Balancing Motherhood & My Creative Calling by Ramona Snow Teo

Goddess, Goddesses of the Americas, Mesoamerican Goddesses, Mexico, The Jade Oracle

 toci tonantzi‌

Balancing Motherhood & My Creative Calling by Ramona Snow Teo : Illustrating The Jade Oracle Deck & Raising Two Babies

I’ve always had a strong driving force in me, calling me to create. As a child I loved to draw, color, make clothes for my barbies, and build houses for my pet snails. In grade school, I always went above and beyond expectations to create unique and intricate art projects. My entrepreneurial spirit developed at an early age when I started making holiday greeting cards and bookmarks and selling them to my friends and family. I’ve always known I was an artist.

 Unlike other young girls, I didn’t play with baby dolls or envision myself one day growing up to be a mother. In fact I never really pictured myself having children of my own. I wasn’t against it, but it just wasn’t something I had given a lot of thought to. But life is full of unexpected twists and turns, and here I am now – 30 years old with two gorgeous little people to call my own. Zena is almost 2 and a half now and Rafael just turned one. I am blessed each day as I experience their young lives unfold. And it is a gift to witness myself stepping into this new role called “mother”.

 Although I never thought I’d be a mother, now that this is my life it generally feels quite natural. My own early childhood memories are finding their way back to the surface and there is a familiarity to the day to day interactions with my children. Changing diapers gives me a strange sense of déjà vu as I flash back to being a baby myself. Nursing, feeding, and bathing my little ones all feels like it is ingrained in my DNA, despite my lack of preparation for this stage of my life.  And that thing they call “motherly love” – that unconditional, deep, warm and nurturing sea of love… it is a real thing. It explodes into existence at the moment that little baby pops out into the world. I love them so much.

 I am beginning to get into the groove with this motherhood thing now. And it’s become glaringly obvious that my impulse as an artist has not subsided. There is still a burning in me that yearns to create, to make with my hands, to express with line and color, to bring my internal visions to life for others to see. I wonder if it is too soon, if I am being selfish, if I should simply focus on the children and put my other projects on the backburner until they are older. Or is it actually detrimental to all of us if I stifle my passions? I want my kids to learn how to live fully and follow their dreams. So I need to embody that and be their role model. It is a delicate balance. Of course I don’t wish to neglect my children. I want to give them the greatest care and attention they need. I also want to pursue my creative calling. I believe it doesn’t have to be either/or. I believe with patience and care I can do both!

Ramona and babies

Zena, Ramona and Rafael

 Last spring, when Zena was one and a half and Rafael was just three months old, I was invited to be a part of one of the most exciting creative projects of my life. Anne Key & Veronica Iglesias asked me to be the illustrator of The Jade Oracle Deck: Deities & Symbols of Ancient Mexico. They needed 52 original drawings based on Aztec mythology, culture and history. I knew this project was meant to be for me. I had spent my university years studying Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican Art & Art History and had a deep fascination and love for the culture already. And I had always wanted to make a tarot or oracle deck. Coincidentally, I was already working on a painting of the Aztec goddess Tonantzin “The Great Mother”.

 The invitation was too good to be true and I just couldn’t turn it down. Part of me was worried though. How would I do it? How would I find the time when I have these babies on me 24/7? Could I really pull this off? But the creative spark had ignited and was rapidly catching fire. The excitement bubbled inside of me as I thought about the project and I was bursting with great ideas for how to make it work. I felt that if I declined the opportunity or asked to postpone it until my life would be a better fit…. I’d miss the chance. The wave of inspiration would pass, the spark would die out, it would be hard to pick back up again months or years later. For me, that creative wave comes once and I have to grab it and ride it out. So I went for it!

 Thankfully, we completed the project. It took about 7 challenging months to fully manifest the deck and it came out beautifully. It nearly took everything out of me, but I don’t regret it for a minute. Each day I nursed, changed diapers, cooked, cleaned and snuggled with my babies all day, and I worked almost every night while they slept from about 10pm to 1am. I hardly slept, but that’s sort of how it is in the first years of parenting anyway. Bit by bit, I chipped away at this creation and gradually it came into being. Looking back, I am blown away that The Jade Oracle deck actually manifested and my kiddos are still healthy and happy.

 In summary, I feel there are three pieces of advice I have for others who are following their passions while balancing family life.

 First, family comes first. The basic needs, love and affection of your loved ones are truly the most important. But there are many hours in the day, days in the week and weeks in the year. There is time for more if you are feeling called to do more.

