Güera in Wirikuta: Meeting Don Juan

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The path to Don Juan’s Ranch

The road began to narrow and the dirt changed from beige to the rusty hue of ocher. We hadn’t seen a house for over an hour when we arrived at a crossroads where a cluster of some six or seven buildings sat. I figured we must be getting close to our destination because two of the buildings were decorated with colorful murals of Huichol imagery. One was a portrait of a shaman next to a blue deer, on top of which many smaller images of peyote and other plants were painted. The shaman was recognizable from his characteristic sombrero adorned with eagle feathers and tassels along the outside edge. A second smaller building bore images of the ocean and the Huichol name for the ocean spirit “Tatei Haramara,” meaning Grandmother Ocean, in bright red.

IMG_20150307_083141At our shaman Lupe’s request we stopped and Victor, Joel, and I got out to stretch our legs while Lupe went to look for someone. I quickly surveyed the area for a bathroom just in case. To my great consternation there was none that I could see. We took the obligatory tourist shots of one another in front of the larger mural before we were herded back into the van by Lupe.

From here we turned left onto a side road that shot straight up the side of the mountain. The road narrowed and the terrain became more severe: cliffs rose steeply on our left and fell away dramatically to the right, the tops of trees growing below just barely reaching the road’s surface. In places small waterfalls cascaded down the dark grey cliff faces and gathered in small pools on the side of the road.

Before long the terrain flattened out and we were surrounded by stands of tall pines, whereas previously the forests were dominated by deciduous trees. Massive walls of beige and grey rock jutted proudly out of the surrounding terrain. Next thing I knew the van bounced and creaked into the diminutive village of San Jose Escuela. True to it’s name, a school (escuela) sits at the center of this gathering of ten or so homes and public buildings constructed of low-fire red brick. We parked next to one of the small single-story homes. A couple of wooden benches flanked the short central doorway. Behind the house several small pigs snorted and tousled in a rough dirt area fenced by gnarled wooden posts. Next to the house sat a smaller one-room building the size of some Americans’ walk-in closets. This was the general store.

Don Lupe, his son Memo, and Victor disembarked from the van while the rest of us waited. I assumed it was Mario they sought, the other shaman who was already in the sierra having arrived several days before. The men returned and loaded back into the van. Some words were exchanged in Wiratika and Victor fired up the van. I normally would have asked what was happening and where we were going, but between being up all night and my intestinal woes, I was uncharacteristically passive and decided to just go with the flow. We continued heading northeast on what resembled a rough track more than a road. Uneven and littered with large sharp rocks, it was only wide enough for one vehicle. I wondered what we’d do if we met someone coming the other way as there was no shoulder to speak of and in many areas where the side of the road ended the land dropped off precipitously. It wasn’t long before we met a couple of locals utilizing the preferred mode of transportation – burrows (donkeys). It occurred to me that this was the ideal way get around in the region and as our van creaked and swayed over the uneven, rock-strewn road I became convinced we’d either get a flat tire or a break an axle before long. As concern gathered as stress in my body, I felt my shoulders creep towards my ears, while held tight to the molded door handle. When I finally voiced my concerns about the van’s ability to sustain the abuse, they were dismissed offhand.

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The rough track of a road and the surrounding mountain landscape.

“You worry too much, Güera,” was Victor’s patronizing response. This became his mantra any time I expressed misgivings about something.

The countryside surrounding San Jose Escuela is dotted with small ranches where the Huichol grow corn, squash, and tomatoes, raise pigs, chickens, a few cows, and horses, mules, or burrows for transportation and plowing. The small clusters of buildings comprising each ranch, with their grey thatched roofs and stone walls, were hard to make out against the identically colored rock-strewn landscape. But at that time of year a gentle haze of purple and pink flowers adorning peach and apple trees planted along bordering stone fences helped to define their boundaries. I wondered how they were able to grow anything in such a rock strewn landscape.

IMG_0924Eventually we ran out of road and when that didn’t stop our progress, a stand of trees finally did. It wasn’t quite noon, but the sun had gathered appreciable strength by the time we all tumbled out of the van and began hiking down a narrow foot path.

