Asteroid Files: Tezcatlipoca

Helios on Tezcatlipoca– Heretics, this life is tough, and we often struggle to know where we belong and our place in the world. More often than not, this leads to some pretty dissatisfying realizations about our lives. So what do we do about it? Well, for that answer, lets look at this week’s asteroid profile!

The Astronomy– 1980 Tezcatlipoca is an eccentric, stony asteroid and near-Earth object of the Amor group, approximately 6 kilometers in diameter. Tezcatlipoca orbits the Sun in the inner main-belt at a distance of 1.1–2.3 AU once every 2 years and 3 months (816 days). Its orbit has an eccentricity of 0.36 and an inclination of 27° with respect to the ecliptic. This near-Earth object has an Earth minimum orbit intersection distance of 0.2455 AU (36,700,000 km), which corresponds to 95.6 lunar distances. The S-type asteroid is classified as an Sw-type by the ExploreNEOs project, and as an SU and Sl-type on the Tholen and SMASS taxonomic scheme, respectively

The Myth– Tezcatlipoca was a central deity in Aztec religion; One of the four sons of Ometeotl, he is associated with a wide range of concepts, including the night sky, the night winds, hurricanes, the north, the earth, obsidian, enmity, discord, rulership, divination, temptation, jaguars, sorcery, beauty, war, and strife. His name in the Nahuatl language is often translated as “Smoking Mirror” and alludes to his connection to obsidian, the material from which mirrors were made in Mesoamerica which were used for shamanic rituals and prophecy. There are few surviving representations of Tezcatlipoca into the present day. Due to the lack of surviving images, some have chosen to describe Tezcatlipoca as the ‘invisible god’. When depicted he was usually drawn with a black and a yellow stripe painted across his face. He is often shown with his right foot replaced with an obsidian mirror, bone, or a snake—an allusion to the creation myth in which he loses his foot battling with the Earth Monster. Sometimes the mirror was shown on his chest, and sometimes smoke would emanate from the mirror. Tezcatlipoca’s nagual, his animal counterpart, was the jaguar and his jaguar aspect was the deity Tepeyollotl (“Mountainheart”).

Tezcatlipoca was often described as a rival of another important god of the Aztecs, Quetzalcoatl. In one version of the Aztec creation account the myth of the Five Suns, the first creation, “The Sun of the Earth” was ruled by Tezcatlipoca but destroyed by Quetzalcoatl when he struck down Tezcatlipoca who then transformed into a jaguar. Quetzalcoatl became the ruler of the subsequent creation “Sun of Water”, and Tezcatlipoca destroyed the third creation “The Sun of Wind” by striking down Quetzalcoatl. In later myths, the four gods who created the world, Tezcatlipoca, Quetzalcoatl, Huitzilopochtli and Xipe Totec were referred to respectively as the Black, the White, the Blue and the Red Tezcatlipoca. The four Tezcatlipocas were the sons of Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl, lady, and lord of the duality, and were the creators of all the other gods, as well as the world and all humanity.

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- 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. Specialists in Mesoamerican Studies, write that, “More than anything Tezcatlipoca appears to be the embodiment of change through conflict.” 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.

In one of the Aztec accounts of creation, Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca joined forces to create the world. Before their act, there was only the sea and the crocodilian earth monster called Cipactli.To attract her, Tezcatlipoca used his foot as bait, and Cipactli ate it. The two gods then captured her and distorted her to make the land from her body. After that, they created the people, and people had to offer sacrifices to comfort Cipactli for her sufferings. Because of this, Tezcatlipoca is depicted with a missing foot.

