Five Suns and Creation
Why the creation account of the Mexica/Azteca is called the Five Suns? Be specific. What era is ours and how did we get here?
The creation account of the Mexica/Azteca is called Five Suns as the Aztec people believed that the world was created four times but each time it was destroyed. Then the earth was built again for the fifth time and it still exists. The five suns represent the five times the earth was created. The five suns in order are; Nahui-Ocelotl, Nahui-Ehécatl, Nahui-Quiahuitl, Nahui-Atl and Nahui-Ollin. We are currently in Nahui-Ollin, the fifth sun. When the earth was destroyed for the fourth time, Quetzalcoatl took the bones of the deceased human and mixed his blood in them to resurrect them. As gratitude, the resurrected people made sacrifices to the gods and when these offerings will cease then the fifth sun will come to an end.
As explained in the Five Suns creation account, why do current humans owe a debt and to whom? What are the ideas that contribute to this perspective?
In the beginning, there was duality; this duality represented the opposites like male and female, near and far, light and dark, etc. This duality was Ometeotl who was a primordial god; this god was in actuality a pair of gods; Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl. This god created four more gods each representing a cardinal direction i.e. north, south, east and west. These gods are also called the four Tezcatlipocas. The white Tezcatlipoca; named Quetzalcoatl governs the west and is the god of wind and life. Huitzilopochtli is the blue Tezcatlipoca who presided over the South was the god of war. Xipe Totec was the god of gold, agriculture and changing seasons. This god was the red Tezcatlipoca and represented the East. North belonged to the black Tezcatlipoca whose name was also Tezcatlipoca and he was the god of night and obsidian. After their birth; the four Tezcatlipocas set about creating the world but every time they made something it would fall into the ocean and get eaten by the giant crocodile named Cipactli. Frustrated the four gods decided to eliminate it. They battled it and after defeating it; turned it into the land. After that other lesser deities were created along with humans. Then the Five Suns cycle began with the fifth sun being the present time.
In the 5 Suns, where do we get corn? How does its origin connect to the other world? How is corn connected to humans?
After the creation of the fifth sun; the earth is once again filled with humans but the question was raised that what will the humans eat? The red ant brings a kernel of corn; Quetzalcoatl asks the ant where it got the corn. At first, it refuses to tell but then succumbs to pressure and tells him that it took from Tonacatepetl. Quetzalcoatl turns into a black ant and gets more corn from Tonacateptl then he gives these to the humans to grow their first crops. The corn was a gift from the gods and a blessing for humans to sustain themselves when they were hungry.
According to the Five Suns sources, what is pulque and how did we get it? What purpose does it serve?
Pulque is an alcoholic drink made from a plant called maguey. One day, Quetzalcoatl saw that the people did not dance or sing after working all day and also seemed depressed. He wanted to cheer them up but at that time his lover goddess Mayahuel gets attacked by demons and dies. Heartbroken Quetzalcoatl gathers her remains and buries her. A plant called maguey grew from it and he prayed that this plant will help the humans become happy when they make a drink from it.
Who is Quetzalcoatl in Mesoamerican sacred teachings? What does the feathered serpent represent? What aspects of the universe are invoked in Quetzalcoatl’s manifestation?
He is a feathered serpent that is the god of wind and life. He is one of the four Tezcatlipocas. The feathered serpent represents duality along with earth and sky.
Think about the story as a sacred teaching of origins, what were some of the things or beings created, who were the heroes and how did they play a role in creation?
In the origin story, the four Tezcatlipocas created more gods that helped in the creation of the earth. Each god was assigned a task that they took care of. The feathered serpent; Quetzalcoatl was the hero and god that helped humans in every way so that they would be able to live happily.
What was your favourite part of the myth and why?
My favorite part of the myth is when the four Tezcatlipocas are trying to create life; it gets eaten by Cipactli. Until they decide that enough is enough and put a stop to it. I like this part as it shows the struggles of the gods, them not giving up and getting what they want. This is something that connects them to us as we also struggle sometimes but we always find the courage to stand back up.