Meditating on the divinity Itzpapalotl moves strong archetypes within us. Her skull communicates mortality, her huge butterfly wings recall fantasy and strength beyond the rational. Itzpapalotl was also called the “obsidian butterfly” because her wings were two knife tips made from that stone. However, in other myths, her wings are made of flint, demonstrating how ancient her connection with the world of humans is. In fact, flint tips were the first weapons used in the Paleolithic era.

With her skull, Itzpapalotl communicates to us that she is very close to that which is essential in life, and how the appointment of death is that which gives meaning and importance to existence.

Meditating on Itzpapalotl brings us into contact with the primordial forces that move within us. As the protector of infant mortality and of women who die during childbirth, Itzpapalotl represents the extremes of female nature: creation-destruction, beauty-terror, paradise-darkness, birth-death. In addition to the terrifying form with a skull in the place of her head, jaguar claws and sharp stone butterfly wings, who ate souls during solar eclipses, Itzpapalotl could also appear as a beautiful and seductive goddess, with long hair that moves when she walks. Even though she is frightening, Itzpapalotl shows us that it is worth letting yourself be transformed by her gaze and be moved by the wind of her wings.

Opposites and life

Damanhurian philosophy contemplates the existence of a natural dualism in the universe, which is called yin and yang in other philosophies. It is the meeting of opposites, creating the whole. Each of the parts contains the seed of its opposite within itself. The dark part contains the light, the light part already has darkness within itself. Opposition generates the dynamism of life. In addition to this continuous dance of opposites through which the path of evolution in forms develops, we also recognize a concept of entropy, a force inside and outside of ourselves that opposes life, evolution, reconnection with our soul and with others. It takes on different forms in everyone; it can manifest as laziness, ignorance, egoism… It tends to destroy the light within us and everything we create. In this dynamic, our capacity of discernment is important: being able to recognize when something is an opposition that stimulates us to change and grow, and when, on the other hand, it is an opposition to Being. Itzpapalotl gives us the opportunity to meditate deeply on these aspects.

Learning to know our destructive side – and also the forces that move it – gives us the opportunity to contain its impact and be more effective in guiding our lives toward the evolutionary goals we have chosen. In my opinion, to achieve this awareness, we need an ingredient that has become so rare today in the Western world that it has almost disappeared from our vocabulary: the sense of sacrifice. In Aztec, the name Itzpapalotl means purification and renewal through the sacrifice of that which is precious to us. This ancient goddess invites us to ask ourselves what we are willing to sacrifice for a goal that is greater than ourselves. If we listen to Itzpapalotl’s voice, we can understand which parts of ourselves we can sacrifice – that is, to offer for our own growth and that of others, and to realize our dream. Just as the story that is told on the walls of the Labyrinth reminds us, in this age, divinities are allied with us for our reawakening, and every sacrifice is rewarded with gifts of awareness and greater understanding.

As Falco said, “Light and darkness constantly alternate. The rhythm of life turns off and on again with a musical cadence, one that, in any case, is always solar.”

Bertuccia Bietola