The water is the moon and the moon is the water
The moon is mutable and so is the water
Some of the the priestesses of San José de Moro were found buried in tule reed coffins that mimic the tule reed boats that were used by actual Moche people for water travel and fishing expeditions. In the artwork the boats morph into lunar crescents and fly through the sky, some having extending human arms and legs. Indeed even the boat coffins themselves have these arms and legs attached to them in sheets of metal.
Then there is the lunar animal, half cat, half canine or what some see as a dragon, also morphed into the crescent moon and the tule boat, moving on the water and flying in the sky water. The moon animal is often “crested.” The dots upon it or around it indicate the presence of stars.
Catch up with this narrative by reading these previous posts:
Becoming Fish: Sacred Offerings to the Whirlpools of Neolithic Serbia
The Moon Priestesses of San José de Moro, Peru
“La Señora de Cao”: A Powerful Female Leader in Pre-contact Peru
The Lure of the Amazon by Eduardo Barros Prado: Further Information on the Amazon Women or Icamiabas of Brazil
The Goddess Diana, Lake Nemi and the Mirror of the Moon South of Rome
Icamiabas: Amazon Warrior Women in Precontact Americas
Moon and Water
Because of its influence over the tides and therefore the weather, the moon is always associated with the water. For ancient and many indigenous peoples it was seen as a powerful force on par with the ocean and the weather. The ocean is the mother. Mamacocha. Mother sea. The rivers are the veins and lifeblood carrying the potent life giving liquid across the land, awakening it with both biological and etheric consciousness.
All life emerged from the water
And all life returns through the water
The way to the ancestors crosses a river
One arrives there in a boat
As a priestess of the Moon, it is important to honor the water through rituals with and offerings to the rivers, ponds, lakes, streams and the ocean; to recognize all the ways life is fed and nourished by the water.
Water is sacred
Water is life
The moon and the water
The water became even more important in Moche culture, as the large huaca centers were mostly located on the coast which was a desert, irrigated by sophisticated canals delivering water to the valleys from the eastern mountains. The fresh water gave the Moche corn, cotton and fish. On clear nights the ocean horizon offered a perfect unobstructed view of the moon’s travels through the sky in all her iterations and changling forms.
The ceremony site of San José de Moro was on the river, therefore some of the images of water journeys in moon boats may be river journeys while others are clearly upon the waters of the sea. Catfish filled the rivers and inland lakes especially during El Niño and we see many catfish depicted in the artwork. Some of the ocean voyages may be Sea Lion and shark hunts, or expeditions diving for spondylus shells, while others may be depictions of the priestesses escorting the dead back to the Moon Goddess through the watery underworld, and the nurturing darkness of her womb.
They bring her offerings of chicha
They bring her offerings
For whatever they take
They offer something in return
They could also have been making offerings of sacred chicha back to the ocean and to the moon through the ocean which they would have seen as one on these nighttime rides out into the sea or on the river. The moon comes out at night and the presence of stars emphasizes that these are night time rituals done in the dark, whether actual journey or trance travel.
After spending time in Her watery womb
One is born again from the water
All of life is a cycle
Dictated by the moon
Carving out time
In the sky
Spondylus shells, called “daughters of the sea,” were placed in wells, irrigation canals and other places of fresh water in exchange for the continued source of the precious element.
The moon is the boat and
The boat is the moon
The water is the medium
In the sky
The moon priestess oversaw rituals of all kinds. Through divination and trance travel they accessed wisdom of the ancestors, the sky, the Moon, the water. They transformed into sea creatures, land animals. They listened to the land, the mountains, the water. They delivered the message to the community at large and cared for it with dedication to the Moon.
All beings are one
With a mind of no separateness
They enter each others’
Bodies and morph into
They slip through
From time to
From timelessness into
Dissolving their egoic human identities into oneness of Moon Mind they expand the boundaries of human embodiment out to the vast ocean of the cosmos. They travel upon the etheric waves.
As they travel through
The watery realms of
Their songs give form
The flutes and drums
Keep time with
The darkness gives
Way to light
And then does it
All over again
The priestesses greet
Giving thanks to
“I will travel to the edge of the moon
I will give her my light
She will rock me in her arms
We will birth a new day.”
© Theresa C. Dintino 2023