We were having a discussion about the lack of male figures and how pagans tend to lean towards all female inclusive ideals. Including that magic is what women are good at, not men.
Well, Tezcatlipoca [Smoking Mirror - Alluding to the volcanic stone obsidian and the earth] is an Aztec god of Sorcerers and is one himself. He is known for his trickery with magic and it has a lot to do with Aztec ideals on magic. In one myth he brought down the entire civilization of Tula that Quetzalcoatl Ce Acatl (The Feathered Serpent is his brother and rival.) ruled as a human for a time.
In the story Tezcatlipoca disguises himself and asks to see Quetzalcoatl. He tricks Quetzalcoatl into believing that he looks like an old man. Quetzalcoatl is dismayed when Tezcatlipoca shows him a mirror image where his skin is wrinkly and aged. Tezcatlipoca says he has medicine that will make him turn back into normal. But it was not actually medicine Tezcatlipoca gives Quetzalcoatl. You see, Quetzalcoatl is the god of priests and at this time was one himself, he had never tasted pulque before. (The Aztec alcoholic beverage.) As Quetzalcoatl tasted the pulque, he enjoyed it. He drank more and more. He even shared some with his sister. This was all according to Tezcatlipoca's plans.
The next day, Quetzalcoatl opened his eyes as he did everyday of his life. But, when he did he was shocked to find out that, he, the great feathered serpent, had slept with his very own sister when he was drunk! Ashamed Quetzalcoatl fled Tula.
Tezcatlipoca did some more to the Toltecs, [the people of Tula] including mass murder. With out leadership, Tula eventually became unstable and fell to the hands of the enemy.
Tezcatlipoca is the black god. He paints his body black and tends to have three black stripes on his head. He lost his leg during a fight with the goddess Cipactli, whom him and Quetzalcaotl ripped in two to allow humans to live on the earth. So, offended Cipactli (Tlaltecuhtli) demanded human sacrifice in her honor for her unwilling sacrifice. She was the first god to do so.
He was the most popular Aztec god, well worshiped by all. He could bestow good fortune or misfortune. The nobles had to remember that although they had slaves, they, themselves, were slaves to Tezcatlipoca who could strip them of their status and publically humiliate them if offended. On his birthday slaves were to be treated as nobles, as they are his beloved children. If a noble misbehaved and treated a slave badly on Tezcatlipoca's birthday, Tezcatlipoca would punish them.
Tezcatlipoca is not just a magic using Teotl (Aztec god), he is also the god of nahualli, the twin soul that is an animal that all people have. Sorcerers are also called nahualli. Likewise Tezcatlipoca ruled over, the night wind (Contrasting Quetzalcoatl's day wind.), the night itself, animals, slaves, nobles, warriors, (And a warrior himself who ruled over the warrior school, Telpochcalli, for commoners.) criminals, and the earth, which the surface of the earth is described as an obsidian mirror, the basis of his name. Like people gods have animal twins, Tezcatlipoca's animal soul is a jaguar. But he has also obtained nahualli not related to his soul one. Tepeyollotl is his jaguar form, it means "heart of the mountain".
He is the patron god of young men, and like his wife Xochiquetzal is eternally youthful. He is considered the best looking of all the gods. He rules the direction North and the realm of darkness, opposite Quetzalcoatl with his realm of light. The constellation Ursa Major is considered to be Tezcatlipoca's missing foot.
He replaces his missing foot with an obsidian mirror, which he uses to read peoples' hearts and minds. He is thought to be omnipresent and dwell everywhere, therefore he was one of the gods people confessed their sins to because he was thought to know it. Texts state that he would know things about someone, that they wouldn't know about themselves.
Tezcatlipoca is married to four wives; Xochiquetzal the goddess of erotic love, who he stole from Tlaloc, Xilonen, goddess of corn, Huixtocihuatl, goddess of salt, and Atlatonan goddess of water. His wives represent the four pleasures of life; erotic love, food, salt, and drink. Just as he has four nahualli.
Tezcatlipoca's nature is capricious like the wind. He is thought to play both sides of the battle field which earned him the epithet "enemy of both sides".
Huitzilopochtli was conquered when the Aztecs were conquered. His position as the ruling tribal deity was no longer justified. Elizabeth Baquedano’s book “Tezcatlipoca: Trickster and Supreme Deity” delves into this concept of defeated deities. The imagery on the “Tizoc Stone” exemplifies the conqueror and conquered in relation to deity worship.
