Saturday, January 31, 2009

Symbols and Fairy Tales

I can’t help it. I spent too many years studying literature, and when a trail of symbols is set in front of me, I’m compelled to follow. And, I was once again amazed at the commonalities of symbols, myths, and religions across cultures, time, and far flung parts of the world, and well as by the synchronicity in our life.

When we explored the cave (which we now know is called Cuevas de las Ofrendas, or Cave of Offerings) we found a couple of different carvings of jaguars. The carvings were in different styles. One was like a child’s drawing of a jaguar, with a roundish head, roundish body, roundish genitals, and line legs and tail. The other was a stylized representation of a jaguar’s face with eyes, nose, and teeth. Gonzo explained that the one more like a drawing represented an actual jaguar, or the Mayan god Chac, while the more stylized one was like Tlaloc, who was the Aztec equivalent of Chac, with both being rain gods represented by jaguars.

So, at some point over the past couple of weeks I pulled down my The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya by Mary Miller and Karl Taube, and looked up “jaguar,” Chac, and Tlaloc. The book confirmed that both Chac and Tlaloc are gods represented by jaguars, or were-jaguars, and that both are gods of rain and lightning. In addition – and this is where it became interesting to me – Tlaloc’s paradise is known as Tlalocan, which is where “the deformed – dwarves, cripples, and so forth” go as the “special charges” of Tlaloc.

When we bought this property, it was known as “Chac Mool,” which, according to the book, is what the statues and carvings of Chac discovered at Mayan temples were called. We toyed with leaving that name, but then decided that we’d carry on with our farm name from New York, and call the property and business Moonracer Farm. We came up with that farm name years ago because we had a whole bunch of rescued dogs and horses, misfits and outcasts, and because King Moonracer is the King of the Island of Misfit Toys in the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Christmas story, we called our farm Moonracer Farm.

I’m sure you see where I’m going with this. We bought a property named after a Mayan god represented by a jaguar whose Aztec counterpart had as his special charges the misfits of that time in Aztec history. A thousand years later, whoever crafted Rudolph’s Christmas story put a bunch of misfits under the care of a godlike lion. We chose to use the caretaking lion’s name as our farm name, and then moved to a property already named after a caretaking feline god. Who says we’re in charge of our own destiny?

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