voyages of the bloody, snake, chariot

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travel narrative by sam libby

Saturday, March 4, 2017 - post date

SINALOA

As the La Paz ferry 'The Baja Star' cruised into Mazatlan, Sinaloa,
Mexico, the city lay before me in all her retro, gangster splendor.
Mazatlan is like Havana. She is like Miami Beach was in the 1950's,
and early 1960's.
Some call it 'tropical neoclassical'. It's a style that evokes the
1950's, and that time's organized crime - its gangsterismo.
I got a room in Old Mazatlan, and began my search for good, Sinaloa ganja.
First I looked at the beach.
Because of its 20 kilometers of beautiful sandy beaches Mazatlan was
the most glamorous, attractive Pacific beach resort of the 1950's. By
the 1970's, the city was well into a tawdry decline. And yet, it
became the most Mexican of Pacific Beach Resorts. And since Mazatlan
is in Sinaloa it has long been a place occupied by the Sinaloa Cartel,
Chapo's Cartel, one of the most powerful criminal organizations in the
world.
As I was walking the beach, looking for surfers and hippies with weed,
I could see the Miramar Hotel (condominiums) in the Zona Dorada (the
golden zone). This is the place where Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera,
also known as Chapo Guzmán lived.
Twice Chapo escaped from Mexico's
toughest prisons. He last escaped from prison through a mile-long
tunnel that extended from the prison showers to a construction site.
After living at the Miramar Hotel for about six months, he was
arrested a second time. He was recaptured by Mexican marines and
Federal Police following a shootout in January 2016.
The Zona Dorado was modeled on the Miami Beach of the late 1950's -
early 1960's. It was once a glamorous place. Now nearby hotels are
advertising 400 peso or $20 rooms.
Couldn't find any surfers or hippies with weed. And yet, I found a
large statue, on the malecon, of a Viking pointing. The Viking
definitely looked like he smoked weed. He was pointing towards a
street that went by one of Old Mazatlan's markets.
I walked down the street that the Viking was pointing to, and found a
hot dog place with a big picture of Bob Marley. I went to the two
dudes who were working the place, and told them I was Rastafari, and
from Colorado, and looking for weed.
They were ready to just give me some. And yet, they looked at their
sacks and there just wasn't enough.
They pointed to another street that went down another side of the
market. They told me to walk down that street about three blocks and
told me to look for this dude who went by the name Marcos.
I asked if Marcos was at a particular place. I asked them what Marcos
looked like.
They just assured me I'd find Marcos if I just walked down that street.
I said "ahite".
I walked two blocks and found Marcos.
He was a tweeker. And yet, he was a hustling, very functional one. I walked
past him, and made eye contact. And then I continued walking.
He caught up with me, and asked if there was anything he could help me with?
I told him I wanted two hundred pesos ($10) worth, of good Sinoloa weed.
He asked me if I was a cop.
I told him, I definitely was not a cop. I told him I was Rastafari. I
told him Bob Marley had sent me as I pointed to the hot dog stand with
the picture of the 'Tuff Gong'.
He told me everything would be much easier if I just handed him the
200 pesos and he just would meet me someplace.
I answered, 'no puedo' (I can't do that).
He said 'no problema', but we would have to take a walk.
We fast walked to the other side of Old Mazatlan, frozen in its 1950's
sketchiness, and came to Raoul's place.
He lived in a hovel, that was once part of a car garage. He had the