Aztecs, more correctly named Mexica, did suffer a die-off due to European diseases, but they did not disappear. The gene pool of Mexico remains majority indigenous. They are still here.
Quetzalcoatl did not demand sacrifice, and his priests fought against it. There was a civil conflict in Tula alluded to above. The mention of Quetzalcoatl being present and ruling Tula is a reference to a real King with the name of the God. The conflict was between his followers and the followers of Tezcatlipoca was precisely centered on the Quetzalcoatl faction's attempt to end human sacrifice.
They lost... and the King went by sea with his soldiers to Yucatán, where he became the ruler of the city of Chichén Itzá using the name Kukulkán, which is Mayan for Quetzalcoatl. A mythological belief arose regarding his eventual return, which is behind the much-cited suspicions on the part of the Mexica that Cortés was Quetzalcoatl returned. They quickly learned that this was not the case.
I know who was in Tula. Mexica is an ethnic term, accurate in describing people... like if we're calling someone Maya and another Otomí, then for a resident of Tenochtitlán, the term would be in most cases Mexica. "Aztec" is analogous to "Soviet", not an ethnicity. Russian and Mexica are ethnicities, though not all Soviets were Russian, as there were non-Mexica Azteccs.
The descendants of those people, with whom I've often associated, prefer to use Mexica.
Kukulkán = Quetzalcoatl. I know Mayan history fairly well. I am an anthropologist. I have taught the college course, "Cultures of Mesoamerica", so thanks but I don't need to be told who the Mayans were/are. I used mostly Michael Coe as a source. His work is excellent. And he has given support to those fighting against the cultural usurpation of Native cultures, as in Afrocentrics claiming the Ölmecs were Mande speakers, lol.
Newest evidence shows Mayan civilization to have originated as early, and possibly earlier than that of the Olmecs. I may have a certain bias as I lived among the mayas and was/am involved with them on various levels, but still it is true that Mayan ruins have been found as old as any of the Olmec, and many anthropologists have concluded that Maya and Olmec arose from the same original people, in Soconusco. Linguists don't agree, but I'll go with the anthropologists on this one.
Sacrifice was uncomfortably ubiquitous in Mesoamerica, yep. Them's the facts!
Cortés was of course a killer, and also a liar. But that is the origin of the myth... the "Quetzalcoatl" who left by boat was the deposed Tula king, who became the king Kukulkán of Chichén Itzá.
Cortés' claim that this Quetzalcoatl was blond and bearded, well, lol, ha ha bulldooky.
Side note: I find it so hypocritical for the Spanish of the time and many people now to moan and wail about human sacrifice in Mesoamerica while maintaining silence on Europe's religious wars, Inquisition, witch burnings, etc. In here I'm preaching to the choir on this one, no doubt.
I have been taught things by shamans Mayan and Purépecha, and this was all related to dreams, what we'd call "spells" in a loose sense, and so on. References to deities were made, as when burning eggs in a cave mouth. But the Purépecha curandera other than spirit guides, referred to all deities by their Catholic names. Jesus, Mary... She was an interesting example of the syncretism we hear about regarding postcortesian Mesoamerica. We'd be involved in a chant to a spirit entity, and she'd part saying "Vaya con Diós," "Gracias a Jesús", etc.
I should mention as a point of interest, just because it's strange and shocked me, but I met Castañeda's Don Juan. He is half Cocopah and half Yaquí. He'd been in the UCLA Anthro Dept with Castañeda! Was not a shaman on a mountain somewhere, lol. I was in the same Dept, but after they and my hero Marija Gimbutas were gone.
I'm glad to read your posts... more evidence that as you say, the "religions" of Mesoamerica are very much alive!
I always enjoy reading about Tezcatlipoca.
I've been reading this book.It has lots of good incantations and many references to how Tezcatlipoca still influenced sorcery in Mexico after the Conquest. If you are a student of Nahuatl, you may even learn a thing or two about that language.
It's a great resource and is on my book list. I used to own it. Alarcon doesn't know who Tlaloc is though, which is weird.
As Michael Coe points out in the commentaries of this book, Alarcon doesn't realize all the references to Tezcatlipoca in the incantations he recorded. Alarcon had a good knowledge of Nahuatl but failed to recognize various aspects of Aztec deity and calendric references in writing his treatise.
It's kind of an odd conundrum, isn't it?
This is all very interesting, but arn't the south american dieties some of the most bloodthirsty on earth? It seems to me that to call on them would be a big risk, not to mention bring a metric ton of negative energy.