Aztec mythology is polytheistic, yet I read in class that Aztec philosophy was monist - a philosophy based around oneness, that all things are connected to one item or source, sometimes represented as a single metaphysical being. Is it true that Aztec beliefs were monist. If it is true, how did the Aztecs hold monist beliefs while still believing in multiple different natural forces/gods and are there any Aztec mythological stories that have monism as a core theme?
Aztec priests had a panentheistic view of religion but the popular Aztec religion maintained polytheism. Priests saw the different gods as aspects of the singular and transcendent unity of Teotl but the masses were allowed to practice polytheism without understanding the true, unified nature of their Aztec gods.
This is not an exception in the evolution of polytheistic cultures. Judaism was originally polytheistic as well but evolved into monotheism, though many OT texts still echo polytheism. Arguably, the only surviving religion that regressed from monism into esoteric polytheism is Christianity, through the concept of the trinity.