Ixchel is the greatest Mayan Goddess.Goddess of the Moon, Wife of the Sun and the High Deity of Reproduction, she is the deity of lovemaking, fertility, childbirth, weaving and healing.
She wears a snake on her forehead to signify that she is the Goddess of medicine and to symbolize intuitive knowledge.
She kneels because she is at a back strap loom weaving.
She is responsible for the formation of a baby in the mother's womb and deciding if a child will be male or female.
Some ask us–Ixchel is such an ancient goddess, why are you making her, how do we relate to her today, is anyone really connected to her?
Well, the answer is yes.
Ixchel comes to us–and then to you-- beause of the special connection that one person, Erin Maxwell, felt with her during her pregnancy.
Erin, a practioner of Maya Abdominal Massage has been to Ixchel’s Temple in Cozumel,and has a direct and deep connection with Ixchel who stood by her side through her childbirth experience. She asked us to make Her in chocolate to honor that connection, and to give as gifts to all those who helped her during a difficult childbirth. Ixchel’s connection to Erin to makes Her a living goddess ready to help any pregnant woman.
And each time Her chocolate image is given,the gift exchange becomes part of Erin’s healing.
She is a Goddess, but Her life was not easy.
One myth tells us that the Sun was her lover, but that her grandfather was very upset with this and he threw lightining at her out of jealousy. This bolt killed Ixchel, however her consots, the dragonflies, sang over her body for 183 days and when she awoke she immediately married the Sun King. Because of her great beauty, The Sun God soon also became jealous of Ixchel thinking that she was having an affair with the Morning Star, who was The Sun God’s brother. The Sun threw her out of heaven and then persuaded her back home, but soon after her return he became jealous again.
It is said that Ixchel became annoyed with the bahavior of the Sun and so she went off into the night and remained invisible whenever the Sun came around. At her new place in the night it is said that Ixchel spent the nights nursing women of Earth through their pregnancy, labor and birth.
Isla Mujeres is Her Sacred Island, her shrine is still standing.
Her power, thanks to Erin, is right before you.
The Mayans were the first to discover chocolate--
Theobroma Cacao--the Food of the Gods.
Did it ever occur to you that Mayan Mothers were the first ever to give their children hot chocolate when they came home from school?
The beautiful description that follows is from Merlin Stone's Book, Ancient Mirrors of Womahood.
Ix Chel, sacred silver disc of the darkened heavens, first woman of the world, graciously gifted the people of the Yucatan, Campeche and Guatamala, with the easing of childbirth and the knowledge of healing. Mother of all deities, it is She who causes the blood to gather so that it may flow with the passage of the month.
So powerful was Ix Chel that when it was the time of the Haiyococab, the flooding and remaking of the earth, it was She who sent forth the inundating waters. Some say that She sent great waves from the ocean that pounced upon the land and swallowed it,
while others tell of a giant earthen vessel whose contents She poured down from the skies-so that the earth could be cleansed, so that life could start anew.
Crowned with the feathers of an eagle, eagle feathers carefully woven in intricate design into Her heavenly throne, Ix Chel was known as Eagle Woman and eagles were seen as messengers of Her moon essence. From Her home in the heavens, Ix Chel watched a spider carefully as it spun its gossamer web and in this way gave birth to Ix Chebel Yax, She who later taught the knowledge of the weaving to the women of the earth. Thus they say it was the wisdom of the spider that gave us the ways of the loom and the spinning of the cotton, this knowledge brought to Guatamala by daughter Ix Chebel Yax who also taught how to blacken the cotton with carbon, how to redden the cotton with the rust of iron, how to purple the cotton with the fluid of the prized purpura shell.
Coming to the mats of those who were ill, Ix Chel would appear at their feet, invoked by the sacred smoke of copal and tobacco, bringing with Her the finely ground powder of crab, the slowly brewed broth of turkey, guava tips and the haaz papaya, the sap of the rubber tree and the honeymead balche to quench the thirst of fever. And all the while, as Ix Chel stood by the mat of the one who was ill, She held the reed cradle in Her arms, signifying Her power over life.
Among the Mayan people, the tale was told that in the very beginning of time the heavens were filled by two great lights-for at that time the moon was as bright as the sun. Ix Chel, glowing in all Her radiance, fascinated the sun so that he became determined to win Her love. To trick Her grandfather, who guarded Her jealously, the sun borrowed the body of a hummingbird and in this form, the sun flew to the home of the gracious shining Ix Chel. Upon the sun's arrival, he was welcomed by the Goddess with a drink of the honey of tobacco flowers but sitting there, sipping upon the cool drink, the hummingbird sun suddenly felt the sting of a clay pellet that had been sent with the force of a blow gun, piercing deep into his feathered side.
