Honoring the Virgens

As the feast day of the Virgen de Guadalupe dwindles to a close I have been busy working on a relief print of the OTHER virgin birth, that of Coatlicue bringing forth the fearsome fire god  Huitzilopochtli.


Sanctified Huitzilopochtli

Artist’s proof, relief print on paper

This is just an artists proof, it will be part of my series of “Bodega Baroque” votive candles dedicated to the Old Gods.

What I love about living in this region, where devotion to the Virgen is so widespread, is this sense of WHICH Virgen are we speaking of on this feast day?

The kindly brown skinned girl we all love, or the ancient madonnas of Mesoamerica?

Many scholars believe ( as do I) that the dark Roman Catholic Madonna is in fact an ancient, browner goddess.The goddess Tonantzin, “Our Mother”, being  a reasonable predecessor ; this link provides some interesting  and concise opinions.

Tonantzin:Our Mother

Tonantzin-Our Mother (image sourced from link above ).

I’m enchanted most particularly with She of the Skirts of Serpents, mother of us all, but most particularly of the brutal and demanding Aztec fire god Huitzilopochtli. She was about to be torn to shreds by her wrathful children, indignant by her so-called “immaculate conception”; but in a grand bit of theater, Huitzilopochtli swoops in fully armed and annihilates his siblings. A far cry from a sweet nativity setting, but what an engaging narrative.

P1000331 copyCoatlicue, from our recent trip to the Museum of Anthropology.

I’ve been working on three paintings, one of which is this virgin birth, almost finished, here is an early peek.


 As this is the season of Virgin Births, I have been working on holiday cards. Sadly without a proper press, relying upon the old wooden spoon, suffice to say my right side is aching. Thus far 25 on this “Chinois” paper, still counting.


Well I must get back to work,

until next time take care,


Tzimmes and the Maize God

Chanukah begins this evening and tomorrow is Thanksgiving .

As I prepare for tomorrow’s feast, our  first “official” dinner party since  moving back to LA I am feeling particularly grateful for the diverse influences that have shaped the person I am today. My first partner Douglas and his lovely family were German Jews, from them I was exposed to the joys of Jewish culture , including Chanukah.  Tzimmes ( a tasty treat loosely translated from the Yiddish  as a “big mess/deal/fuss”of stewed sweet potatoes, carrots and prunes) was always on the  Chanukah table this time of year and my own pot of  this aromatic stew bubbles away.

I am also  in the thick of preparing the centerpiece. Given that it is Thanksgiving , I am honoring our indigenous ancestors with prayer candles to the Maize God, Hun Hunuhpu. Thus far 10, and counting…

Without my relatively recent exposure to this rich culture through a marvelous professor ( who I now consider a friend), my infatuation with all things Meso may never have been. For that I am also grateful.


Like little soldiers, my Maize God prayer candles stand at attention waiting for their place on tomorrow’s banquet table. St Stephen, first Christian martyr leads the troops.

The diablo  vase was from a ceramic class I had taken a few semester’s back. I may very well be the WORST ceramicist ever, but surprise, surprise, I like decorating vessels.  This, I decorated post firing with oil colors, won’t last forever, but at least until I croak!

IMG_3889I’m thinking of marketing these candles, not just Maize God but a variety of Meso deities , plus other saints, Christian and otherwise, sacred and secular. What seems a fair price? Not looking for extravagant profit but  a reasonable price-thus far the candles themselves are a little under two bucks. Feedback very  welcome.

Well happy Chanukah, happy Thanksgiving,

be well, be safe,

until next time,