Monday, February 27, 2012

The Gods' Tale: A Fable

     There are ceremonies still held at the Mayan temples of Palenque in Mexico. Some are secret and some are Officially Sanctioned. The Lacantun people guard the frescoes of Bonampak given to them by the State. The Maya surround the site of Chichen Itza. But to get to Yakchilán you must travel to the end of the country, to the Usumacinta, the river that separates Mexico from Guatemala. 
You have to hire a launch and go down the fast brown river and climb the high bank. When you arrive at the center you will feel the handwoven blanket of grief over the temples. The Rain Bringers, the MaizeSeed spirit, the Burden Bearers, the Yum Kaax, spirits of the forest, have been abandoned. There is never smokerise from the painted censors.The palapa-altars that the shamans still build are never constructed here.
        But the gods still take the voice of the birds, and Yax-kom mut, the green firefly bird, lands on a branch and begins:  
    "All day, and almost every day of ever year, the launches arrive.  At first we were hopeful. Sometimes, after war, everyone left, but they always returned. We heard the voices and thought our people were coming back. They arrive in boats without paddles. A new, loud power moves the boats and cripples Silence. They move faster than the river, almost as fast as the birds. Their skin is not brown, their hair is not black, their features lack the elegance of our people. 
      It took us so long to realize they knew nothing about us, that they were strangers. Strangers because they couldn’t feel our presence - even when we poured rain on them, when we turned our power over to the stones, and their eyes followed us up the stairs of the temples.     

     They never stay for long. They return to the boats speaking of where they go next. We have never received a blessing. Not a wisp of smoke.
         O great trees. Holy trees. You who are beyond wanting.”






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