El Rio Debajo del Rio

Fallen-away Catholics: Story of the swans


A story is not something we tell. A story is a living being that shows up in answer to our questions about the mysteries of life ... Often enough, a story comes forward on its own, having traveled a long distance to be with us, often hoping to remember us back into some layer of the mysterium, the parts that most nourish our souls ... and the souls of others.
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In my Latino heritage, the following story is one spun together during a time with La señora Maria Elena, a member of my spirit family -- she, a muñecadora, a marionette maker, who lived in a fronterizo, border village near Nogales long ago.

Ash Wednesday: Dangerous old women


When I was a child, after we got a new priest at the immigrant Hungarian church, my grandmother Katerin started making the ashes for Ash Wednesday by herself. She said the new priest was impatient, and didn't burn the ashes well enough at high enough flame so his ashes only made a faint mark on foreheads on Ash Wednesday.

That's how I learned to walk around happily with my grandmother's homemade palm frond ashes making a dark black cross on my forehead... sort of like a miner's headlight beaming to the world...

right there on the forehead, all of us on that high holy day signaling each other, 'Yes we are together on a pilgrimage of remembering... remembering life's median which is not cruelty, nor ignorance, but wisdom. Shed everything that is not wisdom. Shed everything that is not well needed.

The other side of the family too, during La cuaresma, Lent, would tell whomever asked, that Cuaresma was a time of penitence for life wrongly lived, a time of fasting to mortify the body, and a time of doing good... that last part, actually should come first, but too often it was not emphasized and seemed an almost "nice but not necessary."

Vatican: Battle of Two Wolves


To have integrity, one has to question one’s integrity.
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The Blessing Song

Long ago, in every tribal group, including the long-ago ethnic ones you yourself come from -- no decision, no journey was undertaken without first singing a blessing song over the decider, the traveler...

But not a nice little jingle wishing the traveler well. No. No greeting card sentiments.

Scar Clan: A Lost Story, Vatican II


Tears are a river that take you somewhere.

Weeping creates a river around the little boat

carrying your soul-life.

Tears can lift that little boat off rocks,

off dry ground, carrying it downriver

to someplace new, someplace better.


Members of the Scar Clan

A river of tears is one of the strongest evidences of a "crash and burn" initiation into the Scar Clan.

Scar Clan is part of an ageless tribe of human beings, not defined by geography, racial color, national affiliation, nor language.


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In This Issue

June 16-29, 2017