Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Two Goddesses

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.
A mother-goddess.
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.


  1. I love your thoughts on the subject. Thanks for sharing. I feel exactly as you do. I love Our Lady of Guadalupe, (and some others as well), and I don't know exactly why. I am drawn, very much so, to the folk art, particularly the Mexican folk art, of which Guadalupe is so much a part of.
    As far as praying to any of them, well I,mleave it up to my Higher Power. God, The Creator of all thiongs. I ask that God sends the Spirit guides and helpers to walk beside me and guide me. If this Spirit id Our Lady, then so be it. If it is my daughter or another Spirit, maybe even one unknown to me from life on this earth, then so be that too. I just ask for guidance and trust that I have it as my heart tells me I'll get help if I ask.
    Good stuff. Can't wait for tomorrow to read and see more both here and at others. Your Guadalupe is beautiful, by the way. Colorful and vibrant.


  2. i have a thing for mercado virgins.
    the life and pulse of any village, the mercado.
    and the wildly over the moon decorated shrines that "blossom" close enough for all the gossip and the days best offerings and deals...

    thanks ms. moon for sharing yours.
    from your place of heaven on earth.

    you are kind...i love seeing my name in your writing. there is comfort in it!

  3. Ah, I love it when SHE appears in good old every day life. I just finished a book called "The Road to Guadalupe: A Modern Pilgrimage to the Goddess of the Americas" by Eryk Hanut. Written in 1998, he and his partner spend several days going to the Basilica and describing all the hoopla. Not a Catholic, he, too, has a real affinity for the sacred--and it is amazing what people pray for. He gives a great account of the holy and the bizarre.

  4. This is an interesting Goddess, Virgin Mother jag you have going. I am learning all sorts of things!

  5. That she does, that Rebecca! Another great thought provoking and insightful post from you. I never thought about others with not so perfect or unfulfilled relationships with their mother turning to Our Lady for that love that was not all there.
    I love your reflections and perspective.

  6. I suppose I prayed too many Hail Marys when I was a child, or maybe I have still to see the marvel. (Blessed are you and the fruit of your womb... pray for us poor sinners now and in the hour of our death - several times a day. I still don't know what the fuck my "teachers" were thinking.)

    But I do feel myself drawn to loving mothers and grandmothers these days. I steal with my ears and my eyes. I suppose that's one of the reasons I stalk you as well. I have a lot to learn and to idealise as well.

  7. Not a single Madonna or Virgin Mary here. My wife was raised Catholic, suffered under the nuns, went to Catholic university and decided enough was enough. She is happy in her paganess.

  8. I took my 4 year old to the store yesterday to get a "few" ornaments. He picked a rocket, a Santa flying an airplane, a Madonna and King Tut. (The King Tut really threw me.)
    I asked him why he wanted the Madonna and he said "Because she's pretty and I love her."
    Well, there you go.


  9. sorry for the lack of comments..
    I'm always here of course.

    I adore John Lennon. Who doesn't I suppose.
    He is woven into our lives in a way that is hard to express .

    I love the love he and Yoko shared.

    and on the Madonna subject .. have you read Traveling Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd?

  10. Spadoman- We all take what we need from these icons, don't we? Thanks for visiting. As always.

    rebecca- Oh honey. I love you.

    Fran- I am going to get that book. Sounds lovely!

    Ms. Fleur- It's all rebecca's doing.

    Paula Scott- Like I said- we take what we need.

    Mwa- It is only because I was NOT raised Catholic that I can love this image of a goddess. If I had been- forget it.
    Stalk me all you want. I love you.

    Syd- See above. I understand.

    Karen- Get out! That's great! And Tut is pretty too. Nice eye makeup.

    deb- No. I generally can't stand Sue Monk Kidd. I know. I'm the only one in the universe. Should I read it?

  11. Ms.Moon,
    I love your Guadalupe of the marketplace, and I love your homespun wisdom and no-holds-barred, don't- give-give-me-any-crap,look at the world. It is delightfully refreshing. You have a heart for what is beautiful and compassion for what is important and that is all anyone should really care about as far as I am concerned. Thank you for this lovely post and your story about your friend. Yes, relationships with mothers are complicated. I miss mine a lot, but it wasn't easy. Take care

  12. You've made me feel a little more protected, like I sit surrounded by a bit of holiness each day. See, I work in a school called Our Lady of Guadalupe. It's a public charter school now, but 66 years ago it began as an expression of Our Lady's love of all people (those who were poor or new to our country or new to English or simply otherwise unable to gain an education). Thank you for reminding me. :)

  13. yes i agree, this connection and comfort to the lady of guadalupe i know not why.. when we were young we regularly attended a church by her name so she has been prevalent in most catholic churches i've been to, my family and friends revere her and have her statutes about... i enjoyed reading your post, thank you


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