My Auntie Maria Mendez Contreras and her son Justino Martinez Mendez were pioneers in reviving the agave weaving techniques in our village. They both have won state and national weaving prizes for their work.
This rug is part of an early collection of their production. It measures 63.5x94cm or 25x37 inches, about 2 by 3 feet approximately. It was dyed with only natural dyes by my auntie and her son, they are expert natural dyers and dye mostly with cold based techniques.
The pattern is a traditional interpretation of our ancient symbols and patterns. If features the Nahual (medicine women or man) symbol as its main feature.
This pattern is a fractal symbol that teaches us about the perception state that nahuales (shamans) achieve when they unite their nahual perception in the spirit world with the day to day perception in the tonal world of language, logic and mathematics. The nahual pattern is obtained by uniting the hands in a fist shape with the thumbs joined in the middle, just like a mudra. Can you see it? This pattern also looks like the spiral of the Fibonacci series, the golden ratio that is found everywhere in nature, from our fists to the growth of plants and the formation of clouds and galaxies. This inner spiral represents the inner journey of self discovery that we have to embark to find our true face and true heart. We call this symbol in our language "Gareak Guiea", literally the flowered greek key symbol. Archeologist named this patterns Grecas in Spanish language because they noted the similarity with greek patterns and symbols. This naming of the pattern denotes the Eurocentric approach to the understanding of our native ancient cultures.
When I talk about the Nahual pattern I like to illustrate the pattern with the life path of Maria Sabina, a world renowned healer from Huautla de Jimenez that used the sacred mushroom to heal people in her village. It took her a life time to reach the status of a healer; when she was a young child her parents died so because she was very poor she and her sister would forage edible wild plants in the forest to feed themselves. Her life pattern lead her to walk the path of the warrior to bring the best of her spirit and flower in the world. When she was an accomplished healer she could transition easily from the Nahual perception (spirit world) to the day to day world; in the spirit world she would communicate with her patients to find out the source of their illness and then come back to the tonal world (day to day language world) to administer the healing with the precise amounts of plants and rituals needed for healing. Most ancient governors in our culture were Nahuales, healers, seers and great man and woman full if knowledge. It was during the colonial times that the word nahual got transgressed into a negative connotations describing evil people that cause damage and illness by transforming into scary animals.
All ancient governors in our culture were high Shamans trained in all the fine arts and advanced sciences of the time. The color red represents the blood of the earth necessary for life while the blue represents the cosmic elements needed for life on earth to be sustained. Effectively this rug represents a balance of heaven on earth, or may we say earth in heaven? The pattern is the Fibonacci sequence which many ancient cultures have studied and described before him and is the basic principle of the golden ratio. Geometry and poetry marry in the language of weaving to paint the underlying principles of life and the cycles of the cosmos.
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