Make It So!

Tuesday 8/28/18

Today is my last day in Austin with Dona. Tearful farewell until next we get together. My plane to Vegas leaves tonight at 8:49.

Watching the bizarre and rather compelling saga that continues to unfold on the national scene like a slow-motion train wreck, I’ve had a Dream…

Among the close associates of the POTUS who have been bailing lately, trying to leap off the train before their car goes over the edge, is one David Pecker (yes, that’s his real name), Publisher of the sleazy supermarket tabloid, “The National Enquirer.” A close friend and associate of The Donald, Pecker used his scandal rag as a propaganda tool during the 2016 presidential campaign to blast every supermarket check-out line each week with a succession of lurid front pages alleging all kinds of salacious and bogus allegations about Hillary Clinton. Since Rump supporters seem to get their political views and perspectives from Alex Jones, Faux News and “The National Enquirer,” the impact of these prominent ads on influencing the election cannot be overestimated. And Pecker has already admitted that was the intention.

But now Pecker has “flipped,” turning against his Presidential co-conspirator, and he has been granted immunity from prosecution in return for his complete cooperation with the Mueller investigation into high crimes and treason on the part of the Prez. Moreover, Pecker has all the goods on Rump in his private safe. He not only knows where the bodies are buried; he has photos, tapes and souvenirs! And freedom of the press allows him free rein to publish anything he wants—as he did with Hillary. So here’s what I’m thinking…

Visualize this:

Every week, in every supermarket check-out lane in the US, a succession of lurid front pages on “The National Enquirer” reveal piece-by-grimy piece all the dirt Pecker has amassed on Rump. A sample headline would be: “POTUS PUTIN PUPPET!” And this goes on week after week…just as Pecker did with Hillary. This will directly reach Rump’s supporters, and will do more to bring down this treasonous and criminal regime than all the court cases and legal investigations.

Just like magick… Make It So!

A Bittersweet Parting

Monday 8/27/18

Yesterday we had a lovely visit with Wolf and Kat—along with Wolf’s daughter Gennie, her husband Russell, and their two delightful kids, Rowen and Harper. Barbeque, swimming in the pool, and just hanging out with the kids and grandkids. Good to have a relaxing afternoon after the traumatic events of the past few days!

These are my last days with my darling Dona after six amazing weeks together. Parting is such sweet sorrow! Tomorrow evening I’m leaving on a jet plane, flying back to Vegas, and from there, driving on to California to do a handfasting before hitting the road for my cross-country travels. See you along the trail!

Tragedy

Friday 8/24/18

Today has been intense. This morning Dona received a call that her ex-husband Ken had been found dead last night. They’d met at Thanksgiving of 1964 when she was a hippy coffee-house waitress in Sacramento, and he was a charismatic traveling folk-singer. After 18 years of marriage (most of it estranged), they divorced in 1984, but had remained business partners ever since, and he’d been living all this time on their jointly-owned property in Kyle, TX, in several trailers, buses and RVs. His mental and physical condition had been deteriorating for years, and in June of 2016 he’d evicted her with threats, accusations and name-calling. He’d also driven away the grown children of his first marriage, and had become an angry demented recluse with no friends or family except a few dozen cats. Electricity and water had been turned off, and the temperatures have been over 100°F for months.

So we drove the 25 miles to the property to check things out. The place was a complete shambles, with trash and garbage strewn everywhere, as if a cyclone had gone through the property and units. A neighbor named Kathy showed up, quite distraught, and told us that she was the one who’d found the body. As she described this, it seemed clearly to have been a brutal murder, with the assailants then ransacking the units looking for valuables. Moreover, there was a broken-down truck camper blocking the driveway, which Kathy said had been towed there recently by a couple of guys who’d promised to trim trees, cut bush and mow grass. But they’d threatened Kathy and Ken a week before, and then she hadn’t seen Ken for the past four days, and came looking for him. Found him, she did, and it wasn’t pretty.

