The word Coatlicue is Nahuatl for “the one with the skirt of serpents”. The word for serpent is coātl. “Mother Goddess of the Earth who gives birth to all celestial things”, “Goddess of Fire and Fertility”, “Goddess of Life, Death and Rebirth”, and “Mother of the Southern Stars.”
According to Aztec legend, she was once magically impregnated by a ball of feathers that fell on her while she was sweeping a temple, and subsequently gave birth to the gods Quetzalcoatl and Xolotl. Her daughter Coyolxauhqui then rallied Coatlicue’s four hundred other children together and goaded them into attacking and decapitating their mother. The instant she was killed, the god Huitzilopochtli suddenly emerged from her womb fully grown and armed for battle. He killed many of his brothers and sisters, including Coyolxauhqui, whose head he cut off and threw into the sky to become the moon. In one variation on this legend, Huitzilopochtli himself is the child conceived in the ball-of-feathers incident and is born just in time to save his mother from harm.
I had the absolute pleasure of helping paper mache’ aspects of this statue before the developement of the snake aspects due to my cultural beliefs. There were many long nights filled with music, laughter, and love for art amongst new friends in the creation of this piece. Many thanks to Danny the lead artist for letting me play.
Client: Local Indigenous Organizations
Tags: Environmental, Human Rights, Immigration, People's Climate MarchView Project