6 Magical Tools Used During Aztec Ceremonies to honor the cycles of time

Towering over the marshy waters of Lake Texcoco in modern day Mexico City was the twin peaked Great Temple. On the summit of this colorful 10-story pyramid, Aztec priests carefully followed the passage of the Pleiades across the night sky. Bright and distinctive, the rising star cluster in spring welcomes the farming season, while the dawn autumn setting marks the season's end.

For the Aztecs, meticulous timekeeping was more than just a way to keep track of the passing years. It was a means to track the cycles of the universe — cycles which they were responsible for keeping in motion.

You see, every 52 years the Aztecs believed that the world could come to an end. Past life trauma from a global cataclysm perhaps? They believed that the gods required ritual offerings on specific days of the year. If they missed a sacred day, the sun wouldn't survive the 52 year cycle.

And so, at the top of the Great Temple, the Aztec priests performed rituals on sacred days using the following magical tools. Use these six tools to honor the change of seasons and to bring a little Aztec magic into your life.

A root chakra stone, black obsidian clears negative frequencies and heals emotional scars. In the Aztec Empire, this volcanic glass stone was used to make spearheads, knives, statues, jewelry and mirrors. Described as “hardened fire,” the Aztecs believed that fire, and in turn black obsidian, clears away the smog of toxic energy. And so, black obsidian knives were always used in medical procedures and blood sacrifices. As an added bonus, black obsidian protects the aura like a magical shield so that you can move through life without fear.

02

Copal Resin

Native to Mexico and Central America, copal resin is a Copaiba tree resin used to ceremonially burn incense. When you burn copal, the smoke zaps away negative energy, leaving your auric field squeaky clean. While we still burn copal to prepare for an intense spiritual journey, copal had other interesting uses. In fact, the Aztecs would place a small ball of copal (aka ancient glue) on each tooth to secure a gemstone. Yup, rappers aren't the first ones to sport sparkly grills! 

03

Cacao

Who doesn’t love chocolate? Known as the "God Given Fruit," the Aztecs believed that the cacao tree was a divine bridge between heaven and earth. And the tree’s heavenly cacao beans brought more than mouth-watering bliss. The Aztecs used them as a barter currency for the exchange of food and clothes. Can you imagine being tempted to literally eat your money? More so, eating chocolate was believed to bestow you with some of the Mesoamerican god Quetzalcoatl’s divine wisdom. As if I needed another reason to enjoy chocolate!

04

Feathers

The Aztecs loved colorful feathers, preferably from quetzals or hummingbirds. Symbolic of the element of air, feathers facilitate communication and the sharing of ideas. With a gust of life force energy, feathers help to gain perspective and clarity. More than gold, feathers were a symbol of wealth for the Aztecs. Their fancy cloaks and headdresses were trimmed with clusters of this ancient luxury symbol. It must have been a colorful sight, to say the least!

05

Maize

Maize, or corn, was much more than a staple food for the Aztecs. It symbolized fertility, abundance and the divine feminine. The sweet yellow kernels were also used for divination. Like an ancient tarot reading, the grains were passed through the smoke of copal resin, then tossed on colorful textiles or in a basin of water. The Aztecs would then interpret the patterns to predict the future.

06

Pulque

Pulque is an intoxicating alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of the agave plant — the same plant used to make tequila. Used primarily for sacred ceremonies, the milky-white drink symbolizes the blood of the goddess Mayahuel. Mayahuel is the divine protector of wombs, and she is often depicted with enough breasts to feed her 400 rabbit children. While pulque is a tad sour for my taste buds, it makes up for it with more than enough nutrients. So, cheers to its iron, zinc, calcium and probiotics! Or as the Aztecs say, Ixpantzinco!

Which Aztec tool do you feel called to? Share in the comments!

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Sources

  • Aleph, Faena. “Divination by Means of Maize.” Aleph, 2016, www.faena.com/aleph/articles/divination-by-means-of-maize.
  • Askinosie, Heather, and Timmi Jandro. Crystal Muse: Everyday Rituals to Tune in to the Real You. Hay House, Inc., 2020.
  • Associates, Pleiade. “The Pleiades in Mythology.” Pleiade Associates | The Pleiades in Mythology, www.pleiade.org/pleiades_02.html.
  • Aveni, Anthony. “How Did Aztec People Tell the Time?” Mexicolore, 2008, www.mexicolore.co.uk/aztecs/ask-experts/how-did-aztec-people-tell-the-time.
  • Duncan, Tracey Anne. “What It's like to Drink Pulque, Mexico's Drink of the Gods.” Mic, Mic, 2 Aug. 2019, www.mic.com/p/what-pulque-mexicos-drink-of-the-gods-actually-tastes-like-18543105.
  • The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. “Aztec Calendar.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 26 Mar. 2020, www.britannica.com/topic/Aztec-calendar.
  • Ferreira, Becky. “How the Pleiades Shaped Civilization.” VICE, 2014, www.vice.com/en_us/article/ypwpbv/how-the-pleiades-shaped-civilization.
  • “Sage Goddess's Soul Shift Program.” 2020, www.sagegoddess.com/soul-shift/.

Photos by Grafvision photography on Creative Market, Lakeisha Bennett on Unsplash, Meritt Thomas on Unsplash, carlosrojas20 on iStock and Zori Art Photography

Ashley Nicole is an artist, writer and modern mystic, dedicated to helping you step into your superpowers.

- Her Healing: belly dance, sacred oils and crystals
- Her Superpowers: ecstatic shimmies, playful words and magical illustrations
- Her Sign: Leo Sun, Libra Moon, Virgo Rising, 5 Life Path

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