Jun 25, 2008

In the Thick of Everyones Reality

When I first discovered Latin America I went to Mexico on visits as a teenager. I lived in Los Angeles and it was fairly simple to run down to the border of Mexicali/Calexico and hop a train heading South...usually I'd pay for the Primera Clase/Pullman going South and by the time I returned home it was 2nd (3rd class woodbench/chaircar all the way once from Mexico City to Texas). It always seemed to me that the moment I crossed over the border into Mexico all my bodily sensations improved...I could smell something in the air that was not a discernable taste or flavor to me. It was/is a pleasant smell that would draw me furthur into venturing into the Latinomundo...a world populated by people with deep spiritual feelings/beliefs, who are living and breathing-in a pungent reality of tangible, yet invisible, joy, celebration and tragedy that transformed all who enter into it as banafide Latin Americanos (or sent them "packing" real fast).

I've never lost my passion for Latin America "being" and it stimulates my everyday life as I gaze upon God's epic production with awe and thanks...it's as if I was moved to be in the very front row of New World vividness and reality.

I often visit Maya ruins in Central America. One of my favorite ancient cities is Iximche...Iximche isn't a huge place but it is heavy with Kaqchikel lore (and key Spanish Colonial History)and thick with modest ruins of gorgeous temples, grassy gaming fields and sacred ceremonial countryside sort of place....Iximche doesn't get a lot of tourists dropping in as do Cancun or Tikal...Iximche is "my kind" of quiet and mysterious, close-to-the-earth kinda of Holy place.

The first time I went to Iximche was with my friend Jose Luis and that was over two decades ago...we were the only visitors and we strolled around in the early morning misty sacred space of a place and I felt I had been there before...a long time before.

Last year when sharing Iximche with a friend and visitor from the United States we also were quite alone but the sacred space seemed filled with uplifting spirituality, almost brimming with conviviality...we hiked around and we came upon my favorite part...the place where the Shaman perform their purifying rites.

Out of nowhere, literally from the forest, a Shaman (similar to the gentlemen pictured above/artist unknown) appeared. He ignored my friend Terry and Juan Carlos and I as a associate of his stood not far away on a little hill as a sort of traditional guard/scout (I think)...anyway the fire started, the Shaman wraped his headscarf around his head, said a prayer and crossed himself to the "Father, Son and Holy Ghost" as he knelt down...chanting, Spanish and Kaqchikel, thanking Mother Earth for her bounty and as the ritual continued he added libations and offerings of flowers, candles, sweets, meats, alcohol, eggs with shell, and lots and lots of dry herbs...all the time thanking God and thanking Mother Earth that had blessed us all with our being...I moved closer and the Shaman invited me to join him, on my knees by the fire...I did (my friends moved further back on a neighboring knoll)...as he continued his chanting and prayers of thanksgiving a swarm of bees came to our fire...many bees, maybe dozens of bees (but I don't want to turn this into a "fish" story)....the bees in multiples started landing on my outstretched bare arms...he told me not to worry the bees had come to offer a fine blessing for me...a blessing from Mother Earth personally so I closed my eyes and opened my heart...

The Bees blessed me.

The Bees didn't sting me.

The Bees flew away.

It was The Bees Knees.

Thanks be to God/Mother Earth and all the wonderful depths of being in REALITY that are both seen and unseen by people like me.



Padre Mickey said...

Great story, Leonardo! It reminded what the Dinè (Navaho) say: “Oh, beauty before me, beauty behind me, beauty to the right of me, beauty to the left of me, beauty above me, beauty below me, I’m on the pollen path” You know those bees were putting you on the Pollen Path.
Also, when I am in Los Estados Unidos de América, I feel like I'm in a dream. But as soon as I leave the U.S.A. I feel alive and know that I am back in the Real World. It's been this way since I was a little kid.

Leonardo Ricardo said...

"Also, when I am in Los Estados Unidos de América, I feel like I'm in a dream. But as soon as I leave the U.S.A. I feel alive and know that I am back in the Real World."
Padre Mickey

Make that a double! Me too....

John Holden said...

Hey Lenny,
Love your heart, your writing, and the twisted, wonderful way your mind works. In short....I love you, man!

John Holden

Leonardo Ricardo said...

JOHN, I didn't know you'd arrived here to visit the blog (although I did receive a neato message from your esposa)...I hope you're having a great/safe trip up to Alaska (driving through the lovelyside of life) and WE, Juan Carlos and I can't wait for your re-arrival down South of the Border(s)...it's been raining hard, all is Emerald GREEN and we LOVE YOU TOO/TWO!

BTW, I forgot to mention in this little Shaman/Bee Story how much we loved going to Shamanlandia with you and YOUR visiting adult kids...what a wonderful time as I bounced everyone through the countryside in my old pick-up...and the best part was the BBQ'd RIBS (thank you mucho) lunch and we SURVIVED my driving!