It is Week 8 and time to answer the question of the day for the YouTube Pagan Challenge:
Do you have/how did you find your matron/patron deity?
I don’t really consider them “matron” and “patron” deities, because to me those words allude to some sort of ‘parental’ relationship, which is not the relationship I have with them – but the two deities I acknowledge at my daily altar are Coatlicue (ko-ah-tlee-kway) and Quetzalcoatl (ket-zal-ko-aht).
When I was first learning about the Aztec pantheon, Coatlicue (a name which means she of the skirt of serpents) immediately captured my attention. Although she was murdered by her children, to me I felt immense strength coming from her. She is a creation goddess, but also represents death. The imagery of her created by the Aztecs is haunting and almost… frightening in many ways. She wears a skirt of snakes, a necklace adorned with human hearts, skulls, and hands, and her head is two serpents, since she was decapitated by her children. She has large claws on her hands and feet. Because of all the life she has given, her breasts hang heavy. She is creation, and destruction, which is everything. She is immensely powerful and I have great respect for her. She has other names and aspects which tie her to childbirth, the earth, and the ‘crone’. Honoring her has been one of the most natural and wonderful developments on my pagan path.
Quetzalcoatl is also represented on my altar, and happens to be a male deity. He is also associated with serpents (coatl is a Nahuatl word meaning serpent). Quetzalcoatl is the god of many things… the arts, knowledge, science, creativity. He is also the god of the rising eastern ‘star’, which is Venus. If you know much of anything about Aztec mythology and their calendar system, you might know that the Aztecs believed that the universe was created and destroyed multiple times (interestingly enough, some modern science suggest the same), and basically Quetzalcoatl is one of the gods responsible for the creation of the world we currently know.
Quetzalcoatl is hugely popular and important in even modern Mexican culture as well as to indigenous people today. Because there is so much modern culture about him that I feel is currently out of my reach, I feel like Quetzalcoatl is somewhat out of my reach as well. I feel like I sort of see and honor him from afar, if that makes any sense.
I don’t work with either of these deities. I don’t wish to. Many Aztec Reconstructionists would tell you that it’s just downright disrespectful. Aztec Reconstructionists focus on honoring and paying reverence to deity. All of the pagan politics on those matters aside, I honestly feel that both of these deities are too powerful for me to even begin attempting to engage with them in a working relationship – and I’m not one for working with deities anyway, in general, in my personal practice. So I honor Coatlicue and Quetzalcoatl. I move for them, I dance for them, I meditate on them, I do my best to give them offerings, which are not bribes or even gifts of thanks. It’s a relationship of reverence, honor, and gratitude.
How did I find them? It was a really long path. It’s only been just under two years since honoring these deities became part of my practice, and I never had specific deities that I focused on in my practice in the past. For whatever reason, I felt a sudden draw to learn about Aztec religion with drew me to Aztec Reconstructionism and eventually looking to develop a relationship with these deities who I felt drawn to. Simple as that.
Happy Friday, everyone!