The sun sets, welcoming the ethereal dusk that precedes velvet darkness. The nights before the new moon when the least amount of light drips onto Pachamama, those are the nights I offer my counsel. For hundreds of years since the reign of the Toltecs have I forewarned the peoples of disaster.
I was born thousands of moons ago when I was brought into creation by the holiest Toltec — the long-haired human who is not man or woman. They sacrificed exactly one large porcupine, two eagles, one serpent, one seawater-filled basket weaved by virgins, and three conch shells filled with gold dust; the porcupine needles formed my body, the eagle claws forged my hands and feet, the serpent’s jaws became my fangs, the shells carried my voice, and water mixed with the gold to flow as magic in my blood. Then the most holy one breathed life into me, offering their own yollotl as my heart, forever binding me to the Toltecs & their descendants.
Toltecan queens and kings, then Mexicas, would heed my warnings throughout the centuries. On the three darkest nights of every moon they would bide my arrival, burning sap of the sacred copal tree and dancing danza azteca under the starlight. Offerings of animal blood — goat is my favorite, ¡qué delicioso! — and xocolate were made for me. In return, the humans revered my predictions and I was welcomed into their homes to bless their sleeping offspring. Gently placing my earthen claws over the child’s head and heart, the taste of iron fresh on my tongue, I would whisper prayers through my frothy mouth.
Time wore on and the plagues came. Then the pale-fleshed demonios who wield iron as pain arrived on Mexica shores.
And all those who knew my help disappeared.
Still, I try to comfort the humans.
On the three darkest nights of the moon, when Coyolxauhqui is rebirthing herself, I wander the earth searching for children of the mighty Toltecans.
My callused nose fervently sniffs for Toltec flesh, searching for anyone who recognizes my needled spine. I lose track of how many moons I have trekked this contaminated earth, my lungs heavy with the dirty air the humans have caused. And my claws! So old and thick they leave scratches on the dull grey sidewalks.
When I finally locate a descendant, I do not approach until they are sleeping peacefully in their beds, their little spirits flitting about in the astral plane. Maneuvering with my gold magic, I carefully and quietly enter the tiny Toltec’s bedrooms, move like fluid through the darkness, darting out of the sight of adults. Even without a sacrificial offering I still bless the children with my protection because this age of noxious humans has no respect for their fragile, numinous innocence.
But these old joints are clumsy and sometimes my snaggled claws slip, breaking the poor child’s skin. Not to worry, I slurp up the pristine blood of the child and leave them safely, resting and exalted in the awesome power of the Toltecs.
Mikael Miguel (pronounced mee-KY-el mee-gual) is a Shamxn, energy healer and activist whose gender is a mystery. They’re a Two Spirit Queer who uses they/them pronouns in the singular and spends their free time chonicaling their psychic predictions to their geriatric cat. Mikael’s physical body resides in occupied Lenape territory — commonly known as New York City — but their heart is rooted in Tenochtitlan. Follow them: @___Ihiyotl___.