Sacred Icon- The Virgin of Guadalupe

25 Sep image

The Virgin of Guadalupe (Mary, Mother of Jesus) is the most revered and familiar image in Mexico. She may be single-handedly responsible for the conversion of Mexico to Catholicism. Devotion to Guadalupe is widespread and overshadows all other saints and even Jesus. So how did she come to grace the walls of our home? (House Full Of Goddesses)

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Brought with us from Texas, this statue replaced a gift from my mother that was stolen out of our yard on Mother’s Day, no lie. The grotto is at the head of the stairs to our front entrance.

As my interest in the sacred feminine unfolded in the nineties, it was not a stretch to see Mary as the modern-day Goddess. My Catholic roots played a significant influence and somehow (to my mother’s delight) this wayward church going girl began acquiring images of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

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My sister-in-law, hearing of the theft of our statue, sent this Guadalupe. She has her own niche in our living room. Hindu goddess touch mine.

Things snowballed from there and Guadalupe moved in.

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I found this print at a thrift store in Texas. She graces our bedroom.

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Painted by my friend Cat Thompson and badly needing a frame.

There are numerous smaller images throughout the house, each with its own story. The most spectacular is the carved, wooden relief that we found in a bazaar in Villadolid during our travels prior to the completion of the house. (Show And Tell Art Purchases)

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All the seller could tell us was that the piece had hung in his home many years and was carved by a man from northern Yucatan.

She was purchased without thought as to where she would hang or if the colors would match, etc. It was purely a gut, “gotta have it” response. The carving was wrapped in newspaper and cardboard and stored until the house was complete.

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She clearly needed a place of prominence.

When we brought the relief out of storage and placed her on the wall, it was an emotional moment. It appeared as if the room were designed for her by her. I believe Spirit moves in many ways. Our home is holy ground on the shore of a sacred lake. We are so blessed. DOS TORTAS

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A House Full Of Goddesses

18 Sep image

After spending my junior year attending college in Mexico (In The Beginning), I became enamored of goddesses. It was clear that they played an important role in Mesoamerica. They were the bringers of rain, corn and yes, babies.

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Coatlique – Aztec mother of the gods. (Stock foto) This is an immense statue I visited in 1973 at the Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City.

In the nineties  Lisa and I visited Isla Mujeres, the Island of Women, off the coast of Cancun and the site of worship to the goddess Ixcel (E shell). Young Mayan women travelled by canoe to ask for her blessing in pregnancy and childbirth.

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The site of the temple on a great cliff overlooking the Caribbean.

In 2014, while on our honeymoon, we went to Cozumel and the temple of Ixcel to petition on behalf of our daughter, who now has a beautiful son. The temple was a pilgrimage site, sanctuary, and school of midwifery for the ancients. (Home Sweet Home Bacalar MX)

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Our lovely daughter carries son Max on a trip to New Orleans

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The goddess Ixcel carrying her youngster sits on our kitchen counter in Bacalar.

Our art collection has grown during our travels (Show And Tell Art Purchases) and filled our house with goddesses.

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A high born Mayan woman holding an obsidian mirror. The original is quite diminutive.

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You needed a goddess on your side when birthing in ancient times.

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The goddess of sexual indiscretions. And I thought she was the goddess of weaving haha.

Painted by our friend Jo Mann.

Our history rarely includes herstory. Goddess images are labeled fertility icons, as if that is all women are concerned with. On every continent, strong, powerful images of women have been uncovered. It’s fun to invite some of them to share our home.

DOS TORTAS

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In The Beginning

11 Sep image

Arriving in Mexico in September 1973, forty-three years ago, as an international student, was an exciting time for this budding Torta. My first three weeks of class at the Universidad de las Américas in Central Mexico were terrifying, exciting and overwhelming all wrapped into one. We found housing and went to work in a three-week immersion program to learn about our new digs. 

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Students from all over the country arrived in Mexico City and headed for the green university bus.

Week One was the study of ancient Mexico, art, people and history. Field trips to pyramids, museums and names like Aztec, Olmec, Toltec and Mayan filled my head and dreams. It was a lot to take in.

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Giant Olmec head. Vera Cruz.

Olmec

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Teotihuacan outside Mexico City September 1973

Week Two was Colonial Mexico. We visited churches, talked revolution and looked at the impact of Catholicism on the Mexican people. Having been raised Catholic, I was intrigued by the devout faith and religious iconography, especially the Virgin of Guadalupe. (More about that in a future blog).

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The pyramid of Cholula with a church on top.

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The same church today. (Stock photo)

Week Three covered modern day Mexico, government, political system and recent history. We were busy from morning until night visiting mercados, villages and of course drinking cerveza.

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The Cholula market.

