As I write about iconic elements of The Feminine, or what are representations of essential aspects of figures that stand for women in various phases of life or in actions or behaviors that are inherently female, I try achieve some balance although biases are inevitable. All humans have biases. One of the biases that I would love to overcome is my Eurocentric bias. The world is a vast mixture of peoples and cultures. I am somewhat ashamed that I am not more global in my knowledge.
To overcome some of that bias, I want to travel to the world of the Maya who like so many other cultures have symbolically celebrated the wisdom and power of aged women in one of their Jaguar deities.
The incorporation of animal spirits into the gods and goddesses that helped the Maya give meaning and order to their world is essential to any understanding of their world view. Nature, people, and the animals and plants of their environment cannot be looked at individually. A pantheon of ruling and guiding spirits collectively influenced all peoples lives, not just human-formed deities, but mythic and magical beings taken from all aspects of the environment in which they lived.
The Jaguar was the top predator in the Mayan world. It is easy to understand the awe given to the Jaguar by the Mayans if you have ever been in the wild near a large cat.
My own first such experience was in Arivaipa Canyon in Arizona when my daughter was young. We were hiking as a group of around 10 people including a couple of children. This was a permitted hike in the section managed by the BLM. A mountain lion walked with us all of one day, as far as we could tell, pacing us along a cliff-top trail. It was stealthy but once spotted, we kept the kids in the middle of the group so the cat would not get any ideas that it could snag a straggler. I was not afraid, but I was in awe. I was just a part of nature, as was the mountain lion. Jaguars are bigger than mountain lions.
As a side note, a border wall would further endanger these cat species which do include the mountain ranges and wilderness area north of Mexico as the northern part of their ranges. A jaguar was spotted a couple years ago in Madera Canyon near Tucson.
Gods still walk among us.
Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au
What an amazing animal. We don’t have anything like that in Australia – our animals are quite different to the ones in the US, Africa and Asia – I’m not sure how we missed out on the big cats, but other than rumours, we don’t appear to have any roaming around.
Leanne | http://www.crestingthehill.com.au
J for Just Do It!