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Tezcatlipoca, Codex Rios

Tezcatlipoca, Codex Rios


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Xochiquetzal: Aztec Goddess of Beauty, Pleasure and Love… But Don’t Mess With Her!

According to the Aztecs, Xochiquetzal was the goddess of beauty, pleasure, and love. She is commonly associated with such beautiful things as flowers, plants, song and dance, which is quite distinct from the majority of Aztec gods, as they are normally associated with warfare and sacrifice. Be that as it may, Xochiquetzal was believed to have been a powerful goddess who was not to be trifled with. One of the rituals revolving around her revolve around human sacrifice and the flaying of the victim’s skin.


How to Destroy an Empire: The Rise of Tezcatlipoca and the Destruction of Tollan

The religion of the ancient Mexicans was a polytheism or worship of a pantheon of deities, the general aspect of which presented similarities to the systems of Greece and Egypt. As a matter of fact, the Nahua displayed a theological advancement quite on a level with that expressed by the Egyptians and Assyrians which were rather more nuanced and complicated.

Red Tezcatlipoca described in the Codex Borgia.

Tezcatlipoca (“Fiery Mirror”) is a sort of equivalent of Jupiter of the Nahua pantheon. He carried a mirror in which he was supposed to see reflected the actions and deeds of mankind. Originally the personification of the air, the source both of the breath of life and of the tempest, Tezcatlipoca had all the attributes of a god who presided over these phenomena. He was the tribal god of the Tezcucans who had led them into the Land of Promise, and had been instrumental in the defeat of both the gods and men of the previous people they dispossessed. Tezcatlipoca advanced so speedily in popularity that within a comparatively short space of time he came to be regarded as a god of fate and fortune, and as inseparably connected with the national destinies. The place he took as the head of the Nahua pantheon brought him many attributes which were quite foreign to his original character. As what happened with many other deities in pantheons all over the world, fear and a desire to exalt their tutelar deity will lead the devotees of a powerful god to credit him with any or every quality. Therefore, there is nothing remarkable in the heaping of every possible attribute, human or divine, upon Tezcatlipoca. He was known as Moneneque (“The Claimer of Prayer”), and in some of the representations of him an ear of gold was shown suspended from his hair, toward which small tongues of gold strained upward in appeal of prayer. In times of national danger, plague, or famine universal prayer was made to Tezcatlipoca. The heads of the community repaired to his teocalli (temple) accompanied by the people en masse, and all prayed earnestly together for his speedy intervention. The surviving prayers to Tezcatlipoca prove that the ancient Mexicans fully believed that he possessed the power of life and death.

As Tezcatlipoca was regarded as a life-giver, he had also the power of destroying existence. In fact on occasion he appears as a death-dealer, and as such was styled Nezahualpilli (“The Hungry Chief”) and Yaotzin (“The Enemy”). Perhaps one of the names by which he was best known was Telpochtli (“The Youthful Warrior”), from his reserve of’ strength, his vital force and his boisterous vigour. Tezcatlipoca was usually depicted as holding in his right hand a dart placed in an atlatl (“spear-thrower”), and his mirror-shield with four spare darts in his left. This shield is the symbol of his power as judge of mankind and upholder of human justice.

Tezcatlipoca is closely associated with the legends which recount the overthrow of Tollan, the capital of the Toltecs. His chief adversary on the Toltec side is the god-king Quetzalcoatl. In the days of Quetzalcoatl, there was abundance of everything as well as peace and plenty for all men.

Quetzalcoatl, as depicted in the Codex Magliabechiano (16th century)

But this blissful state was too good to last. Jealous of the calm enjoyment of Quetzalcoatl and the Toltecs, three “necromancers” plotted their downfall. They were Huitzilopochtli, Tezcatlipoca and Tlacahuepan. Tezcatlipoca took the lead as they laid enchantments upon the city of Tollan. Disguised as an old man with white hair, Tezcatlipoca presented himself at the palace of Quetzalcoatl, where he said to the pages: “Pray present me to your master, I desire to speak with him.”

