Some of the earliest religions used the cave as a symbol of mother earth’s womb. The Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan, Mexico has a cave below. The cave is shaped like a flower with four petals. The petals correspond with north, south, east, and west. The pyramid was built over the cave to keep it safe. The cave was a center for worshiping water gods. There was probably an oracle that lived there in ancient times.
In Aztec culture, caves are religious areas. It is believed that the god Tecuciztecatl went into a cave and was transformed into the moon. Men and women were believed to have come from caves. Women from one cave and men from another.
Many Native Americans in North American dug caves out of the earth to use as places to gather and worship their gods. In the south, there are Native American mounds built where the light from the summer and winter solstice shines through to the center of the mound. Caves also represent the place of emergence where different Native American tribes believe they came from.
In Hinduism, caves were holy places. They represented the Great Mother’s yoni. Caves also symbolized the passage to the underworld. The Four Caves of Sikkim were sanctified as the home of divine powers. Each cave represents a different direction. These caves are called the four Holy Caves. The caves symbolize transformation and are thought to bring good luck and happiness to those who travel there.
Caves also symbolize rites of passage. Different North and South American Native tribes had their shamans lie in front of a cave. The shamans were believed to be taken into the cave and pulled apart. A holy relic was put in place of a part of the shaman rendering them holy.