 My second piece of advice is to grab the wave of inspiration when it comes! When opportunity knocks, don’t be afraid to answer the call. There is always a way to make it work. Follow that spark of inspiration and see where it leads you.

 My third suggestion is to maintain momentum. Even if you can only spare 15 minutes per day to work on your dream project, do it! Keep the ball rolling. You’d be surprised over time how much you can accomplish by piecing it together in small increments. So keep moving forward, and you will get there! And it will be so rewarding.

 Working on The Jade Oracle has been one of the most deeply fulfilling experiences of my life. I thrive off of creative collaboration and I’m so glad that I allowed myself to follow that calling. Whatever your calling is, I hope you will follow yours too!

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For a Free Download of the artwork for Toci Tonantzin of The Jade Oracle, click here.

 Ramona Snow Teo was born and raised in New Mexico, “The Land of Enchantment” where the diverse culture and thriving arts community has inspired her to explore her creative calling. She earned her Bachelor of Art’s Degree at the University of New Mexico in the Cinematic Arts Department with a focus on Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican Art & History. Her passions include painting, drawing, clothing design, jewelry making, graphic design, experimental filmmaking and belly dance. Always the creative entrepreneur, Ramona started Guerrilla Graphix (original art t-shirts, custom design and printing services) with her father in 2008 and Divine Nature Arts (her personal brand of clothing, jewelry & sacred art) in 2015. A constant theme in Ramona’s artwork is sacred geometry and the mandala. In 2015 she became a certified Mandala Facilitator and guides workshops on healing with mandalas. In 2017 she completed the illustrations for The Jade Oracle Deck: Deities & Symbols of Ancient Mexico. Ramona is currently a stay at home mother of two (Zena, 11/5/15 and Rafael 2/1/17) and vends her art at festivals and the local farmers markets on the weekends.

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3.5x5.75x56pcs      Special Introductory price for the Jade Oracle deck:
$45 until May 5th 2018 (Cinco de Mayo)
! Find out more and purchase here.

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The Jade Oracle: Bringing the Wisdom of Ancient Mexico to a New Generation

Divine, Goddess, Goddesses of the Americas, Mesoamerican Goddesses, Mexico, Priestess, ritual, Women

“These images would make an amazing oracle deck.” We heard this phrase over and over after our presentations on the Goddesses from ancient Mexico. But moments after the first time it was uttered, we, Veronica Iglesias and Anne Key, knew that this would be a beautiful way to connect people to the deities and customs of a culture that we have given our lives to studying and practicing, a culture that is often misunderstand and little known outside of academic circles and initiates. IMG_0964

The sacred images of ancient Mexican deities are very different than the sacred images of European culture, which we in American – and even Mexico – are far more accustomed to seeing. Instead of a smiling saint in flowing robes, these images have unfamiliar symbols – green feathers, skulls, snakes, nose ornaments – and unfamiliar names: Xochiquetzal, Huitzilopochtli, Tecuciztecatl for example. But these sacred images and names open the door to a profoundly magnificent culture that reveres the connection of the earth and Her inhabitants, that celebrates the small and grand cycles – that infuses ritual and attention to the sacred in daily life.

Both holding advanced degrees in Mesoamerican studies and practicing priestesses, we could translate the beliefs and culture to a new audience, writing a divinatory meaning for each card. But to create an oracle deck, this project needed a visionary artist to design images that were true to their heritage yet inviting to the modern eye, and at some moment we both realized the one artist that we wanted to work with: Ramona Teo. Renowned for her graphic design, murals, and fine art, she was a perfect match for this ambitious project.

Then the two became three, and the Jade Oracle birthed from an idea to reality. This is a story about the interwoven paths from the Northwestern US and Mexico City that converged in Albuquerque, bringing us together to make magic.

Hear the creators tell their story in their own words!

Like tarot cards, the Jade Oracle is a spiritual tool used for divination and introspection. The difference is they are not structured by traditional tarot suits. Each card brings a new form to a universal archetype, giving us a window to our soul, a new lens in which to see ourselves. We named this the Jade Oracle because exquisite green jade was one of the most sacred stones in ancient Mexico, as the color represented the teeming bounty of life. There will be 52 beautifully illustrated cards accompanied by a booklet that guides you through understanding the mythology and interpretations of the cards.

We feel that when we understand another culture, we understand ourselves in a deeper way and are one step closer to connecting with our global family and celebrating this magical land that we share. And for those of us with Mexican heritage, this is a path to understanding, and living, our lineage.