Although the pages advised him that Quetzalcoatl was ill and could see no one, Tezcatlipoca insisted to wait outside. Eventually, he was admitted into the chamber of Quetzalcoatl. Upon entering the chamber, Tezcatlipoca feigned sympathy with the suffering god-king. “How are you, my son?” he asked. “I have brought you a drug which you should drink, and which will put an end to the course of your malady.”

Quetzalcoatl drank the potion, and at once felt much better. Tezcatlipoca gave him another and then another cup of the potion, but it was nothing but pulque, the wine of the country. Quetzalcoatl soon became intoxicated, and became putty in Tezcatlipoca’s hands.

Tezcatlipoca then took the form of a man of the name of Toueyo, and went to the palace of Uemac, chief of the Toltecs in temporal matters. Uemac had a daughter so beautiful that she was desired for marriage by many of the Toltecs. The princess, in seeing the form of Toueyo passing her father’s palace, fell deeply in love with him – so in love that her feelings for her rendered her ill. Upon realizing the reason for this illness, Uemac gave orders for the arrest of Toueyo, and he was haled before the temporal chief of Tollan. Although angry at the handsome youth, Uemac said, “if I slay you my daughter will perish. Go to her and say that she may wed you and be happy.”

Now the marriage of Toueyo to the daughter of Uemac aroused much discontent among the Toltecs. To distract his people from this , Uemac distracted the attention of the Toltecs by announcing a war upon the neighbouring state of Coatepec.

This distraction was proven to be uneffective as, when the Toltecs arrived at the country of the men of Coatepec they placed Toueyo in ambush with his body-servants – hoping that he would be slain by their adversaries. But Toueyo and his men killed a large number of the enemy. His triumph was celebrated by Uemac. The knightly plumes were placed upon his head, and his body was painted with red and yellow – an honour reserved for those who distinguished themselves in battle.

Tezcatlipoca’s, as Toueyo, next step was to announce a great feast in Tollan, to which all the people for miles around were invited. Great crowds assembled, dancing and singing in the city to the sound of the drum. Tezcatlipoca sang to them and forced them to accompany the rhythm of his song with their feet. Faster and faster the people danced, until the pace became so furious that they were driven to madness, lost their footing, and tumbled down a deep ravine, where they were changed into rocks. Others in attempting to cross a stone bridge were changed into stones. Thus, Tezcatlipoca destroyed both the Coatepecs and the Toltecs. However, he did not stop there. On another occasion, Tezcatlipoca put on a different disguise as a valiant warrior named Tequiua, and invited all the inhabitants of Tollan and its surrounding areas to come to the flower-garden called Xochitla. When they assembled there, he attacked them with a hoe, and killed a great number of them. In panic, the survivors crushed their comrades to death.

Later, Tezcatlipoca and Tlacahuepan went to the market-place of Tollan, the former displaying upon the palm of his hand a small dancing baby. This infant was Huitzilopochdi, the Nahua god of war. At this sight, the Toltecs crowded to get a better view, and their eagerness resulted in many being crushed to death. Even in mythology, anger makes one vulnerable. Tlacahuepan took advantage of this and advised the raging people to kill both Tezcatlipoca and Huitzilopochtli. When this had been done the bodies of the slain gods gave forth such an awful discharge that thousands the Toltecs died of the pestilence. Tlacahuepan then advised them to cast out the bodies, but they discovered that the bodies were so heavy and could not be moved.

It was soon apparent to the Toltecs that their fortunes were on the wane and that the end of their empire was at hand. Quetzalcoatl, chagrined at the turn things had taken, resolved to quit Tollan. In anger, he burned all the houses which he had built, and buried his treasure of gold and precious stones in the deep valleys between the mountains. He changed the cacao-trees into mosquitoes, and he ordered all the song birds to quit the valley of Anahuac. On the road from Tollan, he discovered a great tree at a point called Quauhtitlan. There he rested, and requested his pages to hand him a mirror. Seeing himself in the polished surface, he said in defeat, “I am old,” and from that circumstance the spot was named Huehuequauhtitlan (“Old Quauhtitlan”). Proceeding on his way accompanied by musicians who played the flute, he walked until fatigue arrested his steps, and he seated himself upon a stone, on which he left the imprint of his hands. This place is called Temacpalco (“The Impress of the Hands”).


