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Huehuecóyotl, Tepoztlán, Morelos — My first meeting with Maestro Antonio Velasco Piña took place during the launch of his best-known work, Regina: 2 de Octubre no se Olvida (Regina: Oct. 2 will not be forgotten), which took place in the auditorium of the El Sótano bookstore, located on MiguelÁngel Quevedo Avenue in a neighborhood of the Coyoacán Delegation, then the Federal District of Mexico.
Little did I imagine the consequences of that meeting when he signed a singular dedication to me in his book: “May you fulfill your highest wishes …” It was 1988, andI was commissioned by the director of the Magazine “Natura,” for which I frequently collaborated, to write a report about its author and hiswork.
A few months later, once I had read the book and the article was published, I had the intuition that in the future, my life and that of that singular character would continue to intersect, forever.
I knew little then about the Plaza de las Tres Culturas (Plaza of the Three Cultures in Tlatelolco, an archaeological site and cultural center of Mexico City), and I barely remembered that decades before, when I was just 19 years old, my father had taken me to see the archaeological site where he was carrying out reconstruction work on some of the main monuments of this center.
Accustomed to his previous works in the imposing and magnificent sites of the Mayan Zone, located in the three states of the Yucatan peninsula and in the neighboring states of Chiapas and Tabasco, Tlatelolco did not make a huge impression on me for its architecture. However, over the years, I cannot deny that that first meeting produced feelings that were difficult to explain, but definitely not pleasant or inspiring. Rather of repudiation of the place, some fear and even some strange chills.
Years later, in ’68, when I was 23 years old, I was not present in the demonstrations, confrontations and marches against the repressive government of Gustavo Díaz Ordaz, either in Mexico nor in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas like many of my colleagues from the University, since I had been involved since the beginning of that year in the social and student movements that were taking place simultaneously in most of the great capitals of the so-called First World, especially in France and the United States.
That year, with the distance of the decades, has been defined as a watershed of two different historical cycles, and the reason why I could not be in Mexico or take part in the events that were taking place there, was because since the month of May I was immersed up to my neck in the heart of the revolts of the movement against the Vietnam War, and for the rights of African Americans against the “Establishment,” that were taking place in North America, especially in California, Washington, New York and New Mexico.
It was for this reason that I did not witness the massacre on Oct. 2, 1968, precisely in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas in Tlatelolco, which marked our entire generation in Mexico. My role at that time was to become a correspondent and make known what was happening in the North as well as in Mexico, and to link the student youth revolts with the other social and cultural movements that were taking place in the rest of the world. That day the Mexican Armed Forces opened fire on unarmed civilians, many of them students, killing an unknown number, with most estimates between 200 and 400.
Fast-forward 17 years and my life once again intersected with Tlatelolco in a powerful way. When I turned 40, in September 1985, returning from a long voluntary exile that took me to four continents, I was on the sixth floor of the building where Blanca Buenfil, my mother, lived, on Avenida Río Mixcoac, visiting her with my little daughter Ixchel and her mother, Sandra Comneno, when the Earth shook as none of us had ever experienced before in our lives.
Large sectors of the great metropolis of the Federal District were reduced in a few minutes to an urban territory that had suffered a brutal bombardment by some powerful unknown enemy. There were two earthquakes in a row, which killedbetween 20,000 to 40,000 thousand people, depending on the information sources, leaving scars on the wounded memory of several generations.
And on that occasion, I once again approached the heart of the housing center of Tlatelolco, in which the largest buildings of the same area had collapsed, again causing a tragedy that affected the existence of countless citizens of that same neighborhood, located in the center-north of the capital.
By then, we had founded with a group of artists and social activists our small environmental village in the state of Morelos, Huehuecoyotl, as well as a network of like-minded groups throughout the country, and again I took on the task of making it known to the world through my communications, articles and reports, the terrible human tragedy that had occurred in addition to the destructive effects produced by the terrifying earthquake of a magnitude of 8.1 on the Richter scale.
