With delicate prose and painstaking research, reflection and analysis, José Luis Díaz, Chief Researcher for the Faculty of Medicine’s Department of History and Philosophy of Medicine at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, reveals how the myth of Quetzalcoatl, the plumed serpent of the ancient Mexicans, lives on today. The many flights of the plumed serpent constitute a historical and cultural whirlwind that has come to play a significant role in the construction of the Mexican nation, as the ancient Mesoamerican dragon is repeatedly resurrected.
This essay, written by a Mexican scientist known for his work on psychotropic plants, human behaviour, cognitive neuroscience and the mind-body problem who has ventured into the world of cultural anthropology and symbolism, constitutes a retelling of the Quetzalcoatl myth from its ancient origins up to its surprising mutations in the visual art, literature and politics of the past century. The work also offers a comparison with other related myths, particularly those of Peru, Colombia, Brazil and Paraguay. The Whirling of the Serpent is, quite simply, a resolute and fascinating exercise in rescue and assimilation.
Translated from the Spanish by Martin Boyd