Riding the Plumed Serpent

Quetzalcoatl. Mention that name and the plumed serpent comes to mind because that’s what Quetzalcoatl means. Along with many stories and interpretations of them. Quetzalcoatl has arrived, for all intents and purposes, as the next salvation myth. Creator sky god, bringer of peace and harmony, representative of good and light. Bridge between heaven and earth, priest of learning and knowledge. Symbol of authority. Heck, I even found a Wikipedia link that actually says, Some Mormon scholars believe that Quetzalcoatl, who has been described as a white, bearded god who came from the sky and promised to return, was actually Jesus Christ. Whatever gets you through the night.

On my recent journey to the Yucatan I became inspired to do a piece of artwork that incorporates the plumed serpent. I’ve been sitting with the image in my mind for some time because what I saw does not look like the interpreted art that has been created. In fact, I don’t even know if I will be able to draw the image shown to me because it is so abstract.

So I queried the plumed serpent to try to get to the deeper meaning, to bring some clarity to what I perceived. Why does Quetzacoatl look like a feathered bird with a snakelike body? Or, in some depictions, like a warrior with a feathered head dress and snakes coming out? I guess it is another attempt to embody or commercialize and endorse that which cannot be seen.

The Nahuatl translation of the word quetzal is plumed bird and coatl means snake or serpent. What I found was that the word quetzal in Mesoamerican language means precious or sacred and the original meaning of the word coatl means not available. This to me most likely represents the pure energy that was perceived by a person long ago who was gifted with the senses most of us have lost or never attained. There were no words to explain what was potentially one person’s tale of transcending the restrictions of human form and taking an abstract flight. Riding the precious, sacred energy of that which cannot be named.

It’s a story, I tell myself. Everything is a story, most of which have become diluted by interpretation, the need to understand and rationalize and fit into a mold, a form that can be represented, defended and sold to anyone who would buy into it, just like many other stories and mythological deities and idols. Recapitulate it all! As warriors, we cannot become these stories or attempt to create ourselves as these deities, even in energetic form for it only leads to fixating our assemblage points. Recapitulate it all (oh, did I already say that?)

I am finding that I have to shut-up even more or at least choose my words very carefully to ensure that I am not liable for trapping anyone’s attention. There is no way that any of us can truly explain our abstract experience and be understood. It just really can’t happen because personal experience is very unique and individual. Many thanks to the plumed serpent for appearing as it did, urging me to understand on a deeper level so I may continue this beautiful, abstract ride into freedom.

We don’t have to do anything except dance along the lines of awareness, merging with utter fluidity in the space of no-mind, no-words, no fixating, no need to explain. Just flowing along as energy, witnessing energy, just being energy…traveling and traversing the pathway as it unfolds before us.

and the only worthwhile challenge for me is to traverse its full length. And there I travel—looking, looking, breathlessly. ~ don Juan Matus

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