Tezcatlipoca - a new clue is revealed.

You may be familiar with some, if not most, of the chief &lsquoiconographic&rsquo characteristics of the great Aztec creator god Tezcatlipoca: the famous smoking mirror, the missing foot, the circular pectoral or &lsquoanáhuatl&rsquo, the arrow through his nose. (Written/compiled by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore)

Professor Juan José Batalla

. at the major international symposium on Tezcatlipoca in London (November 2005) a further characteristic symbol was brought to light: the &lsquoezpitzal&rsquo, a puff, blast or &lsquogust&rsquo of blood. The ezpitzal is NOT present on the famous depiction of Tezcatlipoca in the Codex Borgia (see main picture above), but Professor Juan José Batalla (a member of our Panel of Experts and a world expert on the codices from central Mexico) has found 24 examples of the ezpitzal on Tezcatlipoca in a meticulous study of the Codex Borbonicus (now in Paris).

The &lsquoezpitzal&rsquo symbol

The Nahuatl word &lsquoezpitzal&rsquo comes from &lsquoeztli&rsquo (blood) and &lsquopitza&rsquo (to blow or play [a flute]) - hence its translation (by such Nahuatl experts as Angel María Garibay and Miguel León-Portilla) as a &lsquosoplo de sangre&rsquo (Spanish) or &lsquogust of blood&rsquo. Professor Batalla pointed out that the term also relates to the Nahuatl concept of expressing anger (it&rsquos worth remembering that Tezcatlipoca was a god notorious for sowing discord and deceit. ). Salvador Matos Higuera calls the ezpitzal a &lsquochalchiuhueztli&rsquo (&lsquoprecious blood&rsquo symbol).

Tepeyollotl-Tezcatlipoca in the Codex Borbonicus (Click on image to enlarge)

In the clearest example in the Codex Borbonicus (p.3) Tezcatlipoca is shown in the guise of Tepeyollotl or Tepeyolohtli (&lsquoHeart of the Mountain&rsquo), possibly representing the voice of mountains and caves, that is, &lsquoecho&rsquo. The ezpitzal can be clearly seen over the god&rsquos head, with 6 mini-streams of &lsquochalchihuatl&rsquo or precious liquid (blood) - each ending in a precious stone - and a heart floating in the centre.

Tezcatlipoca, Codex Tudela, folio 19r (Click on image to enlarge)

And in a different codex (Tudela) you should be able to make out the ezpitzal in the figure of Tezcatlipoca as patron deity of the &lsquomonth&rsquo of Tlaxochimaco-Miccailhuitl. Though the Codex Tudela was drawn after the Conquest, the scribe seems to have kept faith with the pre-Hispanic tradition in depicting the ezpitzal.

Codex Borbonicus, p.3 (Click on image to enlarge)

Look around the figure of Tepeyollotl and you should be able to recognise a smoking mirror (&lsquotezcatlipoca&rsquo) under one foot (and another, more stylised, on the head), and the circular pectoral (&lsquoanáhuatl&rsquo) over the chest (made up of a white shell ring tied on by a red leather strap). And if you look further afield, round the whole scene (Tepeyollotl accompanies Quetzalcóatl on the right) you should spot two more heart symbols, and the &lsquopinauiztli&rsquo beetle described by Dr. Eleanor Wake in our Ask the Experts pages (follow link below).

Painal in the Florentine Codex, Book 1, folio 10r (Click on image to enlarge)

Professor Batalla is convinced the ezpitzal is a pre-Hispanic attribute of Tezcatlipoca, and demonstrated very clearly with illustrations from the codices how the symbol gradually lost its identifying features over the years as the scribes - following the Spanish conquest - began to lose some of their specialist knowledge inherited from pre-Hispanic times. By the time the Florentine Codex was produced, the ezpitzal (shown in the forehead of the god Painal) is barely recognisable.

Find out more about the Tezcatlipoca symposium by following the link below.