Another story of creation goes that Tezcatlipoca turned himself into the sun, but Quetzalcoatl was furious possibly because they were enemies, he is a night god or due to his missing foot, so he knocked Tezcatlipoca out of the sky with a stone club. Angered, Tezcatlipoca turned into a jaguar and destroyed the world. Quetzalcoatl replaced him and started the second age of the world and it became populated again. Tezcatlipoca overthrew Quetzalcoatl, forcing him to send a great wind that devastated the world, and the people who survived were turned into monkeys. Tlaloc, the god of rain, then became the sun. But he had his wife taken away by Tezcatlipoca. Angered in turn, he would not make it rain for several years until, in a fit of rage, he made it rain fire with the few people who survived the assault turning into the birds.Chalchihuitlicue the Water Goddess then became the sun. But she was crushed by Tezcatlipoca’s words who accused her of just pretending to be kind. She cried for many years and the world was destroyed by the resulting floods. Those people who survived the deluge were turned into fish.

As discussed above, Aztec folklore is rife with parallels, much of the time depicted in deities such as Tezcatlipoca. For Aztec nobility, this “patron deity” is fundamental in the social and natural phenomena justified by religion during this time. Extreme reverence and respect, characterized by ceremonial proceedings in which priests were “to pay homage” to Tezcatlipoca, or where “citizens waited expectantly” for ceremonial proceedings to start under the low hum of “shell trumpets,” were commonplace, especially for this deity. Utter respect from the highest position of Aztec nobility, the king, shown through the figurative and literal nakedness of his presence in front of Tezcatlipoca. The king would stand “naked, emphasizing his utter unworthiness,” speaking as nothing but a vessel for the god’s will. The new king would claim his spiritual nakedness symbolically through words and physical vulnerability, praising Tezcatlipoca with lines such as:

“O master, O our lord, O lord of the near, of the nigh, O night, O wind…Poor am I. In what manner shall I act for thy city? In what manner shall I act for the governed, for the vassals (macehualtin)? For I am blind, I am deaf, I am an imbecile, and in excrement, in filth hath my lifetime been… Perhaps thou mistaketh me for another; perhaps thou seekest another in my stead”.

For kings, lords, priests, and citizens alike, the cyclical nature they observed every day and every year was portrayed not through science or philosophical debate, but utter reverence and respect for the spiritual beings they believed were the cause of these events. It was gods like Tezcatlipoca that solidified this notion, representing both the silent wind, and thunderous war.

Why He Matters– Dear god, there was a ton of information on this one, and I absolutely love it. Tezcatlipoca is a fascinating figure in myth, and there is a lot to unpack here. Tezcatlipoca in the chart is a very Martian influence but mixed with a bit of Uranus. Tezcatlipoca comes across as rage, but a very specific kind- The rage that comes from depression. This also plays into the other aspect of this asteroid god- He is an outsider, one who wants to tear down the system and rebuild it in his own image. Tezcatlipoca wants to change the world- actually, in his view he wants to save it. You see, Tezcatlipoca is dissatisfied with the way the world is, and loathes his feeling of powerlessness. To him, the world is unjust and will not be just until he is sitting at the top of it. In this, he represents both the patriarchy and your place in it, wherever that may be.

In media, you can see plenty of examples of Tezcatlipoca, like Elliot Alderson in Mr. Robot. In the show, Elliot loathes his position in society, and directs his anger at a large multinational company, and ends up committing multiple acts of terrorism in the name of creating a better world. Now while I don’t encourage terrorism (per se) our world keeps getting more and more polarized, and we are seeing a reactive grassroots push from people who see their own personal power slipping away while their world changes drastically around them. This is on both ends of the political spectrum, and both are becoming more and more violent. Tezcatlipoca is representative of both Antifa and neo-nazis. Tezcatlipoca is literally the rage against the machine, and the machine is different to different people.

Additionally, Tezcatlipoca is potently shamanic and encourages us to dive deep into the recesses and pits of our very souls. Tezcatlipoca is a literal mirror that shines a dark light on the worst parts of our personalities and forces us to confront our most terrifying demons, but he also gives us the courage to face them and win over them once and for all.

To find out where he shows up in your chart, go to astro.com, put in your birth details and in the extended options, all the way at the bottom of the next page, there will be a menu of additional objects. Under that is a blank space where you can enter the number 1980, for Tezcatlipoca. Once you have it entered, generate the chart! Where does Tezcatlipoca affect your life? Let us know in the comments below!

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