Who Is Tezcatlipoca In Aztec Mythology?

Who is Tezcatlipoca in Aztec mythology?

Tezcatlipoca, meaning "Smoking Mirror" in the Nahuatl language, was a complex and multifaceted deity in Aztec mythology. He held a prominent position as the god of the night sky, night winds, hurricanes, the north, the earth, obsidian, rulership, divination, temptation, jaguars, sorcery, beauty, war, and conflict. 

The Complex God of the Aztecs

Duality and Transformation

Tezcatlipoca embodied both positive and negative aspects, representing creation and destruction, good and evil, and order and chaos. He was often depicted with a black and white striped face, symbolizing this duality. He could also transform into various forms, including a jaguar, his most common animal form.


Creator God

Tezcatlipoca played a significant role in Aztec creation myths. In one version, he was associated with the first sun, Ocelotonatiuh (Jaguar Sun), which was destroyed by other gods due to Tezcatlipoca's arrogance. This destruction paved the way for the creation of the current world.


Patron of Kings and Warriors

Tezcatlipoca was considered the patron deity of Aztec kings and warriors. He was associated with rulership, bravery, and military prowess. Aztec kings were seen as representatives of Tezcatlipoca on earth, and they would perform rituals to appease him and ensure his favor.


Deception and Trickery

Tezcatlipoca was known for his cunning and deceptive nature. He was often portrayed as a trickster god who enjoyed manipulating others for his own amusement or to achieve his goals. He was also associated with sorcery and black magic.


The Smoking Mirror

Tezcatlipoca's name, "Smoking Mirror," is symbolic of his ability to see into the hearts and minds of humans. The obsidian mirror, which he was often depicted carrying or having in place of a foot, represented introspection, self-awareness, and the ever-changing nature of reality.


Tezcatlipoca's complex and contradictory nature made him one of the most fascinating and intriguing deities in the Aztec pantheon. He continues to captivate scholars and inspire artists today.

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