Group Pic crop

About the creators of the Jade Oracle:

Ramona Teo was born and raised in New Mexico, “The Land of Enchantment” where the diverse culture and thriving arts community has inspired her to explore her creative calling. She earned her Bachelor of Art’s Degree at the University of New Mexico in the Cinematic Arts Department with a focus on Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican Art & History.

Her passions include painting, drawing, clothing design, jewelry making, graphic design, experimental filmmaking and belly dance. Always the creative entrepreneur, Ramona started Guerrilla Graphix (original art t-shirts, custom design and printing services) in 2008 and Divine Nature Arts (her personal brand of clothing, jewelry & sacred art) in 2015. A constant theme in Ramona’s artwork is sacred geometry and the mandala. In 2015 she became a certified Mandala Facilitator and guides workshops on healing with mandalas.  Ramona is currently a stay at home mother of two (Zena, 11/5/15 and Rafael 2/1/17) and is in the process of illustrating The Jade Oracle Deck.

Maria Veronica Iglesias was born in Mexico City, Mexico. She has a Bachelor´s degree in Library Sciences and a Master´s Degree in Mesoamerican Studies from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (La Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico). Initiated as a sahumadora (bearer of the Sacred Sahumerio) when she was 8 years old, she studied about medicinal plants, crystal therapy and healing with gems. She was initiated in the sacred knowledge of Mesoamerican shamanism and became a Portadora de la Palabra, bearer of the Sacred Word. A Priestess of Ix´Cheel, the Mayan Goddess of Medicine, Veronica researches gem stones and their therapeutic use, Pre-Hispanic medicine, rites of passage and Goddesses from Mesoamerica and is co-founder and guide for Sacred Tours of Mexico.

Priestess, instructor, writer and dancer – Anne Key, Ph.D. has traveled, researched, and written about Mesoamerican culture since 1990; her dissertation investigated the pre-Hispanic divine women known as the Cihuateteo, and she is co-founder and guide for Sacred Tours of Mexico. She was Priestess of the Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, located in Nevada and has edited anthologies on women’s spirituality, priestesses, and Sekhmet as well as written two memoirs, Desert Priestess: a memoir and Burlesque, Yoga, Sex and Love. An adjunct faculty in Women’s Studies, English and Religious Studies, she is co-founder of the independent press Goddess Ink. Anne resides in Albuquerque with her husband, his two cats and her snake, Asherah.

Healing What I Did Not Realize Was Wounded: Part I

Goddess, Goddesses of the Americas, Mexico, Priestess, ritual

Sometimes I don’t even realize I am wounded. There have been many times in my life that I have known that I was wounded and sought healing from divine beings, and for those healings I am eternally grateful. But there have also been times when I was healed eventhough I didn’t even realize I was wounded, and the healing from such moments is truly exquisite grace. This happened on my last two visits to Mexico.

In the summer of 2016, Veronica Iglesias and I lead a tour to Mexico City. Part of this tour was visiting the lands and monuments to thirteen Nahua Goddesses. Veronica took us to a site that I had never visited before, Xochitecatl. From about 700 BCE to 900 CE, and even beyond into the Colonial Era (after 1697 CE), this beautiful ceremonial center was dedicated to women’s rituals, and the energy of the Goddesses Xochiquetzal and Chalchiuhtlicue infuses the land with beauty.

Though I have known of Xochiquetzal for many years, I did not consider myself a devotee. However, when I look over my life as a belly dancer, burlesque performer, priestess, feminist, academic, and general lover of flowers, colorful garments, jewelry, and all that brings beauty to the world, I can see Her touch in my life at every turn. That afternoon at Xochitecatl, She came to me and began a healing of what I had not even realized was wounded.

Lying on the grass in front of the Pyramid of the Flowers, Veronica lead a guided meditation. As often happens, I cannot remember a word of what she said. But I remember the moment I awoke in my mind’s eye, dressed for ceremony and part of a grand procession to the base of the steps of the pyramid. I looked down at my beautifully embroidered quechquemitl, and felt the rustle of feathers in my headdress. Heavy stone jewelry weighed on my neck and wrist. I looked up into the sun, watching it descend over the horizon of the snowcapped volcano, Matlalcueitl (La Malinche), Lady of the Blue Skirt.

