Toxcatl Massacre

On May 10, 1520, the people of Tenochtitlan were honoring the festival of Toxcatl –the time when things dry in May. Despite the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores, peace was agreed upon in order to commence the festival, which was celebrated with dances and offerings to Tezcatlipoca –the Smoky Mirror. Often confused for a war god, Tezcatlipoca is the power of our unconscious, the shadow parts of us. In honoring Tezcatlipoca we honor the spiritual warrior within, to no longer look for external enemies but begin to fight the enemies within ourselves so that we may be of better service to our communities.

In hearing the warring drum beats and the agile movements that was inspired in the dancers, the Spanish saw that the most prepared and strongest warriors were central to the dances as conch blowers, singers, musicians, speakers and keepers of the ceremony. Pedro de Alvarado and the rest of the outnumbered conquistadores decided then to attack the Tenochcas in the absence of Hernan Cortez, who was returning with more men and ammunition. The Spanish came in the temple with their swords and shields and secured all entrances:
Immediately, they surrounded those who danced, then rushed to the place where the drums were played. They attacked the man who was drumming and cut off both his arms. Then they cut off his head [with such a force] that it flew off, falling far away.

At that moment, they then attacked all the people, stabbing them, spearing them, wounding them with their swords. They struck some from behind, who fell instantly to the ground with their entrails hanging out [of their bodies]. They cut off the heads of some and smashed the heads of others into little pieces.

They struck others in the shoulders and tore their arms from their bodies. They struck some in the thighs and some in the calves. They slashed others in the abdomen and their entrails fell to the earth.

Some tried to escape, but the Spaniards murdered them at the gates while they laughed.
The blood of the warriors ran like water as they fled, forming pools, which widened, as the smell of blood and entrails fouled the air.

Then a roar was heard, screams, people wailed, as they beat their palms against their lips. Quickly the captains assembled, as if planned in advance, and carried their spears and shields. Then the battle began. [Broken Spears, Miguel Leon Portilla]

This was one of the first acts of genocide by the western hemisphere that birthed white supremacy through cultural violence. They literally began by attacking and slaying our cultural practices, akin to other experiences of peoples that have resisted conquest and colonization. The celebration of people’s culture is a threat to white supremacy and in order to maintain the guise of white supremacy through patriotism, these perceived threats of cultural expressions and traditions become the target of annihilation. In attempting to erase the story telling of cultural histories, the construction of white supremacy then creates conditions that justify the civilizing of the perceived “uncivil” as today politicians debate about legalizing the perceived “illegal”. Borders did not exist then as we know today because these constructions are recent to these lands. Today in Arizona and every else in the US, cultural violence is practiced by the laws that legalize such hateful supremacy. Less than two days after Jan Brewer [the governor of Arizona] passed SB 1070, HB 2281 passed to prohibit ethnic studies, making the firing of teachers with “accents” legal and prohibiting curriculum that “advocates ethnic solidarity.” And just as laws and bans against our traditions were resisted by our ancestors, we will continue to come together in solidarity with all peoples who fight to create another reality possible by following our dreams.


SM, occupied aztlan, 2007

[Toxcatl Massacre was originally recited over danza mexicayotl at a community town hall in response to the state repression of undocumented peoples in Arizona in 2010]


quantum mysteries

13CielosI am not a scientist and have no interest in becoming one. It is, however, important to me to understand some of the principles of science, namely quantum mechanics, at a lay-person’s level to make sense of the world in which I inhabit.

I practice earth-based spirituality, so as I read through articles and watch you tube videos of scientists making sense of the quantum world, I am not puzzled. Although the names of properties and equations does puzzle me, the principle of mystery and uncertainty does not.

I am sort of a balance between intuitive and a heavy materialist. That is an over simplification of how I take in information but it might help in understanding some of my lay interpretations of quantum theory. The most easy to understand documentary that I have watched has been a Nova doc called Fabric of the Cosmos. [I appreciate the analogies and the visual animation] Prior to my youtube surfing the only other background I have had in physics was in high school, which I think I passed with a D because I just couldn’t really care about predicting things.

The interesting thing now as I re-examine this information is the difference between classical mechanics and quantum mechanics is certainty and uncertainty. In my h.s. class I was expected to determine and predict outcomes in nature. Solve equations and use formulas that I don’t know who discovered so you can get a definite outcome about something that seemed so trivial to me at time. What I appreciate about quantum theory is that it forces us to be humble about not knowing for certain any outcome because in truth there may be many possibilities.