My sandals turned out not to be the best footwear for the hike, so when we reached a particularly steep section in the descent, I took them off and walked in my bare feet.

“Careful Güera,” warned Lupe’s daughter Angela. “There are spines and stickers on many of the plants here.”

In response to her warning, I increased the care with which I picked my way over the rocks. Nevertheless, soon a sharp sticker impaled the ball of my foot and made me cry out. I pulled up short to remove the offending spine. It turned out to be a very reticent seed head covered in so many spines that I couldn’t grab it with my fingers. I tried to use one of my sandals to flick it off, but after several painful attempts, I gave up and decided on another approach. Meanwhile Angela, her mother Olivia and Marianna looked on with concern.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “I’ll get it out.”

I looked around for a stick or a rock with a sharp edge. A thin piece of rock did the trick and I was soon on my way, choosing my path with even greater care.

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Don Juan’s ranch sits among the bright green trees in the valley below.

As we reached the bottom of the valley, the terrain turned to sparse grass and sedge meadows dotted with low spiny trees, bushes, and the occasional nopal cactus. In the distance I could see the bright green canopy of a Mesquite tree and the deep green tops of a couple other tall trees. I stopped to put my sandals back on and take a few photographs. As I did Don Lupe, his son Memo, Angela, and Victor all passed me and continued on ahead.

Rancho Ciudad Juarez is where Olivia, Lupe’s wife grew up. Her parents, Don Juan and Leocadia, and her younger brother Juanito were there to greet our party. By the time I got there, however, everyone but Olivia had scattered, busying themselves with one thing or another and Victor was deep in conversation with Juanito.

Juanito exuded strength and confidence. He was dressed in traditional Huichol clothing – white cotton smock-shirt and pants with colorful piping along the edges. He wore an especially ornate shamans sombrero covered thickly in eagle feathers with a red fringe and blue tassels. Olivia sat on the ground with Jonathan, Marianna and Mario’s 18 month-old son in her arms. The others were off greeting their cousins, aunts, and uncles or making themselves busy with I knew not what.

The ranch consisted of two main structures – one larger than the other. The larger was a round-walled building with a stone foundation and grey low-fired brick walls with a roof that consisted of wood poles crossed with finer sticks and thatched over that with thick layers of long grasses greyed by the passage of time. The second building just beyond the first was a smaller rectangular affair made of the same type of grey bricks, but with a simpler pitched roof of large wood shingles. In the middle of the clearing that seemed to define the center of the ranch was a patch of earth grey with the ashes of many fires. Next to this were several flat rocks on which pots and pans sat. The soil next to these was stained burgundy, I presumed from the blood of an animal recently sacrificed.

IMG_0949Aroused from their temporary slumber by the hike down the mountain, my intestines began once again to communicate an urgent need that I had no choice but to heed. I walked off into the desertscape, looking for a little privacy, ever watchful for snakes.

I returned feeling weaker yet and looked for somewhere to sit near Olivia under the wide-branched Mesquite tree. But before I could find a place to rest, Angela was at my side inviting me to join everyone in a circle around the now lit fire. This would be the first of many cleansing ceremonies to prepare us for our journey to Wirikuta.

Each of us was handed a small stick from one of the nearby trees. One at a time the shamans, Juanito, Lupe, and Don Juan, went from person to person and with chants and their muvieris (their power arrows to which eagle feathers are affixed) blessed us. But as Don Juan moved on to the next person after conducting his blessing of me, my stick seemed to jump out and grabbed onto his shirt. He pulled up, looked me sternly in the eye, and backing up slightly, unhooked himself before moving on again. I was mortified and wondered just what had happened. It seemed as though my stick acted of its own accord. Granted I was not feeling well and my stick was covered in little barbed hook-like projections, but I couldn’t help but think, as I knew the Huichol would, that this was not an insignificant occurrence. I couldn’t fathom what it could possibly mean though and wondered if anyone else who might be able to tell me had witnessed it.

The blessings completed we each rubbed our sticks over our bodies to cleanse ourselves of negative energy and then offered it to Tatewari, Grandfather Fire, who would purify it and us. Once we’d all put our sticks in the fire, the circle of people broke up and everyone returned to their business. My head spun slightly with weakness and confusion and I turned to find somewhere to sit down.