As is the way with visions, I have memories of participating in ritual and ceremony, being undressed and washed and purified. But the most vivid moment was when Xochiquetzal appeared to me. I knelt before Her, naked. She very gently sang to me and laid me out on my back, my body held by each leaf of all of the plants underneath me. Then She wrapped me in white fibers, enfolding my entire being in a cocoon. I think I remember Her closing my eyes. What I remember most distinctly is falling into the embrace of deep rest.

When Veronica called us back, I was of course reluctant to return. But, as Michael Harner once told me, our job is to go and come back. So I returned to the present moment, still wrapped. And I stayed in that cocoon until a year later, when Xochiquetzal came to me again.

To visit Xochitecatl in person, join Sacred Tours of Mexico for a Women’s Retreat in the Heart of Mexico, Puebla and Cholula November 2017. For more about the sacred side of Mexico, join our Facebook group and sign up for our newsletter.

AwarIMG_6430d winning writer Anne Key is the co-founder of Sacred Tours of Mexico. She has been traveling and researching in Mexico since the late 1980’s. With a Ph.D. in Women’s Spirituality, Anne brings both her expertise and love to each tour. Her dissertation and articles on Mesoamerican Goddesses are frequently cited sources for their feminist focus. She is the author of two memoirs (Desert Priestess: a memoir and Burlesque, Yoga, Sex and Love: A Memoir of Life under the Albuquerque Sun), co-editor of Stepping into Ourselves: An Anthology of Writings on Priestesses and The Heart of the Sun: An Anthology in Exaltation of Sekhmet. She is a co-founder of Goddess Ink.

Coyolxauhqui, Embracing that you could be broken, that your heart is in pieces by M. Veronica Iglesias

Goddesses of the Americas, Mesoamerican Goddesses, Mexico, Priestess, ritual, sacred sites

CoyolxauhquiToday I want to talk about archetypes, forces that we re-create during our lives. When we know them, we can begin to understand ourselves and to take the next logical steps to continue on our paths.

Here is an excellent definitions of the archetypes:

The term “archetype” has its origins in ancient Greek. The root words are archein, which means “original or old,” and typos, which means “pattern, model or type.” The combined meaning is: “original pattern,” that which all other similar persons, objects, or concepts are derived, copied, modeled, or emulated. The psychologist Carl Gustav Jung used the concept of archetype in his theory of the human psyche. He believed that universal, mythic characters —archetypes— reside within the collective unconscious of people the world over. Archetypes represent fundamental human motifs of our experience as we evolve; consequentially, they evoke deep emotions.

Although there are many different archetypes, Jung defined twelve primary types that symbolize basic human motivations. Each type has its own set of values, meanings and personality traits. Most, if not all, people have several archetypes at play in their personality construct; however, one archetype tends to dominate the personality in general. It can be helpful to know which archetypes are at play in oneself and others, especially loved ones, friends and co-workers, in order to gain personal insight into behaviors and motivations. (http://www.soulcraft.co/essays/the_12_common_archetypes.html)

Archetypes exist in every culture, and I want to share about one that is from the Aztec culture: Coyolxauhqui. The name Coyolxauhqui means “painted with bells” since she is commonly depicted with bells on her cheeks. The Aztec mythology tells the following story about her:

“As the pious and virtuous primordial mother Coatlicue (“the one with the snake skirt”) swept the temple at the Coatepec, she found a bundle of precious feathers, which she put away under her skirt. Without her knowing, these feathers made her become pregnant. This mysterious pregnancy embarrassed her children, the Centzon Huitznahua (“the four hundred – or uncountable Southern”), and her daughter Coyolxauhqui, who decided to kill her mother. When they arrived at the Coatepec, Coatlicue had already given birth to Huitzilopochtli in full war armor, who decapitated Coyolxauhqui, throwing her body down the hill, smashing it into pieces. Only a few of the Centzon Huitznahua could escape to the South, where since then the can be seen as stars in the sky.” (From Karl Taube Aztekische und Maya-Mythen, Stuttgart 1994 (http://universes-in-universe.org/eng/art_destinations/mexico/tour/templo_mayor/12).

The patriarchal system started around 3,000 of years ago, since then feminine energy was pushed aside, bringing great imbalance to the planet and the entire universe. Pilar Manzanares believes that the myth of Coyolxauqui represents the female rebellion against patriarchy, explaining the defeat of the feminine. (http://www.miriamlopezhernandez.com/uploads/1/1/7/6/11767522/pres._libro_pilar_alberti_mujer_divina_mujer_terrena_jul_2012.pdf) Discussing the patriarchal order, Jean Shinoda Bolen observed “there is not room for vulnerability, tenderness and innocence. There is not room for empathy or compassion for enemies, competitors or rivals” (Gods in Every Man).

