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Tezcatlipoca: Tezcatlipoca, God of Night, Discord, and Change in Aztec Religion,


Tezcatlipoca: God of Night, Discord, and Change in Aztec Religion, Mythology

Tezcatlipoca: God of Night, Discord, and Change in Aztec Religion, Mythology

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Name and Etymology:

Tezcatlipoca, "Smoking Mirror"

Religion and Culture of :

Aztec, Mesoamerica

Symbols, Iconography, and Art of Tezcatlipoca:

Tezcatlipoca is often portrayed as a jaugar, perhaps because of the myth where he fights Quetzalcoatl and is transformed into a jaguar. Tezcatlipoca's name, "smoking mirror," comes from the black obsidian used by Aztec priests for looking into the future. The earliest representations of Tezcatlipoca can be found as stone sculptures at Chichen Itza, dating from the Postclassic period (around 1000 CE).

Tezcatlipoca is God of:

Human Destiny

Equivalents in Other Cultures:

Tezcatlipoca started as a major god in the Toltec pantheon
Tezcatlipoca is a trickster god, similar to Loki in Norse mythology
Perhaps Bolon Dz'Acab in Mayan religion

Story and Origin of Tezcatlipoca:

Tezcatlipoca ruled the first world that ever existed before it was destroyed by Quetzalcoatl. The two worked together, however, to create the fifth and present world. Because of his early and important status, some believe that all other Aztec gods and goddesses were ultimately aspects of Tezcatlipoca. Explicit aspects of Tezcatlipoca include Omacatl, Tepeyollotl, and Itztli.

Family Tree and Relationships of Tezcatlipoca:

Son of Ometeotl
Brother of Quetzalcoatl and Huitzilopochtli

Temples, Worship and Rituals of Tezcatlipoca:

The primary ritual associated with Tezcatlipoca, named Toxcatl, involved taking a single youth captured in battle and keeping him luxury for a year. He impersonated Tezcatlipoca and became an honored member of court, having an entourage that included 4 wives who were themselves impersonating 4 goddesses. In the end, he voluntarily went to have his head was cut off and his still-beating heart cut out. At this point, a new youth was captured for the following year's ritual sacrifice.

Mythology and Legends of Tezcatlipoca:

Tezcatlipoca is most commonly associated with strife and discord, often changing his shape in order to cause conflict among mortals. He also created strife among the gods — one story tells about how he got Quetzalcoatl drunk and induced him to seduce his own sister. He was, in effect, the tempter, adversary, and trickster of the Aztec pantheon.

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