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Aztec Calendar > Gods and deities > Tezcatlipoca


Codex Borgia

Tezcatlipoca is the Smoking Mirror.
He is the god of the nocturnal sky, god of the ancestral memory, god of time and the Lord of the North, the embodiment of change through conflict.

Together with his eternal opposite Quetzalcoatl, he created the world. In this process, Tezcatlipoca lost his foot when he used it as bait for the Earth Monster Cipactli. As a god of creation he is known as Ipalnemoani, "He by whom we live".

Tezcatlipoca has many aspects. As Tezcatlipoca Yaotl ("Enemy") he is the patron of the warrior, as Tezcatlipoca Telpochtli he stands for eternal youth. Other names are Necocyaotl ("Enemy of Both Sides"), Tloque Nahuaque ("Lord of the Near and Far") and Yohualli Ehecatl (Night Wind), Ome acatl ("Two Reed") and Ilhuicahua Tlalticpaque ("Possessor of the Sky and Earth").

Quetzalcoatl is also called White Tezcatlipoca, to contrast him to the black Tezcatlipoca. Tezcatlipoca is usually depicted black with yellow stripe painted across his face. He is often shown with his right foot replaced with an obsidian mirror or a snake.
One of his Naguals is the Jaguar, and his Jaguar aspect is the deity Tepeyollotl "Heart of the Mountain". Another Nagual of Tezcatlipoca is Chalchihuihtotolin, the (blood-) Jewelled Fowl. Chalchihuihtotolin is a symbol of powerful sorcery.
Tezcatlipoca can tempt humans into self-destruction, but when he takes his turkey form he can also cleanse them of contamination, absolve them of guilt, and overcome their fate.

In the tonalpohualli, Tezcatlipoca is the ruler of day Acatl. He is Lord of the Day for days with number 10 ("mahtlactli" in Nahuatl).

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