Enemy of Both Sides

Image: Sina Seifee, 2020

Tezcatlipoca was an Aztec chaotic deity, a totally unthinkable chimera composed of mirrors, bones, and snakes. He operated mostly as the opposite concept of the ‘culture hero,’ in the larger pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cosmos, a world filled with little devils and crocodilian earth-monsters. His force was felt through the horrific proximity of a spatiotemporal nature of a discordant universe, and that is why he went by the name The Lord of the Near. His other name was We Are His Slaves. And, indeed, he doesn’t make sense. He embodies the impossible constellation of concepts: night (the spirit of darkness), wind (the anima of nearness), north (the lord of dimensions), obsidian (the acid glass), enmity (change through conflict), temptation, sorcery, beauty, war, and the list goes on. His name is also known as the performative epitome of Smoking Mirror –– which indicates the tension between crystallized coldness and hallucinatory smokescreen that displaces what is here to elsewhere. A lure? How can the God of horror, who breaks into the pieces of mirror, be the deity of nearness? What kind of terror is worshiped and welcomed here? Can it be that he is more a sort of prophecy rather than a form? And that Mesoamericans gave lucid shapes and characterizations to a destined nature of an organically doomed and reflective consciousness?


Last modified: August 24, 2020