Before I could sit down though, Angela approached me once again.

“How are you feeling Güera?” she asked, genuinely concerned.

“A bit weak,” I admitted, “but I’m sure I’ll be fine.”

“You know, my grandfather is a highly respected shaman. Would you like him to do a healing for you?”

From my previous experience with her father Lupe, I had an idea of what a healing consisted of and figured that anything that might help rid me of the demon that was tearing at my insides was worth a try.

“Yes, please,” I responded, “that sounds like a good idea.”

Momentarily, Angela returned with her grandfather and introduced me as “La Güera.” In response to Don Juan’s curious expression, she laughed and admitted she didn’t know my real name.

“My Mexican friends call me Alba,” I said, holding out my hand in greeting.

Don Juan is a man I estimated to be in his mid to late fifties. Like the rest of the men, he was dressed in traditional Huichol clothing. On his head he wore a relatively plain, but new-looking straw sombrero with three colorful pompoms affixed along the upper portion of the brim where they were barely visible. I was surprised by the simplicity of his sombrero, that it featured neither eagle feathers nor the tassels that adorn most shamans’ hats. Similarly, on his feet, in contrast to the heavy-soled, woven leather sandals (called huaraches) that most Huichol wear, he wore beige construction boots. His physical appearance was one of contrasts as well – I detected both a softness exemplified by his light brown skin and an edgy sharpness expressed in his intense dark eyes and long hawkish nose. Among the Huichol, shamans are considered to be the embodiment of the eagle spirit, able to sore high with vision that extends around the world. Interesting then that in many ways Don Juan resembles an eagle.

The incident with the stick, while I knew was not forgotten, neither was it acknowledged nor did it stop him from his task. In short order, he invited me to lay down on a blanket that Angela placed on the ground under the Mesquite tree and told me to relax and breath normally. I lay back, the dark branches of Mesquite spread out above me, and closed my eyes.

Stay tuned for the next installment of Güera in Wirikuta.

Güera in Wirikuta: Cathartic Purgation*

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The following post is the second in a multi-part series. To begin reading at the beginning click on THIS LINK.

The basic difference between an ordinary [person] and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge, whereas an ordinary [person] takes everything as a blessing or a curse.                           Don Juan, Tales of Power by Carlos Casteneda

Gradually the roads we traveled became narrower and more isolated, the way was dotted by checkpoints manned by state and municipal police. When we began the climb into the most isolated part of the mountains our progress was halted by a band of rifle-touting men in plain clothes. My pulse quickened as I wondered if they were banditos after our valuables, but then I saw among them a woman in traditional Huichol clothing. I relaxed, knowing they meant us no harm. Each time as the van rolled to a stop and I lowered the window to answer their questions, “Where are you going?” and “Where have you come from?” the inquisitioner’s expression changed from one of seriousness to surprise when they saw who was behind the wheel.

As the clock ticked past 3AM, my eyes began to strain and the road to wind up and down in steep hairpin turns.

On cue, Lupe’s voice cut through the low rumble of the van’s engine, “Are you hungry Güera?”

“Hungry?” I asked. “Well, no, uh, I’m not hungry…maybe a bit tired.”

He laughed good-naturedly at my misunderstanding.

“No,” he said, “not that kind of hunger…”

There was a pause after which he continued, “Here, give me your hand.”

I reached my right arm back, palm facing upwards into which he placed a small soft object. I wrapped my fingers around it and bringing it forward felt with my fingers the slightly moist texture of a small piece of peyote cactus. I smiled and wondered, did he read my mind just then? I placed it in my mouth and chewed it down to a pulp, knowing it would provide the stimulation to let me drive on deeper into the night, same as a cup of coffee, but without the jitters. The subtle effects of the small wedge of cactus came on about twenty minutes or so after I’d swallowed it and I realized an additional benefit of peyote over coffee was that it sharpened my night vision.