This article was uploaded to the Mexicolore website on Nov 29th 2005


Contents

Tezcatlipoca was often described as a rival of another important god of the Aztecs, the culture hero, Quetzalcoatl. In one version of the Aztec creation account Δ] the myth of the Five Suns, The first creation, "The sun of the Earth" was ruled by Tezcatlipoca but destroyed by Quetzalcoatl when he struck down Tezcatlipoca who then transformed into a jaguar. Quetzalcoatl became the ruler of the following creation "Sun of Water", and Tezcatlipoca destroyed the third creation "The Sun of Wind" by striking down Quetzalcoatl.

In later myths, the four gods who created the world, Tezcatlipoca, Quetzalcoatl, Huitzilopochtli and Xipe Totec were referred to respectively as the Black, the White, the Blue and the Red Tezcatlipoca. The four Tezcatlipocas were the sons of Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl, lord and lady of the duality, and were the creators of all the other gods, as well as the world and man.


Tezcatlipoca’s Festivities

To Tezcatlipoca was dedicated one of the most ostentatious and imposing ceremonies of the Aztec religious calendar year. This was the Toxcatl or One Drought sacrifice, which was celebrated at the height of the dry season in May and involved the sacrifice of a boy. A young man was chosen at the festival among the most physically perfect prisoners. For the next year, the young man personified Tezcatlipoca, traveling through the Aztec capital city of Tenochtitlan attended by servants, fed with delicious food, wearing the finest clothing, and being trained in music and religion. About 20 days before the final ceremony he was married to four virgins who entertained him with songs and dances together they wandered Tenochtitlan's streets.

The final sacrifice took place at Toxcatl's May celebrations. The young man and his entourage traveled to the Templo Mayor in Tenochtitlan, and as he walked up the stairs of the temple he played music with four flutes that represented the world's directions he would destroy the four flutes on his way up the stairs. When he reached the top, a group of priests carried out his sacrifice. As soon as this happened, a new boy was chosen for the following year.


Bibliography

Brundage, Burr C. The Fifth Sun: Aztec Gods, Aztec World. Austin, 1979. See especially Brundage's insightful chapter, "The Quality of the Numinous" (pp. 50 – 79), and his detailed discussion of the deity in "Tezcatlipoca" (pp. 108 – 126).

Sahag ú n, Bernardino de. Florentine Codex: General History of the Things of New Spain, vol. 2, The Ceremonies. Translated by Arthur J. O. Anderson and Charles E. Dibble. Santa Fe, N. Mex., 1951. This remarkable translation is one of the richest sources for the study of Aztec religion, in that it contains a detailed description, provided by Aztec elders shortly after the Conquest, of the great ceremony of Toxcatl, which was dedicated to Tezcatlipoca. It provides the reader with a vivid example of the complex and contradictory forces symbolized by Tezcatlipoca.

New Sources

Barjau, Luis. Tezcatlipoca: Elementos de una teolog í a nahua (Tezcatlipoca: Elements of a Nahua Theology). Mexico City, 1991.

Miller, Mary and Karl Taube. The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya. London, 1993.

Olivier, Guilhem. Moqueries et metamorphoses du'an dieu azt è que: Tezcatlipoca, le "Seigneur au miroir fumant" (Mockeries and Metamorphasis of an Aztec God: Tezcatlipoca, the 'man of the smoking mirror'). Paris, 1997.


Visions of Tezcatlipoca

In the couple months since my last posting about the Maid in New Orleans, my self-incarceration for the Corona virus has made it easy to focus on the last chapters of my second memoir “Lord Wind” (soon to be posted for free download), and drawing on Icon #19: Tezcatlipoca, the Smoking Mirror, for the coloring book YE GODS!

Like the 18 previous deities in the series, this icon is modelled on images from the few surviving Aztec codices and reflects the mythology summarized in my illustrated encyclopedia of the Aztec pantheon. The icon will present several visions of Tezcatlipoca, who is sometimes called The Black One. I offer here two of the vignettes as “teasers.”

