The Sun Dance and the Quetzal

From the Earliest of Our Ancestors

Regarding the truth about spiritual/sacred dance, from the Oral Tradition, as told by Water Mirror to staff

Young Teoyotzin loves the Sun, loves to watch it rise and set, loves its colors and loves the life it gives Earth. This love is so deep, Teoyotzin, whom we’ll call Teo for short, is moved to offer Tata Sol the most beautiful dance an ordinary man can possibly achieve.  He makes “the long walk,” far from the village, to visit Old Man Dancer.

About an hour after Teo asks Old Man Dancer about his quest, the elder finally answers, “Some say there’s easier ways to reach the Creator, but danza bestows balance, commensurate with the measure and movement of the Stars, the Earth and the Sun,” says Old Man Dancer.

The Old Man’s words insert a beat in Teo’s heart and will, spark a certain rhythm, perhaps a sacred rhythm. Old Man Dancer continues with a fervor Teo wasn’t sure he had.

“Dance to Spring, to Summer, to Fall and to Winter. Dance to the Water, Earth, Fire and Air. Dance between you and me Snake; between you and me Eagle. You are they and they are you. Dance like the Puma, the Possum, the Tiger, the Deer, Bees, Fishes and the Birds! Dance in colors; in Feathers.”

Teo experiences danza in the old man’s word, in the power of his palabra. Teo hears the Drum and the Rattles as the feet of the dancers move the dirt and make the grass fly. Teo knew then the stories about Old Man Dancer were true.

Teo asks, “Honored one, is it true you gave your Sun dance to a brother?”

Old Man Dancer looks at him, a youthful light dancing in his eyes, “Dress your Rainbow, young dancer, make your intention pure so your rattles, drum and song, along with your silence and stillness, can be heard through the clouds and the wind, to the Tata Sol.

Heeding the Old Man’s instructions, Teo places his perception on all the movement and the stillness around him, both enjoying the hand of Sun in all Creation, while imitating the animals, leaves, shadows and light, to the best of his ability, again and again.

Anteater shouts at him, “Fight your fatigue…only then can you offer a suitable dance to the Sun.”

A Bee asks, “Do you know what you’re doing?”

Teo says, “I think so.”

Bee advises, “Only control and discipline will fly you to the Sun.”

“Patience,” offers Turtle, “is the art of rhythm.”

“Happiness and joy,” says Rabbit, “must be first.”

“Smooth,” hisses Snake, “just so.”

“Bold,” insists Jaguar while Peacock sings of elegance.  

One day while Teo rehearses, he notices a beautiful and most graceful bird, with plumage like the Rainbow that Sun makes after the thunder, flying in the pink of the setting Sun, as if master of the Sky. Teo watches until the magic bird disappears into the Stars.  

Very few ever see the Quetzal in flight with the Sun. Teo wonders if perhaps this Quetzal is Old Man Dancer’s brother.

After Teo sees Quetzal, the Villagers notice his practice more than they had. Most think he’s crazy and ignore him, but a few wonder quietly what it means that flashes of light come from the meadow where he rehearses.

Since his vision of the Quetzal, he’d also been experiencing lights, but feels “Light moving strong and in” at the most physically challenging moments of his rehearsals. As more light goes in, Teo grows farther from the Villagers, his true family in Father Sun.

One evening before a New Moon, Owl flies out to Teo’s meadow. Being the fine messenger Owl is, she says, “It’s time to make the Regalia for your Dance.”

Teo jumps, “Old Man Dancer said?”

Owl is already gone after a mouse, but Teoyotzin wastes no time. He spreads opens his Medicine Bundle, all the different items with power special to him – from the Animals, his Teachers, and the Earth. Then he dances with his heart-to-the-Sun like never before. Knowing his time is near, Teo weaves and stiches his Regalia, loving it into form, waiting.  

The Villagers alive at the time say Teoyotzin danced four days and nights, then he flew into the sky on the fifth day. No one’s seem him after that, but the villagers who are lucky to see the Quetzal say there are two now, flying into the Sun.


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