Barry Spector's Blog – December 2014 Archive (6)

Barry’s Blog # 120: A Truce for Christmas

A Truce for Christmas

This past summer marked the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, or “The Great War.” Within two months, it had devolved into the stalemate we know as trench warfare. The opposing forces established a line along the Western Front extending from the English Channel to the Swiss border that would not fundamentally change for the next four years.

The armies settled into a perpetual clash under the most barbaric and…


Added by Barry Spector on December 22, 2014 at 11:58am — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 119: The Prince of Flowers

Walking through the Aztec hall of the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Mexico City, the visitor notices that so many of the sculptures depict the gods of war and evoke the terrifying vision of human sacrifice. Indeed, these deities are the mythic images that represent the values of a society devoted to…


Added by Barry Spector on December 16, 2014 at 4:00pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 118: Mexico’s Mother Goddess, Part Four of Four


Sixty years after the conquest Fray Diego Durán complained:

These wretched Indians…On one hand they believe in God, and on the other they worship idols. They practice their ancient superstitions and rites and mix one with the other… They sing these things when there is no one around who understands, but, as soon as a person appears who might understand, they change their tune and sing the song made up for Saint…


Added by Barry Spector on December 11, 2014 at 10:54am — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 117: Mexico’s Mother Goddess, Part Three of Four

Standing today in the Museo Nacional de Antropología, Coatlicue astonishes us first by her sheer size. The colossal statue is some three meters high and 1.5 meter broad. It weighs somewhere between two and ten tons (significantly, even the academics can’t agree). Then, emotions arise in the viewer: one observer might be amazed at the sculptural craftsmanship, while another might be repulsed at the violent images that configure her body, because we stare at the goddess in her most…


Added by Barry Spector on December 7, 2014 at 2:33pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 116: Mexico’s Mother Goddess, Part Two of Three

PART TWO: History of a Statue

A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within – Historian Will Durant

The complex notion of sacrifice invites us into the terrible reality of Mexico that the conquistador Hernán Cortés and his men encountered.

On one level, the Sun God Huitzilopochtli symbolized the creative, regenerative power of the world of the spirit. Sacrifices to him were necessary to provide the…


Added by Barry Spector on December 4, 2014 at 4:46pm — No Comments

Barry’s Blog # 115: Mexico’s Mother Goddess, Part One of Three

Part One: Mythology and Ritual of the Goddess and Her Son

Coatlicue (kwat-LEEK-ay) was the Great Mother Goddess of the Aztecs (or Mexica, as they called themselves). She gave birth to the moon, the stars and the sun.

Coatlicue maintained the shrine on the top of the legendary sacred mountain Coatepec (Snake Mountain). One day, as she was sweeping, a ball of feathers descended from the heavens, and when she tucked it into her belt it miraculously…


Added by Barry Spector on December 3, 2014 at 4:05pm — No Comments

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