How Was the World Created In Aztec Mythology and Why Was the Aztec Ritual of Human Sacrifice Important?

An Aztec myth describes the earth goddess, Tlaltecuhtli, as a fierce beast with several gaping mouths full of teeth.

Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca watched Tlaltecuhtli as she crossed the ocean, her hungry mouths searching for food. Repulsed by the disgusting monster, Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca decided to destroy her.

Transforming themselves into giant serpents, they descended from heaven and attacked Tlaltecuhtli.

Quetzalcoatl siezed one foot, Tezcatlipoca grabbed the other, and they pulled in opposite directions, tearing the monster in two. Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca took one half of the body and created the earth.

They threw the other half into the sky, creating the heavens.

The strands of Tlaltecuhtli’s hair became flowers, herbs, and the trees of the forest.

Her skin became rolling fields of grass. Her eyes were formed into wells, springs, and small caves. Her mouths were the source of rivers, and her nose formed mountain ridges and valleys.

To give people the fruit and grains they needed for life, Tlaltecuhtli demanded a bloody payment made with human hearts.

It became an important Aztec ritual to sacrifice people to Tlaltecuhtli to ensure that she continued to yield life giving food.