Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Here is another Senora from Cozumel. This one is in the front of the mercado downtown. The mercado is the marketplace and so beside and behind this lady are shops selling everything from whole heads of pigs to tiny pottery bowls to hair bows to shopping bags to clothing to spell candles to limes and cilantro and fishes caught just that day off the island.
Anything you might want, you might find there.
I have often wondered why it is exactly that I am so enchanted with Our Lady of Guadalupe. I never really gave two thoughts to the Madonna at all except for getting to play her in a church Christmas pageant (high point of my life- oh yeah!- my main crush was Joseph!) until I met my friend Sue back in about 1981.
Sue-Sue was in love with the Madonna. Her relationship with her mother was both strained and odd and I suppose that like so many of us who do not have great relationships with our mothers we reach for an icon to represent all of the dreams we may have for that perfect relationship which, if to be quite honest, we will never find here on earth.
And really- who of us does have a perfect relationship with our mother?
But I digress.
Sue had been to Italy and fallen in love with all of the Madonnas there and she collected pictures of them which she had all over her house, gold-framed and plain-framed, old and newer, but mostly traditional ones.
When she died, I inherited one of her Madonnas and I cherish it to this day. It is one of my favorites of all times.
But it was when I went to Mexico that I fell in love with the Virgin of Guadalupe. Who knows why? I suppose it was just part of my falling in love with a country, a culture, a place.
And yes, she is a mother.
I also fell in love with Ixchel, the Mayan goddess for whom the island of Cozumel was sacred. She, too, is a sort of mother, the goddess of childbirth and the moon, among other things. But although her image is not as widely represented on the island, she is there.
In fact, the last time we were there, this fountain was in the median of the main road by the water:
Anyway, between Ixchel and Our Lady of Guadalupe, I can't help but feel protected and well, just down-right cozy on Cozumel. Perhaps that is part of why I love it so.
And I wonder what sort of prayers and candles get lit to that Virgin of Guadalupe in the mercado. Are they different from the ones at the church? Do people go to the church to pray for the very big things? The lives and health of their children? The wisdom to make the right decisions about the life-changing events?
And at the market, do they pray for The Lady to give them the ability to bargain the prices of the things they need so that they can feed their families?
Oh. Who knows? I don't. I would as soon pray to Ixchel as to Our Lady and I would expect no better response from one than the other.
But they are both the representations of the power and wisdom of women and I respect and honor that. They are goddesses, both.
I do not expect magic from either but I feel comforted by their images.
Which is enough for me.
For more representations of the Goddess of Guadalupe, go visit rebecca.
She'll never steer you wrong, that woman. She'll open your eyes and rest your heart.
As a goddess should.