But now Dona has learned that the autopsy performed today indicated that Ken had died of a heart attack, and had not been murdered after all. As to the ransacking of the place—was that by the guys with the camper, or just the way Ken was living? In any case, there’ll be a lot to handle, arrangements to be made, cleaning up to do. And Dona has a lot of her belongings stored out there in bins and barrels, and she’ll need to deal with all that. I’m glad I’m able to be here for her for this ordeal, but I’m leaving next Tuesday for California…

Kicking Back In Austin

Thursday 8/23/18

Dona and I got back to Austin Monday evening, after an uneventful flight from Guatemala City. We’re kicking back for a week before I go on to Vegas and California–Watching a few movies and catching up with current events via Rachel Maddow. Whoo-ee! What a show! Like watching in slow motion a train crossing a bridge spanning a canyon, where the span has been blown up, and the cars are plunging to their doom, one by one, dragging the others inevitably along. At the edge of the cliff, passengers are crowding each other to jump off before their own car goes over. And in the back of the caboose is the last one–will he jump? Or will he go over? Stay tuned!

All Good Things…

Monday 8/20/18

“All good things…”

Friday afternoon Carolina and Maia picked us up for the long drive to Antigua, where we stayed for two nights at the lovely home of Carolina’s mother, Lucrecia García Granados.

Lucrecia’s great-great grandfather was Miguel García Granados (1809-1878), leader and “Philosopher” of the 1871 Revolution to overthrow the corrupt Presidente, General Vicente Cerna. After the liberation of Guatemala City, he became the 7th President of Guatemala, 1871-1873. During his presidency García Granados initiated and supported many liberal reforms, including education and the arts. In 1872, he invaded Honduras, where he decreed freedom of the press, established separation of church and state, and expelled the Jesuits.

García Granados designed the Guatemalan flag which remains almost identical to his original version, produced in 1871. Like George Washington on our American $1 bill, García Granados’ portrait appears today on the Guatemalan 10-quetzales bill.

Continuing her illustrious family tradition, Lucrecia has established a project fostering the education of girls. Her program is called Associacion de Supracion Educativa (see Facebook page). This is a mentorship program to improve the lives of Guatemalan girls, and give them tools to build their way through education. Lucrecia is looking for godmothers to sponsor these girls, who are eager to improve their lives, but do not have the means for adequate education. Lucrecia says, “With your generosity, you give a helping hand to one of our girls, and with effort she will be able to climb as high as she wishes.”

Saturday we celebrated Lucrecia’s 73rd birthday, starting with cake in the morning. In the afternoon we all went up in the hills to a beautiful park, Cerro de Santo Domingo, with its several fine museums and a spectacular overview of Antigua. A number of craftspeople were selling their wares, and Dona bought a beautiful shawl from the woman who wove it.

In the evening we went to Osteria, an outdoor Italian restaurant owned by Lucrecia’s friend Francesca, where we were joined for dinner by her dear friend, Patricia, who is also Italian, and a real hoot. We feasted royally, managing to go through three bottles of prosecco [an Italian champagne analog]. Conversation was an animated gesticulating mix of Spanish, Italian and English, with Carolina translating some of the Spanish for us. I haven’t laughed so much since Dona and I were in Mexico last Jan. with Jiva and Diego. Eventually Maia crawled up onto the table and fell asleep. The best line of the evening was her sleepy voice, “Why am I on this table?”

[Answer: “Dang! We were just about to start the autopsy!”]

It was 11:00 and they were putting the chairs on the tables when we finally departed.

Monday we went for lunch at another outdoor restaurant, Amos, where Carolina’s niece Monica’s boyfriend Sebas was playing guitar. Afterwards we said our tearful farewells to Carolina and Maia, who headed back to Santiago. Lucrecia drove Dona and me on to Guatemala City, putting us up in the guest quarters of her private apartment in her grand eco-hotel, Terra Esperanza. We watched nightfall from the hot tub and swimming pool on the 10th floor, with its all-around panoramic view of the city and distant volcanoes. Unfortunately, the actual sunset was occluded by storm clouds and lightning. Lucrecia joined us for dinner in her restaurant, Kardamomuss. Afterwards Dona and I caught up with episodes of the Rachel Maddox show before bed.

This morning I woke up in considerable pain from the horse incident on Sat. 8/11. Lucrecia arranged for a massage for me in the hotel gym, which really helped! I had a FB phone chat with my Grey School apprentice Nicholas Kingsley, who informed me that, once again, rumors were circulating of my demise—this time from being knocked off the horse. I told him to let people know that rumors of my death were greatly exaggerated, as Mark Twain once said.

Tonight we watched a beautiful sunset over the mountains beyond Guatemala City from the hot tub and pool. Lightning flashes in the south heralded a light rain that soon followed. A poignant farewell to a beautiful country and beautiful people! We are so blessed!

Tomorrow morning a taxi will be here for us at 4:45 am, to take us to the airport for our 7:00 flight back to Austin.

Lake Atitlan

Friday 8/17/18

Today is our last day at mystic Lake Atitlan. This morning we’re packing up, and Carolina will be picking us up around 2:pm to take us to Antigua—the next leg of our Guatemala sojourn. After a weekend in Antigua, we’ll head over to Guatemala City, stay at “Mom’s Place”—Terra Esperanza—and catch our flight back to Austin on Tuesday.

The last couple of days have been amazing! I’ve been impeded a bit by sore ribs and an aching back from getting knocked off that horse, but I can’t let a little thing like that slow me down! Besides, Carolina told me that horse had thrown both her and Maia a few times too, so I don’t feel so bad. And I do appreciate all the love and healing that so many folks have poured out to me via FaceBook. Thank you!

Thursday morning we caught the 10:am boat from Cerro across the lake to Pana, had a light lunch, and then took a tuctuc to the Natural Reserve, where signs with silhouette icons and arrows pointed the directions to the various things to see: campground, flutterbys, playground, coatis, waterfalls, monkeys, Nessie and Yeti… Ri-i-ght. We took the trail to the Mariposa (flutterby) garden in a big geodesic dome. Beautiful flowers and even more beautiful tropical flutterbys competed for attention, and we took photos of as many as would hold still long enough. The zebras, monarchs and others were quite cooperative, but the legendary iridescent blue morphos (commonly regarded as the most beautiful flutterbys on Earth), were total teases, flying right around us, but never landing for more than a few seconds, and then with their wings folded so only the dull underneath was visible. Between us, after many attempts, we did manage to catch a few pics…

After the flutterbys, we climbed on up the canyon over hanging bridges across small waterfalls to the monkey observation platform, where we did see a few spider monkeys high in the trees. Then we decided we were ready for the zip lines.

There were two options for zip-lines: one involved a few very long rides down the canyon for nearly a kilometer (.6214 miles). The other option involved a series of eight shorter cables zig-zagging back and forth across the canyon. We opted for the latter, and we got ourselves all outfitted up with parachute harnesses, helmets, cable tows and pulleys. What we hadn’t considered was the long steep climb up to above the spectacular high waterfall at the top of the canyon. Dona is really not a climber, and after my fall off the horse last Saturday, I also found it a struggle. The first part of the climb took us back to the monkey observation platform, where the guides brought bananas to entice the monkeys down from the treetops, along with a coati-mundi. That was fun.

It took us a while to reach the top of the trail to the highest cable platform. We had two guides—one to go in front, and one to follow us. The first hooked himself to the cable and flew off. Dona went next, I followed her, and Carlos (who spoke a bit of English, and was very solicitous) followed me. There’s nothing quite like the rush (OK, maybe sky-diving, bungee-jumping and hang-gliding…of which I’ve done the latter two…) of flying high above a jungle canyon hanging from a tiny cable! Eight times we did this, returning finally to the visitor center where we started. I loved it, but Dona didn’t have such a good time, unfortunately. The climb really did her in, and on top of that, the harness under her butt was twisted and quite uncomfortable; evidently Carlos was shy about adjusting it properly between her legs.

After the Natural Reserve, we took a tuctuc back to the dock in Pana and caught the next boat to San Marcos, where we were to meet up with Nadia Petrova, who would be hosting us for the evening. Unfortunately, we accidentally got off in Tzununa, where we had to wait a half hour for the next boat to San Marcos. Nadia met us there and took us to a Japanese restaurant, Alalla, where it was weekly sushi night buffet, with heartful live music, including Sweet Honey In The Rock’s “Listen more often to things than to beings;” a song that Morning Glory used to sing often. Nadia’s ex-husband, Mark Elmy, met us there, and we were shortly joined as well by Baba John Bushe, who keeps showing up unplanned and unexpected. How does he do that? As I mentioned previously, San Marcos really is “Syncroni-City”! John showed off his newest tattoo, after previously getting my Astra Star Goddess on the inside of his left forearm. Now he had my jewelry design of Cernunnos on the inside of his right forearm! Wow—what an honor!

After dinner we took a tuctuc to Nadia’s beautiful home atop a huge rock overlooking the Lake. Like everyone else we’ve met around the Lake, Nadia possesses astounding knowledge in her areas of interest and expertise, which in her case involves healing herbs, ointments and unguents, lotions and potions, crystals, medicines, food, massage, and sacred geometry. She truly is the village witch doctor! Born in Bulgaria, she spent her 20’s in Paris before coming to San Marcos over 30 years ago.

We had an amazing evening with Nadia and Mark, who is a Mayan Astrologer, and he gave Dona and me detailed and uncanny analyses of our lives and purposes based on the Mayan correspondences of our birthdates. It reinforced from a different perspective what Nirguna had told me earlier about my mission at this crucial turning point in my life. We talked long into the night, about the whichness of what, and how to unscrew the inscrutable. Mark is from England, and was initially trained in a Druidic group over there. It turned out we know a few people in common—as seems often to be the case in our travels. After Mark left, Nadia gave my back and ribs a treatment and adjustment, and showed us to our lovely B&B apartment with a balcony overlooking the lake and the three giant volcanoes on the other side.

Thursday morning I awoke in time to take a photo of a lovely golden dawn over the lake. A bit later, Nadia fixed us all a huge breakfast, and we walked along the beach over to Mark’s place, where he conducted a Mayan ceremony of gratitude for the day, called 1 K’at on the Mayan Calendar. About 17 people attended the 3-hour ritual, and it was truly beautiful, invoking all 20 Nahuals, each in their 13 aspects, with offerings of gratitude to all. Many aspects and elements of the ceremony were familiar to me from my own experiences with traditional Pagan rituals from many cultures. So much of these “ancient ways” are universal—the central altar or fire; homage to the Four Directions; the Great Above, the Great Below, and the Center; and always, in whatever language, Mother Earth.

 

Here’s a bit of Mark’s description of this day on the Mayan calendar—from his website: https://thefourpillars.net/

Whilst K’at does represent the net which gathers the harvest, it also has an association with what it contains, the seeds. Here, on the day 1 K’at, we see the new seed planted for the next harvest.

In the cycle of re-creation, the soil of the field has been turned and the tilled, infused and fertilised by the wisdom of the ancients. The threads of creation are being gathered ready to join the new to the old on the day Wajxakib B’atz.

The energy of 1 K’at can be seen as being about gathering together and embracing the new time. Life is a continual cycle of birth, death and rebirth. We have the possibility to reap an abundant harvest, but right now in order to do that we need unity. It is time to put aside differences and work together to plant the new field if we are to enjoy abundance on the future.

K’at signifies a net and represents gathering together or bundling. Here, in the Western Highlands of Guatemala, to this day many crops are harvested and carried in nets – oranges, lemons, avocados to name but a few. Through this we see one of the positive meanings of this nawal, that of abundance and harvest. K’at is a great day to draw things together, whether this means gathering in your crops, collecting ideas and opinions for your projects, or inviting people to a social event. It is a day of prosperity and the bounty which comes from the Earth, a day of gardeners, but also of merchants.

 

Carolina showed up for the ceremony, and afterwards we went back into San Marcos for lunch at Marybel’s restaurant, Samsara. Like all the restaurants we’ve enjoyed in San Marcos, the floor is a landscaped garden with paths and little patios where chairs and tables are placed here and there. Above are canopies and awnings, and walls are open all around. Polite and well-mannered dogs wander in and out, unattached to any human owners. Marybel joined us at our table; she’d just been leaving, but a serendipitous phone call delayed her ‘til we arrived. The news was that she’d been approved for the house she was trying to buy! She plans to expand Samsara, and add a drink stand for her shaved-ice fruit delights as well as a place where Joe can offer his awesome VR experiences to paying customers. I think that could be huge!

