The Ixiptli Ritual of the Aztecs

Contributed by Comrade (former Priest of Set) Walter Radke from a working in Temple of Set Pylon

Note: the IXIPTLA was a human personification of the God Tezcatlipoca, who, for a year before the annual ceremony of the month of Tezcatlipoca, was groomed, regaled and worshipped as a god/noble. He was then paraded through the streets where the multitudes would entreat him to bring their petitions of luck, health and victory in battle to the god who he was soon to meet. Celebrants:




4 CALLERS 1 Hummingbird 2 Rabbit 3 Coyote 4 Jaguar


Corn husks. Marking Pen. Rattles/Drums. Vessel(s). Chocolate Drink. Copal Incense. A Smoking Mirror. A small flashlight. A ritual blade. Compression music or something S. American. A small red velvet bag with a string that can fit over the head of the IXIPTLA that is symbolic of his heart. It may contain various small talismans and substances, but should include as a minimum: cinnamon, a piece of obsidian (heart shaped if possible), a small green feather, a piece of copal Incense. binding string.

Pre Ritual Preparation:

Celebrants are given dried corn husks upon which they write a fear on one side and a hope on the other. At the indicated moment these will be given to the IXIPTLA.

The Rite:

The rite begins with the IXIPTLA's transformation of himself. TEZCATLIPOCA speaks a spell to the IXIPTLA, his soon to be new human self. This is spoken in NAHUATL, the Aztec tongue and the IXIPTLI repeats the English translation simultaneously.

TEZCATLIPOCA says this in Nahuatl

Nohmatca Tezcatlipoca
inic nehuatl inic chicnauhopta
ynic Niquimanitiuh Notlahuan tlamacazque
tlalli yneptatla
ynic nauhcampa
yn amo nelli y no niquincuepa
yn amo cochia yn amo ayaca
yn amo neli
oqunihuicac y moyohualytoatzin
ea ye niquincuepa ny yehuatl
yn temiocxoch
y nehuatl y niyohuallahauantzin!

IXIPTLA says this in English:

I Myself Tezcatlipoca
I am the adversary
I am the One Called Night
For I am come forth from beyond the Nine Beyonds
For I am going to conduct my uncles, the Priests.
The Black Tarred Ones
From the center of the Earth
From the Four Directions
It is not true that I am transforming them
They were not sleeping
They had not gone to the Nine Lands of the Dead
It is not true
That the One Called Night carried them off
I am returning them
From those dream-flowers
I who am the Drinker of the Night!

A rattle or drum is sounded 9 times

The Black Flame is lit

The Invocation to Tezcatlipoca is spoken: Great princes and officials, You stand before the "Drinker of the Night" who says to you: life is short. If, while it lasts, We do not glorify our own names We will be totally forgotten Tezcatlipoca knows of your great deeds! and is aware of the dauntless spirit With which you have resisted our foes Behold O Lord, you have come to be the help, The shade and the refuge of this Aztec nation. Who have come a great distance from our home In the seven caves of Aztlan, Land of White Herons Through many trials to the valley of Mexico To exert the dominion of Tezcatlipoca Throughout the lands of the Nahuatl peoples You guided us through a wilderness You now give us repose and we praise thee We have built the houses and Temples of Tenochtitlan Which is an island in the pool of water Where the eagle sang and the snake hissed Where the blue waters came out of join the red waters Here among the reeds, here among the rushes Where reigns the god Tezcatlipoca We have placed within our houses jade and rubies Splendid feather mantles of many colors Shields, weapons, insignia, ear-plugs, Loin cloths, arm bands, tobacco, maize Gold and silver and cacao and copal You made us masters of the wealth we possess You have now concluded your task And that is why you came to us. Tezcatlipoca gathers and draws to his service All the nations with the strength of his chest and of his head. O you who are our jewel and precious feather Let us weep for joy!

The Gods of the Four Directions are now summoned:


From the Yellow East I call Necoc Yaotl, the Enemy of both sides. Divider. He who turns one upon another. Throw off our complacency and let us taste of strength and struggle. wield the obsidian blade that feeds the movement of mankind. Hurl us onward, and let the stagnant cower before our path!


From the Red south I call Tezcatlanexia, He Who causes Things to Be Seen in the Mirror. Rise up from the blackened depths. all the secrets of the hearts of man are laid bare before your probing gaze. You see all things known and unknown. rise up and glimpse these ambitions among us!


From the Blue West I call Titlauacan, He Who Stands Behind the Shoulder. You plot and conspire within your secret realms. Insolent and unholy being, come and spread your whispered wisdom. come tempt and entice, come screech of boundless power, for we have need of you!


From the Black North I call Tezcatlipoca, the smoking Mirror. Embodiment of all directions, of star-filled night, of all things hidden and dangerous. You know of no law, you see no sanctity. Dark inner god of Man, we draw you forth from the shadows tonight!

