The Aztec gods were anthropomorphic and related through the bonds of kinship. The numerous gods of the Aztec pantheon had complex hierarchies. Although the gods were immortal, and as such would exist into eternity, this did not prevent them from dying or returning to life an infinite number of times.
The gods had superhuman powers and resided in the different levels of heaven and the underworld, as well as inhabiting specific places on Earth. They could be called upon to manifest themselves instantaneously at many different sites. When the Aztec gods were summoned they could visit human beings in diverse ways, often appearing in dreams or through fantastic visions or disguised as nahualtin (singular, nahualli), or animal embodiments. These beings were generally zoomorphic and important to rituals and the auguries of Aztec divination. Nahua can be found in Aztec iconography depicted in the codices and chronicles with characteristics that allowed for their identification.
Although the gods were benevolent and provident in their relationship with humankind, they could also be frightful, arbitrary, and maleficent. They presided over special scopes of nature or aspects of human culture and could be adopted as protectors by an ethnic or socioeconomic group.