Coyolxauhqui appears into your life when you feel broken into pieces, and the patriarchal system has pushed you to your limit. She comes when you feel that the care of the mother has disappeared leaving you an orphan, experiencing great loneliness, isolation, sadness, disappointment and fears. You feel unable to continue for fear of being attacked by society. Coyolxauqui invites you to stand up for yourself, be in your feet, reclaim your birth right of existence on this Earth and be acknowledged, honored and respected as a woman. Her energy is about becoming your own mother and taking care of and nurturing yourself. She helps you to re-create who you are or who you want to be after a personal crisis.

Thoughts, Affirmations and Meditations to work and embrace her energy.

“To become the mothers of ourselves is to sustain ourselves, to take care, guide and pamper ourselves, to believe in ourselves and give birth to ourselves as courageous women, and open to life and nurture our inner feminine wisdom.” Germana Martin http://lapalabrachamanica.blogspot.com/

Affirmation

“Today I’ll take care of myself; today I begin to be born”.

 

Meditation

Light a candle and some incense of sage or cedar to ready yourself for ritual. Sit down in a comfortable position and start breathing deeply. Visualize yourself surrounded by a blue light of protection. Call in your personal guides and Coyolxauhqui.

On a piece of paper write your full name. Remember a difficult situation that made you feel broken, hurt, and in pain. When you remember the details start cutting the paper in pieces. Let the emotions come freely. If you need to cry, to scream, or feel angry, let it come. When you are done, put the pieces of the paper back together so that you can see your full name. Use some tape to put all of the pieces together.

Now visualize a beautiful nurturing energy coming to you, and bring that energy into your hands. Cover the paper with your hands, surrounding your name with this sweet energy. Bring the healing that you need.

Take a deep breath and honor this moment.  Now take that piece of paper and put it in your altar. This symbolizes that you can be broken in pieces and that you also have the power to bring you back again.

Close the meditation and say “thank you” or “Namaste”.

If you want to experience a more vivid and close connection with the healing energy of Coyolxauqui, I invite you to a sacred journey in Mexico where we will visit different sacred places for ceremonies and meditation. See more information: http://www.goddess-ink.com/events.html

Blessings, love and light.

Maria Veronica Iglesias

About M. Verónica Iglesias:  Maria Veronica Iglesias was born in Mexico City, Mexico. She has a Bachelor´s degree in Library Sciences and a Master´s Degree in Mesoamerican Studies from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (La Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico). She grew up in a family that always honors the Earth, the plants and all the living beings.

She was initiated as a sahumandora (bearer of the Sacred Sahumerio) when she was 8 years old. She studied about medicinal plants, crystal therapy and healing with gems. She also was initiated in the sacred knowledge of Mesoamerican shamanism and she became a Portadora de la Palabra, bearer of the Sacred Word. She is also a Priestess of Ix´Cheel, the Mayan Goddess of Medicine. She is currently researching gem stones and their therapeutic use, Pre-Hispanic medicine, Feminine Shamanism in Mesoamerica, Feminine rites of passage and Goddesses from Mesoamerica.

Web site:  www.papalotl.net

 

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New Book Release: Goddesses of the Americas by Lydia Ruyle

Divine, Goddess, Goddess Banners, Goddesses of the Americas, Lydia Ruyle, Priestess, ritual, sacred sites, Uncategorized

Front Cover Low Res

Goddess Ink is so proud to announce publication and pre-sale of Lydia Ruyle’s latest book, Goddess of the Americas: Spirit Banners of the Feminine Divine.  This 150 page, full color book features banners and descriptions of over 75 Goddesses and Divine Feminine figures. Accompanying each banner is a description and historical information on each figure. The rich colors and unusual layout make this book a treasure for both the heart and the mind.

 

“Lydia Ruyle’s goddess banners are a joy to behold!  In Goddesses of the Americas, image, symbols, description and place of origin the Americas tell us about each goddess. It is a full-color experience that can be savored.  At the very end of there is a photograph of Lydia in a hallway at the Parliament of the World’s Religions, standing between her goddess-banners that line both sides of the hall. Walking that hallway was like going through the pages of this book, an affirmation of the sacred feminine as embodied and experienced.  “Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD, Author of  Goddesses in Everywoman

Save 20% ! Pre-order before 3/19 (book will ship 4/5).  For information and purchase visit www.goddess-ink.com