So here’s my interpretation from the perspective of someone who believes we have a creator but doesn’t really have a book of stories about who or what that creator thinks because European Catholics came to our country and burned towers of our books. So as an artist and an intuitive materialist I use my imagination to take science and some of the surviving creation stories and philosophies to make some sense of my reality…

Light bodies– Light has a very distinct behavior in nature. Spiritually light is our spirit and is often used as a metaphor for life and wisdom. The daylight  nurtures us and the foods we eat. So light does play a special role in our daily living. In the development of quantum theory, unusual properties of lights surfaced when certain gases were heated. Distinct lines of colors were emitted in the process of heating gases some of which are found in deep space such as helium. One can then speculate and appreciate the beautiful vivid colors found by our Hubble telescope capturing dying nebulae and newborn stars. What fascinates scientists about the distinct lines of color is that they don’t present themselves in a spectrum, more typical in our everyday reality like a prism, glass or even a rainbow. It isn’t a blur of color that we see but defined colors, which they found were designs created by the electron’s behavior in that particular atom called quantum leaps.

Cellular Consciousness – The philosophies of my ancestors known as Mexicayotl describe a kinship with earth, animals, plants and all the elements and directions of creation. The philosophy is akin to that of various native tribes in the US. It isn’t just a romantic notion of being connected to the earth but a real one with consequence that I am referencing. Here is the fine line between so called “new age” thought and heavy materialism. And that’s a whole ‘nother post. But the point is that cutting through the structures of atoms provided for more uncertainty and more questions. Scientists were puzzled because they found that the particles were behaving differently when being observed. Measuring the particle’s behavior seemed to be changing the outcome of the experiments as if the particle was conscious that it was being looked at and giving the observer the behavior it expected. At the time of the double split experimentation we were taught particles were particles and particles wanted us to think that too. But as the experimentation was being conducted without observers yet still being recorded, scientist  were surprised to find particles were behaving differently than when viewed with a human eyeParticles were expected to pass a blocked passage except with two slits and leave a pattern on a sheet on the other side of the blocked passage. When viewed the electrons presented a pattern within the double slit. When the particle was not being viewed, the pattern on the other side of the slits began to present an interference pattern such that waves would display. I am fascinated for two reasonsOne reason is the fact that particles at a cellular level can choose to change its property and become waves and the second reason is that the particle also has the intelligence to not have wanted us humans to know about its conscious choice to shift its property. And so at an atomic level or subatomic level I think its safe to infer that perhaps particles of all kinds have some sort of intelligence or consciousness. It is sort of scary to think that just as I want to romantically think I am one with air, water and earth I must be also one with plastics, tar and technology and all its emr.

Synchronicity– The other pretty fantastic discovery of quantum physics is called  entanglement, which is when two particles become entangled if they are close together and their properties become linked so strongly that even when separated across space the particles can remain connected and continue to share information. And this doesn’t seem as foreign or scary to me because it’s something that I think I practice daily. It makes sense to me in the way that you connect with someone so strongly that when you miss each other you end up calling each other at the same time or start thinking about the other person at the same time and sometimes communicate in the dreamworld. It also makes sense to me in the way that when you want to learn about something or manifest something in your life you are so connected to materializing the desire that something stumbles on your path for you to take the opportunity to learn or manifest.

Shape-shifting – going back to the double slit experiment, we know that particles can choose to become waves and so at a quantum level there is a dual nature to these small intelligent things. That to me is shape-shifting at quantum level. And if a particle can do it I am sure if all the particles in our bodies all simultaneously manifested a shift in our property into let’s say a crow or an owl, it might happen. In fact, it is not uncommon for indigenous peoples and their descendants to dislike some birds like owls and crows for fear that they may be witchcraft/ brujeria. The interesting thing is that some scientists have “tele-ported” particles by entanglement with one rule as part of the protocol. When a particle is to be “teleported” the information of the particle is extracted and immediately sent to the place where the previous entangled particle while leaving the original completely destroyed. That is, if we were to be tele-ported then we would need to die. And so if you want to be a shape-shifter you must also be dead or I guess nonliving. Not my area of expertise.

Other worlds– one of the first things I learned in the university about my ancestry was that there were these separate worlds my ancestors defined. 13 levels of heavens, our reality which was termed tlalticpac and then below us was 9 levels of the underworld until you reach mictlan the place of the dead. It occurs to me that as some of the scientists begin to speculate on the existence of infinite possibilities occurring in one reality or in parallel realities or universes then maybe my ancestors were on to something about how our reality was truly just this reality and how real is this reality really? This sort of existentialist thinking is beautifully evidenced by a poet Nezahualcoyotl in this line “truly on earth does one live? not forever on earth only a little while here.”

Some of what I am taking away from these connections is that modern science is finding its way back to its origins of ancient alchemy only with much more sophisticated technology. The other take away is that the technology created to make sense of these mysteries in the end prove that there is yet more mysteries and uncertainty in the way we want to understand our reality. Which  leaves me with this assertion that the mystery of the creation and how we as a society are beginning to understand this reality of the unknown may have been understood by the previous generation of star-gazers, shape-shifters, artist and warriors. Maybe there something to these creation stories if only people would stop taking it literally and over identify our art, text and architecture as evidence of sacrifice and mutilation.