Who could have done such a thing but my grandfather, thought Ix Chel, as She carried the wounded bird to the privacy and safety of Her own room. There She nursed it gently until it could once more spread its wings and fly about the room. But caring for the wounded bird had aroused a tenderness within the Goddess, a feeling that She had never known before and when the sun
suggested that they fly off together, into the empty spaces of the great heavens, to escape the jealous grandfather-though somewhat reluctant, Ix Chel agreed.
Clear across the heaven flew the two luminous bodies. Finding a cedar log canoe, they slipped it into a marshy stream of heaven and began to paddle as fast as they could. But the jealous grandfather, bursting with rage, called upon Chac, he who controlled storm, to hurl a lightning bolt at the two who had defied him. In hope of some protection, Ix Chel jumped into the water and became a crab. The sun soon followed close behind Her, taking the form of a mottled turtle. But the strategy was to no avail as the lightning bolt aimed at Ix Chel found its target-and the Goddess lay dead in the slow moving waters of the reed filled stream of heaven.
The buzzing of heavenly dragonflies mourned hymns around Her body. Wings fluttered in ripples' of grief. But lamentation transformed into action when the dragonflies prepared thirteen hollow logs and for thirteen days they hovered about the dead Ix Chel-so many dragonflies that no one could see what was happening, not even the sun. On the thirteenth night the logs broke open. Out of twelve crawled the great and awesome snakes of heaven but from the thirteenth, Ix Chel emerged-once again alive and brilliant in Her regained wholeness. The sun was overjoyed and this time proposed marriage to which Ix Chel agreed. Thus the pair set up. their home in heaven, side by side.
But it was not long before there was trouble, for soon they had a constant visitor in their new home. The brother of the sun, the delicately beautiful Chac Noh Ek, stopped by all too often for the comfort of the sun, often lingering closer to the moon and quickly disappearing when the sun arrived. The sun grew hot with jealousy, accusing the radiant Ix Chel of encouraging his brother, accusing the glowing Ix Chel of succumbing to his brother's charms, finally accusing the Moon Goddess of making love with Chac Noh Ek. And refusing to listen to Her words of reply, in insanely jealous rage-the sun threw the moon down from the heavens!
Landing not far from the Lake of Atitlan, scarcely missing the peak of the nearby volcano, Ix Chel fell upon the grassy banks, Her frustration and hurt at unjust accusations changing to anger and defiance. Just at that moment a vulture came gliding down and landing close by, the vulture's compassion for the moon caused it to
offer Her a ride to the high mountain peaks where the vultures made their home. It was in this way that Ix Chel met the King of the Vultures and in Her sorrow and confusion accepted his offer to stay there with him as his lover.
But the sun soon learned that far from suffering, his wife was now well treated by the handsome black bird and in his jealousy, he grew even hotter-until he finally devised a scheme to find the vulture's nest. Hiding in the hide of a deer, the sun waited for a vulture to spot the carcass. Even sooner than he expected, vulture wings swooped down upon the deer, whereupon the jealous sun hopped upon the vulture's back-and so was taken to the summit where Ix Chel now lived.
Once there, the sun begged, he pleaded with Ix Chel, poured out apologies like drops of water in a flooding river, spoke perfect pictures of all they had experienced together to first become husband and wife. In even deeper confusion than before, Ix Chel bade the handsome vulture farewell and flew back into the heavens with the sun-to resume Her celestial throne beside him.
Hardly had She settled back into Her heavenly home, when again the sun grew hot with jealousy. Angrily, he shouted at Ix Chel, 'Why do you move so close to Chac Noh Ek? Why do you allow Zinaan Ek to brush against you and why do you stay in the house of the Tzab? Everyone sees you embrace them before you part. How can I call myself your husband and still keep my pride before all the others of heaven? It is true that you are beautiful, lustrous and radiant, wise and gentle, but if I cannot have you for my own, no one else will have you as you ,are!' Thus shouting and raging, the sun began to beat his wife, trying to destroy the beauty of Her being, to scar Her so badly, no other would want Her. Ix Chel stood firm with defiance as the blows fell upon Her. But as Her brilliance dimmed with the severe assault, Her will inside grew stronger-until, finally, with an anger of Her own, She flew off into
Never again did She marry another, though many offered
marriage as She passed by. 'The sun is my husband', She would say, though She quickly disappeared whenever he arrived. Wandering alone in the dark night sky, She thought about the women of the earth, those who paddled miles in small canoes to pray at Her shrine on Cozumel Island, those who asked for Her help, those who truly needed Her, those who had loved Her always. Thus among the many gifts of knowledge that Ix Chel gave to the women who knew Her best at Cozumel, was Her example that a woman must be free to come and go as she pleases-just as Ix Chel comes and goes, even disappearing for days at a time. But women trust that Ix Chel will return, for no matter how often She leaves, She soon reappears in the night time sky, Her image most brilliantly reflected in the waters that caress the shores of Cozumel.