this painting almost got firt place in “Xcaret” Natural Park in a collective exhibition. of turtles behalf .
and the Cozumel, museum + Tulum institud of art. 26 years Liberanting small turtles back to the ocean.
In this painting I merge my Mayan heritage, science, and spirituality. Before I explain my painting, here’s a brief intro to Mayan cosmology for those not familiar with it.
Turtle is, for the Mayans, a living symbol of the interconnected universe. They believed we live in a dimension called the Fourth Creation. The Mayans lived by the stars above, which were directly linked to Creation. Mayan cosmology is an intricate wisdom tradition with many levels of interpretation.
For Mayans, Polaris (North Star) was the eye of the heavens, residing at its very center. The deep darkness of space was thevoid out of which creation began. The Orion’s Belt constellation in the Milky Way was both gigantic cosmic turtle and road upon which all of creation exists. The sky above these three stars is a reflection of the Turtle of Rebirth, upon whose shellthefirst hearth was laid. K’iche’ people call these three stars: ‘the hearth stones. ’ They call the hazy nebula visible below Orion’s Belt: ‘smoke from the hearth’. For the ancient ones, a ‘hearth’ is neither sky nor land, it is the in-between place from which creation first appears. From the hearth, sun, like the morning fire, will rise again. Turtle’s shell is the source of the tree of life, sometimes called the world tree. The tree of life is the axis of the Earth-Sky. Its roots lie in Xibalba, the Underworld; It’s uppermost branches stretch into the sky realms. The shell of the turtle itself represented the great plates of earth’s crust. Through cracks in this shell emerged First Father, the God of Maize. For the People, maize was and is an important food source, the staff of life. It therefore made a perfect metaphor for the Tree Life.
In early August, turtle’s constellation (Orion) moves into its zenith. On August 14,th Orion attains its optimum level of potency. Simultaneously, beginning August first, sea turtles are starting to hatch from eggs buried in the sands. The stars and moon are in conjunction and in accord with the Great Cycles, they know intuitively its time to emerge into the upper world. As the elders taught; all is connected. What occurs above, in the heavens, is also unfolding here, in the earthly dimension. Myth and science are two different languages saying the same thing.
I’ve painted a young turtle breaking through earth’s crust, she represents the Mayan Turtle of Rebirth entering into this fourth realm. The night sky above is the Milky Way, home of the great cosmic turtle. Beyond the stars is the cosmic womb from which our universe and all universes came into being. This little turtle, so helpless and fragile, has hatched and broken free. Before her stretches the perilous journey home, into the vast unknown, first home of all life upon earth: the sea with its mysterious depths and invisible, dark currents. I think we’ve all been in her place at one time or another. The question is, did we crawl back down into the safety of sand and shell, or set forth into the dark unknown, seeking reunification with our ancient home? The ancient cycles continue, connected and in harmony.
originals at http://angel-ortiz.fineartamerica.com
oil on canvas 52×31 in. $2000 usd.