Talking about Tlaloc

Feather offering for Tlaloc

Bundle of turkey, Steller’s jay, and flicker feathers placed in a dry spring basin.

On Friday morning, April 29, back from a early morning fire call (shed + trash + grasses at the edge of the prairie), I climbed the ridge behind the house and made an offering to Tlaloc, the god of rain.

(I think I need to make a lot more of them, given that it has not rained for a month.)

Later that day the Sand Gulch Fire exploded, forcing us to evacuate our house and spend the night in our pop-up camping trailer parked next to the fire station. But the next day it snowed four inches, helping to bring the fire under control.

The desert ecologist and nature writer Craig Childs got me thinking about Tlaloc a while ago with some evocative passages in his book House of Rain, which I reviewed on the other blog here (also referenced in this post).

At high, prominent springs or caves in Guatemala or the Yucatán,  one is likely to find the head of a decapitated rooster (replacing the turkey, which was commonly used in the past) along with pools of melted wax from votive candles (365).

This post kicks off my discussion about being an American Eclectic Witch reviving the cult of Tlaloc on a household basis—no stepped pyramids here, just real mountains.

Tlaloc

Both Aztec depictions of Tlaloc and Mayan depictions of the equivalent deity, Chaac (if you follow a sort of interpretatio azteca), leave me cold aesthetically, for all that they are richly symbolic. But one thing at a time—perhaps I can find one done in the style of pop-Mexican calendar art.

The worship of the gods can change over time—consider this “feast of St. Tlaloc.” We could do that!

More to come.

2 Comments

  1. Fascinating! What was/is it about Tlaloc that called/calls to you?

    I admit that the depictions of Aztec and Mayan deities makes them somewhat inaccessible to me, as well.

    Hope you get rain soon.

  2. Chas Clifton says:

    Close reading Craig Childs’ House of Rain made me realize that the cult of Tlaloc — under whatever name — was ancient and extended from southwestern Colorado down into Mesoamerica.

    Now, technically, I live in “southern” and not “southwestern” Colorado. In other words, I’m on the eastern side of the Continental Divide and a couple of hundred miles north from the nearest historic pueblo, which would be Pecos.

    Nevertheless, in a sort of eco-religious way, this feels like Tlaloc’s country too. We are in the same hydrological regime, after all. I have spent countless hours cleaning irrigation ditches with a shovel or tracking thunderstorms on the NOAA radar, hoping to persuade them to move over my property.

    So it’s time to give Tlaloc more attention. I have more posts planned on the subject.