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Tezcatlipoca

Tezcatlipoca

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

divination act or practice of foretelling the future

deity god or goddess

patron special guardian, supporter, or protector

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 crops 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. Another of Tezcatlipoca's roles was to punish sinners and cheats, but he himself could not be trusted.

Although associated with the sun, Tezcatlipoca was even more strongly linked with night and its dark mysteries, including dreams, sorcery, witches, and demons. 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. He would not keep his promises, though.

trickster 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. Tezcatlipoca's ultimate trick was one he played on his fellow god Quetzalcoatl. 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 52-year cycle.

See also Aztec Mythology; Quetzalcoatl.

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"Tezcatlipoca." Myths and Legends of the World. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Tezcatlipoca." Myths and Legends of the World. . Retrieved June 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/tezcatlipoca

Tezcatlipoca

Tezcatlipoca (tĕskätlēpō´kä), ancient deity of the Toltec in Mexico. Identified with the night sky, the moon, and the stars, and associated with the forces of evil and destruction, Tezcatlipoca shared dominion over humanity with Quetzalcoatl, the god of light and good. Of the various legends surrounding their continual feud, one of the most important tells of Quetzalcoatl's expulsion from Tula, the Toltec capital.

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"Tezcatlipoca." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Tezcatlipoca." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/tezcatlipoca

"Tezcatlipoca." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved June 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/tezcatlipoca

Tezcatlipoca

Tezcatlipoca One of the great gods of the Aztecs. He appears in many different forms but is best known as the god of the night sky and summer sun. He was a protector, a creator, and a harmful wizard. His cult required human sacrifice.

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"Tezcatlipoca." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Jun. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Tezcatlipoca." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved June 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/tezcatlipoca-0