The first is Tezcatlipoca as an eagle, which is based on an image from a calendar week in Codex Rios. I’ve re-created this unusual manifestation of the deity using the stylistics of Codex Nuttall and certain motifs from Codex Borgia. (The eagle is a symbol of power and dominance.)

The second is Tezcatlipoca manifesting as Itztlacoliuhqui (Curved Obsidian Blade), who is the god of stone, cold, sin, punishment, objectivity, and blind justice. This surreal image is a re-working of one from Codex Borbonicus, though similar, sometimes even more surreal, details can be found in other codices as well. It presents some striking innovations in the stylebook of Aztec iconography and raises questions about certain motifs. Your guess about what they mean is as good as mine.

Tezcatlipoca as Itztlacoliuhqui

One of these solitary days I’ll finish this icon. I’m still waiting for some final tweaks on the vectors for Icon #18: Xochipilli, Prince of Flowers. Meanwhile, like everything else, my show of larger icons at the Ohkay Casino and Conference Center has been locked down… In this “unprecedented” viral situation, the show of smaller icons lies in storage with no prospective venues.

I have no options but to keep on with the drawing—next will be Tlaloc, the Storm God—and like Candide, work in my garden. My 35 varieties of iris are just now coming into bloom to bring joy to this best of all possible worlds.


Tezcatlipoca

Tezcatlipoca (Fiery Mirror) was undoubtedly the Jupiter of the Nahua pantheon. He carried a mirror or shield, from which he took his name, and in which he was supposed to see reflected the actions and deeds of humankind. The evolution of this god, from the status of a spirit of wind or air, to that of the supreme deity of the Aztec people, presents many points of deep interest to students of mythology.

Originally a personification of the air, the source both of the breath of life and of the tempest, Tezcatlipoca possessed all the attributes of a god who presided over these phenomena. As the tribal god of the Tezcucans who had led them into the Land of Promise, and had been instrumental in the defeat of both the gods and men of the elder race they dispossessed, Tezcatlipoca naturally advanced so speedily in popularity and public honour that it was little wonder that, within a comparatively short space of time, he came to be regarded as a god of fate and fortune, and as inseparably connected with the national destinies.

Thus, from being the peculiar deity of a small band of Nahua immigrants, the prestige accruing from the rapid conquest made under his tutelary direction, and the speedily disseminated tales of the prowess of those who worshipped him, seemed to render him at once the most popular and the best feared god in Anahuac, therefore the one whose cult quickly over-shadowed that of other and similar gods.

Tezcatlipoca, Overthrower of the Toltecs

We find Tezcatlipoca intimately associated with the legends, which recount the overthrow of Tollan, the capital of the Toltecs. His chief adversary on the Toltec side is the god king Quetzalcoatl, whose nature and reign we will consider later, but whom we will now merely regard as the enemy of Tezcatlipoca. The rivalry between these gods symbolizes that which existed between the civilized Toltecs and the barbarian Nahua, and is well exemplified in the following myths.

Myths of Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca

In the days of Quetzalcoatl, there was abundance of everything necessary for subsistence. The maize was plentiful, the calabashes were as thick as one’s arm, and cotton grew in all colours without having to be dyed. A variety of birds of rich plumage filled the air with their songs, and gold, silver, and precious stones were abundant. In the reign of Quetzalcoatl, there was peace and plenty for all men.

But, this blissful state was too fortunate, too happy to endure. Envious of the calm enjoyment of the god and his people, the Toltecs, three wicked “necromancers”, plotted their downfall. The reference is of course to the gods of the invading Nahua tribes, the deities Huitzilopochtli, Titlacahuan or Tezcatlipoca, and Tlacahuepan.

These laid evil enchantments upon the city of Tollan, and Tezcatlipoca, in particular, took the lead in these envious conspiracies. Disguised as an aged man with white hair, he presented himself at the palace of Quetzalcoatl, where he said to the pages-in-waiting: “Pray present me to your master, the king. I desire to speak with him.”

The pages advised him to retire, as Quetzalcoatl was indisposed and could see no one. He requested them, however, to tell the god that he was waiting outside. They did so and procured his admittance.

