Mythology Monday: The Aztec Creation Story

So, a lot of people like to talk about how metal and brutal Norse mythology is. Oh, my sweet, sweet summer children. Norse mythology doesn’t hold a fucking candle to Aztec mythology. For example, the Aztec believed that not only has the world ended, it’s ended four fucking times.

Allow me to illustrate.

Now, like any good creation myth, we begin with nothing, just THE VOID. Now, from the void, the god Ometecuhtli/Omecihuatl creates itself. Side note: the reason that they have two names is because they encompass basically everything, including both male and female, so hence a male name and a female name.

And, since Ometecuhtli/Omecihuatl is both male and female, they manage to impregnate themselves. This leads to the birth of four gods, each representing the cardinal directions. They are:

1) Huizilopochtli, the god of the south,
2) Quetzalcoatl, the god of the east,
3) Tezcatlipoca, the god of the west,
4) and Xipe Totec, the god of the north.

Now, after these four are born, they decide to start creating some shit. They begin with water, then a bunch of other gods, and finally a giant half-fish half-crocodile sea monster called Cipactli.

And here we start to get some problems, because Cipactli starts eating everything, and I do mean, in fact, everything. Which leads one to wonder why the gods created her in the first place, but it works out in the end.
Anyway, Cipactli eating everything kind of defeats the purpose of the gods creating stuff, so they decide to team up and kill her. And this is where we get the actual creation: her head becomes the heavens, her body the earth, and her tail the underworld.

Now this is where the actual creation gets started.

The gods realize that they kind of need a sun so that the stuff they create doesn’t end up, you know, dead. There’s a slight problem, though: suns are pretty powerful things, so they can’t just create one. Nope, one of the gods has to sacrifice themselves in order to become the sun.

First up as the sun is Tezcatlipoca, but something goes wrong so he’s only half a sun. This doesn’t deter the gods, though, and they create the first people: a race of giants made out of ash. Things seem to be going pretty ok, but then Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca get in a massive fight, and Tezcatlipoca gets so pissed he sends a bunch of jaguars to eat the giants.

That’s right: this guy got so mad at his brother that he destroyed all creation with jungle cats.

So, the first attempt is a wash, but the gods decide to try again. This time, Quetzalcoatl’s up for sun duty, and the gods create some pretty normal, regular-sized humans. These people are eventually corrupted, and Tezcatlipoca turns them all into monkeys for some reason. This pisses Quetzalcoatl off so much that he destroys the monkeys with a hurricane.

I’m beginning to sense a bit of a pattern here.

Anyway, they try again, this time with Tlaloc, the god of rain and water, becoming the sun. This also seems to go well, until Tezcatlipoca decides that sleeping with Tlaloc’s wife is a grand idea. This bums Tlaloc out so much for a while that he refuses to send any rain, resulting in a massive, worldwide drought. Then he’s so pissed off that he does eventually send rain. Made of fire. That destroys everything.

And now, attempt number four: this time, the gods decide that Tlaloc’s sister, Calchiuhtlicue, should be the sun. For some reason this causes Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl to become really jealous, so they put aside their differences long enough to fuck her up. This causes a massive flood, which, again, wipes out all life on earth.

Now we’re on world number five, which is basically the one we live in now. This time, it’s decided that Tecuciztecatl is going to be the sun, but he chickens out when it comes time to jump into the sacrificial fire. His brother, Nanahuatzin, does jump in, and, not to be outdone, Tecuciztecatl follows, along with a jaguar and an eagle.
This results in two suns, which isn’t great because heat. However, this is fixed when the other gods throw a rabbit at Tecuciztecatl’s face, and turns him into the moon. There is another problem, though, as Nanahuatzin is too weak to move across the sky. But that’s not something a metric fuckton of blood couldn’t fix.

That, incidentally, is why the Aztecs practiced human sacrifice.

Oh, also, the Aztecs believes that this world will end in massive earthquakes! So look forward to that, I guess.

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