Twenty-two ton sculpture of Chalchiuitlicue unearthed at Teotihuacan

The Pyramid of the Moon was built in Teotihuacán, the largest city in Mesoamerica with over 100,000 residents, to honor Chalchiutlicue the Rain Goddess . (Chal-chee-oot-lee’- qway) Her monolithic statue was found buried beneath the pyramid.  Chalchiuitlicue’s brother (or spouse) was Tlaloc, and  her son was the Moon God. She was associated with serpents, shells, and maize and was petitioned for the all-important agricultural and rain cycles.

In honor of the Rains coming last night a full month early, I honor this Goddess of water, rivers, seas, streams, storms, and childbirth.

From Wikipedia:
Chalchiutlicue was held to be the guardian of the children and new born…After cutting the umbilical cord, the midwife would wash the new baby with customary greeting to the goddess of the sea Chalchiutlicue. Four days after the birth, the child was given a second bath and a name.  After of the rising of the sun the midwife would place a bowl of water in the middle of the patio and hold the naked child with both hands, saying, “My child, take then this water, which will protect you life, in the name of the goddess Chalchiutlicue.” Then with her right hand she would sprinkle water at the head of the child and say, “Behold this element without whose assistance no mortal being can survive.” She also would sprinkle water on the breast of the baby saying, “Receive this celestial water that washes impurity from your heart.” Then she would go again to the head and say, “Receive this divine water, which must be drunk that all may live, that it may wash you and wash away all your misfortunes, this water which  in truth has power to oppose misfortune.” At the end, she would wash the entire body of the little baby, “In which part of you is unhappiness hidden? Or in which part are you hiding? Leave this child, today, she is born again in the healthful waters in which she has been bathed, as mandated, by the will of the god of the sea, Chalchiutlicue.

Chalchiuitlicue! Your story is an earlier version of our own Lake Chapala Goddess, Teo-Michi-Cihualli, portrayed in the stunning mural by Jesus Lopez Vega in the Ajijic Cultural Center. Goddess of Rain and all Waters, by all your names I honor you! I go this day to the shore of Lake Chapala, and humbly ask to receive the Baptism of your Blessing. Renew me, Rain Goddess, renew our thirsty earth.





When once the dust of Mexico has settled upon your heart, you cannot then find peace in any other land. Neill James, lesbian writer/adventurer/ philanthropist penned this in her 1944 travel book, Dust on My Heart. She was on a supposed six-month tour of Mexico, writing the fourth of her books in the “Petticoat Vagabond” series about her adventures in cultures around the world. Little did she know that she would spend the next fifty years in the small, mountain village of Ajijic until her death at the age of ninety-nine. Her residence on Lake Chapala, was donated to the Lake Chapala Society and became a hub serving Lakeside foreigners as well as the Mexican community for more than fifty years.

Here is the first paragraph of Neill James’ Dust on My Heart:

I am by instinct, a global vagabond. I cannot rest from travel. Glamour of the unknown has lured me thrice up and down and around the world. Alone, I have shared the home life of peoples in extremes of latitudes, longitudes and altitudes. I have tented on arctic snows beneath the Northern Lights with fur-clad Laplanders who follow the reindeer, have supped with gentle Fiji Islanders, and tattooed Maoris, and have breakfasted on seaweed in the grass huts of the Ainu. I have worshipped in a Malay Snake Temple at sea level and joined Buddhists at prayer on lofty Fujiyama. Restrictions imposed by a world at war (WWII) foreshortened my horizon, and guided my eager footsteps south to Mexico. 

She was much-maligned (a single woman, ah ha! and a writer! must be crazy, a prevaricator at the least! cantankerous! a provocateur!). She was a mystery woman, much-praised and most probably a US intelligence agent. Most of all, she was her own woman. A year ago, a blogpost of mine called Female and Fearless spoke of women writers before me here in Ajijic, and included my beginning glimpse of Neill James.

Since then, I have heard some first-hand stories of her ferocious way of life. I am glad to have a sense of her that sees past the sanitized and sainted version recalling only her splendid philanthropy. She was an inventive woman, belonging to herself, a person who was whole. And women becoming whole shift the planet’s paradigm.


Books by Neill James, 1885-1994:

Dust on My Heart:Petticoat Vagabond in Mexico
Petticoat Vagabond In Ainu Land
Petticoat Vagabonds Up and Down The World in Asia
White Reindeer
Atlantic Rendezvous
Penkerth, Journey’s End

Southwest Wind Upon My Face

photography by Susa Silvermarie
Egret Meditation

In the distance, Lake Chapala’s
a silky sheen of white
all the way to Mount García;
but near the shore, her surface
is worried by waves from the south and the west—
El Colimote blows today.

And in this dawn, not seen before,
which will never come again,
waning moon still makes
shining diamonds on the water.
Pelicans sail with regal grace,
and egrets blinding white,
fly low,
kissing the lake good day.

photography by Susa Silvermarie

Having cast his net, a fisherman
stands in his boat
suspended between
brightening sky and the lake’s patina.

Waves repeat white music
and carry my meditation
aloft to the rising sun.
Their ripples, caressing the rocks,
nearly reach my feet with their refrain.

My vision blurs to wider focus.
I gaze at something almost seen
through the gauzy veil of beauty.
All the wind, and light, and music
sudden seem to cease—

photography by Susa SilvermarieThen I know, when it is time
for me to leave for larger realms,
I’ll thrust myself with birthing joy
and swelling gratitude for earth as well;
for mornings clothed in glory
and beings dressed in bodies;
for fisherman and waning moon,
and pelicans in white.
And for the queenly touch
of southwest wind upon my face.

©Susa Silvermarie 2018