Slowly but surely we drove higher into the sierras of Narayit. The route reminded me of many drives I’d made in the Laurentian mountains of Quebec where my family has a summer cottage and led me to consider, once again, how in hind sight often our lives turn out to be a series of lessons and experiences that lead up to and support some higher purpose, like how in John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany Owen insists that he and his buddy practice the basketball shot over and over again, we know not why…until the book’s zenith.

Night still cloaked the surrounding countryside in darkness when the rumbling in my intestines began to compete with the narrow strip of winding road for my attention. Before long I winced and gripped the steering wheel tighter with fingers already cramped with fatigue as sharp cramps joined the rumbling. I wondered if the peyote and quesadillas were having a disagreement. But no, I reminded myself, Hikuri and blue corn quesadillas get along just fine. It’s only when you eat non-Mexican food that it protests. I pulled over when my discomfort made it nearly impossible to concentrate on the road and Victor took took my place. Our extreme isolation meant I no longer worried about him driving without a license, but road conditions and my discomfort made resting in any significant way an impossibility.

The sky had brightened with impending dawn when the cramping in my gut became too much to bear.

“Pull over,” I said, my teeth and anal spincter correspondingly clenched.

“Huh?” Victor replied, his focus on driving and oblivious to the seriousness of my condition. “What do you…?”

I didn’t let him finish. “Just pull over Victor! Pull over now! I need to go to the…” A cramp seized me, rendering me temporarily speechless until the last two words came out in a gasp, “…bathROOM NOW!”

He quickly located a wide area of graded dirt off the edge of a wide curve in the road and pulled off. I jumped out of the van before it came to a full stop and scoured the surroundings for somewhere I could squat out of sight of the 12 or so bleary-eyed people who came tumbling out of the van behind me. We were perched on the side of a mountain, the land dropping steeply away from the patch of dirt the van sat on. Spectacular, yes. Forgiving of someone looking for a quiet spot to take a crap, no. Thankfully, the grader left a pile of dirt at the far end of where we parked that I decided might just be large and high enough to provide the necessary cover. Once I got over there I realized it was not as high as I’d hoped, but my anus told me I would have to make due.

I squatted for so long that soon I heard the telltale murmurrings of impatience. Another minute and I decided I’d done all I could do. I stood up, knees shaking, and surveyed the results. Astounding. Bovine in proportion even. I said a little prayer that I’d purged whatever it was that ailed me and joined the restless crew who’d already loaded back into the van. We needed to make time. Lupe was expected at a ceremony begun the previous night and we still had a long way to go.

Less than half an hour later, where the pavement ended and the ocher-tinged dirt and scattered sharp rocks began, I begged Victor to stop again. This time there was no pile of dirt to hide behind and I found myself choosing my footholds carefully as I traversed the steep hillside looking for somewhere to squat. In places I prayed as I grabbed the branches of low-lying bushes to swing from one section of the path I was on to the next. I imagine the path I was on was cut by the hooves of agile goats and I was not feeling particularly fleet footed at that particular moment in time. I found a slightly wider section of worn dirt and, grabbing onto the branches of another small shrub, squatted.

From where I crouched the steep mountain plunged vertically, the bottom invisible. I thought again how this could be the end of me and pictured myself tumbling backwards, ass over tea kettle with my dress up over my head, underwear like hobbles around my ankles, full moon exposed to the first hawks and song birds of early dawn. I was startled out of my nightmare vision by Victor yelling at me to hurry up. Later he would tell me he thought I’d been taking my time “sightseeing.”

“If only,” I replied, torn between amusement and annoyance at his utter cluelessness about the suffering I’d endured.

When I finally arrived back at the van, a fine layer of sweat had gathered on my upper lip and a glance in the sideview mirror at my pallor proved I’d left most of my color back on that mountainside along with the remaining contents of my intestines. I said another prayer that I’d passed whatever evil presence possessed me.

~~~~

*Author’s Note:  The title “Cathartic Purgation” comes from a botanical description of an arctic plant in a book I stored away before moving to Mexico. I don’t recall the name of the plant, but its description included a warning that the result of eating a specific part of the plant would be “cathartic purgation.” I had to look the meaning up and was tickled to discover that purgation is the act of purging or purifying, and shares the same Latin root as the word Purgatory. Addition of “cathartic” as a an adjective describing the kind of purgation is all about the degree of purification you’re likely to experience.

Güera in Wirikuta: The Pilgrimage Begins

IMG_20150307_083544You may recall the series of blogs I published here about my first peyote ceremony. Two years and several ceremonies later, I found myself taking the next step on a spiritual pilgrimage that began with that ceremony. This is the first in another series of posts describing that journey.

Every year in March the Huichol begin the process that takes them to the most sacred sites in their spiritual cosmology. It’s the annual pilgrimage that leads ultimately to Wirikuta, the sacred land where peyote grows. Every year they travel thousands of miles to fulfill their spiritual commitment and to collect peyote for ceremonies in the year that follows. The pilgrimage period encompasses four full months beginning in March with preparations that include cleanses and sacrifices and culminating in late June with a closing ceremony.

This year I joined the shamans Lupe and Mario, and their families on the pilgrimage. During the 10 day period I shared with them we traveled first to their home in the mountains (la sierra) for the intial cleansing period, to the Virgin of Guadalupe Basilica in Mexico City to leave offerings and ask for safe passage on our voyage, and then on to the five sacred sites visited annually, including Wirikuta.

Our journey started in Guadalajara where my follow journeyer Victor and I rented a large passenger van. Our first stop was to pick up Joel, another “mestizo” (Mexican of mixed race), who carried with him large bags of pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and chia from his family’s ranch. For both Joel and Victor, this was the second time they would join the Huichol on the annual pilgrimage. From Guadalajara we drove North to Tepic, Narayit, where Guadalupe, our shaman, lives with his family – Olivia his wife and their two children, Angela, 18, and Guillermo, 13. Angela and Memo both speak Spanish fluently, unlike their parents and Mario’s wife, and proved to be excellent guides and interpreters, as well as positive upbeat companions, throughout the journey.

In Tepic, while we waited for Lupe to return from Puerto Vallarta where he’d gone to sell some artwork, Olivia, Angela, Memo, Victor, Joel and I walked across the street to Tepic’s annual Easter fair, one of the largest in Mexico. The Huichol have their own area there where they set up booths to sell their artwork and a kitchen area with several wood-fired barbecues on which the women turn blue corn flour and cheese into quesadillas. The Huichol consider blue corn the most sacred of the five possible colors of maize. In their colorful traditional clothing surrounded by vast collections of beaded and embroidered artwork, the Huichol created a festive feast for the eyes. In preparation for the pilgrimage, I’d begun to fast that day, but seeing and smelling the blue corn tortillas cooking over the open fires, I could not resist and ate several – two with squash flowers embedded in the fresh cheese, two with nopal (rabbit-ear) cactus.

While we enjoyed the quesadillas, several Huichol ladies and their children bellied up to the table to join us. One of the women in particular made an indelible impression on me – she wore a deep purple shirt with matching skirt with white, blue and black piping. Her straight raven-colored hair was pulled back in a pony tail that emphasized her long neck, decorated with a beaded choker necklace. Her face, with its flawless skin, high cheekbones, large almond-shaped eyes, and thin straight nose combined with her erect, proud bearing gave her a royal air. Her name was Rosa. Leaning against her mother, seven-year old Imelda was a carbon copy down to her garb in the same intense hue of purple, the choker necklace. From what I could tell, the only difference between them was that more often than not Imelda’s face was adorned with an unabashed smile and she would join us on the pilgrimage, whereas her mother would not.

After the quesadillas, we took the children, six in all, on the merry-go-round and a mini Ferris wheel. As we walked about the crowded fair grounds the two little girls each took one of my hands. I was struck by their comfort with me, La Güera [pronounced “wera,” with a soft “e” like “where.” It means “the white woman” or “whitey.”]

Before long though Olivia, Lupe’s wife, signaled to us that it was time to go. Lupe had called and it was time to prepare for our journey to the sierras. Our first stop on the journey to Wirikuta would be the tiny village of San Jose Escuela and on to the ranch where Lupe grew up.

When we arrived at Lupe’s house, he and his family hurriedly packed what they would need for the trip. It was almost midnight and I wondered, when they’d known for days that we were coming, why they didn’t have their things packed and ready to go. On further consideration I realized that this is one of the many cultural differences between this white Anglo Saxon protestant Canadian and the Huichol. I told myself that I would need to go with the flow on this trip. I lay down on one of the van’s long bench seats and rested to the sound of scurrying and chatter in their native tongue, Wiratika. It was just after 1:00AM I pulled the van out of the small yard next to Lupe’s house, listening carefully as soft-spoken Lupe issued directions on how to get back to the highway that would take us to the mountains. Lupe’s son Memo facilitated the process by repeating each of his father’s instructions more vociferously.

I try not to drive at night in Mexico. Roads and obstacles are poorly marked and other drivers’ condition uncertain. There’s a lot of drinking and driving in this country, which makes Sundays an especially treacherous day to be on the road. I was comforted that we were traveling on a Thursday. I insisted on driving because I was the only one insured to drive the rented vehicle and I suspect may have also been the only one with a valid drivers license.

The only other vehicles on the highway at that time of night were transport trucks trying to make time. They drove fast and didn’t let up for anything. In contrast, Victor admonished me that we’d never get there at that rate I was driving. Against my better judgement I pressed the gas pedal further to the floor, picking up considerable speed on the good quality two-lane highway.

It was only an hour or so into our drive when we came over a hill and faced a transport truck coming straight at us as it passed another rig. The older highways in Baja rarely have anything resembling a shoulder and there is often a drop of several feet from the edge of the pavement to the ground below. So my first thought was that we probably had nowhere to go. Confronted with the transport truck bearing down on us and the knowledge that if I were to leave the lane we’d likely fly off into a rough landscape and likely roll the van, I could have frozen with panic. Instead, time slowed to a crawl and I had time to consider whether this would be the end of our journey, only just begun. I didn’t want to believe it. I looked right and discovered there was in fact a shoulder there. I purposefully angled the van towards the white line that defined our lane from the shoulder, at the very same instant that the transport swerved back into his proper lane, missing us by, I believe, mere inches.

From the seat behind me, Lupe’s voice came quiet and reassuring, “You handled that well Güera.” I breathed a sigh of relief and gave thanks that we were all still alive. I couldn’t help but think Lupe had as much if not more to do with us still being in one piece and the weight of the great responsibility I’d taken on by agreeing to chauffeur such precious cargo about the Mexican countryside became more tangible and heavy on my shoulders.

Mystic in Mexico Part V: Sirius Wisdom

SiriusThis is the fifth in a multi-part series. To read from the beginning CLICK HERE.

I stood and gazed at the spinning, vibrating portal beckoning me to leave my Earthly bounds and travel to the mysterious world beyond. I felt light, as though my feet were barely touching the ground and I knew all I had to do was relax and accept the invitation and I would be whisked away. But to where? And who would be on the other side? My mind raced with questions as I was gripped by the fear that by entering the portal I would be atomized, cease to exist in my present form, maybe entirely. I pictured my body vaporizing and my life being over. No soul remaining, no new life, just complete nothingness. It struck me then that the invitation to pass through to the other side may have come from a dark force. I shuddered. No, I would not go. I shut my eyes and mentally declined the invitation. When I opened my eyes again a second later, the vision of the perfect wave was gone.

In its place was the scenery as it should be – a gentle bay headed by a line of dark bedrock jutting from the sea’s glassy surface, small waves breaking in the rock-strewn near shore, the sandy, rolling landscape dotted with cacti. Everything was normal, except for the colors. They were still psychedelic. The sea had turned golden and the sky was cotton-candy pink. At its center, the sun continued to rise, continued spinning wildly clockwise, and still looked like the portal vibrating in and out. I couldn’t take my eyes from it and felt its vibration in every cell of my body, which hummed, I thought, at the same frequency. That’s when I noticed five objects or symbols at the center of the portal. They were light grey, but blurred. I could not make out what they were, but I sensed that they held meaning if only I could discern what shape they had. The sun, I realized, was only visible as the outside edge of the orb I was looking at, and there was a second circle inside the sun. The planet Sirius. A chill went through me. Sirius? The planet I’d been drawn to my whole life, I now realized, was connected to our Sun by an energetic portal. My mind quickly understood the connections were not physical, but energetic and that Hikuri was allowing me to see the energetic connection between these two heavenly bodies.

I was becoming aware now that knowledge was being imparted to me in a non-verbal manner. I suddenly “knew” things that I previously had no knowledge of. For example, the fact that Sirius is not only the brightest star we can see from Earth and therefore the “sun” of the night sky, but that it is also the giver of energy to our sun and therefore our entire planet. The God Star, as it were.

GOD = DOG

Something I overhead Ayax say to Mio early in the night came flooding back to me.

“Oh yes,” he said, nodding and looking over at me, “Dawn is definitely a Sirian.”

I didn’t know what he was talking about then, but now I understood. In my minds’ eye I saw a flash of blue atomic particles and understood them to be a Sirian being. I instantly understood that Sirians are not physical beings, but are energetic in nature. Then I saw a cloud of these blue particles entering my soul the day I was born. Within me I carry the energy of a Sirian. Sirians have been sent to Earth to help us. 

This was all a bit much to absorb and as I stood there staring at the sun, trying to comprehend what I was learning, Crystal approached, touched me gently on the shoulder and tilting her head towards the house, softly said, “Come Dawn. We are going to eat something.”

I looked towards where she gestured and saw Guadalupe standing on the side of the hill that led to Crystal and Fernando’s house. He was looking at me and waiting. Mario was next to him, his back to me, busying himself with something. I felt rooted to the ground and reticent to leave the portal. Crystal encouraged me again to come with her. With great effort I pulled my gaze away from the portal and nodded that yes, I would come. Behind her, I saw Guadalupe turn and continue up the hill towards the house.

I turned to collect my things and, as I did, recalled that I’d not checked on the moon since seeing the vision of the perfect wave. I looked where it last hung suspended in the sky over the western hills. It was gone.

*****

I sat in the middle of a large table in the small inviting space of the casita that served as Crystal’s kitchen, as she boiled water for coffee, mixed juice-flavored crystals in water, and prepared a simple meal of quesadillas. My head was buzzing and felt amorphous, like it was full of air and had no solid boundaries. I declined the coffee Crystal offered me. The idea of eating or drinking anything was repulsive.

I wondered at everyone’s behavior. Was I the only one who felt this way, had seen what I’d seen? Guadalupe and Mario sat a few feet away, to my right at the end of the table. Fernando leaned against the frame of a window behind them, his arms crossed, his usual quiet, introspective self. To my left and several feet away stood Ayax, his hands on the edge of the table, words flooding from his mouth like a plague of locusts. He was talking excitedly about a myriad of topics, many of them related to visions had on previous peyote journeys. His voice reverberated in my mind and I had trouble following what he said, nor had I any desire to.

Slowly my energy shifted and I began to feel more grounded. The chatter, eating, and drinking around me seemed to reconnect me to the mundane material world. The coffee smelled good. I pulled myself further out of my trance and asked Crystal for some. As she poured my cup, she turned to Guadalupe and asked him how old he was. “Seventy-one,” he said. All of us reacted with surprise. He didn’t look more than 50. Life as a shaman is good, I thought. He looked shy and embarrassed by the attention and Mario, perhaps sensing this, began telling us what it meant to be a shaman’s assistant and how they’d both felt called to come to Los Cabos to bring their ancient wisdom to the people here. He turned to me and said he could use a translator to help him with the English-speaking expats who were interested in their work. I responded as positively as I could, but my mind was so consumed with the effects of the peyote that I couldn’t focus enough to have a substantive conversation. Guadalupe sat quietly as the rest of the group conversed.

With Ayax’s flurry of chatter on hold between the other discussions, I turned to Guadalupe and told him of my portal vision, the perfect wave and of my sense that I would cease to exist were I to heed the call. He and Mario both listened intently and maintained eye contact as I spoke.

