It somehow seems fitting, that it was my work with an all female roller derby league that brought me to a goddess temple.
Within five minutes of meeting Tania and touring the grounds of her Zihuatanejo home, I felt at ease. Relaxed. I don’t get “all woo-woo”, too often, but I was clearly supposed to be there. My two-night stay soon turned into three, and on that third night while sharing a late night Jean-Claude Van Damme movie, I asked for a fourth. If I ‘d stayed another night, I would’ve been there a month – I swear.
Pam, the past medical director for Seattle’s Rat City Rollergirls, introduced me, via Facebook, to her cousin Beverely who lived in Zihuat. While traveling through Mexico Bev and I would keep in touch. I voiced my interest in staying in the area, but preferred a palapa style dwelling (palm thatched roof) to the conventional condo on the beach type thing, not to mention my incredibly strict budget constraints. Bev gave me the name and number of a "Tania", and said that she was holding the “tree house” for me.
A full day of driving for me is six hours. After that my shoulders (throttle arm especially) get tight and knotted with an annoying burn quality to them. Mentally fatigued and generally uncomfortable – six hours is definitely my threshold. I rolled into Tania’s after eight hours. She came out to meet me, and my gargantuan bike. “Where are you going to put that thing?” (she lives on the side of a steep hillside overlooking La Ropa beach). Within two hours, the bike was secure at a neighbor’s house, I was re-hydrated, showered, and eating a bowl of homemade chili with a cold beer. The only part I was responsible for was showering myself, she handled the rest – all for a stranger.
We talked freely at the open-air dining table, next to the open-air kitchen. My palapa was down the walkway and built into the hillside on stilts. I was given the rundown of the area and a couple “house rules”. I was introduced to her daughter, Anna, (a two time Mexican surfing champion) who also lived on the premises in her own open-air palapa. We said goodnight. She left me with, “Tomorrow I’ll show you the goddess temple”. “Huh?
Next morning after some the best tasting coffee I have had since leaving Seattle, I was taken up to yet another part of the property. (Tania bought the place almost 30-years ago when there was nothing at this end of the beach. She has since raised three successful and happy daughters. She is now surrounded by million dollar homes, but still with the best view. Her property has changed little.) Being from Seattle, this “goddess temple” thing was not that new to me, and quite frankly I wasn’t expecting more than a few candles and some busty stone carvings, but I went along with it. We entered yet another open air structure with two half doors closed with a simple hook and latch.
I have never been in the presence of such powerful and beautiful women in all my life! What I was introduced to was a museum quality collection of life size wood carvings of some of Mexico’s most historic matriarchal figures and Mayan goddesses of the past. I cannot tell you how surprised I was, or how fortunate I felt for being there. This room was the obvious culmination of a lifelong passion.
She proceeded to take me through the room, introducing me to each lady (always preceded with a very personal salutation and bow). The collection followed the work of Mexican artist, Arturo Macias (http://www.zihrena.com/ixchelm/macias.htm). Tania purchased his first two commercial pieces. Since then they have worked closely together and have become personal friends. There are pieces from other artists as well, all depicting Latin American matriarchs. Here is site with more information about the collection: http://www.zihrena.com/ixchelm/index.html
As impressive as it was to come across this treasure, the real treat was spending time with Tania, and being there for her ** birthday. Needless to say, she has lived her life on her own terms and is as strong a personality as anyone standing in the temple.