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".
Eternal Love for the Divine Jaguar, may the Sacred Darkness keep Him.
“His abode is everywhere-in the land of the dead, on earth, and in heaven. Like the wind, he is invisible, and like a shadow he moves across the land.” -Florentine Codex
Great story, too many words for me to read the whole story but liked what I saw. The serpent is an acronym for the EVIL ONE in all religions ( even though he sounds like he could be good ) = to a Christian satanic figure.
Thanks for the article.
That is what the Spanish friars equated him to, the Devil himself, rather than just some class of demon like the other gods of the Aztec pantheon.
I wish archeologist would one day find his statue under Mexico City, like so many other artifacts of the Aztec Empire they have found already. The have found the stairs to his temple. Colonial chroniclers described his statue of being all black made from obsidian.