is Aztec the god of the night sky and the night wind. His name
means "Smoking Mirror," the Nahuatl term for the black
obsidian mirrors the Mesoamericans used for divination. Tezcatlipoca
also had several titles, for He was considered a fearsome god
whom the people were careful to call upon by name.
the Lord of the Near and Nigh, Tezcatlipoca governs the fate of
mortals, seeing into their minds and hearts with His obsidian
mirror. He gives both reward and punishment as He sees fit; having
the power to both bestow riches and take them away. As the night
wind, Tezcatlipoca would rush through the streets in the night,
giving terror or luck to any He came across in accordance with
His whims and their worth. He carries five arrows which He uses
to punish the wicked.
Smoking Mirror of Tezcatlipoca
is one of the four brother gods who rule over the directions.
He rules over the North, the realm of darkness, contrasted to
the Western Quetzalcoatl's realm of light. Opposed in methods
and philosophies, Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl are considered
rivals of each other. In the North, one may see Tezcatlipoca's
singular footprint in Ursa Major. His other foot was lost in
battle with the Earth Monster, to be replaced by the obsidian
mirror of His name.
depicted on the burial urn of Emperor Tizoc
is the patron of sorcerers, warriors, and young men. He is perpetually
young, and considered the most handsome of the gods. Tezcatlipoca
was the patron of the Telpochcalli, the schools where young men
were trained to be warriors. The night warrior in contrast to
Huitzilopochtli's day, Tezcatlipoca also uses sorcery and cunning
to exact His will, in addition to warrior might. He is also a
princely god, a patron of the nobility. However, He was also the
patron of slaves, who were considered His "beloved children."
who treated their slaves poorly were punished by Him. This in
mind, He served as an example to the nobles of proper treatment
to one's underlings; while the nobles may have owned slaves,
they were perpetually reminded that they themselves were Tezcatlipoca's
slaves by one of His titles: Titlacahuan (He Who's Slaves We
Are). Tezcatlipoca's birth date according to the sacred calendar,
One Death, was a day on which the slaves were to be honored
and treated as nobles themselves.
has two nahualli (sorcerous animal) forms; Tepeyollotl, the
jaguar god of the underworld, and Chalchiuhtotolin, the Jeweled
Fowl. As Tepeyollotl, He stalks the underworld, causing earthquakes
with His roars. As Chalchiuhtotolin, He appears as a beautiful
bird, something like a turkey but far more stunning, covered
in jeweled feathers. However, as beautiful as Chalchiuhtotolin
is, He is also terrifying to behold.
often tested mortals' bravery. He would sometimes appear in the
night as Chalchiuhtotolin, uttering an eerie cry, or as a huge,
decapitated man with a gash in the chest that opened and closed,
making a sound something like a chopping ax. The idea was that
a human who heard such sounds in the night might be brave and
investigate, or might be terrified and flee. Those who were brave
would find Chalchiuhtotolin or the headless specter, and their
courage would be further tested. If the person fled, Tezcatlipoca
would not favor them, for He is a fearsome god not for cowards.
If the person was brave, however, they could grab Chalchiuhtotolin
by the tail and capture Him, or reach into the specter's gaping
chest to grasp it's heart. If they succeeded in facing their fears,
Tezcatlipoca would give them a blessing.
also governs the memories of the ancestors. He dwells in the
House of the Night with His four wives: Xochiquetzal, Xilonen,
Atlatonan, and Huixtocihuatl, who represent the pleasures of
life (erotic love, food, drink, and salt, respectively). The
Jaguar Warrior order was dedicated to Him, as was the city of
Texcoco. Though considered a dangerous and capricious god, Tezcatlipoca
was well honored by the Aztecs, who knew that darkness was vital
to the function of the universe.
Titles of Tezcatlipoca:
Ehecatl (Night Wind)
Nahuaque (Lord of the Near and Night)
(He Who's Slaves We Are)
Yaotl (Enemy on Both Sides)