“No,” Guadalupe said, shaking his head gently. “You need not be afraid. That is the portal of wisdom. You will learn much if you cross over to the other side.” He said no more.

A conversation ensued between Mario and Ayax about the portal and what it meant, but I was lost in my own thoughts about what I might have learned had I not been afraid to accept the invitation. To lessen the sting of disappointment, I rationalized that it was not meant to be. Not yet anyway.

Ayax had moved to a vacant chair on my right, chattering away. Each of his words was an irritating poke in my brain. Just as I felt myself getting tense, Crystal appeared at my right elbow again.

“Let’s go outside Dawn,” she said.

Leaving the dimly lit kitchen, I squinted as we entered the intense brightness of the outdoors and I noted it must be mid-morning by now. The chatter of voices faded behind us and I felt my irritation drop away.

Reflecting my own feelings Crystal said, “I couldn’t stand to listen to him for a moment more. I need to be somewhere quiet right now. Don’t you agree?”

I nodded my ascent and she showed me to a little building containing a bedroom and a small bathroom. Crystal suggested I lie down on one of the two twin beds. “The boys are going to the beach. You’ll be left in peace here and can relax.”

At first I resisted the idea of lying down in a strange space, but then realized she was right. I needed to lie down, close my eyes, and “be” with whatever it was that was happening to me.

I lay on my back and relaxed into the softness of the bed.

“Take as much time as you need,” said Crystal as she left the room. I heard her outside ordering her sons to go to the beach and leave me alone.

I took a deep breath and sank further into the sensation of comfort surrounding me. The room was brightly lit, the sun coming in through two large windows on the south side and two doorways located at the room’s east and west ends. I wanted to be in darkness, to have no external stimuli to distract me. I just wanted to “be.”

I gently pressed the heels of both hands on my eyes to block out the sun. To my surprise, the blackness I sought was punctuated with fine iridescent green lights resembling early computer screen displays. The lights were fine, long dashes on a black background, intersected by red and blue iridescent lines.

I thought it was a digital representation of peyote and for some reason that thought was comforting. The vision made me a bit uncomfortable though and I decided I needed to get further centered. So I began doing a chakra cleanse.

As I checked in with my first and second chakras, I realized that I was unusually and acutely aware of the status of my energetic body. I quickly determined my root and sacral chakras were fine. But, as I worked my way up, I realized that the third, my solar plexus chakra, was not.

imagesA voice in my head said, Your solar plexus chakra is blocked. You must open this energy channel if you want your heart to open. I was aware of an “other” quality to the voice. It was not my usual inner voice. No, this was a voice of authority and wisdom. I returned my attention to the chakras and saw two helical energy channels running up and down my body in a figure-eight pattern connecting the solar plexus and heart chakras. The energy coming from both chakras was weak and fuzzy, instead of dense and concentrated like the first two chakras’.

The voice continued, Your solar plexus chakra is weak because of the emotional pain you experienced as a small child. You must heal the child in order to heal your energy center. You must forgive your mother for not giving you the love and affection you craved. You, adult Dawn, must give that inner child the love she needs.

As the words passed through my head I felt the pain and loneliness of the child I had once been rise in my chest, saw myself looking to my parents for something they were incapable of giving me. Mentally, I embraced the child, pulled her onto my lap and soothed her. As I did so, I was overwhelmed with emotion and began to cry. I kept my hands pressed to my eyes feeling the tears come slowly at first, but soon I was sobbing and the tears ran so that they collected in pools in the wells of my ears.

I don’t know how long I lay there sobbing, but when I was done, I felt a calmness descend that I’d never felt before. I knew I’d released a significant amount of the negative energy I’d been carrying around with me all my life. The voice now told me that my heart would open when my solar plexus chakra was healed. It went on, Surfing is a good way for you to work with your solar plexus chakra. When you lie on your board to paddle, it is your solar plexus that comes in contact with the board. Your new yellow board is good, yellow is the color for this chakra. Put the solar plexus symbol on your boards, especially those that are not yellow. Riding larger waves is good for you. Facing your fears will help open this chakra as fear is an emotion governed by this chakra.

Any voice that told me to keep surfing, to challenge myself in the surf, was a voice I was willing to heed.

In Part VI of Mystic in Mexico, Hikuri imparts knowledge about Dawn’s past lives and the workings of the Universe.