gray pallor, and demeanor of a full-tilt tweaker. His hovel opened
directly on to the street.
He immediately asked me if I was a cop. Again I said I was Rastafari,
and Bob Marley had sent me.
Raoul wasn't buying it.
But he still got on his motorcyle to get 200 pesos ($10), worth of mota.
Marcos and I waited across the street in the shade. He was interested
in my travels in Mexico. Told me, wistfully, that I had seen more of
Mexico then he would ever be able to see.
Then Raoul returned. He brought his motorcycle on to the street. He
positioned it so we were somewhat concealed by it. He handed me two,
well wrapped 100 peso bags. I smelled each bag.
It was decent mota.
As I reached into my pocket for the 200 pesos these four
boy-children-soldiers, about 16 yrs.-old suddenly appeared on the
curb.
They all had guns. They all had walkie-talkies. They all wore styling,
military-like clothes.
They were making sure the transaction was going to happen with no
problems. If there was a problem - someone was going to get shot and
killed.
I calmly handed Raoul 200 pesos. I pocketed the weed, and started to
turn away. Marcos then asked for some compensation for his work. I
reached into my pocket and gave him 30 pesos (about $1.50).
He thanked me.
I looked him in the eyes to make sure we were ahite.
We were ahite.
I then faced each of the four boy children-solders. I looked them in
the eyes to see if we were ahite.
We were ahite.
I zig-zagged through Old Mazatlan making sure I wasn't being followed.
When I got to my room, I rolled a gordo (a fat one), and smoked it.
There were a few seeds - nothing serious.
It isn't Colorado. And yet, it's ahite.
The Mexican Cartels' reign of blood and terror is a Great Human
Catastrophe. The cartel bosses try to manipulate
popular culture to make it look like they are about robbing from the rich and
giving to the poor. They try to make it look like they are Robin Hood.
This is not true.
The cartels sadistically prey on the people.
They feed on their own.
It wasn't that long ago that buying cannabis was not a big deal. It
was as easy as buying tamales. The same very indigenous, dignified,
grandmother that was selling tamales out of a nice,
traditional basket was also selling weed out of that same basket.
Now, if that grandmother was selling weed, she would be shot
in the head and left in her puddle of blood
In old Mazatlan.
(DISCLAIMER - The events described in this particular 'narrative of
the voyage of the bloody, snake chariot' - see
www.libbyhome.blogspot.com - are not real, in that they are like a
dream.
A certified physician in the state of Colorado has recommended the
author's use of cannabis. This
authorization is based on a condition of chronic pain caused by a
metal plate and two screws that is implanted in his skull.
This metal plate is there because of a hideous, disfiguring head injury - which
ultimately proved fatal - which was sustained while serving in Vietnam
under the command of Captain Richard 'dick' Blumenthal, (see 'The Jah
Department of Environmental Protection (The Jah D.E.P.)
www.libbyhome.blogspot.com) who is now a
U.S. Senator from Connecticut - who will attest to the truf of this
DISCLAIMER.
Except for a brief period of experimentation while in college, the
author has used cannabis for only legitimate, legal, medical purposes.
The events described in this 'narrative of the voyage of the bloody,
snake chariot,' - www.libbyhome.blogspot.com - represent no violation
of the drug laws of the United States of America, nor f(according to a
recent decision of the Republic of Mexico's Supreme Court, and a
recent vote of the Republic of Mexico's Senate) is it clear, they
represent a violation of the drug laws of the Republic of Mexico. -
DISCLAIMER).

The WHALES

THE WHALES
"...But far beneath this wondrous world upon the surface, another and
still stranger world met our eyes as we gazed over the side. For,
suspended in those watery vaults, floated the forms of the nursing
mothers of the whales, and those that by their enormous girth seemed
shortly to become mothers. The lake, as I have hinted, was to a
considerable depth exceedingly transparent; and as human infants while
suckling will calmly and fixedly gaze away from the breast, as if
leading two different lives at the time; and while yet drawing mortal
nourishment, be still spiritually feasting upon some unearthly
reminiscence;- even so did the young of these whales seem looking up
towards us, but not at us, as if we were but a bit of Gulfweed in
their new-born sight. Floating on their sides, the mothers also seemed
quietly eyeing us. One of these little infants, that from certain
queer tokens seemed hardly a day old, might have measured some
fourteen feet in length, and some six feet in girth. He was a little
frisky; though as yet his body seemed scarce yet recovered from that
irksome position it had so lately occupied in the maternal reticule;
where, tail to head, and all ready for the final spring, the unborn
whale lies bent like a Tartar's bow. The delicate side-fins, and the
palms of his flukes, still freshly retained the plaited crumpled
appearance of a baby's ears newly arrived from foreign parts...
some of the subtlest secrets of the seas seemed divulged to us in this
enchanted pond. We saw young Leviathan amours in the deep...
...And thus, though surrounded by circle upon circle of consternations
and affrights, did these inscrutable creatures at the centre freely
and fearlessly indulge in all peaceful concernments; yes, serenely
revelled in dalliance and delight. But even so, amid the tornadoed
Atlantic of my being, do I myself still for ever centrally disport in
mute calm; and while ponderous planets of unwaning woe revolve round
me, deep down and deep inland there I still bathe me in eternal
mildness of joy."
Moby Dick - The Whale
Herman Melville
In the beginning there were tens of thousands of gray whales, and they
were in all the world’s oceans. And yet, even before the industrial
whaling of the 1800’s, humans had exterminated the gray whales in the
Mediterranean and Atlantic Oceans.
And when the big industrial whaling of the 1800’s began the oil
rendered from the gray whale was considered far inferior than the oil
of the right whales and sperm whales. But when these more commercially
desirable species became scarce the large scale whaling of the grey
whales began.
By the mid 1800’s the last significant population of grey whales
migrated from their feeding on krill waters of the Arctic Ocean and
Bering Sea to their mating and calving waters in four lagoons (Laguna
Ojo de Liebre, Laguna San Ignacio, Puerto Lopez Mateos, Puerto San
Carlos) in the Baja California Peninsula.
In the winter of 1855-56 several United States whaling ships including
the ‘Leonore’ , captained by Charles Melville Scammon began the
slaughter of this last significant population of gray whales.
Scammon is credited as being the whaling ship captain who led the
first near extermination of the gray whale.
The winter of 1855-56 was the first of the winters, from 1855
through1865, that became known as the “bonanza period”.
Thousands of gray whales were killed by United States and European
Whalers. Thousands of calves were injured and died. Thousands more
were orphaned when their mothers were killed and died of starvation.
The mother’s were targeted by the whalers. They would navigate
their boats between the mother and their calves. The enraged mothers
would inevitably come close enough to be harpooned.
And yet, with time, the gray whales became better and better at
killing their hunters. More whalers were killed hunting the gray
whales than were killed in the hunt for any other whale. The
intelligence and fierceness of the gray whales’ resistance earned them
the designation “devilfish”.
Seventeen years after 'discovering' the whale nurseries Scammon wrote
"The large bays and lagoons where these animals once congregated,
brought forth and nurtured their young are nearly deserted."
By 1874 the oil that was lighting the world’s cities was no longer
whale oil. Whale oil no longer had commercial value. The hunting
pressure on the whales dramatically decreased. The gray whale
population in the Southern Baja began to rebound.
But then the whales were hunted by local people for dog food.
More people were said to be killed by the whales during this period,
then were killed during the time when whales were hunted for their
oil. By 1949 when the gray whale became protected from commercial
whaling, there were so few left, that extinction seemed inevitable.
And yet, again the gray whales rebounded.
Local fishermen avoided them because they were the “devilfish”.
And then, in February 1972, something remarkable happened.
Francisco ‘Pachico’ Mayoral, a fisherman from Laguna San Ignacio was
working in the lagoon when a large gray whale surfaced near his panga
(long wooden boat with an outboard engine). He tried to put distance
between himself and the “devilfish”. And yet the gray whale remained
close, following the panga for about an hour.
The whale seemed to be seeking human contact.
Pachico reached out and cautiously, warily caressed the whale’s face.
This became the beginning of Baja California’s economically important
whale watching/whale touching eco-tourism.
The first whale watchers/touchers saw whales with hidous harpoon scars.
About ten percent of the resurgent gray whale population in the
lagoons of the Southern Baja seek out humans, seek out human contact.
And yet, these whales give birth to babies who become adults that will
also seek out human contact. The numbers of whales seeking the human
touch is increasing the numbers of people going to Baja California to
see and touch whales is increasing.
On a recent panga boat, whaling excursion from Guerrero Negro to the
outskirts of Laguna Ojo de Liebre (also known as Scammon's Lagoon), a
proud mother pushed her new-born calf with her back to give humans in the boat a
good view of the calf and the baby’s face,. And then presented her
stomach to be caressed.
On a recent panga boat, whaling excursion into Laguna San Ignacio a
mother gently rubbed against the boat. She and her baby presented
their faces to be caressed.
And mother whales continually approached the boat with playfulness,
curiosity, intelligence as they shared their joy in their new-born
babies.
And each year reports come from all the world's oceans that the gray
whale is back.
The Second Day After the Election - The Oracle Speaks
On the first day after the election - it was quiet. People spoke in
subdued tones. Some wept.
It felt like the day after 9/11.
I went from anger to despair - and then back to anger. I wondered if
the day after the German Election of 1934, when Hitler and the Nazi
came into power, was like this.
I understood why a little less than half the popular voter voted for Trump. And yet, it seemed like many had
chosen for racism, intolerance, evil - just like 1934.
On the second day after the election, I consulted with the Ancient
Oracle - The I Ching - The Book of Changes.
I asked The Oracle: What would come from this election? - How should a
person conduct themselves in these times?
The Oracle answered with the hexagam Chen/ The Arousing (Shock,
Thunder), with a moving line in the fifth place that changes the
hexagram to Sui/Following.
THE IMAGE OF CHEN
Thunder repeated: the image of SHOCK.
Thus in fear and trembling
The superior person sets their life in order
And examines themselves
The Oracle advises that one master their fear, and keep their composure.
It advises that one adapt to the changed circumstances, adapt to the
times without relinquishing principle.
It advises consistency in doing right

The Attempt to Bomb the Nederland Police Station

(This is to introduce the audio interview of Rev. Hansen Wendlandt, pastor of the Nederland Presbyterian Church. This interview can be heard on Nedheads, Nedtalk and archive.org)
The attempt to bomb the Nederland police station on October 11, the
arrest of David Michael Ansberrry (a.k.a. Midget Jesse) and the
subsequent publicity, has presented a disturbing panorama of
local history.
In 1971, as it is in 2016, this area, these mountains were the
destination of many people who were part of a new cultural, social,
economic and political paradigm. This area competed with the Haight
/Ashbury neighborhood of San Franciso as a "hippy" destination. This
new "counter-cultural" paradigm was very different, some would argue
it was antagonistic, to that held by the areas' resident population.
In 1971, one of the more notable groups, was STP. This group is said
to have included as many as several hundred people, and their rowdy,
disruptive behavior made them the demonized others of their time.
"They contributed daily to the job security of law enforcement
officers," reads a recent 'Washington Post' story.
Nederland Town Marshal Renner Forbes, "had a reputation of being heavy
handed," reads the 'Washington Post'. In 1997 he confessed to taking
Guy Goughnor, 19, (a.k.a. Deputy Dawg), a more conspicuous member of STP
into custody at the Pioneer Inn, shooting him in the head, and dumping
the body two counties over.
Revenge for this is said to be the motive of the attempted bombing of
the police station.
"Folks were afraid," reads a Boulder Magazine story about the local
events of 1971. "Extremists formed vigilante squads and attacked at
least one hippie camp near Nederland."
It seems as if this history is repeating itself.
Again Nederland and the surroundings mountains are the destination of
people who have become the demonized others of local residents. Again
there is talk of forming vigilante organizations, of lynching, of
punishing those who are seen as assisting or enabling the others. And
again these demonized others contribute daily to the job security of
local law enforcement officers.
The difference between 1971 and 2016 is that the movement of people in
1971 was a hopeful thing. The counter-culture was about the new
possibilities of the Human, new, hopeful prospects of the Human
future. The movement of people in 2016 is often the movement of the
destitute, the dispossessed, the hopeless, the broken.
Members of Rev. Wendlandt congregation at Nederland's Presbyterian
Church have accused him of assisting/enabling these people. They have
withheld financial and personal support. And yet, Rev. Wendlandt is
all about meeting this Human exodus with common-sense, with love - and
yet, its a tough, thoughtful love and compassion.
He speaks of how close this community came, this summer, to hideous
acts of violence. He speaks of how some of 'the others' came very close
to bringing violence on themselves by defying the fire ban even after
the fire.
Like 1971, this is a defining time for Nederland. Let us not define
ourselves by responding to the current situation with hate,
dysfunction and violence.
Let's listen to Rev. Wendlandt.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016 - post date

The Zapatista Revolution - 2016



(to see the ‘narrative of the voyage of the bloody, snake chariot,’
see www.libbyhome.blogspot.com)



The Zapatista Revolution has been re-absorbed into the
Mayan-language-speaking world of the jungles and highlands of Chiapas,
from which it came. Instead of becoming a new paradigm of world
revolution, it has become an instrument by which
Mayan-language-speaking people are able to separate themselves from
the world-at-large.



It began with the Mexican Marxist intellectuals/revolutionaries -
radicalized by the Tlatelolco Massacre in 1968, and the continuing
dirty war of Mexico in which ten’s of thousands of Mexicans disappear,
are tortured, murdered.



They began living in the Mayan-language-speaking pueblos of Chiapas in
the hope of turning the people into Marxist Revolutionaries. Instead
the Marxist intellectuals/revolutionaries became Mayanized. It began
with Marxists, who saw themselves as the vanguard of the revolution,
telling the Mayans how to make revolution. And yet, the Mayan people
ended up telling the Marxists and anybody else purporting to be
government/governance, that they must do what the people tell them to
do.



On January 1, 1994 the North American Free Trade Agreement went into
effect, eliminating the right of communities to own land communally.
At least 3,000 armed Mayan-language-speaking people took the Mexican
Government and Military by total surprise when they burst out of the
jungle and began taking towns and significant cities on the road to
Mexico City.



The powers-that-be freaked the fuck out!!!



They tried to do what they always have done when poor people,
indigenous people try to stand up for basic Human Rights - they tried
to kill everybody.



The purely military aspect of the revolution lasted 12 days. The
Zapatistas and local people say hundreds were killed. The Mexican
Government claims dozens were killed and most of those were killed by
the Zapatistas.



And then the revolution was on television and the Mexican
Government/Military wasn’t able to kill everyone. And the
Mayan-language-speaking people had the face they wished to show the
world-at-large, the face they wanted on television. He was Rafael
Sebastian Guillen Vicente a.k.a. Sub-Commandante Marcos (named after a
friend and comrade of Guillen who was killed at a military checkpoint
in Chiapas).



The original legend of Marcos was that when the Zapatistas captured
San Cristobel de las Casas on New Year’s night, and began burning town
tax records behind the city’s municipal palace, the tourists
freaked-the-fuck-out. They flocked into the city’s zocolo, the city’s
center, to find out if they were going to be raped and slaughtered.



A twelve-person Commandancia commands the Zapatista Army. There are 11
commandantes and one sub-commandante in the Commandancia. And yet, all
the commandantes were only fluent in their Mayan-languages. Only
Sub-Commandante Marcos, the junior member of the Commandancia, the
Mayanized intellectual/revolutionary Marxist, spoke fluent Spanish,
and also Italian, French and English.



He got on a balcony of the municipal palace of San Cristobel de las
Casas, and told the tourists that everything was going to be arhite.



And he kept on doing that.



The world became enchanted with the romantically-masked, bearded,
corn-cob-pipe smoking, mounted-on-horse revolutionary. His image was
all over television. He got his picture in ‘Rolling Stone,’ GQ
Magazine.



And then the Zapatista Revolution became about amendments to the
Mexican Constitution, marches from Chiapas to Mexico City, about
Zapatistas verses government/military controlled para-military death
squads and massacres. And then it became about politicians accusing
the Zapatistas of trying to destroy Mexicans’ rights of equal
protection before the law and trying to give indigenous people special
privileges. Then politicians spoke of all the foreigners -
particularly young Italian socialists, that were in the Zapatista
Pueblos. The politicians said that foreigners were in charge of this
purported Mexican Revolution. Then Marcos traveled all-over Mexico on
a motorcycle with a chicken named Penguina to mock the presidential
elections of the popular socialist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador against
the hated plutocrat Felipe Calderon, in 2006.



Calderon won by a very small margin. Marcos/Guillen became like the
Ralph Nader of Mexico.



Things got much worse during the six-year term of Calderon. At least
60,000 Mexicans died in the escalated war on drugs. Oligarch/corporate
control of Mexico tightened and expanded. And then again in 2012,
Obrador lost by an even smaller margin, had the election stolen by the
even more hated President Enrique Pena Nieto, who has re-estabished
the despotic power and business-as-usual of the Partido Revolucionario
Institutional (PRI).



Many Mexicans came to believe Marcos sold out, was paid by the
powers-to-be to help steal the election from Obrador, to preserve the
Mexican Government’s despotic power, and business-as-usual.



The Zapatistas responded with long periods of near-silence.



And Mexican popular culture went on with El Chapo, the corporate-media
coverage of the never-ending carnage, the end of the Saturday night
television show ‘Sabado Gigante.’



And the disappearance and murder of the 43 leftist-university students
in the state of Guerro,  two years ago.



The deep resentment, outrage that Mexicans feel about their country’s
dirty war has crystalized around these disappearances these murders,
by a municipal government that was controlled by a crime cartel, that
killed the leftist students to preserve the Mexican business-as-usual.





The ancestors of the Lacondon Mayan, before they made the jungles of
Chiapas their home, lived in the Yucatan Peninsula. They fought the
Spanish in the Yucatan until the the Spanish completed their conquest.
They went into the jungles and were able to keep enough jungle around
them to keep the rest of the world away. And yet, when archaeologist
built airplane landing strips, in the jungle, in the mid 1950’s, the
rest of the world, particularly lunatic Christian Evangelical
missionaries rushed in.



There no longer is enough jungle, or mountains to keep the
Mayan-language-speaking world separated from the world-at-large.



But there is the remnants of the Zapatista Revolution.



There are six villages that call themselves Zapatista Pueblos. The
cease fire between the Zapatista Army and the Mexican Army still
holds. Oventic is the pueblo where tourists from San Cristobel de las
Casas can go on very controlled tours. At the entrance of Oventic is a
sign that reads, “You are in Zapatista territory in rebellion: here
the people rule and the government must obey.”



The tours are guided by masked people who refuse to have their picture
taken, and usually refuse to answer any questions. Any attempt to
speak to people outside the control of the tour guide will result in
the tour being abruptly ended.



It’s like the Zapatistas want the world to know they still exist. And
yet, they don’t want the world to know much else about them.



The Zapatista Pueblos take no money from the Mexican government. And
yet, they do receive assistance from European Socialistic relief
agencies. The pueblos seem to be in no worse shape than those around
them. But they don’t seem to be in any better shape. Young people,
when they are able, often leave the pueblo’s for the big cities, for
the world-at-large.



In February criminal charges of mutiny, terrorism, rebellion, and
charges related to possession and use of fire-arms and explosives
against Marcos/Guillen and other Zapatistas were dropped, fueling the
speculation that Marcos and the Zapatistas had sold out.



In May 2014, Sub-Commandante Marcos made his communication, wrote a
letter from the Mayan-language speaking world. He said Marcos was a
“constructed” person, “a hologram”, “a colorful ruse” created by the
Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee of the Zapatista Army.
He said Marcos was created because the people of the outside world can
only see people as small as they are. Marcos was created so that the
outside world could see Marcos and through Marcos they could see the
indigenous Mayan-language-speaking peoples.