The IXIPTLA now symbolically wends his way throughout the ritual room and gathers the hopes and fears of the citizens who entreat and encourage him to give their petitions to the god Tezcatlipoca precedence. He binds up the corn husks with a binding string (preferably decorated with feathers and beads) and holds them in his left hand throughout the ceremony.

When this is completed, the HIGH PRIEST intones:

Far below the steps on which we stand In the streets and courtyard We hear his flutes and the beating of drums The wailing of the anguished And the shouts of triumph rise before his approach. We have been waiting for the Dark One the Left Handed Jaguar the enemy of both sides Who spreads his forbidden truth Who mocks us yet aids us We hear his single foot beat out his approach We feel the scorching heat of his breath Burn our skin and reduce the flowers to ash He is magnificent this divider, this unifier, this prince, this slave He grasps us and we twist in his clawed hand He is outside of us He is deep within He is a wearer of masks He is the impetuous self-Creator He is ever present, ever near He is not who he appears to be

The IXIPTLA now begins an exchange with the HIGH PRIEST to establish his worthiness to ascend to godhood:

IXIPTLA: I am mere mortal man who is but a servant of many ancient and powerful gods. I see no god of the night here.

HIGH PRIEST: Approach, slave of impulse. The Jaguar of Night moves restlessly within you!

IXIPTLA: I am a warrior. My bravery is known throughout the lands of the Nahuatl peoples. My courage in battle is the courage of 100.

HIGH PRIEST: You have courage because Tezcatlipoca has shown you fear. You cower before his outstretched hand!

IXIPTLA: I am a noble. A man of righteousness. My counsel is sought within the chambers of state in our great capital of Tenochtitlan.

HIGH PRIEST: Tezcatlipoca knows that secret greed, that unspeakable lure, that lust at your core!

IXIPTLA; show me this beast and I will splinter his bones with my array of battle clubs.

HIGH PRIEST: He lies behind your face and peers through at the world from your glittering eyes. He whispers the terrible truth into your incredulous ears, and sends commands you long to obey. He is that which you most fear and that which you most desire. (raises blade) This blade does not cut, but unifies the higher and lower, and binds together the thoughts and desires of man.

IXIPTLA (grabs heart-bag in right hand, holding it out. Begins to approach altar slowly as though climbing Temple steps) I now begin my endless journey and climb the Temple steps in deep thought one by one. I stand at the peak of the Temple and I see the stars. But my heart desires that my feet no longer touch the ground. I leave behind this beating heart as an object of instruction for those of my kind gathered here below. (raises left hand with corn husks)

HIGH PRIEST: Carry these husks in your journey, they are the hopes and fears of the people. Carry them to the 9 unknown lands, and plant them in your fields. our fears shall be the roots from which the flowers of our ambitions will spring.

The HIGH PRIEST cuts the bag away and places it on the altar. He picks up the smoking Mirror and shows IXIPTLA his dark self.

HIGH PRIEST: Tezcatlipoca!

IXIPTLA: Tezcatlipoca!

The IXIPTLA takes the mirror and holds it before the celebrants. He gives an observation from his newly ascended position as a god. This can be prepared beforehand on an individual basis or spoken intuitively as the moment dictates. The observation given at a sample working is like this:

We are here to prepare a domain of potential and with it regale our children as this convening of wills has been made a gift to us

We stand on the shoulders of mystic achievers who have made purpose into a great game

This universe defies no comprehension that cannot be built upon the previous comprehension

We have a strange history, that much is known for certain it cannot be a complaint for we are confident that what wounds most deeply is neither darkness nor intelligence nor ancient song recalled in moments of wonder

The deeper poetry of night occurs all-at-once a glorious din that is not a joke simply the most excellent of puzzles

The HIGH PRIEST fills the vessel(s).

IXIPTLA takes the heart bag from the altar and sprinkles a bit of cinnamon from it into the vessel saying:

I grace this holy ichor of CHOCOLOTL with a rare spice and cast my image within it.

Each celebrant now files up to the altar, guided by Hummingbird and Rabbit to drink CHOCOLOTL from the vessel and then to see their reflection in the smoking mirror which is held by Jaguar who is assisted by Coyote illuminating the face with a small flashlight. Hummingbird and Rabbit have rattles and they are shaken throughout the "Drinking of the Night" As the celebrant approaches the mirror, Jaguar holds the mirror before their face and intensely utters "Tezcatlipoca!"

After the last celebrant has drunk there is a moment of quiet. The Black flame is extinguished. At a signal from the HIGH PRIEST, the Song of Tezcatlipoca is spoken in unison by all celebrants as Jaguar and Coyote dance and weave among them shaking their rattles:


I myself am the enemy
I search out the servants and messengers
Of my relatives
Who are dressed in dark plumes
Who are plumes of rain
I have to see them here
Not tomorrow or the next day
I have my magic mirror with me
Smoking with stars
And my allies
Until those others, my relatives, those
Dark plumes of rain glistening in the sun
Until they are put away


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