Since several years ago, a variety of complex, indigenous beliefs as well as religious traditions have developed in the Southern as well as the Central parts of Mexico. As a variety of social organizations started to emerge in these parts of Mexico, a variety of religions, rituals and customs emerged I different parts of Mexico. This area between the northern part of America and the central part of the country has been known as Mesoamerica, and the pre-Columbian religion followed by the residents of this country has always played an important role in the social and religious life of an individual (Bhattacharya).
First of all, it should be noted that as far as the Mesoamerican pantheon is concerned, it should be remembered that under the pre-Columbian religion of Mexico, there is a rich variety of Gods and Goddesses, who are universally worshipped. The Father God or the Mother God, or the God of Rain or Fire, as found in almost every traditionally recognized religion of the world, is also worshipped among the followers of the pre-Columbian religion. It is also important here that the Gods worshipped in this religion have associations with natural elements such as rain or fire, just like the primitive religion of any nation (Phelps). Most of the Gods existent in the pre-Columbian religion of Mexico usually corresponds to either natural forces or agriculture. For instance, in ancient times, in Mesoamerica, a variety of female clay figurines have been discovered by the archaeologists, in the agricultural fields of the nearby localities. According to the assumptions of the research scholars, these figurines are the remains of the ancient Goddesses of fertility, who had been worshipped to ensure the fertility of the crops in future.
The Olmec religion had played a significant role in influencing the religious life of the people believing in the pre-Columbian religion. Although the previous research studies have showed that eight different kinds of supernatural powers have been recognized by this religion, none of the supernatural powers have been shown to have any gender. Besides, the historians and the research scholars have also pointed out that the deities worshipped here neither can be regarded to be definitive nor can be deemed to be comprehensive. Under the Olmec religion, the Olmec God also referred to as the Earth Monster, is said to have assumed much importance among the worshippers. However, at the same time historical researchers have also made mention of other Olmec Gods, such as the Maize Deity, Rain Spirit, Fish Monster, feathered serpent and many others. These deities are usually not being referred to as Gods or Goddesses, as the genders are not specifically shown (Fitzergald). However, historians have shown that each of the Gods under the Olmec tradition have some common iconographic motifs that distinguish them from the Gods of other religions. For example, the motif of “flame eyebrows” can be found in multiple supernatural of the Olmec religion, such as the Olmac Dragon as well as the Bird Monster. It is also important to mention here that the people following the Olmec religion believed that the traits of each of the Gods of the Olmec tradition, could be interchanged with the attributes of the world. Besides, the Olmec religion followers also used to believe that though each of the Gods used to represent a variety of attributes, each of the Gods represent and manifest the spiritual reality. According to the pre-Columbian religion of Olmec tradition, there are thirteen heavens present as well as nine underworld levels.
Following the Olmec religion, The Mata religion also gained much dominance in Mexico. According to the religious belief of the Maya culture, the earth was being assumed to a back of a big caiman that also shared feline and saurian attributes. This caiman is often associated with the Olmec Dragon. The very popular Dual God that is being recognized in each of the pre-Columbian religions was also worshipped by the followers of this religion, who was believed to reside in the uppermost part of the universe. Maya, the Goddess was being referred to as the begetter of children (E Quahalom) as well as the conceiver of children (E Alom). The supreme God is often being invoked in the Maya tradition as a feminine power, and hence feminine prefixes like “Ix” have been used. The Maya Goddess is being believed to be a source of creation for the plants and animals as well as the celestial bodies. Kin is considered to be the Sun God, who was believed to be the reason of daytime, and an entity responsible for controlling the cycles of time (Tindall and David). The Sun God, though was not regarded as a supreme God, he is frequently associated with the divine power ruling the upper as well as the lower layer of the Earth, and is regarded as the Itzamna. The Maya religion acknowledged the existence of the moon Goddess Ixchel, who was often regarded as the wife of the Sun God. The Venus was also being worshipped by the followers of this religion (Urton).
The Zapotec religion also believed in the existence of a Supreme God. The followers of the Zapotec religion had developed a subtle sense of veneration for the dead people, and their obsession with death was essentially linked with their religious views. Consequently, these people, as part of their religious practices would often even place the remains of the dignitaries in the nearby corners of the temples. Again, after the Zapotecs, the people following the Mixtec religion started invading the places where the Zapotic people used to inhabit. Consequently, around the c. 1000 period, the Mixtec religion got spread in Mexico. The religious view of the Mixtec people largely resembles that of the Maya religion (Margain). A very important feature of all the pre-Columbian religions, including this one, is that they used to represent Earth as a monstrous agent, and even in the Mixtec religious worldview, the earth has been represented as a serpent and often as a jaguar. However, unlike the Maya religious view, the Mixtec religion does not acknowledge the presence of thirteen levels of upper world, and they recognize the presence of nine levels only. The Mixtec religion also acknowledges the presence of the dual God, along with other planetary bodies (Jordan).
It is worthwhile to mention the Teotihuacan religion as well, that started influencing the residents of Oaxaca and Guatemelan Islands. These believers used to worship a variety of deities, and the iconography of the gods is also very similar to the gods who were worshipped later in the central parts of Mexico, such as the Toltecs and the Aztecs (Sagarena). However, after the death of the Teotihuacan culture, the Toltec religion came into existence. Under this religious assumption, the God referred to as the Feathered Serpent, as well as the God named Quetzalcoatl, was being worshipped by a huge number of people (Elferink).
To conclude it should be remembered that though a variety of religions had existed in the pre-Columbian era, the presence of a supreme God , along with a ruler of the sky, who was being addressed as the Itzamna in the Maya tradition had always remained constant. It was a common belief among the followers of all the pre-Columbian religions, that the supreme male God, along with a female God, begot all the other Gods and Goddesses. Again, death, as already mentioned above, had formed an integral part of the religious life of the people of Mexico. Consequently, the abstract concept of death was also being personified by God in all these religions, and was symbolized by a fleshless skull.
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