Staff Writer: J. Perry
Why The Aztecs Cut Out Human Hearts
What would you do to ensure a good crop yield? Fertilize the soil and water, ensure no pests gobble them up and rip up any pesky weeds?
What if I were to tell you some folks would rip out your heart and offer it to their Gods so that the crops do well?
Enter the Aztecs; they believed they owed everything to the gods who created them as well the world around them.
The Aztecs didn’t break any ground by performing such acts; they were just another in a long tradition of human sacrifice in Mesoamerica.
They would perform ritual sacrifices to ensure good crop yield, good weather, or just in honor of the Gods.
Now you’re probably thinking “but wait why to do something so disgusting to appease the Gods?” This most likely goes back to the Aztec “Legend of the Five Suns” wherein the Gods sacrificed themselves so that humanity could live.
So it’s not a stretch to think the Aztecs felt they were indebted to the Gods for their sacrifice and thus only thought it right to give back to them.
Animal sacrifice and Self-Sacrifice were also quite prevalent for example, the Cult of Quetzalcoatl required the sacrifice of butterflies and hummingbirds, and they bred Dogs, Jaguars, Deer, and Eagles for slaughter. (I hope all dogs go to Heaven.)
The Self-Sacrifice consisted of offering the thorns of an Agave Plant tainted with the persons own blood, blood from the earlobes and even genitals! (That’s going to be a NO from me dog…)
This may sound crazy to we modern folks, but the Aztecs truly believed that the offering of human and animal blood was the best way to repay the Gods they revered so profoundly.
These offerings were not always outright slayings sometimes they would just cut themselves and offer the shed blood to the gods.
Archaeologists estimate that a few thousand people were sacrificed each year, some members of the Aztec community, some prisoners of war.
The Aztecs would capture enemies in battle, and take them back to their temples where the soldiers were forced to ascend the long stairways to be sacrificed by being cut open throat to the stomach by a Priest and the heart removed as an offering.
the bodies were then pushed down to stairs to be dismembered or simply carried off depending on the ritual.
The Aztecs were not the only people to practice human sacrifice; it was practiced by many across the world as a way to appease the gods and avoid disaster, or other reasons.
But no amount of sacrifice could save the Aztecs from the Spaniards. We all know how that turned out.