This is the third mystery reading in the Green Man series – brief texts that illuminate aspects of masculinity through nature while exploring the major masculine archetypes.
Chili Pepper and Avocado
“Keep shaking the chili like that and you’ll send the seeds flying everywhere.” The Native peoples of the Americas made jokes in their languages comparing the chili peppers they cultivated to the male organ. Because of its general shape, and its variety of sizes and colors, the chili pepper visually resembles the penis. But just as importantly, it’s the chili’s spicy sting that led it to become an icon of masculinity. The tears, redness, and panting that can result from eating chilies are compared to aspects of sexual activity, and the swelling to pregnancy. “Damn this chili burns, but I don’t know how to live without it.” The avocado, with its dark wrinkled skin and its single large stone, resembles a testicle, and in fact the word ‘avocado’ derives from the Aztecs’ language, Nahuatl, in which the word ahuacatl means both ‘avocado’ and ‘testicle.’ By association, Indigenous American peoples attributed aphrodisiac powers to these plants. Related to Xochipilli, the Aztec god of pleasure and art, the avocado and the chili add flavor, texture and color to the mix.
Flavor, texture and color are key elements for the archetype of The Lover. The Lover focuses on sensuality, on the pleasures of the moment for himself, for his partner, and even, in the role of chef or artist or performer, on the pleasures of a larger audience. The Lover performs, opening himself and revealing his emotions, his laughter and his tears, to the ones he cares for. Should The Lover lose himself in fantasies and dreams, the sharp snap of the chili and the cool flesh of the avocado can bring him back to the immediacy of the present moment.