I was once again an active witness to the way that the earthquakes of 1985 gave rise to the creation of a new actor in the historical panorama of the country: theCivil Society. In the absence of a coordinated or effective government response, individual citizens stepped up in the midst of the crisis, self-organizing and working days on end as volunteers to rescue victims, provide food and shelter and otherwise fill the vacuum left by a corrupt and incompetent government.
The capacities built in those days and weeks after the 1985 earthquake, and the bonds that were made, would shape the development of a more empowered and capable civil sector in the city that has influenced its development to this day. Indeed, in the earthquake of September of 2017, the Civil Society stepped forward in a similar way.
Three years later, again in my capacity as a witness, life took me to the auditorium of the El Sótano bookstore, where, as I began this story, my path crossed with that of the controversial author of some twenty books, among them, the one that described the October 2 massacre with a component that none of the other essays, reports, documentaries and books by hundreds of historians, journalists and media people had ever touched upon.
The component that gave visibility to a movement of a spiritual nature, was guided by a mysterious character named Regina.
If since my youth I had been involved in a series of the most varied political-social movements of my time, not only in Mexico but in Central and North America, the Caribbean, most of the countries of Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and part of Asia, the reading of that and other books by Maestro Velasco Piña came to shake, like an internal earthquake, the deepest part of my consciousness.
This led me to begin to understand that this component, which I had already begun to recognize and experience during more than a decade of traveling around the world, due to my experiential contact with the Hebraic, Islamic, Christian, Hindu cultural, religious and spiritual manifestations , Buddhists, Sufis, Bahá’í and Caribbean Santeria, as well as those linked to other more recent spiritual currents such as theosophy, anthroposophy and the fourth Gurdjevian way, among others, and that now also led me to approach other cultural manifestations typical of the Americas.
I came to know the origins and practices of Christian-Mexica syncretism, the Conchera dance and the Aztec dance, to learn from the teachings of the Mayan Quiché, Mayan Lacandon, Wixárika, Raramuris, Totonac,Ñañus or Otomis and Rastafarian grandfathers and grandmothers, as well as to participate in the hitherto unknown and forbidden ceremonies of the Americo-indigenous peoples and nations in different territories of what we now know as the Great Plains in the western and central regions of the Northern United States.
A path that led us, with my brothers and sisters from the nomadic multicultural tribe that we formed, to live another four years with small groups and traditional guides of the Dakota and Lakota, Hopi, Pomo, Diné or Navajo, Apache, Klamath and Salish nations of Canada.
During that long pilgrimage around the world, which took us several decades, at a certain moment we found ourselves forming part of the “Vision Council” of a new Nation made up of many nations, which self-baptized as one prophesied by many peoples, the “Rainbow Nation.”
It was thus that when we met in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas de Tlatelolco on October 2, 1988, in an event convened by Maestro Velasco Piña, called the 1st Olmec Ritual, that I began to experience and understand the depth and simplicity of his teachings, and to reconnect with the initiators of the circles of those who recognized themselves as members of a New Mexicanidad, non-sectarian, ecumenical, multi-colored, multi-ethnic and inclusive.
I had no doubt then that finally, the Plaza de las Tres Culturas de Tlatelolco had brought me back to contribute, with my own experiences and contacts, to fulfill a new stage of my life’s destiny.
In that same year, a recognized spiritual guide from Spain, named Emilio “Miyo” Fiel, whom I had met three years before in the community founded by him, called Arcoíris, came to our village in the state of Morelos in search of me. The purpose was to make a pilgrimage together with me to the desert of Wirikuta, more precisely to Real de Catorce, in the state of San Luis Potosí, a sacred site of the Wixárika-Huichol nation, summoned by a mythical character that he called: Don Hikuri-Mezcalito.
With a dozen young people from our village, we carried out a pilgrimage and a ceremony and vigil that lasted all night in the month of November 1988, at the top of Cerro del Quemado, in which we sealed an alliance pact to build a spiritual bridge, the Puente de Wirikuta, to unite the heart of Meshico with the heart of Hispania.
It was then that I decided to start writing a new autobiographical book with my own memories, notes and testimonies, adopting the nickname “Paynal,” a character from Nahuatl mythology, also known as Paynatl or Painalli, whose function is to be the messenger and fast runner or “Correo de los 4 Vientos” — The Postman of the Four Winds.
Despite the apparent absurdity of the purpose that emerged from that unforgettable night in the desert, as an effect of the visions that Don Hikuri-Mezcalito gave us, our destinations coincided with the destiny and purposes of Maestro Velasco Piña and General Guadalupe Jiménez Sanabria, “Nanita,” head of a corporation from the Conchera Dance Table, “Insignias Aztecas,” originally from the Tlatelolco neighborhood, who had been generating an energy vortex for years with the same purpose that we brought as a message from Wirikuta.
And this was summarized with the achievement that in the following four years we managed to unify thousands of people, not only from Spain and Mexico, but from several countries of the world, to heal the wounds of the Conquest, both in the former colonizers and in the current descendants of colonized peoples — a purpose of decolonization unprecedented in contemporary history.
That spiritual force allowed the unification of the general “Nanita” and other captains of the Conchera Dance, with the Hispanic spiritual leader “Miyo” Fiel and his people, in a historical event in which it was our turn to make the bridge as members of the Rainbow Nation.
Our collective mission, guided by these two forces that had been antagonistic for centuries, was to manage to summon, organize and carry out the “symbolic spiritual takeover of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela”, the heart of European Christianity in the centerof the province of La Coruña, part of the autonomous community of Galicia. While on the other side of the Atlantic, simultaneously, Mexican groups and organizations managed to carry out the “symbolic spiritual takeover of the Cathedral of Mexico and the church-convent of Santiago de Tlatelolco.”
It was then about holding an event that sealed the commitment that a small group of daydreamers made in the Cerro del Quemado in November 1988, and that took place on a historic July 25, 1992, precisely 500 years after the beginning of the military conquest of the territories and the capital of the Aztec Empire, Tenochtitlán, also by a small army of European soldiers and mercenaries, willing to risk their lives to create a new Empire on the continent we now know as America.
From the “impossible” achievement of that vision, then, and for the following years, the ceremonial commemoration of the Olmec Rituals continued to be carried out every October 2 that fell on a Sunday, departing from Tlatelolco, with a silent march that started from the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, to culminate in the center of the Zócalo in Mexico City, at the foot of the monumental flagpole.
The Postman of the 4 Winds
The book El Correo de los 4 Vientos (The Postman of the 4 Winds) was written according to a series of events since 1964 that took place around the emblematic Plaza of Tlatelolco.
From its first chapter to the ninth, with which the work concludes, the plot is intermingled with episodes of the historical origins of Tenochtitlán in the year 1337, and shortly after when a group of nonconformists moved to a neighboring islet to found Xaltelolco, a sister city of the capital of what would be the Aztec Empire.
In later sections of the same, texts that describe the architecture and social composition of the new settlement appear; the archaeological works that were carried out for its reconstruction, drawings and paragraphs of the codices and chronicles, both Hispanic and Nahuatl.
These texts describe the quarrels and wars between neighboring cities, the meaning of Paynal’s name and his role in mythology, the function of the temples, the characteristics of Tenochca society, warrior, ritualistic, dominant, dedicated to the solar deities, and the Tlatelolca, commercial, artistic, artisan, diplomatic, with its cult dedicated to women, officiated mainly by lunar priestesses.
In other chapters resistance battles are mentioned in which the army of Hernán Cortez and his allies from other nations that were enemies of the Aztecs were defeated, ending finally with the defeat of both cities in the year 1520.
In 1994, the Zapatista Movement began in the state of Chiapas, and the Democratic National Convention was convened in San Cristobal las Casas, Chiapas, which brought together more than 6,000 activists from around the world, social leaders, politicians, representatives of native peoples, artists, priests of Liberation Theology, to a meeting in the middle of the Lacandon Jungle, to which Paula Willis, a young environmental leader, and I were invited, as representatives of the green activist groups from the state of Morelos and the Rainbow Nation.
Also in that year, when the 2nd Olmec Ritual was performed again in Tlatelolco, Master Velasco Piña made me the caretaker of Regina’s emblematic cane, in a ceremony in our village of Huehuecóyotl, to give me the position of “witness to the awakening of the new consciousness” in Mexico and Latin America, which is why I decided to start an odyssey through the entire continent, an initiative that I called “The Rainbow Peace Caravan.”
