Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky: Myths of Mexico
by David Bowles
They unfurl through the ages, frayed or unraveled by time and conquest like well-worn, rainbowed rebozos.
Take up the threads, each of you, and weave me the multi-hued fabric of our history...
Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky: Myths of Mexico stitches together a remarkable tapestry of Mesoamerican mythology. David Bowles begins by amplifying and enriching the saga of well-known brothers: Feathered Serpent, also known as Quetzalcoatl, and Heart of Sky, also known as Hurricane or Tezcatlipoca, with fascinating details gleaned from his extensive research. His poetic language is rich and evocative.
Feathered Serpent burst from the cosmic sea and took flight through the endless sky, his long bodyrippling with bright red, green and blue plumes.
Heart of Sky swirled to life in the heavens before dropping to waters and spinning like a violent cyclone, dark smoke curling from the black mirror on his forehead.
The narrative continues in roughly chronological fashion, recounting the five ages of the world. The fifth age includes stories of the gods Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca in human form, as well as retellings taken from Mayan and Aztec lore.
The book concludes with the arrival of the Spanish in 1519. Importantly, this account is presented from the point of view of the conquered indigenous people of Mexico and provides much needed perspective and understanding to this period of history.
One of the most compelling aspects of this work is the inclusion of bold and fearless women. Brave Erendira loved the earth and her mother country. She desperately tried to rally her people to fight the invading armies. Riding a captured white horse, she was a symbol of hope.
Princess Donaji was destined to serve her people and eventually give her life for them. She was beheaded and from her severed head blossomed a lily of exquisite beauty. Her likeness is memorialized on the city of Oaxaca's coat of arms.
In the early 1940s the former St. Augustine temple was turned into a public library. Juan O'Gorman painted a graphic history of Michoacán right where the altar used to be. Princess Eréndira is riding the white horse on the left side of the painting. Wikkipedia
We wrote them down, recited them, shared them, mind to mind.
They live on in our histories, in our poetry, on our lips, in our hearts.