Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky: Myths of Mexico
by David Bowles
Cinco Puntos Press, 2018. 300 pages. Young Adult Nonfiction.
The stories in Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky trace the history of the world from its beginnings in the dreams of the dual god Ometeotl, to the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in Mexico and the fall of the great city Tenochtitlan. In the course of that history we learn about the Creator Twins, Feathered Serpent, and Dark Heart of Sky, and how they built the world on a leviathan’s back; of the shape-shifting nahualli; and the aluxes—elfish beings known to help out the occasional wanderer. And finally, we read Aztec tales about the arrival of the blonde strangers from across the sea, the strangers who seek to upend the rule of Motecuhzoma and destroy the very stories we are reading.
Ask yourself- can you think of one Mexican myth? If you can, would you feel comfortable telling said myth to a friend? If you’re like me you probably answered no to both questions and have now possibly come to the realization that your public school system did you a great disservice by focusing all too much on Greco-Roman mythology and all too little on Mesoamerican mythology. To you, I recommend starting with this book, “Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky: Myths of Mexico” by David Bowles. In it the myths of Mexico are presented in chronological order starting with the creation of the earth and its people and ending with the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores. I personally enjoyed the fusion of history, religion, and mythology as it gives the book less of a textbook feel and more of what I call a sit-down-storytime feel. The book also includes a pronunciation guide and glossary of people and places which is extremely helpful. One negative is that there are a few errors that were not caught before publishing that were a bit distracting. Even still, I’d recommend this book to those interested in mythology, folklore, and history.