10/26/09

Goddess of the Week: Mictacacihuatl

Mictecacihuatl at the Parade of the Lost SoulsImage by Thomas Milne via Flickr

True story:

I knew this professor -- an historian -- at UCLA. She was staying with this very modest family in rural Mexico who were allowing her to sleep on their couch while she did her research. She woke up in the middle in the night and this woman she'd never seen before walked past her and then just evaporated, like steam, like a thin fog. The woman was gone. When the professor mentioned this to her hosts they shook their heads. They didn't know what she was talking about, only then did the professor realize she'd seen a ghost.

Ghosts needs goddesses too, of course, and so, on this week before Halloween, I give you Mictecacihuatl, the Aztec goddess of the underworld, who watched over the bones of the dead, lest they be stolen. With her skull face, serpent skirt and sagging breasts, I'm thinking she was pretty good at keeping thieves at bay.

I know what you're thinking: why would anyone want to steal the bones of the dead? Turns out bones are precious. The Aztecs said they were like seeds and could be used to germinate new life. In fact, the god Quetzalcoatl took Mictecacihuatl's old pile of bones to create humans, so now she must guard her bones even more carefully in case Quetzalcoatl comes back and tries to create something even more dangerous.

To placate the aggrieved Mictecacihuatl, the Aztecs worshipped their lady of the dead in a month long festival that, despite a few changes in venue and ritual, is still celebrated today. Happy Dia de Los Muertos to you.

This goddess is for my daughter, a Halloween baby.

Channel this goddess: when confronting goblins, ghosts and wee little beasties or when bra shopping (because sagging breasts really work for no one, even people with totally cool serpent skirts).

Need a goddess: Leave me a comment in the comment section telling me what you need. I'll see what I can do.
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25 comments:

altadenahiker said...

I'll buy into this one. I've seen and heard a ghost; it was only once, but at a very crucial time.

Margaret said...

Ok, AH: I'm handing you the flashlight. Tell us your tale -- or post it on your site and link it.

inkywasfat said...

I've never seen a ghost, but it's one of my favorite things to ask people. Wow. There are some amazing stories out there.

Hurray for a goddess of the bra! Who knew?

DNAcinema said...

ciao! ha aperto i battenti il nuovo portale di cinema direttamente dagli studios di Cinecittà. News, recensioni, anteprime, foto, video e tanto altro ancora; e se vuoi collaborare con noi scrivendo recensioni scrivici @ dnacinema@yahoo.it http://dnacinema.blogspot.com/ P.S. Complimenti per il blog, ottimo lavoro! (saresti daccordo per un'affiliazione? ci terrei particolarmente...) A presto! Lorenzo

Bec said...

Happy birthday (almost) to your daughter!

Petrea said...

Maybe what Hiker says is the definition of a ghost: either they're visible to us only at crucial times, or we're only able to see them at crucial times, or we manifest them at crucial times. If that makes sense.

Anyway, thanks for the goddess, Margaret. I know you're not writing to me but you always seem to be.

Poconoangel said...

Ghosts--- there have been a few in our family's past. Sitings I mean. Not lately but in a different home we lived in. I will have to think a bit about the stories and post about them. I will link if I can figure out how. - Love your blog!-

Joanne said...

Do you know the little "Mr. Bones" jingle in the movie White Christmas? Well, now it's in my head, thanks to Mictecacihuatl's story!

Desiree said...

My my. I shall file this under tongue twisters. I love the thought that bones are seeds---
wv: for raul
(escept without the space)
the ghost in the computer has spoken!

Cafe Pasadena said...

There are a brunch of loco bloggers who may as well be ghosts.


Happy Birthday & Halloween to your wunderful daughter! I hope she can eat sweets on that big day.

pasadenaadjacent.com said...

I think I caught a glimpse of you somewhere looking just ravishing as a green goddess. Did it have something to do with the proper lift and separation?

Happy Dia de Los Muertos/Birthday to your daughter. There are edible sugar bones for purchase on Olvaro street this time of year.

gaelikaa said...

