some evidence that these two gods were considered aspects of a single being, as when a singer in the Cantares Mexicanos asks where he can go given that “ōme ihcac yehhuān Dios” (“they, God, stand double”).[3] The Historia de los Mexicanos por sus pinturas reports of the two that “se criaron [sic] y estuvieron siempre en el treceno cielo, de cuyo principio no se supo jamás, sino de su estada y creación, que fue en el treceno cielo” (they created themselves and had always been in the thirteenth heaven; nothing was ever known of their beginning, just their dwelling and creation, which were in the thirteenth heaven).[2]

As a result of these references, many scholars (most notably Miguel León-Portilla) interpret the rare name “ōmeteōtl” as “Dual God” or “Lord of the Duality.” León-Portilla further argues that Ometeotl was the supreme creator deity of the Aztecs, and that the Aztecs envisioned this deity as a mystical entity with a dual nature akin to the European concept of the trinity.[4] He argues that the Aztecs saw Ometeotl as a transcendental deity and that this accounts for the scarcity of documentary references to it and the absence of evidence of an actual cult to Ometeotl among the Aztecs.

Critique

Other scholars however, notably Richard Haly (1992), argue that there was no “Ōmeteōtl,” “Ōmetēuctli,” or “Ōmecihuātl” among the Aztecs. Instead, he claims, the names should be interpreted using the Nahuatlroot “omi” (“bone”), rather than “ōme” (“two”). Haly further contends that Omitecuhtli was another name for Tonacatecuhtli and Mictlantecuhtli, both gods related to the creation of humans from dead bones. He argues that, of the five sources used by León-Portilla to argue in favor of the existence of a single creator god among the Aztecs, none contains a clear reference to a god of duality.

First, León-Portilla cites the Franciscan Fray Juan de Torquemada, who affirms in his chronicle that the “Indians wanted the divine Nature shared by two gods.” In his translation of the Cantares Mexicanos León-Portilla introduces a reference to the “God of duality” where it is not explicitly found in the original text, which reads “ōme ihcac yehhuān Dios.”[3] Haly argues that León-Portilla erroneously unites “stands dual” with the Spanish loanword “Dios” (“God”) to invent this dual deity.[5][6] Another example given by Leon-Portilla is from the Historia Tolteca-Chichimeca: “ay ōmeteōtl ya tēyōcoyani,” literally “two-god, creator of humanity.”[7] Haly, reading the interjection “ay” as part of a longer (and similarly unattested) “ayōmeteōtl,” argues that this should rather be translated as “juicy maguey God” as the text talks about the imbibing of pulque. The Codex Ríos has a representation of a god labelled “hometeule” – iconographic analysis shows the deity hometeule to be identical to Tonacatecuhtli.[8][9] The fifth source is the History of the Mexicans as Told by Their Paintings which Haly shows does not in fact read “ometeotl,” but rather “omiteuctli, (“bone-lord”) who is also called “Maquizcoatl” and is explicitly stated to be identical to Huitzilopochtli.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *