la sagrada muerte

I struggle to make sense of the great mystery’s hand in how or why events transpire with such pain. It’s humbling for a divinator and yet I must remember there is a reason truth does not always reveal itself. Not one human is all knowing for it will negate the power of great mystery. Still, in my human folly I continue to try to make sense of the painful void.

I am inclined to reaffirm my belief in the great mystery through the materialist guise of quantum physics. It is in this semi-credible paradigm where the existence of other realities is possible. Events could have had vastly different outcomes in a parallel universe. And maybe this is the heyokah medicine in a materialist view. The idea of understanding truth through it’s opposite. I am consoled in believing that our world, our fate and our reality as we believe it is not truly absolute without It’s negating force -the unknown, the other side.


Crossroads of Choice


In the Codice Borgia there’s an image of a matron energy called Itzpapalotl, the obsidian butterfly, with her face torn off exposing her flesh. She is not evidence of savage sacrifice as it is easy for the western academics to point out. She’s more of a zombie with eagle talons for fingers and jaguar wrists. The symbolism suggests she exists in both worlds -spirit and flesh. She is a fierce care taker for unborn babies and stillborn infants in a place called Tamoanchan within the spirit world. She nurtures the spirit babies on a tree with thousands of nipples on its trunks and branches that feeds the unborn ancestors and prepares them for their flight to be born once more. Itzpapalotl is regarded as a mental energy we all have within to let go of ideas, visions, memories and thoughts that no longer serve us and transmute that energy into something that may give life once more. This is the creation story of of the uncreated. These are ancient stories of miscarriage, abortion and loss. This narrative relates to hope that normalizes loss and gives way to the loss opening a road to something new.

The question of abortion has been debated in terms of ethics or legalities creating discussions based on ideological and moral arguments of the state’s power over this situation. It is unethical and unequal on the part of the state to take a religious or ideological stance on the issue. The legal actions taken by a state to restrict or ban abortions is inherently rooted in sexual discrimination because it enacts laws that will be enforced specifically for pregnant women. (McDonagh). The state can only have policies that ensure the patient’s safety and confidentiality. While I entertain the legalities, it is critical for me to bring the discussion back to the essence of choice and what that means for the mother, the unborn and the community.

The dialectical forces on the issue of abortion are labeled as Pro-Choice and Pro-Life presents another issue. The popular discourse define “pro-choice” advocates as concerned with the rights of women and reproductive freedom. To be clear, “Pro does not mean pro-abortion, it means pro-choice. Many women who would not to choose to terminate a pregnancy of their own argue that every woman should have the right to choose when under the circumstances she will bear a child.” (Bishop, 39) In addition, a pro-choice stance does not solely speak to the issue of abortion but also to the range of choices women have in regard to their reproductive freedom. Caitlin Borgmann summarizes the stance of the pro-choice movement in “Abortion is Ethical” by stating, “We stand not only for the right to choose, but also for comprehensive sexuality education, effective contraceptive options, quality prenatal care and childbirth assistance, and trustworthy and affordable child care.” Feminists largely propelled the pro-choice movement in the early 1970s because of the importance of a woman’s autonomy to her own body. On the other hand, people who consider themselves “pro-life” are focused primarily on the rights of the fetus and the moral implications of abortion. They feel the state should intervene into the issue of abortion by banning abortion or creating restrictions such as costs, or counseling intended to influence women’s choice in keeping a child. Some states have passed restrictions for under-age girls such as parental consent laws and/or having the court grant permission. (Borgmann) The pro-life movement is associated with the political right and religious organizations. Nadean Bishop, a feminist writer describes the position of the pro-life movement:

Those opposed are more concerned with the ‘right to life’ than the ‘right to choose.’ They argue that life exists from conception and that ‘abortion forfeits the very basic right to life from which all other rights proceed.’ [1] Because this argument makes an as-yet- proved assumption about when life begins, it is basically a religious argument and is highly identified with religious forces. (Bishop, 40)

The polarization of pro-life and pro-choice does not capture my stance and no doubt the spectrum under which other people fall under. The argument of when life begins is the pro-life sound bite. And what if you believe life begins prior to conception when two people energetically and perhaps unconsciously are open to bringing life through their act of love? Um yes I believe this and yes I believe in a women’s right to  choose. Spirit world has its own law and its own protocols, which truly we can only speculate about. It is in this world that our choices are muddled with questions of support, economics, and simply considering the greater good. Feelings are transient that can have long standing impacts and we in the real world constantly are puzzled and given the task of resolving this. Getting grounded into making these choices and the material conditions that impact these choices is ultimately where the discussion should largely remain. That’s where the state role comes in.

The state’s role in everyone’s life is one that has power to regulate over the quality of life of its residents by providing socio-economic policies and programs. Meaning for women, that the choices to terminate or continue a pregnancy are made under material conditions that the state has power in. In this sense, the state’s role in the issue of women’s choice should be providing economic and social resources that may influence the choice of providing a nurturing and healthy environment for a child to be raised as well as proper medical resources for women who choose to terminate their pregnancy. Borgmann quotes a study that has determined ‘Pro- life states are less likely than pro-choice states to provide adequate care to poor and needy children. Their concern for the weak and vulnerable appears to stop at birth.’ (Borgmann, 5) It must not however, ban or restrict the choice of women not only because it is discriminatory but also will place the woman and child’s health and safety in jeopardy. In the words of Nadean Bishop, a feminist writer, “Society should never penalize [a woman] by forcing her to bear an unwanted child or to take the risk of an illegal abortion, which can usually be had only under medically unsafe conditions.” (39)

Debating over the legalities or ethics of abortion undermine the true issues at hand. That is, examining the conditions under which women choose to terminate a pregnancy and what resources could be offered to women so that they may make a decision of parenthood based on their reproductive freedom as opposed to economics or legalities. Say for example, a twenty- year-old woman is a student at a community college, on financial aid and living and depending on her parents, finds out she is pregnant and is not in a healthy nor supportive relationship. The woman is then presented with a very limited amount of possibilities based on her economic and social conditions. If she can afford an 800-dollar two-day surgical procedure to terminate the pregnancy or if she can afford the pre-natal care and entire change of lifestyle -meaning school, housing, marrying a potentially abusive partner and of course raising a child. For many women, an 800- dollar procedure is far from reach economically and they consequently become mothers before they are ready. The state must offer resources to women of low income because they “face what can be prohibitive costs in seeking abortions. Very few have private health insurance, and government- supported plans rarely pay for abortions.” (Borgmann) Fortunately, the county of Los Angeles offers Medi-Cal, a low-income health plan that is free to pregnant women who qualify. This program is a subsidized health plan, however, many people do not know that pregnant women who qualify for Medi-Cal, may also obtain a temporary Medi-Cal to pay for a Medical or Surgical Abortion primarily because it is up to the physician to offer it as resource.

Simply paying the cost of the procedure is an obstacle and low-income women not only need resources to pay for the procedure but also need resources to cope with the choice after the procedure. The idea that a woman can have a medical or surgical procedure to terminate a pregnancy and be fine with it and not need some sort of therapy or support system after the procedure is a myth. Many of the women I have met who have had such a procedure attempted to be fine with it but still needed to mourn the living being inside them as well as reflect on the choices made prior to choosing an abortion. It is a life changing experience for the many women I have known. In fact, one woman, let’s call her Susie, had an abortion in Cuba while on vacation and part of her procedure was mandatory counseling. The Cuban government must have an understanding of the silence that women have to endure after a pregnancy often missing work or school and attempting to function normally when clearly suppressing an emotional process is harmful.

Patricia Justine Tumang shared her abortion story in an essay titled “Nasaam ka anak ko? A Queer Filipina-American Feminist’s Tale of Abortion and Self-Recovery.” She describes a story that resonates with the many stories of women in my life who were not ready to bring life into this world. She was eight weeks pregnant and decided to have a medical abortion:055

RU-486 appealed to me then because it had an efficiency rate of 99 percent and was non-surgical. […] It was the same price as a surgical abortion and was advertised as ‘less traumatic.’ […] If I would have known how traumatic my experience with the pill would be, I would have opted for a surgical method. Not that it would have been less disturbing, but anything would have been better than the three weeks of horrendous bleeding and cramping I endured. (378)
Medical Abortions are a very lonely and traumatic experience for many women because it is a procedure away from the doctor’s office without any medical guidance. Women tend to pass a small embryo the size of a quarter along with heavy bleeding, diarrhea and nausea.

For Patricia Justine Tumang the healing process was a difficult one, “Almost a year after the abortion, the pain still visited me from time to time. For so long I tried to deny that I had undergone a shocking experience, and I entered into a period of self- punishment. I pretended to be recovered, but the pain pushed itself outward. Regret and guilt caused severe anxiety attacks that left me breathless, convulsing and faint.” (380) She found solace in women’s writings such as Alice Walker’s In Search of our Mother’s Gardens. She found that women of color in particular would need a different set of resources, “Since, my own abortion, I have realized that women of color need access to post-abortion therapy that is affordable and sensitive to different cultures and sexualities.” (380)

The problem with the way the nation discusses the issue of women’s choice is that it is seldom described in detail what the choice is if a woman opts not to have an abortion. That choice for many women is not filled with debates about what’s ethical but rather how the woman and her child are going to live and who is going to be support her in her choice. The reality is although the Right wants the state to intervene in a woman’s choice; the state does very little in terms of its economic and social policies/ programs to make the choice of having a baby realistic on a purely economic level. To force women to have children void of choice is irresponsible of the state regardless of the women’s choices that led to pregnancy.

Despite the illusion patriarchy wants us to internalize, women are powerful for so many reasons including their life giving power and the choice of when they birth, how they birth and if they birth at all. The fact that the politicians and advocates on either side have to argue semantics and statistics removes the essence of what matters in this crossroads of choice. The woman and the spirit of the unborn have a decision to make. I am a spiritual person, but contrary to what my Christian counterparts argue, I believe that no embryo or fetus wants to be birthed without the consent of the mother. In my logic, a spirit of an unborn baby in the mother’s womb desires its mother’s love. In fact, many studies show that the mother’s emotional state and the mother’s emotional support during pregnancy has a direct impact on the health and birth of the baby. Truthfully all legalities and ethics aside, unplanned or unwanted pregnancies present a sacrifice for the woman who had made a covenant with the universe unraveling her path. To choose walk a different path to give birth and sacrifice a covenant with the universe (such as answering a call to practice law or compete as a gymnast) or conversely choosing not to birth and sacrificing a covenant made in the spirit world when that energetic union had been made (when consent was willful of course).

In ancient times to the present, women hold wisdom of herbs and counsel. Using pure imagination, I can see that women made choices then and that choosing to birth or to abort was counseled by wiser women to honor the greater good. For some of us that had kinship with wise women, we are/were fortunate to know what teas would bring your menstruation when you were late and what teas to take after when that didn’t work. Deep in that knowing is a powerful string that ties us to a knowledge of women’s power -that power that is debated over, banned and regulated depending on what land you live in. In the greater scheme of creation, abortion debates and the shame that may come along with it, distracts from the real valuable moments of holding space for women to make the best choice and to do so with support so she may mourn, redirect her path and rejoice in life’s blessings.

papalotl sanctuary

Works Cited
Bishop, Nadean. “Abortion: The Controversial Choice.” Women: a Feminist
Perspective. 3rd ed. Ed. Joe Freeman. Palo Alto: Mayfield Publishing Co., 1984. 39-53.
Borgmann, Caitlin. “Abortion Is Ethical.” Perspectives on Sexuality and
Reproductive Health, January/February 2003. Opposing Viewpoints: Problems of Death. David A. Becker. Detroit: GreenhavenPress, 2006. From Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Caitlin Borgmann, “Beyond the Apocalypse and Apology: A Moral Defense of Abortion,” Gale. Los Angeles City College Library. 13 Mar. 2008.

Brownback, Sam. “Abortion Is Not Ethical.” Opposing Viewpoints: Problems
of Death. David A. Becker. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2006. From Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Sam Brownback, “Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation Revisited,” Human Life Review, Summer 2004. Copyright Human Life Foundation, Incorporated 2004. Gale. Los Angeles City College Library. 13 Mar. 2008. .
De Vos, Karen. “What do women want?” North American Reference Encyclopedia
of Women’s Liberation. Vol. 1. 1972 McDonagh, Eileen. “The Next Step after Roe: Using fundamental rights, equal
protection Analysis to nullify restrictive state-level abortion legislation” Emory Law Journal 2007, 56- . Academic. Lexis-Nexis. Los Angeles City College Lib. 31 March 2008.
Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. Public Law 108-105. 5 Nov. 2003. S.
Schwenkler, John E., JD. “Abortion Law in the United States: An Overview.”
At Issue: The Ethics of Abortion. Ed. Jennifer A. Hurley. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2001. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. Los Angeles City College Library. 1 Apr. 2008. . Reprinted from “Overview,” found on the Abortion Law Homepage at
Tumong, Patricia Justine. “Nasaam ka anak ko? A Queer Filipina-American
Feminist’s Tale of Abortion and Self-Recovery” Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism. Eds. Daisy Hernandez and Bushra Rehman. Emeryville: Seal Press, 2002. 370-81.

[1] [Author’s Citation:] National Commission on the Observance of international Women’s Year, “To form a more perfect union”: Justice for American Women. (Washingtpn, D.C. Government Printing Office, 1976), 280.

Son de Todos: Tradition and Community


“Hasta que el pueblo las canta
Las coplas coplas no son
Y cuando las canta el pueblo
Ya nadie sabe el autor
Procura tu que tus coplas
Vayan al pueblo a parar
Que al volcar el corazón
En el alma popular
Lo que se pierde de gloria
Se gana de eternidad”

The conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards and their “imports” of African slaves into the region shifted the overall material culture of Mexico. The colonial reality led to the mixtures of cultures known as mestizaje that is deeply rooted in Latin American history. Through this meztizaje, the traditions of various indigenous tribes have been regionally preserved and changed by the introduction of new cultures in those particular geographic locations. Son Jarocho is among these syncretic traditions still being practiced in Southern Veracruz, Mexico. The syncretism of Son Jarocho has yet to end. The music has migrated all the way from Veracruz to California, Illinois and New York. The music’s diffusion to the U.S. and its methods of learning have, however, presented questions for me of its possible misappropriation or regeneration in the shift from the context outside the fandangos in Southern Veracuz and into the urban landscape of Los Angeles.

I learned Son Jarocho when I lived in Davis. My friend Salvador who had taken many trips to Veracruz informed us well on the traditions of each song and the gatherings called Fandangos to the best of his ability. He described to me that “anything can happen in a fandango!” I have found that this is true; a fandango to me is a space much like a ceremony. It has definite conventions but I like to think of them as “agreements.” The first song played in a fandango is called Siqui Sirí. No one that I’ve talked to has been able to tell me what the word “Siqui Sirí” means, nonetheless, the purpose of the song is to begin the fandango by asking permission to begin. This is very much the Indigenous influence of Son Jarocho that informs us on how to begin ceremony. We always ask the relatives of this earth, the elements, the other jaraneros so that we may remain humble and remember our traditions –the Indigenous, African and Spanish-Moorish traditions.

The Instruments themselves serve their function in the fandango, the jaranas are largely used a percussive string instrument with the strumming and is what most musicians play in a fandango. The requinto is a kind of leader within the fandango because it marks the melody and starts each song traditionally. I found a good description of the two instruments in a book called Latin American Music that I think help visualize how these instruments look and their functions:

The most widespread typical instrumentation centers on […] a jarana (shallow-bodied guitar with eight strings in five courses), and a requinto (“guitarra de son,” a four-stringed, narrow-bodied guitar, plucked with a 7.5-centimeter plectrum fashioned from cow horn or a plastic comb). […] The jarana player employs a variety of patterns (maniqueos) to strum a rhythmic-chordal accompaniment appropriate to the metere, tempo, and character of the particular son. The requinto player (requintero) supplies an additional, largely improvisatory, melodic line […]” (Sheeshy 157)

The versada or the lyricism of the songs are largely of public dominion –no one can really say that verso is mine because as it is sung it becomes the property of everyone. Aperson in a fandango might remember the versos “con las que siente afinidad; si son ajenas, cuanta siempre con la libertad de cambiarlas a su convenencia.” That is to say that, if one has an affinity to the verso one sings it and has the liberty to also change it (Arredondo 10). The typical form of lyricism is the Spanish style octasílabas, literally translating to “eight syllabals” that used in each line. More advanced form of versada is the decimal, which is a ten-line verso with a rhyme scheme of A-B-B-A A-C C-D-D-C. This style of poetry was popular in Spain and diffused throughout the Americas during the 17 and 18 centuries (Sanabria xi). The zapateado is the percussive steps usually on a wooden platform called a tarima, which the musicians usually gather around. Jarochos consider the tarima, the heart of the son because no typical drum exists in son Jarocho. The percussion is conducted in the steps of the zapateado, and also in the strum of the jarana. There are many more instruments to describe but the ones explained are typically the one’s most widely used or at the least the basic ones.

Syncretism, in the case of any colonial paradigm and certainly in Colonial Mexico, is not “the combination of two or more different traditions” but developed under cultural coercion into accepting the dominant colonizing culture (Stewart 55). In being forced, colonized peoples creatively preserved their traditions in the guise of a newly formed tradition appealing to the dominant culture. The fandango is a sacred space in which indigenous and African cosmologies and communal gatherings are joined through Spanish musical and lyrical conventions. Fandangos are simply put musicians, dancers and singers oriented the tradition of creating a community of expression thus developing a musicianship inherently based on sacred traditions. In a conversation with Liche Oseguera, a Jaranero, requintero, leonero and composer of Son Jarocho music, and several LA jaraneros (that soon turned into an informal interview because of all the questions we had for him), Liche shared with us how he was raised in the tradition of huapangos wherein families gather in a given house and were family celebrations. He relayed to us the importance of the music for him, informing us that the music is cultural inheritance that he received from his family to share and preserve the traditions whose songs have deep spiritual significance that one must pay attention to.

However, in the ports of Veracruz, another dynamic exists within son Jarocho. When I went to Veracruz, Mexico 4 years ago, I remember a sociologist, whose name I forgot, read a paper to us in a defensive tone, explaining to us that the Marisqueros, the people who play Son Jarocho in the ports or in restaurants for money, do so out of necessity. She described that many of them are hurt that there is a definitive line that divides the two different groups of people: the jaraneros and the marisqueros. I remember her reading that one of the Marisqueros told her “no es chile pero arde” which translates to “it isn’t chili but it burns.” Participants of this seminar, also in a defensive tone, informed her that we are not to divorce ourselves from our politics, and that we understand the roots of this commercialization of the traditions is in the permeated capitalism that is centrally located in the ports.

I remember feeling an affinity to the music that people were defending is rooted in tradition as opposed to commercialization. As I reflect now, four years later, I realize that the context in which I learned and play Son Jarocho has not been in the ports or in the ranchos but was in the university in Davis and now in LA. My family is not from Veracruz, they are from Michoacán and Jalisco in Western Central Mexico. I have since then reflected on whether or not Jaraneros from California or specifically in LA are positioned as being of tradition or are we a type of marisqueros? What is it mean to play this music? Why did I care to learn? How would I be of tradition here in LA? These are the questions that inform my search to try to explain what it means to not just play this music here in LA but create a community of Jaraneros in LA rooted in parallel traditions that speak to our identity as uprooted people on this side of the frontera. I then realized that the question for us Chicanos is a complicated question of what we lack in our cultural context to search for identity and that may answer why we even picked up a jarana or get on the tarima:

Chicanos searched for mediums through which their cultural identity could be reaffirmed, promoted and preserved. Everywhere Chicano Campus organizations emerged that in some way reached back into the Mexican cultural heritage to take back what had been denied by the hegemonic forces in the U.S. – such as language, history and expressive forms of culture. Out of this fervor arose teatros, muralists, musicians and literature which became important symbols of “Mexicanness” (Najera).

Growing up semi-aware of being uprooted from Mexico, I attempted to reconcile my own identity and found two options: either succumbing to assimilation into perhaps the only culture we know or find mediums through which we can express our identity. Son Jarocho has become that medium for us Chicanos in LA because we become connected to our mother country when we physically strum, sing or dance and we build a community of people also oriented in that search and satisfaction of cultura. In the conversation with Liche, I asked him what he thinks about Chicanos who probably have no ties to Veracruz learning Son Jarocho. I was hesitant to hear his answer having seen how we conduct our fandangos and perhaps also our group dynamics but his answer was a confirmation to me. He said that if we are to learn that music to learn it well, to respect the traditions humbly and then he told us to define ourselves and our identity within this music.

It was hard at first to re-think how to still continue being part of tradition and at the same time create or generate music that is still speaking to my identity or reality as a Chicana. Then I considered the son buscapies. The name busca-pies translates into looking-for-feet but has the connotation of the devil, who is said to look for feet at night “te va jalar patas el diablo” my mom used to say if we left our feet bare at night. The versos in this song always strike me as versos that keep you on your toes and remind you of the evils of the world so that one takes care of oneself or family or community. Arcadio Hidalgo, a trovador, campesino and a soldier who fought in the Mexican revolution had described in the later years of his life describes laudero (maker of wooden instruments), Gilberto Gutierrez dancing on the tarima to buscapies with a woman when he realized that Gutierrez had “un pie de crisitano y una pata de gallo” (a Christian foot and a rooster’s foot). It was at that moment that he and others began to sing “versos a lo divino” to scare the devil away (Arredondo 129). Recently I had heard a recorded song of buscapies by a group called Soneros de Tesochoacan that was consistently about the economic change taking place in Mexico. One line in the song hit home for me: Ahora sí me voy pa’l norte, haber si como si quiera (Now I will go north to see if at least I can eat).

I spoke to some of the jaraneros after Liche was picked up so that he can go to bay area to sell some instruments and give workshops. I was a bit disheartened by the feeling that maybe we weren’t consciously of tradition because we still must define our own as Chicanos. Then in thinking of the son buscapies it was clear to me that the structure is there for each song in the use of syllables, the word is the message. It is then up to us to listen carefully and not just read versos from a book that sound nice but interpret our own meaning to our reality in the city or in just being uprooted from the mother country. We can sing in metaphors that already exist or we can create our own. We don’t necessarily need to create something new altogether but instead have a real analysis of our struggles as Chicanos and be able to connect that struggle with the jaraneros of Veracruz through the versada.

“Ya me voy de retiradas
Solo puedo asegurar
Que pronto he de regresar
Compartiendo mi versada
Es mas tengo la illusion
Que somos de tradicion
Que se escucha en mi tierra
Como tan lejos en la sierra
Dandole vida al son.”

Works Cited

Arredondo, Victor A. La Versada de Arcadio Hidalgo. Xalapa, Universidad Veracruzana: 1981

Najera Ramirez, Olga. “Social and Political Dimensions of Folklorico Dance: The Binational Dialectic of Residual and Emergent Culture.” Western Folklore, 48.1 (Jan 1989) 15-32

Oseguera, Liche. Personal Interview. 11 April 2008. Santa Barbara.

Sanabria, Alfonso and Irisaida Méndez. La Decima esta en tus Manos: Manual para la Composición de la Décima Espinela. Salinas: Fundación Leopoldo Sanabria, 2000.

Sheeshy, Daniel E. “Mexico” The Garland Handbook of Latin American Music. Eds. Dale A. Olsen and Daniel Sheeshy. 148-73. New York: Garland, 2000.

Stewart, Charles. “Syncretism and Its Synonyms: Reflections on Cultural Mixture.” Diacritics, 29.3 (Autumn, 1999), pp. 40-62.


[Written in 2008]

the gift of tecpatl

flint is the result of grandfather rock hitting a rock to take form, to be sharp and useful. Mineral hitting mineral.. memory hitting memory.. Sparking an idea, an idea that became useful to humynity. This is the gift our ancestors gave us. This gift is the evidence of sought truth intended to sharpen our strategies for humyn evolution. This evolution is not to compete for survival but rather evolve from within and to serve all humynity as kin, to care enough for one another to create, to think creatively of how to deliver this purpose. These are the points of our evolution as two-leggeds not our ability to out-survive each other.

this is why the tecpatl; [the flint] is an evidence to the evolution, a gift our ancestors gave us because within its form it tells many stories but its true function is a tool, learnable and teachable, a skill for all humynity and even creatures like the ozomahtli to utilize in our advancement as peoples to survive as a whole at a higher scale. as was the invention of horticulture the understanding of how to cultivate earths gifts to better feed our kin.

and these abilities that the antepasados gave us: to analyze, to create solutions, to produce gifts to share on tlalticpac [earth] be it a painting, a dialogue or a child. This is what evolves us as spirits and produces the light that we can radiate here on tlalticpac.


survival mode co-existence is toxic to our spirits resulting in less of that light we can shine to all other kin creations + creatures. Ultimately, this lack of cooperative existence creates conditions for competition. false notions of superiority/inferiority do not cultivate conditions where humyns can create and give the gifts to humynity to increase joy, peace and prosperity to all people’s lives in a sustainable and cooperative way.

on the contrary, this sort of living based on competition that breeds false notion of winners and feeds/profits from stealing/extracting natural resources such as oil by murdering/ democratizing whole communities and attempting to break the spirit of their autonomy. meanwhile, this thinking back in the states, proves their greed and carelessness in protecting the very troth it feeds from. Taking cheap measures to pump oil from under the ocean resulting in the pollution of huiztocihuatl [wombyn of salt -our ocean] seemingly destroying an entire eco-system in the gulf of Mexico. violating a sacred element that sustains of living on this planet for all relations: atl/ water. The false winner murders a whole eco-system making whole communities hungry and sick for a whole way of living has just been polluted.

the outcome of such Darwinian social/ecological competition can not and has proven time and time again not to result in the betterment of humynity but rather its only outcome is to benefit a false winner whom desecrates it most sacred calli/home: earth/tlalticpac. this same thinking this frame of needing to win over others -their own kin and their own home and needing to compete over all others feeds the shadow self that a monstrous growth of which is toxic to our spiritual growth -this is the hegemonic framework in which we as humyns are viewed as some legitimate to walk, own and even defile this sacred land and make other kin humyns and care takers of these lands criminals and exploit their fear of capture, violating yet again the sacred homes of families and loved ones in the state sanctioned separations of kin folk relations. The creation of laws that enforce the negation of humynity is rooted in the false concept of white supremacy from checkpoints in LA to jim crow laws back in the day.


Emerging monarch

the purveying reason that people even consider leaving their homes and homelands is to find a better living because their lands have been appropriated by structural financial debt that also taxes their political-economic sovereignty -a designed function of national capture, built in after their false independence wherein the globe has become increasingly dependent on IMF, World Bank loans and trade agreements only after years of having been robbed, enslaved, violated, murdered upon the arrival of the false winner to most all sacred ancestral lands on this planet. meanwhile, people still need to eat and live their lives divine purpose seeking out at the very least self-evolution. for this hegemonic thinking is not sustainable to this planet nor it’s people and their dreams and desires.

we must resist such laws that violate our humynity + actions that violate all life forms as a whole on this planet. We must continue to cultivate love for ourselves, for our communities, to build strength + power to spiritually evolve as humyns and offer gifts to the future generations of humynity.

Toxcatl Massacre

On May 10, 1520, the people of Tenochtitlan were honoring the festival of Toxcatl –the time when things dry in May. Despite the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores, peace was agreed upon in order to commence the festival, which was celebrated with dances and offerings to Tezcatlipoca –the Smoky Mirror. Often confused for a war god, Tezcatlipoca is the power of our unconscious, the shadow parts of us. In honoring Tezcatlipoca we honor the spiritual warrior within, to no longer look for external enemies but begin to fight the enemies within ourselves so that we may be of better service to our communities.

In hearing the warring drum beats and the agile movements that was inspired in the dancers, the Spanish saw that the most prepared and strongest warriors were central to the dances as conch blowers, singers, musicians, speakers and keepers of the ceremony. Pedro de Alvarado and the rest of the outnumbered conquistadores decided then to attack the Tenochcas in the absence of Hernan Cortez, who was returning with more men and ammunition. The Spanish came in the temple with their swords and shields and secured all entrances:
Immediately, they surrounded those who danced, then rushed to the place where the drums were played. They attacked the man who was drumming and cut off both his arms. Then they cut off his head [with such a force] that it flew off, falling far away.

At that moment, they then attacked all the people, stabbing them, spearing them, wounding them with their swords. They struck some from behind, who fell instantly to the ground with their entrails hanging out [of their bodies]. They cut off the heads of some and smashed the heads of others into little pieces.

They struck others in the shoulders and tore their arms from their bodies. They struck some in the thighs and some in the calves. They slashed others in the abdomen and their entrails fell to the earth.

Some tried to escape, but the Spaniards murdered them at the gates while they laughed.
The blood of the warriors ran like water as they fled, forming pools, which widened, as the smell of blood and entrails fouled the air.

Then a roar was heard, screams, people wailed, as they beat their palms against their lips. Quickly the captains assembled, as if planned in advance, and carried their spears and shields. Then the battle began. [Broken Spears, Miguel Leon Portilla]

This was one of the first acts of genocide by the western hemisphere that birthed white supremacy through cultural violence. They literally began by attacking and slaying our cultural practices, akin to other experiences of peoples that have resisted conquest and colonization. The celebration of people’s culture is a threat to white supremacy and in order to maintain the guise of white supremacy through patriotism, these perceived threats of cultural expressions and traditions become the target of annihilation. In attempting to erase the story telling of cultural histories, the construction of white supremacy then creates conditions that justify the civilizing of the perceived “uncivil” as today politicians debate about legalizing the perceived “illegal”. Borders did not exist then as we know today because these constructions are recent to these lands. Today in Arizona and every else in the US, cultural violence is practiced by the laws that legalize such hateful supremacy. Less than two days after Jan Brewer [the governor of Arizona] passed SB 1070, HB 2281 passed to prohibit ethnic studies, making the firing of teachers with “accents” legal and prohibiting curriculum that “advocates ethnic solidarity.” And just as laws and bans against our traditions were resisted by our ancestors, we will continue to come together in solidarity with all peoples who fight to create another reality possible by following our dreams.


SM, occupied aztlan, 2007

[Toxcatl Massacre was originally recited over danza mexicayotl at a community town hall in response to the state repression of undocumented peoples in Arizona in 2010]

quantum mysteries

13CielosI am not a scientist and have no interest in becoming one. It is, however, important to me to understand some of the principles of science, namely quantum mechanics, at a lay-person’s level to make sense of the world in which I inhabit.

I practice earth-based spirituality, so as I read through articles and watch you tube videos of scientists making sense of the quantum world, I am not puzzled. Although the names of properties and equations does puzzle me, the principle of mystery and uncertainty does not.

I am sort of a balance between intuitive and a heavy materialist. That is an over simplification of how I take in information but it might help in understanding some of my lay interpretations of quantum theory. The most easy to understand documentary that I have watched has been a Nova doc called Fabric of the Cosmos. [I appreciate the analogies and the visual animation] Prior to my youtube surfing the only other background I have had in physics was in high school, which I think I passed with a D because I just couldn’t really care about predicting things.

The interesting thing now as I re-examine this information is the difference between classical mechanics and quantum mechanics is certainty and uncertainty. In my h.s. class I was expected to determine and predict outcomes in nature. Solve equations and use formulas that I don’t know who discovered so you can get a definite outcome about something that seemed so trivial to me at time. What I appreciate about quantum theory is that it forces us to be humble about not knowing for certain any outcome because in truth there may be many possibilities.

So here’s my interpretation from the perspective of someone who believes we have a creator but doesn’t really have a book of stories about who or what that creator thinks because European Catholics came to our country and burned towers of our books. So as an artist and an intuitive materialist I use my imagination to take science and some of the surviving creation stories and philosophies to make some sense of my reality…

Light bodies– Light has a very distinct behavior in nature. Spiritually light is our spirit and is often used as a metaphor for life and wisdom. The daylight  nurtures us and the foods we eat. So light does play a special role in our daily living. In the development of quantum theory, unusual properties of lights surfaced when certain gases were heated. Distinct lines of colors were emitted in the process of heating gases some of which are found in deep space such as helium. One can then speculate and appreciate the beautiful vivid colors found by our Hubble telescope capturing dying nebulae and newborn stars. What fascinates scientists about the distinct lines of color is that they don’t present themselves in a spectrum, more typical in our everyday reality like a prism, glass or even a rainbow. It isn’t a blur of color that we see but defined colors, which they found were designs created by the electron’s behavior in that particular atom called quantum leaps.

Cellular Consciousness – The philosophies of my ancestors known as Mexicayotl describe a kinship with earth, animals, plants and all the elements and directions of creation. The philosophy is akin to that of various native tribes in the US. It isn’t just a romantic notion of being connected to the earth but a real one with consequence that I am referencing. Here is the fine line between so called “new age” thought and heavy materialism. And that’s a whole ‘nother post. But the point is that cutting through the structures of atoms provided for more uncertainty and more questions. Scientists were puzzled because they found that the particles were behaving differently when being observed. Measuring the particle’s behavior seemed to be changing the outcome of the experiments as if the particle was conscious that it was being looked at and giving the observer the behavior it expected. At the time of the double split experimentation we were taught particles were particles and particles wanted us to think that too. But as the experimentation was being conducted without observers yet still being recorded, scientist  were surprised to find particles were behaving differently than when viewed with a human eyeParticles were expected to pass a blocked passage except with two slits and leave a pattern on a sheet on the other side of the blocked passage. When viewed the electrons presented a pattern within the double slit. When the particle was not being viewed, the pattern on the other side of the slits began to present an interference pattern such that waves would display. I am fascinated for two reasonsOne reason is the fact that particles at a cellular level can choose to change its property and become waves and the second reason is that the particle also has the intelligence to not have wanted us humans to know about its conscious choice to shift its property. And so at an atomic level or subatomic level I think its safe to infer that perhaps particles of all kinds have some sort of intelligence or consciousness. It is sort of scary to think that just as I want to romantically think I am one with air, water and earth I must be also one with plastics, tar and technology and all its emr.

Synchronicity– The other pretty fantastic discovery of quantum physics is called  entanglement, which is when two particles become entangled if they are close together and their properties become linked so strongly that even when separated across space the particles can remain connected and continue to share information. And this doesn’t seem as foreign or scary to me because it’s something that I think I practice daily. It makes sense to me in the way that you connect with someone so strongly that when you miss each other you end up calling each other at the same time or start thinking about the other person at the same time and sometimes communicate in the dreamworld. It also makes sense to me in the way that when you want to learn about something or manifest something in your life you are so connected to materializing the desire that something stumbles on your path for you to take the opportunity to learn or manifest.

Shape-shifting – going back to the double slit experiment, we know that particles can choose to become waves and so at a quantum level there is a dual nature to these small intelligent things. That to me is shape-shifting at quantum level. And if a particle can do it I am sure if all the particles in our bodies all simultaneously manifested a shift in our property into let’s say a crow or an owl, it might happen. In fact, it is not uncommon for indigenous peoples and their descendants to dislike some birds like owls and crows for fear that they may be witchcraft/ brujeria. The interesting thing is that some scientists have “tele-ported” particles by entanglement with one rule as part of the protocol. When a particle is to be “teleported” the information of the particle is extracted and immediately sent to the place where the previous entangled particle while leaving the original completely destroyed. That is, if we were to be tele-ported then we would need to die. And so if you want to be a shape-shifter you must also be dead or I guess nonliving. Not my area of expertise.

Other worlds– one of the first things I learned in the university about my ancestry was that there were these separate worlds my ancestors defined. 13 levels of heavens, our reality which was termed tlalticpac and then below us was 9 levels of the underworld until you reach mictlan the place of the dead. It occurs to me that as some of the scientists begin to speculate on the existence of infinite possibilities occurring in one reality or in parallel realities or universes then maybe my ancestors were on to something about how our reality was truly just this reality and how real is this reality really? This sort of existentialist thinking is beautifully evidenced by a poet Nezahualcoyotl in this line “truly on earth does one live? not forever on earth only a little while here.”

Some of what I am taking away from these connections is that modern science is finding its way back to its origins of ancient alchemy only with much more sophisticated technology. The other take away is that the technology created to make sense of these mysteries in the end prove that there is yet more mysteries and uncertainty in the way we want to understand our reality. Which  leaves me with this assertion that the mystery of the creation and how we as a society are beginning to understand this reality of the unknown may have been understood by the previous generation of star-gazers, shape-shifters, artist and warriors. Maybe there something to these creation stories if only people would stop taking it literally and over identify our art, text and architecture as evidence of sacrifice and mutilation.