We probably see ghosts many a time and never even know! There are a lot of lost souls out there. I once worked in an office building in Dublin which was a former convent. In my time there, many people used to report sightings of a ghostly nun on the stairs. I worked late a lot in those days hoping to see the ghost but she never came near me. Probably didn't feel attracted to my vibes or whatever. Another staff member in that place who happened to be a friend of my mother went into deep prayer and meditation about it and got by reply, a very strong sense of peace and calm. That soul, it seems, was a very peaceful spirit who spent many happy years in that building. After her death, maybe fifty years before (remember, time as we know it means nothing in that dimension!) she still wasn't ready to give up her hold on that place and move into eternity. But why remained the puzzle.

Interestingly, my daughters here in India are students in a convent belonging to that very same convent community. The convent building hereis also very rich in history and there is a graveyard of nuns who came out to India to build schools for the Anglo-Indian community. In those days, they came to India and never came home again. When I get a chance to be there I often ponder on these Irish women of long ago and how life must have been for them in that long forgotten time.

I mentioned that ghost to some of the nuns I met here, some of who actually lived at some stage in that convent converted to an office which I once worked in. They didn't really have anything to say about it 'though!

JCK said...

I love ghost stories. Especially mingled with Goddesses. As only you can do! Thanks for giving us a great one this week, Margaret.

Shell Sherree said...

I suspect Mictecacihuatl would roll over in her grave at the thought of cloning. {And thank you, Margaret, I'll remember her next time I'm bra shopping.} Oh, my wv is 'mister'. Ghosts misterfy me. Ack, I made an edit, and now my wv is 'reepsy'. I'm out of here...

pivoine66 said...

I think bones are a little bit like ashes, metaphorically speaking -- remnants of the past. An interesting thought that they also might be mistaken for seeds of the future. However, some things are meant to be buried and others planted, and it's important to know what something is when you put it in the ground. Nice to know that Mictacacihuatl is watching out for us in that respect!

Italo said...

Ciao Margaret, this description of the goddess (with her Scrubble like name) is interesting. And about steal bones, yes in Italy too it was "normal". Well, is not normal :D but it happened often.

Susan C said...

Your daughter was certainly a holiday treat. Happy birthday to her.

Margaret said...

Inky: I bet you've heard some good stories. Me? I've never seen a ghost, but people in my family have had some spooky psychic moments.

DNAcinema: Grazie per la visita. Good luck with your new blog. I'll be sure to check it out.

Petrea: I like that idea. You see the ghost you need to see when you need to see it.

Pocoangel: Do post something. Can't wait.

Pup: Yes, we are having cake. Sigh.

PA: You caught a glimpse of my Medusa costume, and yes, Medusa would never be caught without a good bra.

Gaelikaa: Thanks for the great story. Very spooky. It's my understanding that Halloween is Celtic in origins. I'm wondering: is there something similar in India?

Italo: Ciao. I know Di Vinci was a bit of a grave robber. But did the steal them before the renaissance? Why?

Jean Spitzer said...

This post reminds me of Cafe Pasadena's "virtual underwire in the bra of life." A very happy almost birthday to your daughter!

baffled human said...

hmmm... most posters seem to have gone down the ghost road, but I'm most interested in the idea of a goddess.
I'm needing a particular goddess to guard and assist me. She needs to protect me from my inability to say 'NO' at work and help to stop me from over committing all over my life. If she doesn't exist then is there one out there who can gather up the furballs my cat Bob flicks around the house? Dang! I just vacuum and they reappear.
Dear goddess if you are out their please find me.
Thanks for this wonderful blog~

Olga said...

Goddess of the underworld and goddess of the underwire...hmm. I'm not convinced a saggy breasted goddess is what I need when bra shopping.

Margaret said...

Jean: That's a great line.

Baffled: You got it.

Olga: Ok. I think you're right. Maybe not the best goddess to take bra shopping.

Margaret said...

Inky: Where's your blog? I can't find it?

Daisy said...

Hi Margaret, I just came across this website and thought of you!
http://biginfotech.blogspot.com/

... daisy... said...

Is this a true story?
Good God... I have goose pimples now...
I do believe in ghost actually and this scared me quite a lot.
Anyway... happy Halloween! :-) And Happy B-Day to your daughter (you meant that with Halloween baby, didn't you?)
Big kiss!