It was an exciting time. I fell totally, madly in love with Mexico and its people. It’s why we live here today. DOS TORTAS

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Don’t Battle The Ants

4 Sep image

If you have never read 100 Years of Solitude (Cien Años de Soledad) by Colombian Nobel Prize winning author Gabriel García Márquez (1967), you have missed a magical story that takes place in the remote village of Macondo, in the jungle of the Columbian rainforest. It is one of the best books ever written. Seriously.

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I first read 100 Years of Solitude as an international student in Mexico in the seventies. It had just been translated into English. It is a tale of seven generations of the Buendía family who among other things, have the habit of naming their children variations of the same names. It’s enough to make your head spin trying to keep track of the various players.

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Hibiscus also known here as tulipani.

Eventually I gave up trying to follow who’s who and found that it made little difference. I would never give away the ending other than to say it involves ants.

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The video would not upload.

In the jungle a battle with the ants is a battle you will loose. There’s more of them than us and they never quit. No matter how clean your house, they will scurry across the kitchen counter looking for a nibble or a bug to carry off.

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Volunteer papaya tree growing out of the compost pile.

This week I was sitting on the couch and twice found an ant on my leg. I looked up to see a highway of ants coming from under the dog crate. What the…!!

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Bird of paradise blooming this morning.

They show up quickly having decided that something I thought was mine is really theirs. It’s a wonder they haven’t made off with the dog! Time to get out the trusty vacuum cleaner. The best I can hope for is to discourage them. So far, it’s not working.

DOS TORTAS

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Bark Sniff Poo Repeat

28 Aug image

The exercise, entertainment and care of Princesa Luna requires daily forays into the mosquitoey jungle. We clothe our bodies head to foot and douse in repellant, especially at dawn and dusk. I don’t think she appreciates us.

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The lane in front of our property.

This week I brought my camera along. Taking a picture with a dog dragging me along does not lend itself to the best shots.

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There are always flowers blooming. Watch the sharp points on the leaves. Ouch.

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Luna knows the way.

The path is surprisingly refreshing as the hot sun does not penetrate the jungle canopy.

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Why did the tarantula cross the road?

Luna is so curious about everything. This tarantula would not hang around to play.

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Lovely green wall.

There is an open property up the way where Luna and I run and play. I lust after cuttings of this cactus. I must return with my machete, gloves and NO dog.

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The jungle is also home to these amazing blue butterflies. They are the size of your palm and impossible to photograph.

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She doesn’t look one bit guilty. Maybe a little.

If it weren’t for Luna insisting that we go for a walk, several times a day, we would miss so many amazing things. We have seen fox, coatis, parrots and more. I guess life  in the jungle is a dog’s paradise. Ours’ too. DOS TORTAS

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Sailing The Laguna

21 Aug image

Living in the southernmost part of Mexico does not lend itself to many visitors. The little village of Bacalar where we live is a five-hour bus ride south of Cancun, nestled along the coast of one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Add to that the fear of Mexico that is actively promoted and it is no wonder why people choose to vacation in Costa Rica, the Bahamas or a cruise to anywhere.

This past week, our friend Karen who lives in Tulum, jumped on a bus to escape the deep jungle heat where monkeys fly through the trees, to hang out with Dos Tortas and enjoy lake breezes.

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As always, having a guest is a good excuse to do something we’ve been putting off for forever…like going for a sail with our neighbors Teresa and Paul.

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Climbing aboard the Gabriela.

It was the first time my MIL had ever sailed and she had a blast on our three-hour tour.

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Lisa and her mom

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Eco Lodge Kuunich Kaanil.

Kuunich Kaanil

 

It’s been on and off raining and threatening to rain. The weather cooperated to give us enough wind and not too much sun. A fabulous time was had by all.

DOS TORTAS 

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On Laguna Bacalar starts the sky.

 

A Matter Of Perspective

14 Aug image

A year ago we were up to our eyeballs in the construction of our house in Bacalar, Mexico, a small town near the southern border of Mexico and Belize. We had bought lakeside property in 2012 and then returned to our home in Austin, Texas to turn our lives upside down and retire to Mexico. Eight months later we kicked off the Adventures of Dos Tortas. And what an adventure it’s been!

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Our bright functional beautiful kitchen today.

 

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The floors were newly painted. Sept 16, 2015

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Building the center island. Lots of sanding. Aug. 24, 2015

Our followers can’t seem to get enough pictures of our house, so I thought I’d post some before, during and after photos. It gives us perspective on how far we’ve come. Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.

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Counter on the east wall. This morning.

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One year ago.

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Pantry off the kitchen. During and after.

Here are a few more pictures. Some days we have to pinch ourselves.

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The mistress bathroom. 

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Guest Bath. Building a stub wall.

