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Nahua and Maya Goddesses

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The truth is, even though there is SO much more to be said about the Greek goddesses, I’m just not spending much time thinking about them anymore. In fact, other than slowly reading Kirk Ormand’s book Controlling Desires: Sexuality in Ancient Greece and Rome, I’m really not thinking about the Classics at all these days. Coatlicue, by rosemanios

I am, however, still thinking about stories, and myths, and religion, and women, and goddesses. Hopefully, that’s still interesting to the people who make their way to this website. I’ve been considering trying another start-up like the attempt I linked to in my post on Celtic Pretties, but this time doing it on some of the myths and goddesses of Mexico and Central America. There are tons of amazing goddesses to learn about – take the goddess Coyolxauqui, the moon, who tried to kill her brother Huitzilopochtli, and whose body was broken into pieces, or their mother Coatlicue (the Lady of the Serpent Skirt). I would love to learn more about them and share the awesomeness with you.

But I face a dilemma. I do NOT want to write about this in a way that goes: look! exotic! and encourages cultural appropriation. On the other hand, I do believe that these stories – while they should continue to “belong” to the indigenous peoples of Mexico and Central America – should be known and respected and retold and made relevant in new ways as continues to be done with Greek mythology. That said, I don’t necessarily think that I, as a white person with very little background in the topic at hand, should necessarily be the person making the call on how to go about doing that. While what I’ve done with (women in) Greek Myths hadn’t really been done when I got started, I’m not sure that it’s an appropriate approach to other mythologies.


Comments

2 responses to “Nahua and Maya Goddesses”

  1. Ailia, I enjoy your articles and I hope at some point you’ll be willing to take the plunge and delve into some of these other pantheons. In all honesty, you’re not an ancient Greek, or a tribal Celt, either. No matter what you’re writing about, it’s going to be at least partially interpreted through your modern white-chick filter. I think you should be aware of this, yes, but not paralyzed by it. If something you write sparks a debate on mythic relevance or interpretation, so much the better. We can all learn from that.

  2. “But I face a dilemma. I do NOT want to write about this in a way that goes: look! exotic! and encourages cultural appropriation.”

    Pointing out what you find interesting about mythologies from around the world does not mean you are making it into a freak show at a carnival. For years world mythology has taken a back seat to Greek and Roman mythology since Western civilization has more connection to it and since more if it was written down in an easy-to-study format. By taking the time to point out myths and beings of interest, you elevate the status as one being equal to Greek/Roman mythology.

    “On the other hand, I do believe that these stories – while they should continue to “belong” to the indigenous peoples of Mexico and Central America – should be known and respected and retold and made relevant in new ways as continues to be done with Greek mythology. That said, I don’t necessarily think that I, as a white person with very little background in the topic at hand, should necessarily be the person making the call on how to go about doing that.”

    I remember you saying to me earlier that you disagreed with the professor that told me no matter what I wrote about feminism lit criticism would be wrong since I am male. Well, the same applies to you being white. Might you see things different from how a Mayan would? Sure! Does that make your thoughts unworthy? Not at all.

    Besides, it is not really being done. Not doing anything doesn’t preserve the myths. They deserve to be read and acknowledged. By doing it on a blog, you invite comment from those who have different takes. This enables the discussion to evolve.

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