He then said that Marcos has been determined to be a “distraction”
that needed to be “destroyed”. Marcos said he is being replaced by
Sub-Commandante Insurgente Galeano, the name of a Zapatista educator
who was murdered by para-military death squads, in an attack on the
Zapatista Pueblo of Realidad, in May 2014.



The letter was signed by Sub-Commandante Insurgente Galeano.



And Marcos or Galeano has not been heard from since.



When the Zapatistas burst from the jungles of Chiapas, Popocatepetl,
the 5,452 meter volcano that overlooks Mexico City, began to smoke and
rumble.



Between 1994 and 2001 Popo had significant volcanic bursts causing the
evacuation of 16 villages and warnings for the 30 million in the
volcano’s zone of immediate destruction. In 2013 volcanic eruptions
threw ash three kilometers into the sky and made six US airlines
cancel their flights into and from Mexico City and Toluca. The last
time the volcano totally blew was a thousand years ago. Seismologists
say there’s a ten percent chance that the volcano can totally blow in
the near future.



Which is about the same chance that Mexico will totally blow in a
political/social/economic/revolutionary volcano in the near future.



The Zapatista Revolution may have gone dormant. But outrage still
rises from the disappearance and murder of the 43 students. The
Mexican polical/social/economic volcano still smokes, still burns,
still rumbles - and could explode.

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Friday, March 25, 2016 - post date

Pilgrimage to The Mayan God Maximon - (Ri Laj Mam) - in Santiago on
Lake Atitlan,



He is a Trickster-God, just as the Mayan People have been tricksters,
pretending to be Roman Catholics while still worshiping what they
always worshiped.



He loves women, so much, and women love him. He must be handicapped,
or else he’ll be taking everybodys’ woman. His likenesses have their
arms and legs, purposefully, amputated.



He is a Gangster God master of the Gangster World of the Mayan
Highlands. The Mayans have never stopped resisting, any way they can.
Their uprisings continued into the 20th Century. The Mayans started
the first unions of agricultural workers. The masters of the
Guatemalan gangster world, the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church,
United Fruit, the oligarchs, lunatic evangelicals who have taken the
power as the Roman Catholic Church’s power has waned, and always a
U.S. armed and trained army always have responded to the Mayans
standing up for their basic Human Rights the same way.



They killed everyone.



From 1960 - 1996 the Guatemala Gangster World was killing everybody.
In 1976 an earthquake killed 22,000, left a million people homeless.
Most all of the international relief money was stolen by the
Guatemalan Gangster World.



And then the genocide resumed in earnest. Four hundred villages were
massacred. At least 200,000 people were murdered, at least 1,500,000
people were displaced, and are mostly still displaced.



And yet, after the peace accords were signed in 1996, the Mayans have
become very ‘politically’ involved, very mobilized in the Guatemalan
gangster world. Their Resistance has not ended in the 21st Century.



The Mayan people pray to Ri Laj Mam in Mayan languages and they ask
him for things they can’t ask of Jesus. They ask him for revenge and
power over their enemies. They ask him for power over the opposite
sex. They ask him for bling and success in their ‘business engagement’
of the world. They ask for nimbleness, agility in their physical
engagement of the world. They ask for good crops. They ask for good
health. They ask for motorcycles, and cars, and a winning lottery
ticket. They ask for gangster power.



I went to Lake Atitlan, with new friends that I met at the ‘Good Place
to Stay Hostel’, in Antigua. Nick, Joe, and Tabitha. We all stayed at
‘The Lost Iguana’ in Santa Cruz. And as soon as I arrived at Lake
Atitlan, I began hearing about the master of this catyclismic place.



About 180,000 years-ago a large piece of the earth’s crust was blown
to kingdom-come, by a massive volcanic caldera eruption, leaving a 50
square-mile lake with an average depth of 720 feet. Even before the
conquest there was perpetual war for possession of this beautiful
paradisaical place. This beautiful, paradisaical place has always had
an equal measure of hell. During the civil war over 2,000 people were
murdered in Santiago, the largest city on Lake Atitlan, a very
traditional Mayan place, the place that Ri Laj Man lives.



