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Tezcatlipoca was one of the most important gods of the Aztecs of central Mexico.

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His name, meaning Lord of the Smoking Mirror, refers to the mirrors made of obsidian, a shiny black stone, that Aztec priests used in divination sounds a lot like church, yeah? Tezcatlipoca played many contradictory roles in Aztec mythology. Like other Aztec deities, he could be both helpful and destructive. As a god of the sun, he ripened the cro ps but could also send a burning drought that killed the plants. The patron god of helpless folk such as orphans and slaves, he was also the patron of royalty, and he gloried in war and human sacrifice. Although associated with the sun, Tezcatlipoca was even more strongly linked with night and its dark mysteries, including dreams, sorcery, witches, and demons.


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Legend said that he roamed the earth each night in the form of a skeleton whose ribs opened like doors. If a person met Tezcatlipoca and was bold enough to reach through those doors and seize his heart, the god would promise riches and power in order to be released.

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He would not keep his promises, though. He was a t rickster, a mischievous figure appearing in various forms in the folktales and mythology of many different peoples. As a trickster god, Tezcatlipoca delighted in overturning the order of things, causing conflict and confusion. Sometimes, these disruptions could also be a source of creative energy and positive change. After introducing Quetzalcoatl to drunkenness and other vices, he used his mirror to show Quetzalcoatl how weak and degraded he had become.

Quetzalcoatl fled the world in shame, leaving it to Tezcatlipoca. He did, however, promise to return at the end of a year cycle. In this role, the deity did everything that he wanted to as nobody, mortal or immortal, could stop him. His name, meaning Lord of the Smoking Mirror, refers to the mirrors made of obsidian, a shiny black stone, that Aztec priests used in divination.

As well as with Christians, seemingly inspired by mythologies of India, they conceived a triune God, and one, in the same way the nahoas conceived to teotl dual and one, male and female, husband and wife. The man of this duality was the name of ometecutli, and the woman the of omecihuatl. Orozco Y Berra says that in the religion nahoa are united, a disembodied, invisible God, the creator and sustainer of the universe, with two gods apparently increados, parents of a generation of divinities.

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The disembodied, invisible God, the creator and sustainer of the universe is the omeyotl, duality, in the same way as in the Christian Trinity is unity. These call the supreme being, Triune and one, and those, the nahoas, they call it dual and one. It has been done to observe by some authors that religion nahoa, from the most abstract ideas descends to the more rude in the consecrated offerings to the animated and inanimate matter: the veterinary approval 2 are already powerful spirits, men, the deified Fish or the frog, the stars, the source and the fresh mount gloomy: already a God only presides over the world, it is essential that a numen direct each and every one of the sciences, the arts, of the occupations of life, The actions in the present and future existence.

But other authors have done to note that in the Greek and Roman mythology, is the same phenomenon, and contrasts with disgusting and abhorrent: shovels inspiring the sciences, and Venus the pleasures of the flesh; Apollo lighting up to the poets and bacchus igniting the drunken; the Deified vices to the couple that the virtues; and above all, Jupiter, the supreme being, offending his chaste wife, and dragging her to cruel revenge, with its many adulteries. Chavero asserts that the word teotl not expressing a spiritual God, and what sustains saying:.

It was more generic name of the divinities of the Aztecs: and so they had to centeotl deity of the corn to tlazolteotl, the goddess of filth, and many more. The Dead are also called teotl, and they said teotl guy or God guy. In the hieroglyphic writing represented the word teotl for a sun. So this voice teotl never give the idea of a spiritual being and only; it was common name applied to all the deities, and if it is personified in the sun, it was for the same thing to be a representation of a material.

They were like the angels of the Jews and the Christians, beings intermediate between God and men, who took part of the divine nature, and that by their duties towards humanity are classified as guard Gods, to the men, the guide, the Rewarded and punished. So in the religion of the nahoas side, the Gods, the created by the omeyotl, are the ministers of it; the two tezcatlipoca, quetzalcoatl and huitzilopochtli were responsible for the creation of the visible world, and others were destined for preservation; such Were the ones who ruled the winds, the waters and the fire, as ehecatl, tlaloc, chalchiuicueye and xiuhtecutli; and those who looked after the animals and the maintenance, as mixcoatl, Amimitl, xilomen and chicomecoatl.

In the end, as peoples deificaron polytheists, the same as natural beings, animals, mountains, water, winds and fruits of the earth; but without losing the idea of the supreme being. Is it true that in the hieroglyphic writing represented with a sun the word teotl; but not because I believe that the sun was the supreme being, but because among the creatures visible was for them the greatest manifestation of the invisible God, as it has been for all The peoples, for da heat, light, life to all beings.

