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Mexican Spirituality and Motherhood

  • By: Fernando A. Ortiz & Christi Marie Ortiz
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Motherhood is intrinsically related to spirituality in the Mexican culture. Prior to the Spanish colonization, Mesoamerican cultures in Mexico conceived detailed mythologies recounting the experience of motherhood where mother goddesses played prominent roles. The image of the Great Mother in pre-Hispanic theology is commonly represented with snakes, a symbol of fertility.

One preeminent mother figure for the Aztecs was Coatlicue, usually depicted with a skirt of serpents and a necklace of skulls. She lived in a temple and adhered to a life of solitude and chastity. One day, while sweeping the temple, she became pregnant by a ball of celestial feathers that landed on her bosom. She gave birth to the Sun god and was considered the Aztec mother of all the gods. This mythical experience ...

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