We departed from Mexico in 1996, with thesmall group of volunteers thatfirst joined the pilgrims, and over the next 13 years more than 450 young adventurers of all ages and of more than 37 nationalities would join us for short or long periods. Seasons, months, years covering more than a decade, we went from town to town, community to community, state to state, country to country and all kinds of territories in 17 Latin American countries.
The purpose that led us to undertake this hitherto unrepeatable adventure was toseed projects for the construction of a new world and a new human society, in harmony with Mother Earth and all living beings, human and non-human, the elements, natural, performing ceremonies, festivals, meetings, courses.
We took from town to town the messages and teachings learned in each community visited, to contribute to creating a multicolored fabric of thousands of people through this school of life and that with our apprentices, messengers, chaskis or “Correos de los 4 Vientos” we were weaving step by step.
Upon our return in 2009, again in Tlatelolco,we convened an event inspired by the examples left to us by the guardians of the Andean, Aymara, Quechuas, Q’eros, Serranos, Koguis, and wise grandparents and grandmothers of more than twenty of the indigenous communities of each territory that we traveled, from Guatemala to Tierra del Fuego. And from Ushuaia, the southernmost city on the continent to the mouth of the Amazon River in Brazil, Belem of Para.
First International Forum for the Rights of Mother Earth
This historic event took place in June 2016, at the headquarters of the Cultural Center of the UNAM, former Secretary of Foreign Relations, located precisely in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, which was attended by some of the most recognized activists in the world and thousands of people who seek that Pachamama-Mother Nature be recognized and adopted in the Constitutions of each country, with Legal Rights for all forms of sentient life, natural elements, mountains, forests, seeds, animals, rivers, seas as well as to all sources of water, air and the Earth itself.
The initiative that a handful of a dozen people started, involved more than two hundred civil society organizations, more than 20 recognized and popular music groups and artists from several Latin American countries, hundreds of activists and volunteers, and thousands of attendees who joined the original proposal. Most of the national media and various international outlets covered the event, as well. As a consequence of this titanic effort, Article 13 was approved in the new Mexico City Constitution, which recognizes the Earth as a living and sentient being, with its own legal rights.
This important step that was achieved, again as a result and thanks to the joint action that took place in Tlatelolco, has inspired other states of the country to approve similar articles of law, and the subsequent 2nd International Forum for the Rights of the Madre Tierra, with the same results, inSãoPaulo, Brazil, in 2018; leading to the 3rd International Forum in Bogotá, Colombia, in 2019, and in the near future to the 4th, which will take placein April 2022, in Santiago de Chile.
In 2018, I turned 73 not long before the 50th Anniversary of October 2, and for its celebration, my teacher and by now also my compadre, Toño Velasco Piña, at 83 years of age, assigned me the task of organizing a multicultural and spiritual event, with a small production group made up of Salomón Bazbaz, Jorge Granados and Eduardo Lizalde, and with the support of a large group of passionate volunteers, which would serve to remind Mexico and the world of the date “October 2: Never forget!” as his book “Regina” proclaims.
The testimonies of the last chapter are part of my tribute to Maestro Toño Velasco Piña, an exemplary character, older brother, a simple and kind man, a source of inspiration, a dedicated guide and teacher of the thousands of people who knew, admired, read or listened to him in his innumerable and pleasant talks and in the hundreds of lectures he gave until the last days of his life.
His work, his example and his life path, which started this movement for the change of consciousness, inspired me to walk this path since 1988, when we met and our destinies began to be woven forever. In this life, and through our mutual legacies, as an inheritance for the next generations.
YOU LIVE FOREVER IN OUR MEMORY DON ANTONIO VELASCO PIÑA
SEPTEMBER 8, 1935 – DECEMBER 27, 2020
For more information about Coyote Alberto Ruz Buenfil or to support his work, check out his website at coyotealbertoruz.org. To obtain a copy of El Correo de los Cuatro Vientos, write to Alberto directly via WhatsApp at +52 735 128 4920 or via e-mail at [email protected].