They could never conceive the nahoas the sun as the supreme God, for in his cosmogony figure like creature that appeared and disappeared; in the beginning was the sun god tezcatlipoca; disappeared this, and it was the God quetzalcoatl; and they were after and successively tlaloc His wife chalchiuitlicue; finally, at the dedication of the pyramids of teotihuacan teteohuacan today was the sun nanahuatzin, one of the Gods that were born from the flint that gave birth to the omecihuatl and that the gods of heaven, his brothers, Dropped to the ground.

All these myths symbolize the fire in the sky, focused on the sun, and in the earth, in the form of flint, tecpatl; but in all of them, it appears the fire, xiutecutli tletl, like creature that comes from the omeyotl, and Not like the supreme being. To paraphrase this theogony we said in our booklet the four Suns:.

Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl, his brother, were chosen to create the new world of the Fifth Sun, so they turned into snakes and sought Tlalteotl in her watery depths. Upon finding her they tore her in two. Defeated nonetheless, Tlalteotl had her bottom half thrown upwards by the brothers, thus forming the heavens. Her top half became the earth; her back was the mountains, and rivers ran down her sides. Tlalteotl, earth goddess, was sacrificed for the good of mankind, who lived from her body: the earth and sky.

Therefore, it was understood that she must be rewarded. Cosmology, divination, and calendars: The communal life of the Tenochca, as well as the construction of their society, was deeply intertwined with religious and cosmological beliefs. Complex ritual strategies on all societal levels had to safeguard life in a ll its forms from the lurking dangers of chaos and destruction — dangers which, obviously, had already ruined the grand city-states of the past Teotihuacan, Tollan. Therefore, one finds a strong notion of omnipresent peril, sometimes even pessimism, in Aztec poetry, and a strong sense that the life cycle of this sun and of the rich centre of power and life in Tenochtitlan might also come to an end in the near future.

Based on their astronomic tradition, the Aztecs knew the solar year of days xihuitl , but the logical combination of twenty day-signs and thirteen numbers led to an artificial tonalpohualli-cycle of days perhaps an allusion to the human period of pregnancy? The rivalry between Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca is also recounted in the legends of Tollan where Tezcatlipoca deceives Quetzalcoatl who was the ruler of the legendary city and forces him into exile.

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But it is interesting to note that Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca both collaborated in the creation of the different creations and that both of them were seen as instrumental in the creation of life. His cult was associated with royalty, and was the subject of the most lengthy and reverent prayers in the rites of kingship, as well as being mentioned frequently in coronation speeches.

The temple of Tezcatlipoca was in the Great Precinct of Tenochtitlan. Tezcatlipoca was a creator. She was covered in eyes and mouths and hunted throughout the vast ocean for living flesh.


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This image presents the goddess Itzpapalotl, Obsidian Knife Butterfly. She is a complex deity, a hybrid of a number of human and animal parts, none of which dominates — and the mythology is equally labyrinthine, connecting her with a dazzling, almost hallucinatory range of deities and powers. In one set of myths, she breaks the limbs of the sacred tree in paradise, causing the land to wither.

The tree at left probably refers to this myth. In another body of myths, she tries to seduce one of the Mimixcoa, Lesser Cloud Snakes, who builds a fire and throws himself into it to escape from her.

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She jumps in after him and has a number of adventures in the realm of fire. Finally, the fire gods try to destroy her by burning her fire in an even greater fire, which shatters her into five pieces, each a different color. These fragments became the basic sacrificial knives from which all others descend. Butterflies have three associations that reach deep into the meso- American past. The first two, fertility and resurrection, probably arose from the life cycle of natural butterflies. The third association, fire, involves purification and the fire of dawn, the rebirth of the sky.

The essence of Itzpapalotl is blood sacrifice, and her core is the obsidian dagger. The other elements in her makeup intensify rather than moderate this. Be the first to write a review About this product. About this product Product Information This book brings archaeological evidence into the body of scholarship on the lord of the smoking mirror, one of the most important Aztec deities. While iconographic and textual resources from sixteenth-century chroniclers and codices have contributed greatly to the understanding of Aztec religious beliefs and practices, contributors to this volume demonstrate the diverse ways material evidence expands on these traditional sources.

The interlocking complexities of Tezcatlipocas nature, multiple roles, and metaphorical attributes illustrate the extent to which his influence penetrated Aztec belief and social action across all levels of late Post-classic central Mexican culture.

Tezcatlipoca examines the results of archaeological investigations -- objects like obsidian mirrors, gold, bells, public stone monuments, and even a mosaic skull -- and reveals new insights into the supreme deity of the Aztec pantheon and his role in Aztec culture. Additional Product Features Number of Volumes. An excellent collection of essays concerning one of the most important gods of ancient Mesoamerica. A major contribution to the field of Mesoamerican studies.

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Tezcatlipoca

Karl Taube, University of California, Riverside, "[A]n interesting addition to and extension of our knowledge of Aztec religion and society, going beyond textual sources to consider the material respresentations of the god and a few other supernatural beings and religious practices. Show More Show Less. No ratings or reviews yet.

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