The Sun Dance And The Quetzal

Myth Of Transformation And Transmutation

Regarding the origin of sacred dance, as told by, Atezcatl, Water Mirror:

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 is moved to offer Grandfather Sun the most beautiful dance an ordinary man can possibly achieve.  But since he has no idea how to start he makes the long walk from the village to visit Old Man Dancer.

When Old Man Dancer finally speaks, he says, “Some say there’s easier ways to reach the Creator, but danza bestows balance, in rhythm with the measure and movement of the Stars, the Earth and the Sun.”

The Old Man’s words insert a beat in Teoyotzin’s heart and will, a rhythm, perhaps a sacred one. Old Man Dancer continues with a fervor Teoyotzin didn’t know the old man had in him.

“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.”

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

He 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, our Father Sun.

Heeding the Old Man’s instructions, Teoyotzin places his perception on both the movement and the stillness around him, 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, Teo…only then can you offer a suitable dance to the Sun.”

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

Teoyotzin 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 Teoyotzin 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. He watches until the magic bird disappears into the Stars.  

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

After the dancer sees the Quetzal, the Villagers notice his practice more than they had before. 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 Teoyotzin’s vision of the Quetzal, he’d also been experiencing the lights, and feels “Light moving in strong” at the most physically challenging moments of his rehearsals. As more light goes in, he grows farther from the Villagers, knowing his true family lives somewhere in Father Sun.

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

Teoyotzin jumps, “Old Man Dancer said?”

Owl is already gone after a mouse, but Teoyotzin wastes no time. He spreads opens his Medicine Bundle, the 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, he weaves and stiches his Regalia, loving it into form, waiting.  

The Villagers alive at the time say Teoyotzin danced four days and nights, then 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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