Mexica (Aztec) Burials

Aztec Burials

Here at The Movement we are not just a clothing line. Everything we do has meaning within, from our unique designs that we produce to the pictures we post. We are different because we teach and share the knowledge of our ancestors that comes from individuals who have dedicated their lives to preserving knowledge and tradition.

*Borrowed from Ocelotl Yollotl*

"The Mexica (Aztecs) believed in 13 ‘heavens’ and 9 ‘underworlds’ - where you ended up depended more on how you died than on how you lived. Most took a (4-year) trip down to Mictlan, the end of the line. On the journey there were 9 dangerous stops...

Assuming you died a natural death, as an ‘average Aztec’ you were buried - often under your own home - along with your possessions and everything you needed for the journey: food, drink, clothes, valuables, tools, weapons, and a gift for the Lord or Lady of the Underworld who would receive you.


First, your eyes were closed , a vase of water was poured on your head (you were going back to the watery womb of the earth), you were dressed to match your job and status, and a jade stone placed under your tongue - travel ‘money’. Then pieces of amatl (fig tree) bark paper were laid on you - each a ‘ticket’ to help you get through the 9 stations coming..

In route you had to face these 9 underworld challenges:
• a mountain pass
• a road guarded by a dangerous serpent                           

• a giant crocodile swamp
• wide deserts
• a series of very high hills
• a razor-sharp wind
• a rapid-flowing river*
• a storm of flying arrows
• heart attack territory.

Your physical burial didn’t take place for 80 days - plenty of time for family to assemble and mourn your death, bringing in professional mourners to help. In the first 4 days after your death small effigies (statues, busts or models) would be made to look like you - a focus for family tears. They’d then be burnt in a special ceremony at night.

If you came from a rich noble family, you were buried with noble gifts such as jaguar skins, beautiful feathers and fine jewellery , your effigies that much more elaborately dressed, and the speeches given in your honor that much longer and more special.

The higher up in society, the more likely you were to be cremated, alongside the tools of your trade and other offerings. Once burnt, your ashes would be collected in a pottery vase which also held the green chalchihuitl jewel that would be your soul’s heart on the coming journey. The vase would be buried in a deep hole at your home, covered with food-and-drink offerings."

NOTE: Much of the evidence for these facts comes from the Florentine Codex

Leave a comment