On entering the chamber of Quetzalcoatl, the wily Tezcatlipoca simulated much sympathy with the suffering godking. “How are you, my son?” he asked. “I have brought you a drug which you should drink and which will put an end to the course of your malady.”

“You are welcome, old man,” replied Quetzalcoatl. “I have known for many days that you would come. I am exceedingly indisposed. The malady affects my entire system and I can use neither my hands nor feet.”

Tezcatlipoca assured him that, if he partook of the medicine which he had brought him, he would immediately experience a great improvement in health. Quetzalcoatl drank the potion, and at once felt much revived. The cunning Tezcatlipoca pressed another and still another cup of the potion upon him, and, as it was nothing but pulque, the wine of the country, he speedily became intoxicated, and was as wax in the hands of his adversary.

Tezcatlipoca and the Toltecs

Tezcatlipoca, in pursuance of his policy inimical to the Toltec state, took the form of an Indian of the name of Toueyo (Toveyo), and bent his steps to the palace of Uemac, chief of the Toltecs in temporal matters. He had a daughter so fair that she was desired in marriage by many of the Toltecs, but her father refused her hand to one and all.

The princess, beholding the false Toueyo passing her father’s palace, fell deeply in love with him and, so tumultuous was her passion that she became seriously ill because of her longing for him. Uemac, hearing of her indisposition, bent his steps to her apartments, and inquired of her women the cause of her illness .

They told him that it was occasioned by the sudden passion, which had seized her, for the Indian who had recently come that way. Uemac at once gave orders for the arrest of Toueyo, and he was hauled before the temporal chief of Tollan.

“Whence come you?” inquired Uemac of his prisoner, who was very scantily attired.

“Lord, I am a stranger, and I have come to these parts to sell green paint,” replied Tezcatlipoca.

“Why are you dressed in this fashion? Why do you not wear a cloak?” asked the chief.

“My lord, I follow the custom of my country,” replied Tezcat-lipoca.

“You have inspired a passion in the breast of my daughter,” said Uemac. “What should be done to you for thus disgracing me?”

“Slay me I care not,” said the cunning Tezcatlipoca.

“Nay,” replied Uemac, “for if I slay you my daughter will perish. Go to her and say that she may wed you and be happy.”

They told him that it was occasioned by the sudden passion, which had seized her, for the Indian who had recently come that way. Uemac at once gave orders for the arrest of Toueyo, and he was hauled before the temporal chief of Tollan.

“Whence come you?” inquired Uemac of his prisoner, who was very scantily attired.

“Lord, I am a stranger, and I have come to these parts to sell green paint,” replied Tezcatlipoca.

“Why are you dressed in this fashion? Why do you not wear a cloak?” asked the chief.

“My lord, I follow the custom of my country,” replied Tezcat-lipoca.

Now the marriage of Toueyo to the daughter of Uemac aroused much discontent among the Toltecs and they mur mured among themselves, and said: “Wherefore did Uemac give his daughter to this Toueyo?” Uemac, having got wind of these murmurings, resolved to distract the attention of the Tol-tecs by making war upon the neighboring state of Coatepec.

The Toltecs assembled armed for the fray and, having arrived at the country of the men of Coatepec, they placed Toueyo in ambush with his body-servants, hoping that he would be slain by their adversaries. But Toueyo and his men killed a large number of the enemy and put them to flight. His triumph was celebrated by Uemac with much pomp. The knightly plumes were placed upon his head, and his body was painted with red and yellow, which is an honor reserved for those who distin-guished themselves in battle.

Tezcatlipoca’s next step was to announce a great feast in Tollan, to which all the people for miles around were invited. Great crowds assembled and danced and sang in the city to the sound of the drum. Tezcatlipoca sang to them and forced them to accompany the rhythm of his song with their feet.

Faster and faster the people danced, until the pace became so furious that they were driven to madness, lost their footing, and tumbled pell-mell down a deep ravine, where they were changed into rocks. Others, in attempting to cross a stone bridge, precipitated themselves into the water below, and were changed into stones.

