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Coatlicue and the Gentle Day


A #goddess with terrifying visage has appeared with skulls and hearts around her neck and two serpents as her head. #Coatlicue of the #Aztecs, also known as ‘Serpent Skirt’ has arrived. Hers is story much misunderstood and she is a goddess who has been welcomed and reviled in equal measure.

 About these wild wisdom soul stories.
You take this as you wish as a mythic exploration, spiritual gift, positive psychological programming whatever … but I offer it to you in the hope that it will serve you some good purpose.
The tree teachings, #forestbathing #meditations and wild wisdom soul stories  are not pre-planned, I don’t have the year ahead mapped out with neat little diagrams and to do lists and pre-prepared old last years’ materials. No ... these are the fresh green shoots of inspirations sent forth from the trees.  I don’t care what your belief system is … in times of mass extinction, and #climatechange , my conviction is that if we connect personally with trees and nature this can only serve both us and the #earth well … I hope you agree.
Each being and story featured each week is of course a brief glimpse. If you feel drawn to a particular one you could study it in greater depth and pay homage to the culture within which it arose.

Unlike other goddesses we have encountered and explored, the myth of Coatlicue has extended itself down the centuries to the present day. As some of you may know from other writings of mine I view #stories not as static points in time but as vehicles for embodying the land and the continuing journey and conversation between that and mankind.

The Coatlicue sculpture in Mexico City’s National Museum of Anthropology is one of the most famous Mexica (Aztec) sculptures in existence (her name is pronounced "koh-at-lee-kway").

Two enormous snakes curl upwards from her neck to face one another. Their split tongues curl downwards, and the resulting effect is that the snake heads and tongues appear to be a single, forward-facing serpent face. Snakes coming out of body parts, was an Aztec symbol for squirting blood. Coatlicue has in fact been beheaded, and her snakes' head represents the blood squirting from her severed neck. Her arms are also formed of snake heads.

The story of this sculpture is that it was discovered after the Spanish Conquest. The sculpture was buried because it was considered an inappropriate pagan idol by Spanish Christian invaders. After lyinghidden for over than 200 years, it was rediscovered in 1790. Once again however, Coatlicue was reburied. She was considered too frightening and pagan. Eventually, she was uncovered again in the twentieth century, becoming one of the most famous representative of Aztec artistic achievements in stone sculpture.

The Aztecs believed that there were four earlier suns (or eras) prior to the one in which we currently live. The myth notes that several female deities (perhaps Coatlicue among them), sacrificed themselves to put the sun in motion, effectively allowing time itself to continue. They were responsible for preserving the cosmos by offering their own lives.

After this point, these female #deities were then symbolized by their skirts (called mantas), which could explain the careful attention paid to Coatlicue’s snake skirt. It functions as a reminder of her name—Snakes-Her-Skirt—as well as symbolizing her as a deity and reminding the viewer of her past deeds. This might also explain why, in place of her head, we have two snakes rising from her severed neck. They represent streaming blood, which was a precious liquid connoting #fertility. With her willing sacrifice, Coatlicue enabled #life to continue.

Wild Wisdom

So, what does this myth have to do with this weeks’ tree teaching if anything?

Monstrous and fearsome as Coatlicue may appear to some, she is patron of midwives and protector of women in child birth thus she is a guardian of life itself. The theme continues in her sacrificing herself to ensure the continuing cycle of life.

In this weeks’ #treeteaching I specifically made the invitation to regard other beings in the same way as humans, remarking that this would require for most some kind of culture shift. A big shift that if permanent, would require the death of a way of life in order for something new to take its place. In the #forestbathing #meditation, the invitation was one of expanding awareness beyond the self to others.

We are called upon to be present, to put aside all thoughts and preconceived ideas. To go beyond the self. In some ways this is a death to the ego. We sacrifice this sense of self so in effect giving life to the greater cosmos or self-awareness. The serpents represent fertility. The dragon lovers among you will know of my interest in earth energies and how dragons are innately tied to the living landscape.

Each week the tree teachings invite you to engage with living beings beyond the human. Each week you are invited to consider how ancient #myths have teachings for our times. As #archetypes step forward we are reminded that for every occasion there is a story and a teaching to be had, if we are willing to put preconceived ideas to one side and step forwards with an open mind.

If we are to #rewild ourselves and thence the world around us this is a pressing occupation. Only by initiating a substantial #cultureshift will we be able to journey to find workable solutions to the current environmental chaos.

I find this story of Coatlicue very interesting because the symbolism in the story carried into modern times is very clear. No matter how many times she is buried she just keep resurfacing. There is something in this about denial and that once the sculpture was acknowledged, and celebrated even, then it became a crowning glory in the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico city.

We can shut away our native inheritance as much as we like, (wherever in the world we are) we can deny the truth of a story, but, sooner or later it will resurface. And when it does we have two choices. Bury it or bring it out into the light and enable transformation to happen. Modern society has tried to bury #indigenous #inheritance the world over yet it keep resurfacing. Just as flowers bloom after a long winter so a story reappears, flowers and starts to reseed itself.

The same is true of ourselves. We can close parts of ourselves down, behead them even, yet some fertile part of us as the dragon within will just keep resurfacing. That energy if allowed to surface will flower, it will re-green the land within us as well as without.

You will notice here in these #treeteachings and #wildwisdom #soulstories that there is no demand, command or diatribe or specific instructions …only a series of invitations. What nature asks of us is only to open our awareness to what is around us and engage in conversation. As a teacher of many years and having worked with some of the most dispossessed, disenfranchised, disillusioned people in our society, I know that we can never make demands of others. We can only start where they/we are at, not where we want to them/us to be.

The best way to bring about change is to invite, discuss and explore. In doing so we empower everyone to join in the conversation. Only by feeling empowered can we engage in the dialogue that is needed.

So where does this weeks’ theme of gentleness fit in? For gentleness read compassion and treading lightly upon the earth, ourselves and each other. Compassion is about awareness, of ourselves and the world around us.

Just as Coatlicue had a greater awareness of the cosmos beyond herself so must we.

Blessings Amanda Claire x

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