Down at the dock, we separated—Carolina to head back to Santaigo, and us to return to Cerro by way of Pana. And now we’re packing to leave for Antigua. We will carry with us forever our fond memories of Lake Atitlan and all the beautiful and magickal people we’ve met here!

The Mists of Atitlan

Monday 8/13/18

“The Mists of Atitlan”

Today is a strange and misty day over Lake Atitlan. Dark and rumbling clouds scour the sky, and just now a small sprinkle of rain dotted the stone walkway in front of our cottage. But the strangest thing was the total disappearance of the other side of the lake, with its volcano. The far edge of the lake looked like the sharp horizon of the ocean on a clear day. And then a few minutes later the mist across the lake turned into ragged filaments, and the volcano reappeared. Now you see it, now you don’t.

Disappearing volcano – Now you see it, now you don’t.

And then around 5:30, amid streaks of lightning onto the lake and all around us, followed too quickly by deafening thunder, the rain came down, and the lights in the cottage went off and on. But it only lasted less than an hour, and now all is quiet and still.

We’ve had no Internet since we got back yesterday afternoon, and no idea why. Clicking onto the Internet icon took me to a page in Spanish that I couldn’t understand (the site couldn’t translate), and our phones wouldn’t work either for outgoing calls, so we couldn’t call Carolina. Finally today Carolina phoned us, and we were able to receive the call OK. With her translation, helped by Manuel, we were able to figure out that the fees we’d paid for Internet down here had expired, and needed to be renewed for the next few days until we leave Cerro de Oro. Working out exactly how to do that took awhile, but eventually we were able to extend the service, and now I’m trying to catch up!

Wednesday Dona and I plan to go back across the lake to Panajachel to visit the Reserva Natural Atitlan on the northern outskirts of town. The main trail can be walked in an hour, and leads up to swinging bridges over a waterfall, then down to a platform for viewing local spider monkeys and coati. There is also an aviary, butterfly farm and herb garden. A major attraction is zip lines spanning canyons and forests, the longest of which extends nearly a kilometer! We hope some of our new friends on the north shore will join us… And we want to finish our interrupted visit to the Museo Lacustre Atitlan to see the rest of their exhibit of ancient Mayan artifacts from the drowned village at the bottom of the Lake.

We’ll stay Wednesday night at Nadia’s in San Marcos, then on Thursday morning her husband will be conducting a Mayan ceremony. Then we’ll return to Cerro de Oro Thursday afternoon, and pack to leave LaKzonA Lodge the next day.

Friday Carolina will be taking us to Antigua for the weekend, then back to Guatemala City, and flying back to Austin early on Tues. the 21st

Getting Knocked Off Of A Horse

Sunday 8/12/18

I’m moving a mite slow today. I got knocked off a horse yesterday and I’m still a bit shaken. At Carolina’s home in Santiago, Casa de Dragon, I was riding her magnificent black stallion, “Blackbird,” and we were galloping back to the stable when he went under a low-hanging branch I didn’t see to duck, and it whacked me in the head and knocked me off onto my back. Rather took the wind out of me, and left me with a few scratches, aches and bruises. Nothing appears to be broken, however. It could have been much worse… 8-year-old Maia nursed me diligently, cleaned my wounds, and put colorful emoji bandaids on them all. When we got back to LaKzonA Lodge, Dona smeared me down with Arnica gel, which worked amazingly well to take away the aches and bruises from the fall.

OZ on Blackbird — before.

And Maia nursing OZ – after. 