Tezcatlipoca ([teskatɬiˈpo ː ka]) was a central deity in Aztec mythology. He was associated with many concepts. Some of these are the night sky, the night winds, hurricanes, the north, the earth, obsidian, enmity, discord, rulership, divination, tempta-tion, sorcery, beauty, war and strife. His name in the Nahuatl language is often translated as “Smoking Mirror” because of his connection to obsidian, the material from which mirrors were made in Mesoamerica and which was used for shamanic rituals.

He had many names in context with different aspects of his de-ity: Titlacauan (“We are his Slaves”), Ipalnemoani (“He by whom we live”), Necoc Yaotl (“Enemy of Both Sides”), Tloque Nahuaque (“Lord of the Near and the Nigh”) and Yohualli Èecatl (Night, Wind), Ome acatl (“Two Reed”), Ilhuicahua Tlalticpaque (“Possessor of the Sky and Earth”).

On pictures, he was usually drawn with a black and a yellow stripe painted across his face. He is often shown with his right foot replaced with an obsidian mirror or a snake an allusion to the creation myth in which he loses his foot battling with the Earth Monster.

Sometimes the mirror was shown on his chest, and sometimes smoke would come from the mirror. Tezcatlipocas Nagual, his animal counterpart, was the jaguar and his Jaguar aspect was the deity Tepeyollotl “Mountainheart”.

The Tezcatlipoca figure goes back to earlier Mesoamerican deities worshipped by the Olmec and Maya. Similarities exist with the patron deity of the K’iche’ Maya as described in the Popol Vuh. A central figure of the Popol Vuh was the god Tohil, whose name means “obsidian”, and who was associated with sacrifice. Also, the Classic Maya god of rulership and thunder, known to modern Mayanists as “God K”, or the “Manikin Scep-ter”, and to the classic Maya as K’awil, was shown with a smok-ing obsidian knife in his forehead and one leg replaced with a snake.

Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl

Tezcatlipoca was often described as a rival of another important god of the Aztecs, the culture hero, Quetzalcoatl. In one version of the Aztec creation account the myth of the Five Suns, The first creation, “The sun of the Earth” was ruled by Tezcatlipoca but destroyed by Quetzalcoatl when he struck down Tezcatlipoca who then transformed into a jaguar. Quet-zalcoatl became the ruler of the following creation, “Sun of Water”, and Tezcatlipoca destroyed the third creation, “Sun of Wind” by striking down Quetzalcoatl.

Tepeyollotl 1

When Hernán Cortés first landed close to what is now Veracruz, Mexico, in 1519, the last thing he was interested in was the preservation of the knowledge and history of the Mesoamerican culture(s) as he went through and defeated them in battle, both by war and by trickery, to obtain their gold. Two things happened, which for the love of history, turned out to be good. The first was that the Aztecs did not want anyone knowing where they came from and hid or destroyed all their books (yes, they had a written language) showing where they came from. Although a blessing for the Aztecs, this has turned into a modern search for where they and the rest of the Central American Tribes and Empires came from. (It has even gotten silly.

The Olmecs were the first and they did not leave a written language. So, because of the shape of the Olmec features on their giant heads they carved, one group from Africa has claimed inheritance and want the world to turn all of Central America, including Mexico, to them.

The second was the Catholic Church that decreed that all the books of the “Heathen” depicting their ‘false’ gods be destroyed. What is good was that there were a few priests that didn’t follow the order and some of them even sat some of the ‘savages’ down to write of their culture, history and religion. These have become the Codices, which modern day people are always quoting.

These, it seems, did not turn up immediately in Spanish hands, but later, from various churches in France and other countries. It is these Codices that have given historians and archeologists a firm foundation in the Mesoamerican cultures to include their languages, beliefs, culture, and mythology which they may not have valued, as such, but have turned into something a lot better than the much sought after gold Hernan was originally after.

There are volumes of information on the Mesoamerican Gods, most of which concern an Aztec Central God named Quetzalcoatl. He was the brother of Tezcatlipoca, depicted in the codex Rios in the aspect of a Jaguar in this form he was called Tepeyollotl.

