Like most people with any humanity at all, I have been caught up in the ripple of horror, grief, fear and utter disgust which swept the world in the week leading up to and including Easter 2016, which revealed once again the depravity of which humanity at its worst is capable.
At a personal level, too, life has been tough: not for me, but for close family and friends. We spent the last days of Lent waiting for death to release a suffering family member. A close friend fell, cracked bones, and is in hospital. Other friends have had traumatic issues to deal with.
There has been no shortage of life crucifying us, both collectively and personally.
How do we cope with all this? My response to personal and collective pain has always been to turn to the natural world which at present is full of the beautiful vibrancy of fresh daffodils – and to poetry, which never fails to offer consolation. I was looking through my archive of quotes and found this one, which I found helpful to read today. I hope you do too…
. “ There is an ancient Aztec Indian prayer that reflects on the preciousness of life and the fleetingness of it. As the Aztecs thank the Creator for their life and breath, they acknowledge that they are only on loan to each other for a short while, and just like the drawings that they have made in crystalline obsidian fade, so, too, will their life quickly be gone.
‘Oh, only for so short a while you have loaned us
to each other, because we take form in your act
of drawing us.
And we take life in your painting us,
And we breathe in your singing us.
But only for so short a while have you loaned us
to each other.’ ”
(from p55, PRAYING OUR GOODBYES The Spirituality of Change by Joyce Rupp 1988)
350 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2016
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page
6 thoughts on “An Aztec prayer: celebrating our loving connections with one another in a time of darkness”
Life might be short, depending on how one looks at it, however it is the quality of life we put into it that counts.
That is so true. Thanks, Bev.
It’s interesting to contrast some of the Aztec prayers and poetry with certain of their rituals. On the other hand, both the sacrifices and the entreaties were part of a comprehensive world view — precisely what we seem to have lost.
I found another, somewhat longer version. Rupp may have quoted it, but just in case she didn’t, you might enjoy this:
Oh, only for so short a while you have loaned us to each other,
because we take form in your act of drawing us,
and we take life in your painting us, and we breathe in your singing us.
But only for so short a while have you loaned us to each other.
Because even a drawing cut in obsidian fades,
and the green feathers, the crown feathers, of the Quetzal bird lose their color,
and even the sounds of the waterfall die out in the dry season.
So, we too, because only for a short while have you loaned us to each other.
Many thanks for taking the trouble to find this for us, Linda. It illustrates so poignantly how interwoven the human, animal and natural worlds were before European ‘civilisation’ started the inexorable process of unravelling that interconnectedness…
Anne, I was pleasantly surprised and delighted to see your name mentioned in Linda Schurman’s ‘The Soothesayer Internet Newsletter.’ She said “Anne Whitaker has written an excellent and thought-provoking article “Dreaming Frankenstein – The Creation of a Modern Myth” and went on to talk about Mary Shelly. If you haven’t seen Linda’s newsletter and would like to read it, I would be happy to send it to your email address if you provide it. Linda’s newsletter goes out to thousands of people so this is good coverage for you Anne…and well deserved. Congratulations! Where can I find your article?
Hello Bev, thanks so much for letting me know about this, and for your warmth and support. I have just emailed you!