This morning I had a productive Skype meeting with the Grey School Administration. People are really responding to our new offer of a monthly tuition subscription! At 10:00 Carolina came by with Maia, Angela and Eric to take us all to Cerro Iquitiu Parque Ecologico Municipal in San Lucas Toliman where we hiked up to an old-growth forest atop a mountain, Cerro Iquitiu—“Heavenly Mountain.” A bit of a hike, but the trail was well-made and maintained, with log steps and a great lookout spot. The forest was so lush and primeval, with a much lower temperature from mist rolling mystically up the mountainside. Gigantic trees with fluted buttress roots were covered with a profusion of vines, ferns, bromeliads, orchids, lichens, mushrooms and moss. And what a contrast between the huge trees and the many tiny things—fuzzy black “spikey no-touch” caterpillars (as Angela called them), miniature flowers, seeds, nuts, berries, acorns, broken blue eggshells…

Cloud forest of the Heavenly Mountain.

When we got back to LaKzonA Lodge around 3:00, we discovered that our Internet connection was gone. Even our cell phones wouldn’t work for outgoing texts or calls—though we could receive them. We’re totally cut off from civilization, and we can’t even call for help!

LaKzona Lodge

Thursday 8/9/18

During our 4-week stay in Guatemala, Dona and I are being hosted by Carolina Godoy at her beautiful LaKzonA Lodge near Cerro de Oro on the south shore of legendary Lake Atitlan. The steps down to the crystal-clear lake begin right outside the door of our charming stone cottage, and we awake each morning to bird calls, laughing children, a profusion of brilliant flowers, and colorful flutterbys. The facilities for our weekend seminar were fabulous! The Lodge is beautiful in architecture and very comfortable for those who stayed there; and we enjoyed delicious home-cooked meals, with veggies fresh from the garden. With her irrepressible and adorable 8-year-old daughter Maia, Carolina is a gracious, delightful, wise, witty, and knowledgeable host, interpreting for those of us whose Spanish is minimal, and coming up with great ideas for further explorations around the Lake. We are immensely impressed with her organizational skills in putting everything together seamlessly. I’ve been journaling online of our adventures, and I couldn’t recommend any place more highly!

Maia and Carolina at LaKzonA Lodge

Too Much Of A Good Thing

Tuesday, 8/7/18

“Too much of a good thing” is how Aldous Huxley described Lake Atitlan in his 1934 travel work called Beyond the Mexique Bay.

Yesterday was another full day in Pana. Carolina joined us at breakfast in the Regis (included in our stay), and we soaked for awhile in the hot tub before heading over to Joe’s place via tuctuc (little red golf-cart-like vehicles that seat three people cozily and serve as taxis everywhere we’ve been around the Lake). Right in back of his house, an enormous boulder the size of a step-van had rolled down the mountain like a titanic bowling ball and smashed through the neighboring house. It was still there, being impossible to move, and the house was pretty wrecked. Déjà vu! Do we detect a theme here?

The boulder and the house it wrecked.

Joe’s studio/lab is a complex of electronics, computers, cables, monitors—and virtual reality equipment. It looks, in fact, like the setup in the van in the movie, Ready Player One. He hooked us up with helmets, goggles and control wands, one for each hand, and activated his holodeck, where we were able to choose from a couple dozen portals to enter incredibly detailed 3-D virtual worlds—such as outer space, the ocean depths, the Jurassic era (with dinosaurs!), the African Savannah, a Japanese fantasy landscape, and many others—complete with animated creatures. But that was only the background. Our hands and the controls we were holding them in were also visible in the virtual worlds, and with them we could grab, toss, and otherwise manipulate objects from a wide selection of options to engage ourselves in the various realms. This equipment is still in the early developmental stage, but it was easy to envision how it will evolve in the immediate future—as well as the further implications and possibilities over decades, centuries, and millennia…

Joe’s virtual reality lab and studio.

Joe’s lady Marybel joined us shortly before Carolina had to leave for a 2:00 workshop. Marybel owns a restaurant in San Marcos called Samsara. She’s getting ready to introduce a new dessert involving shaved ice made of frozen fruits, yogurt, etc., so she whipped up a batch for us to try. It was delicious, and should be a big hit. Joe Goerbert is one of the world’s top business planners; see www.brainhive.de. The blog holds information about the Guatemala project and volunteer program.

We had to catch the last boat back to Cerro de Oro at 5:30. Carolina had arranged for a tuctuc to meet us and take us back to the Lodge, and here we are. Today is a relaxing downtime. We took a little dip in the Lake, and I’m catching up on this journal.