Aztec Five Suns myths

Aztecs believed themselves to be living in the fifth world The 4th was destroyed by flood the 3rd by fire the 2nd by hurricanes and the 1st by jaguars who ate everyone.

The term Five Suns in the context of creation myths, describes the doctrine of the Aztec and other Nahua peoples in which the present world was preceded by four other cycles of creation and destruction. It is primarily derived from the mythological, cosmological and eschatological beliefs and traditions of earlier cultures from central Mexico and the Mesoamerican region in general. The Late Postclassic Aztec society inherited many traditions concerning Mesoamerican creation accounts, while however modifying some aspects and supplying novel interpretations of their own.

In the creation myths which were preserved by the Aztec and other Nahua peoples, the central tenet was that there had been four worlds, or “Suns”, before the present universe. These earlier worlds and their inhabitants had been created, then destroyed by the catastrophic action of leading deity figures. The present world is the fifth sun, and the Aztec saw themselves as “the People of the Sun,” whose divine duty was to wage cosmic war in order to provide the sun with his tlaxcaltiliztli (“nourishment”). Without it, the sun would disappear from the heavens. Thus the welfare and the very survival of the universe depended upon the offerings of blood and hearts to the sun.


  • Nahui-Ocelotl (Jaguar Sun) – Inhabitants were giants who were devoured by jaguars. The world was destroyed.
  • Nahui-EhĂ©catl (Wind Sun) – Inhabitants were transformed into monkeys. This world was destroyed by hurricanes.
  • Nahui-Quiahuitl (Rain Sun) – Inhabitants were destroyed by rain of fire. Only birds survived (or inhabitants survived by becoming birds).
  • Nahui-Atl (Water Sun) – This world was flooded turning the inhabitants into fish. A couple escaped but were transformed into dogs.
  • Nahui-Ollin (Earthquake Sun) – We are the inhabitants of this world. This world will be destroyed by earthquakes (or one large earthquake).