And yet, this is a beautiful, magical place where many foreigners
come, and many never leave (some because they too are murdered by the
U.S. backed military).



We all decided to make a pilgrimage across the lake to the place Ri
Laj Man lives.



On the Friday before Semana Santa we hired a boat and did the 26 mile
crossing of the lake. When we arrived in Santiago, to find Ri Laj Man,
we hired a put-put taxi, and a guide. We were taken about two miles
out of town, to a modest home, where he had lived the previous year.
Now, with the coming of Semana Santa, he was being prepared for the
move to a new home.



Every Semana Santa he is moved to a new place in parallel pagentry to
Roman Catholicism’s. When we arrived, we walked on the palm fronds
that his procession to his next home would soon walk on, and entered
his crowded sanctuary redolent with the smoke of tobacco, candles, and
incense, and the fumes of Quetzaleca grain alcohol.



I had wanted to make an offering to the God, of some arhite Lake
Atitlan ganga. I had rolled a respectful joint, and before the
crossing of the lake, I had smoked some - just to be sure it was
arhite. And yet, when we arrived at the God’s sanctuary, I realized it
wasn’t arhite.



He is the Mayan God of tobacco. He wants offerings of tobacco, or rum.
And yet, if you don’t have rum, he’s totally arhite with Quetzaleca
grain alcohol.



Nick bought six pint bottles of Quetzaleca for about $8.70. He gave me
one to give to the God. I opened the bottle and took a long pull, just
to make sure it was arhite - it was arhite. And then I sat beside,
shared a chair, with one of the two priests that had been attending
the God the previous year., who sat beside the likeness of Ri Laj Mon.



To be a priest, to be an attendant of the God, to truly share in his
mystery you must stay continually drunk for an entire year.



I introduced myself with my very latino name - Me llamo Samuel Victor.



The priest introduced himself as Maximon, Ri Laj Mon.



I told him - mi gusto su trabajo (I like your work).



Maximon, Ri Laj Mon laughed, and said he liked my work. He said he
knew I was a gringo and yet, in many ways, I seemed to be, it felt
like I was Mayan.



I thanked him and gave him the partially drunk bottle of Quetzaleca.
He gave the bottle to the other priest. He covered the mouth of the
likeness of Ri Laj Mon with a cloth, and then poured the bottle into
the cloth and the mouth hole of the likeness.



Maximon/Ri Laj Mon, the priest I sat besides, said the God was looking, considering my offering in a favorable way. He asked me what I wanted from the God.



I asked him about being able to request things from Maximon/Ri Laj Mon
that you couldn’t ask of Jesus.



Maximon/Ri Laj Mon, the priest I sat beside laughed again and said
there is no limit to the things you could ask. He said to take my time
in framing my request. He said I was welcome in this sanctuary, and I
could hang out as long as I wanted.



I got up so that Tabitha, Joe, and Nick could have their time with the
God. And yet, I have no memory of witnessing Tabitha, Joe, and Nick’s
time with Maximon/Ri Laj Mon. It seemed like my conversation with the
God continued as I stood in the smoke-filled, fume-filled sanctuary.
We conversed about what a person could ask of Maximon/Ri Laj Mon. And
somewhere in there I made my request.



Tabitha, Joe and Nick had their time with the God when I again
became aware of my surroundings. We then took the group picture that
accompanies this story.



When we left the sanctuary we again walked on the palm fronds that the
procession to the next sanctuary would walk on. Nick still had a
couple of pint bottles of Quetzaleca. He offered me one, I opened it
and took a long pull - that went straight to my head.



When the put-put drove about 100 yards from the sanctuary, I saw this
beautiful black dog laying beside the road. The dog had no apparent
injury, and yet, when the put-put passed him, I realized the
beautiful, black dog was dead.



I can’t say why - but I knew my request to the God had been accepted.



And what that request is - well - that’s between Maximon/Ri Laj Mon,
the priest I sat beside y yo.