Aztec Rituals Crouin


The Aztec rituals regroups three different type of predictions: sortileges, gazing into mirrors, observation of the stars and the planets. The Aztec rituals are directly linked to the Aztec religion and the people practicing the rituals are more likely to have access to the future, because they are supposed to have a closer relationship with gods and supernatural domains than others… [learn more]

To make a prediction, the soothsayers created randomized patterns such as casting maize kernels or beans across textiles or into water and then, interpreted them in order to predict future events. In this case, they used some pure element of randomization to make assumption about the future.

They were also some astronomers/experts who used observations of the sky to predict future events such as eclipses, and they thought that these events were correlated with events that could impact the life of the human beings.

However, one of the most important ritual in the Aztec society was scrying into reflective surfaces such as mirrors. In fact, Aztecs believe that their gods diminished humans’ ability to see the past and the future by casting a spell over the eyes of the ancestors. They were, indeed, jealous that the human beings had the same powers that they have. So, when humans look into the mirror, they can’t see as clearly as they used to. They can’t see the past nor the future. By looking into it, the Aztecs were improving their ability to see. It is, again, a predictive system that involves humans in the ritual and that is made of assumptions from the soothsayer.


The Aztec Rituals are mostly grounded on determinism. Although we can find some elements of randomization, most of the rituals come from determinism.

The Aztecs dispose of a cycle-calendar of 52 years that has been created in relation with the celestial world. Each year is represented by a symbol and each symbol has a meaning. This is some pure determinism and the Aztecs would behave differently, so that they make sure they will have a good year. Another example that shows how the Aztec rituals are related to the determinism is the rituals of the little babies. In fact, their name was always “based on their day of birth and many characteristics of their lives were predetermined by this date and, therefore, his name”. (edX)