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The Aztec Symbols And Their Meaning

The Aztecs were a clan that existed in the 15th and 16th centuries in the land now referred to as Mexico. The two hold a few similarities, despite existing centuries apart. Just as the Mexicans today are known to be religious people, the Aztec clan was also very religious.

This ancient civilization had different gods to whom they credited different natural phenomena. Their priests used body paint before religious ceremonies in an attempt to appease them. This explains why most of their symbols translate to eradicating problems.

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Not only were their symbols religious but they also touched on every aspect of life. These include time and date keeping, in buildings, clothing as well as the artwork. Warriors played a major role in their military empire and hence had their bodies painted before wars.

They used drawings and symbols to make up for the lack of written history. Through these symbols, they ensured that important information was preserved for lifetimes and could be passed down. They derived their inspiration from the Mayans.

These people were synonymously known for their tattoo craftsmanship. Their symbols and tattoos have lived on for thousands of years. The Aztec print made a huge comeback in the 21st century in the form of tattoos and clothes designs.

It is not uncommon to spot people from all walks of life with a bold black and white Aztec tattoo on their arms or chest. Back when the Aztecs got the tattoos, they were predominantly tattooed on men. Today, however, anyone can get the tattoo. The designs have trickled even into interior decoration where homeowners are painting the ancient art on the walls. This is because of their aesthetically pleasing geometric designs.

Main Aztec Symbols

The Aztec symbols were linked with natural phenomena including minerals, plants, elements or animals. Before diving in headfirst on a particular craze such as this, it is important to know what the various symbols represent.


Cocoa beans signified high status in society and were reserved for the elite. The only ones allowed to drink chocolate were the rich and wealthy from noble families. Just as today, it was considered an aphrodisiac because of its sexual stimulation capabilities.

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It signified social or political stature.


The eagle has been followed by the same meaning in many civilizations and religions in the world. During the Aztec’s time, the eagle symbolized power and strength. It was used to symbolize the Aztec warriors who were expected to be the most fearless and bravest men. These were composed of two elite warrior groups.

The eagle was also associated with the sun in that both went high and swooped low. For eagles, it is for prey but for the sun it is in its setting. Because if flies higher than any other bird, it was believed to have a connection to the divine beings.

Today, the eagle is used as the national emblem of the USA to signify their freedom and power. In the Bible, they symbolize supremacy and hope.


The Aztecs prehistorically used the Owl to symbolize death. An owl was referred to as the bringer of death. Interestingly enough, some communities and societies today still believe the bird to be a bad omen.

If this bird which crept at night was heard flying above a ceratin home or business, it was believed that either a person would perish or something bad was about to happen.


This creature was used as the symbol for transformation thanks to the four processes and forms it takes when growing into a butterfly. It is first an egg, then turns into a caterpillar then pupa before becoming a fully formed butterfly.

It symbolized the last breath a person took, a transformation of sorts into another form. Women who died while giving birth were symbolized using a butterfly goddess that was encircled by stone knives.

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The frog signified joy in the Aztec culture. This could be because of the belief that frogs bring rainfall and agricultural productivity.


According to the Aztecs, blood rituals were necessary to enhance the power of the sun. It was believed that human blood had the strongest power to help the sun. It is because of this that they carried out frequent sacrifices of prisoners.

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