In later myths, the four gods who created the world, Tezcat-lipoca, Quetzalcoatl, Huitzilopochtli and Xipe Totec were referred to respectively as the Black, the White, the Blue and the Red Tezcatlipoca. The four Tezcatlipocas were the sons of Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl, lord and lady of the duality, and were the creators of all the other gods, as well as the world and man. [Confused yet?]

We can look at him this way, too: Tezcatlipoca was often de-scribed as a rival of another important god of the Aztecs, the culture hero, Quetzalcoatl.

In one version of the Aztec creation account, there is a myth of the Five Suns, where the word ‘Sun’ is actually a singular creation of a ‘world.’ The first creation, “The Sun of the Earth”, was ruled by Tezcatlipoca but destroyed by Quetzalcoatl when he struck down Tezcatlipoca who then transformed into a jaguar.

Quetzalcoatl became the ruler of the following creation “Sun of

Water”, and Tezcatlipoca destroyed the third creation, “The Sun of Wind”, by striking down Quetzalcoatl.

Here is a quick story which is a good example of their rivalry:

To the Toltecs, Tezcatlipoca was their head God. The Aztecs considered the Toltec their intellectual equal and also revered Tezcatlipoca but not as much as Quetzalcoatl. And that is what set the two gods up as adversaries.


Kirby was born in a little burg just south of El Paso, Texas called Fabens. As he understand it, they we were passing through. His history reads like a road atlas. By the time he started school, he had lived in five places in two states. By the time he started high school, that list went to five states, four countries on three continents. Then he joined the Air Force after high school and one year of college and spent 23 years stationed in eleven or twelve places and traveled all over the place doing administrative, security, and electronic things. His final stay was being in charge of Air Force Recruiting in San Diego, Imperial, and Yuma counties. Upon retirement he went back to New England as a Quality Assurance Manager in electronics manufacturing before he was moved to Production Manager for the company’s Mexico operations. He moved to the Phoenix area and finally got his education and ended up teaching. He parted with the university and moved to Whidbey Island, Washington where he was introduced to Manzanillo, Mexico. It was there that he started to publish his monthly article for the Manzanillo Sun. He currently reside in Coupeville, WA, Edmonton, AB, and Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico, depending on whose having what medical problems and the time of year. His time is spent dieting, writing his second book, various articles and short stories, and sightseeing Canada, although that seems to be limited in the winter up there.


Details Showing the Brutality of the Aztec Empire in Mesoamerica

A statue of the Aztec god Tlaloc, to which human sacrifices of children were common and uncommonly cruel. Wikimedia

8. Sacrifices to the rain god were usually of children

Tlaloc was the Aztec god of rain and water, critical to agriculture and survival, and was also associated with fertility. The Aztecs feared Tlaloc, who they believed would respond with anger if not properly worshiped, causing crops to fail and striking at the Aztecs with diseases such as typhus and other water borne illnesses. At Tenochtitlan, Tlaloc was worshiped at the Great Pyramid, and the remains of more than forty children were found at the site surrounding the pyramid, most of them bearing the marks if torture and maiming inflicted prior to their ritual death. These are supported by pictorial codices, which represent the victim&rsquos tears prior to death. The tears of innocent children were believed to be particularly pleasing to Tlaloc by the priests, and they made special efforts to ensure that the child was crying prior to the ceremony, and continued to do so throughout until death.

The children were made to cry through the infliction of pain. Abscesses were deliberately inflicted which caused agony displayed by the children as they were paraded before the celebrants, or bones were broken, cuts inflicted, or hands or feet burned. The tears of the children were considered to be insurance of sufficient rains for the growing season, and children were sacrificed to Tlaloc at specific periods before and during the season, as well as following the harvest, either in thanks for the rains which provided success, or in atonement for sins which impeded it. The absence of sufficient rains before and during the period of planting and growth increased the number of sacrifices to Tlaloc, to assuage the god&rsquos perceived anger and obtain his good graces. The crying children most often met their end by burning at the Great Pyramid, with the smoke of the fire carrying their tears to the god above.


Watch the video: Tezcatlipoca (June 2022).


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