An herstorical poem about a Queen of Mexico


Her long black hair cascaded down her back

swaying gently as she walked into the forest through the trees.

Queen Cihualpilli Tzapotzintli arrived at the pool of a small waterfall

and got down on her knees.


She began to pray, then she paused – and let out a sigh.

She took several deep breaths,

then her head fell into her hands,

and she began to cry.


“They are coming,” her warriors had reported

when they told her that the soul-less beasts

had cut out the vaginas of women in prayer

and strung them around their necks, wearing them as trophies.


The wombs of pregnant women had been sliced open

and the children had been fed to hungry dogs

when the Spanish arrived in Cholula.

They would be arriving in her lands before long.


She had come from a long line of warriors,

her lineage, her queendom, herself.

Hers was a nation of deep wisdom,

millennary culture, and vast natural wealth.


She had gone to the pools of the 7 Cascadas (waterfalls)

to think, to pray, to grieve, to cry.

She made her offering – then made a difficult decision

to do what she felt was needed to protect her people and preserve life.


She returned to the pueblo and gave an order:

families, children and books (elders) were to hide in the canyon of Huentitán.

The single women would remain and offer themselves to pacify the approaching army

along with a great feast, danza and songs.


A few kings of her region were angered by her decree,

called her a traitor and made a secret plan.

They, being from a people also known as great warriors,

decided that disobeying her was a better way to preserve life and their lands.


Some of her people followed her orders

and fled with great fear.

They had heard about the pestilence, disease and death the white men brought.

So they hid in the caves as ordered…and eventually stayed for over 200 years.


A great feast and danza had been planned

for the day of the Spaniards’ arrival to the main center.

A queendom in a mountain pyramid and sacred site

was what the white men marched out to conquer.


Gifts from the queen had been offered to the Spanish

before they arrived to the Tonalá territory.

They were told they would be welcomed in peace.

They remained armed but expected nothing short of worship and glory.


The women of Tonalá dressed in their finest manta

and elaborated their altars with flowers as they prepared food for the feast.

They faced their unknown fate with both fear and courage

hoping that by offering themselves freely (instead of being sacrificed by force) they could tame the beasts.


The fateful hour finally came.

At the sight of the Spanish army, tocaron la Piedra de la Campana.

Their blood ran cold; everyone prayed as the white men advanced.

The ants of the cerro sat with them as they had done for millennia, esa mañana.


The queen’s own daughter and her husband, the king of Tetlán

had decided to rebel against the Queen’s decree.

They gathered with the kings of Coyolan, Ixcatán, and Zalatitán.

They put on their ceremonial masks of ehecatl to storm the mountain and slay the army during the feast.


When the Spanish climbed the sacred pyramid mountain,

they were welcomed by the women who danced and offered a full feast

to them and their horses, as the rebelling kings quietly advanced,

ready to ambush the white beasts.


Wearing their ceremonial masks of ehecatl

that had once blessed the people and the town,

they launched their offensive and surprised the Spanish

catching them off-guard, killing many and chasing many of them down,


down the mountain, into its tunnels and caves,

they chased the white men through routes that led to the canyon,

into tunnels that led to the cliffs, where they jumped out and fell to their deaths.

A few did survive – but defeated that day was the vicious Spanish batallion.


The Queen was called a traitor and threatened to be branded with iron

by the Spanish who retreated and sent notice to Spain,

who then sent the worst of its violent armies

to return and conquer Tonalá and everything in its reign.


Upon their return they first took Guadalajara

and then returned to attack and take Tonalá.

The queen was forced to subjugate herself publicly

and they “baptized” her with a new name – Juana Danza.


The people who did not flee were massacred or forced into submission,

as the rest of Mexico had already lived and seen.

Many were tortured violently and as a warning others were crucified on top of the sacred mountain,

including the daughter of the queen.


Cihualpilli had a small son that was baptized.

But from there the story ends.

She is written of no more in their history.

Whether remembered as a warrior or a traitor, the Catholicism wins.


The great pyramids were ordered buried

and the many springs across the pueblo were covered and sealed.

The Spanish religion occulted the sacred knowledge

which to this day remains concealed.


From my upcoming book, Borderland Bruja.

JOIN US  in Tonalá this Spring Beak 2019