Those of you who were in college in the early seventies will remember the books by Carlos Casteneda where this anthropologist describes his experiences with a Yaqui Indian socerer named don Juan Matues. The third of the books was Journey To Ixtlan. In it, Carlos lets go of the idea that he needs psychotropic drugs to enter states of non-ordinary reality. In the book, Ixlan represents the place you come to when you no longer look at the world the way most others do, but as a place of magic and power.
Ixlan is also a real, physical place that existed before the Spanish came to Mexico. It hugs a mountainside and has a view that goes on forever. I had lunch there on Saturday, at the end of a hike through the mountains northeast of Oaxaca city. The company that arranged the hike partners with the Zapotec communities there who have learned to suppliment their subsistance farming with eco-tourism. As we hiked through incredibly beautiful mountains and forded cold streams, our Zapotec guide, Javier, explained the plants we saw. Some were food. Others had medical uses. One cactus like plant is said to remove cataracts. Just rub the juice in your eye, cover it and wait for the inflammation it causes to go down. After two or three applications, he said, no more cataracts. (I don't have cataracts but I don't think I'll try this at home.)
Gordon, my English speaking guide told us about how their company is in touch with many traditional healers and shamans in Oaxaca and arrange conferences all the time for people all over the world who are interested in indigenous healing. I wondered if I could see one of these healers while I was here and Gordon told me that there was a powerful healer and mid-wife with an international reputation, dona Queta and he would arrange I consultation if I wanted to. Will this was an experience that I didn't want to pass up, so arrangements were made. I've just returned from my visit with dona Queta and it was a truly amazing experienced. I'll describe some of what happened in the next blog.
Posted on Wed, October 20, 2010
by Arvid filed under