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The Conquistadora…Changing Woman?

The Conquistadora is the given name of a stature of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, that adorns the alter of the Cathedral of St. Francis in Santa Fe.  A special exhibit on the Conquistadora at the Spanish Colonial Museum displays her story of rescue and return and some thirty costumes, many donated by other countries and societies.

Like Changing Woman, the ancient Indian goddess, Mary’s costumes are changed with the seasons—and for special events.  Mary takes on the persona of Mother Earth, as well as Changing Woman, transformations that—among others—serve to integrate Native and Catholic beliefs.

Curiously, “Conquistadora” means “to conquer” as well as “to win over.”  Both apply here.  The original Conquistadora, Queen Isabella of Spain, would be proud of the Church’s victories in New Spain 400 years after the Queen’s original vision launched the crusade.

A persistent curiosity of ours is how do people make sense of the relationship between native beliefs and Catholicism.  In response to that question, David Fernandez, local writer of “The Blessing Way” reminded us that all belief systems have creation myths in which the creator makes a covenant with the people; all have rules for living; all contain a higher vision of hope and mystical experiences, a vision of the super-natural and something to rely on when trouble and illness strikes.

Taos beliefs are but one theme in my forthcoming novel…

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 28th, 2010 at 10:17 am and is filed under Fiction, Travel. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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