Pictures of the outside will be in a future post. Thanks for this little walk down memory lane. As you can see, we’ve come a long way baby. DOS TORTAS

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Preparing For Our First Hurricane

7 Aug image

As The Tortas approach three years of retirement on Laguna Bacalar in Southern Mexico, our first hurricane was predicted to arrive Wednesday evening with up to 75 mph winds and twelve inches of rain. We live about thirty miles as the crow flies from the Caribbean, separated by water and mangroves and not much else. As with all hurricanes, much depends on their direction and intensity. We watched the sky and prepared for the worst.

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A Beautiful Day For A Hurricane

We hired workers to help us prepare. They cut dead branches, put away outdoor plants and furniture, tied up the kayaks and set sand bags in place. Our concern was for water barreling down the hill toward the house, if we got the foot of rain that was predicted.

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Machetes Were Flying Trimming Trees

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Plants Off The Roof and Kayaks Secure

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Reinforcing the Dock

As predicted the rain started late Wednesday afternoon. And then it stopped. We waited. Everything we could do was done, so it was time for the TORTAS first ever hurricane party!

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Dinner, Dominos and Drinks with Neighbors

During the night Earl turned south and took the brunt of its damage to Belize. Lisa slept through the wind which was hardly more than any tropical storm that blows through Bacalar. We had several heavy showers over the next few days, and that was all. Almost disappointing.

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The Islands Of Belize Were Not So Lucky

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Thursday morning with intense skies and waves.

While we are grateful for the lack of damage we received, we are much more aware of the amount of work it takes to be prepared. In the future, a generator, hurricane shutters and improved drainage could cut the time in half. Lesson learned.

DOS TORTAS

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Don’t Pour Gasoline

31 Jul image

I try to keep my life chill. When a problem arises, too often the pull is to pour gasoline rather then step away from the ledge. I make problems bigger and scarier rather than talking them down. This week I had the ultimate test of my resolve…a car accident.

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Pulling out of our drive in Austin, Texas

The Tortas drive a large Ford F-150 truck that was perfect for hauling our possessions to Mexico but does not work well maneuvering in a small town like Bacalar.

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A busy mercado with limited parking.

During a quick stop at the mercado to pick up some veggies for dinner, I found a taxi double parked in front of my little fruteria and leaving me little room to maneuver. I squeezed through but did not leave enough room to pass the car parked on my right. I clipped the bumper and tore it off completely. My stomach began to flip flop and I was in a panic before I even got out of the truck. We all know what’s it’s like having a car accident, not fun at best and a complete life-altering disaster at worst.

A man and his wife and adult son emerged from an older sedan.  They circled the car, pointing out damage and shaking their heads. My fear was that they would call the police. It’s not that I’m afraid of the police, but the more people that get involved, the higher the price goes.

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Local police.

I didn’t know what to do. They began discussing mechanics. I was pouring gasoline.

When I asked what they wanted to settle things, the man meekly asked for two thousand pesos which I did not have and was an outrageous price. I pulled a 500 peso bill from my wallet and offered it as compensation ($30us). The woman looked me in the eye and said, “we’ll take it”. I handed her the money and we shook hands. When I came out of the store, they were gone. To put this in perspective, most laborers make about 250 pesos a day for hard manual labor.

It took me hours to get the adrenaline out of my system. How often do I create problems where there are none, but there “could be”? Valuable lessons were learned, among them, always deal with the woman. DOS TORTAS

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A Day In The Life

24 Jul image

Living on Laguna Bacalar, three kilometers (2 miles) from the pueblo of Bacalar makes for a vida muy tranquilo

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We didn’t know about the magnificent sunrises when we moved here.

Up with the sun about six thirty. Lisa starts the day making coffee while Luna and I walk down to the dock to photograph the sunrise. It’s been our ritual since she was a puppy. She waits at the back door impatiently every morning.

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We watch the fish, listen to the birds and watch the day come alive.

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Our rickety dock.

Meditation and exercise play a daily part of the routine. On this day it was an exercise video with Alice, Lisa’s mother. Luna likes to join in.

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On alternative days we’re off to the gym. This week we had a visit with blog follower Heather and son Jonathan. What a treat when people travel to Bacalar after reading the blog.

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A trip to the pirate fort and picture in front of the mural is a must when visiting Bacalar.

We visited shops featuring local art and sampled snow cones shaved from a block of ice right before our eyes. We had our choice of homemade tropical fruit toppings, pineapple, lime, tamarind, nance and more.

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Light and refreshing, not like the syrupy sweet snow cones we’re used to.

What day would be complete without a parade!

I’m not sure what the parade was for, but we never need a special reason to celebrate life in Bacalar. DOS TORTAS

Be sure to follow us on Pinterest and Instagram at dos_tortas.

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