Approximately a year ago, in Texas we entered into lockdown due to COVID-19. I am forever grateful for this blog for providing me a space where I can document my life and the lesson that I have learned. I am reposting this to document the space that I was in last year with just a few changes to provide my current understanding of Coatlicue’s role.
I pray that you and yours are safe, well, and provided for.
Today, I am going to share part of what I have learned during my time with Coatlicue. I’ve been reading analysis related to this Goddess. Those that speak to her as a fertility, feminine, earth, death, rebirth, Mexican, Chicano/a/x, Mestizo/a/x, Tejano/a/x, and indigenous nature. To interact with her energy is to interact with the history of what the people who came from Aztec civilization have experienced. To honor her is to honor her people. It makes me feel more connected to the land in Texas. So before I speak on my experience I want to say- go to the source. Go to the people who came from the experience of Coatlicue and learn from them.
Today, I went for a walk as we are allowed to spend time outside for exercise. I looked at the land. The trees, the flowers, the cacti, and the animals. While walking, I read Gloria Anzaldua’s Borderlands La Frontera: The New Mestiza, a work that dives into an exploration of what Anzaldua calls “the Coatlicue state”.
I first read about Coatlicue when I began to research Goddesses of Life and Death. I had never heard of her although I was born and raised in the south of Texas. My mothers peoples are from San Antonio and I love to visit the Shrine to Our Lady of Czestochowa, a shrine to the black Madonna, who I find to be directly linked to Goddess energy.
I spent my last birthday in San Antonio and witnessed the butterfly migration. Hundreds of butterflies brought a tree outside of the San Antonio Museum of Art to life with the fluttering of their wings. I then visited the Japanese Tea Garden one of my favorite spaces to find peace. I finished my evening at the park where a large black snake slithered past me into the river and lightening bugs flickered in the twilight. This represents just a little of magic of this land which has such a tragic bloody past. But, isn’t that true of all the spaces in the U.S.?
Coatlicue shares a tale of transformation in a moment of destruction. Grisel Gomez-Cano in her work The Return of Coatlicue: Goddesses and Warladies in Mexican Folklore notes that the story of Coatlicue as the mother of Huitzilopochtli may have been adopted as a means to explain the shift from a matriarchal led clan to patriarchal. According to the tale, upon hearing that her mother was pregnant, Coyolxauhqui (the moon) and her 400 brothers (the stars) planned to attack and kill her before the child could be born. Coatlicue found about this plan, perhaps by being warned by one of the 400 brothers, and justifiably was distraught. The unborn Huitzilopochtli spoke to her, telling her that he would protect her and not to fear.
Previously, I thought of this as a symbol of lack mentality in a world full of abundance. Balance is always needed and thus a son was born from Coatlicue who balanced out the energy of the feminine daughter moon. Each one must have their own space to flourish.
Now, I recognize the complexity of stories and how they can be shaped to tell a specific narrative. As Gomez-Cano suggests, why would a daughter want to kill her mother because of a pregnancy? Does that simple explanation truly make any sense? When reading these tales we must ask, how would this story benefit or hinder those in power? Why would a story be told this way? In this circumstance, here we see a masculine sun God, defeating a feminine moon Goddess. A shift from power being centered in the feminine to the masculine by violence and force.
Coatlicue somehow becomes a supporting character in her own story. Yet, she persists and remains. She is the Earth upon which the sun shines and the moon orbits. She continues to survive through the violence and the shifts. Eventually, even providing a warning of the fall of this empire. To me, this represents that even as power shifts from one party to another, she remains. Watching, supporting, growing, and offering her wisdom to those who have the courage and heart to seek it.
Coatlicue – whose name means she who has the skirt of snakes – has 2 snakes for a head turning towards each other. The placement of the snakes reminds us of the cycle of life. That as we come from the earth we will return to it. Conscious embodied life is not ever-lasting but our souls continue through our legacy that we birth into the world.
Coatlicue reminds me that my body is my own and that through it I experience the world. Through this form, I can transmute the experiences of this life in its totality.
Spring is a time of darkness nestled in the shrinking confines of the womb buried deep in the warm nurturing soils of the earth until the fire within us forces us to break free of our confines and begin to reach for the life giving energy of the sun. Darkness is life. Hold on loves, soon we will be reborn.