Mesoamerican Culture, History, and Religion

Hymns & Prayers

The Aztecs didn’t just write about their gods and make offerings to Them, they also prayed and sang about them. I have collected here some of the prayers and sacred songs that have survived destruction, as well as articles and commentaries on them. Some of the pieces I have linked to are public domain and can be downloaded, but others aren’t. Some of them are visible through the Limited Preview Google BookSearch gives. If an entry is one of the Limited Preview ones, I’ve given orange-highlighted instructions on what to do after you’ve clicked the link in order to get at the stuff you want.

Index of Hymns & Prayers

Hymns To the Sun, Huitzilopochtli, and Chicomecoatl (Seven Snake)

Three hymns translated into English by Grace Lobanov from Garibay’s Spanish versions originally found in Veinte Himnos Sacros de los Nahuas. They are from the English edition of Pre-Columbian Literatures of Mexico by Grace Lobanov and Miguel Leon-Portilla. Full text isn’t online as the book is still under copyright, but these three hymns can be read via Google’s Limited Preview of the book. This link takes you to the “About This Book” page. From there, scroll down a bit and type in “Sun hymn” in the “Search In This Book” box. Click on the resulting link to Page 64 to see the Sun hymn, and the ones to Huitzilopochtli and Chicomecoatl are on pages 65 and 66.

Hymns To Xipe Totec and Cihuacoatl

Two hymns translated by Thelma D. Sullivan from the Primeros Memoriales of Sahagun. Reprinted in The Language of Kings: An Anthology of Mesoamerican Literature — Pre-Columbian to the Present, by Miguel Leon-Portilla and Earl Shorris. Full text isn’t online, unfortunately, but you can view these two hymns via the Limited Preview allowed by Google. This link takes you to the “About This Book” page. From there, scroll down a bit and type in “Xipe Totec hymn” in the “Search In This Book” box. Click on the link to Page 209 that appears in the results list. That’ll take you to the top of the hymn to Xipe Totec, and the one to Cihuacoatl is immediately after it.

Hymns & Poems from Alarcon’s Treatise on Heathen Superstitions

A nice selection of Aztec prayers and poems taken from Alarcon’s 1629 Treatise on Heathen Superstitions.  They are kindly posted by Dr. Joseph J. Fries of Pacific Lutheran University.

Rig Veda Americanus: Sacred Songs of the Ancient Mexicans, With a Gloss in Nahuatl

1890 English edition of Daniel G. Brinton’s translations of twenty sacred songs. Use with some caution, as Nahuatl translations this early are pretty loose, but it should give you plenty of inspiration. Full text, downloadable PDF.

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