Mexican Folk Culture

Mexican Folk Culture is constituted by Mexican immigrants in the USA, legal and illegal, and are predominantly those who don’t have medical insurance.  Culturally, they are often called the poor ones, or el pobres. Their faith in the old ways—old stories, old medicine, old religion (and witches, demons, and spirits), mediated by curanderismo—is sometimes all that gives them esperanza y salud, hope and health. And perceived control operating from within their situation of poverty.

(excerpted from The WASP and El Curandero)

The still suffering Mestizos—the genetic mix of Native Americans (of all the Americas, not just the U.S.) and the sixteenth century conquistadors, (the conquering Spaniards)—are the ones that really count, as far as Mexican folk culture goesThe first thing Mestizos in Mexico do when their babies are born is to check their skin color and report it to l the extended family members in the waiting room, for they know the darker the skin all, the more discrimination the child will face.  They pray for lighter skin.  One can pretty well guess why Mestizos struggling in Mexico want to come to the U.S. where all men are created equal and the minimum wage is more than double.  When they cross the border into the U.S.—some across the international border bridges, some across the Rio Grande River—they become known as el pobres, or the poor ones.  They have suffered physically from poverty and mentally from alienation.  It is through befriending el pobres that I can confront my awareness of existential guilt.  Why should I have money and they don’t?

Individuation

Individuation is a continual process of integrating into our awareness, unrecognized or undiscovered fragments of our psychologies when thus we will have a choice about how to manage the delved content.  Individuation can help you reclaim energy from your psyche–energy that perhaps got repressed, or suppressed, which can make you depressed.  The band wagon for perfection through societal proscriptions is often the culprit for way-laid energy.

We might want to say individuation is psychological transformation, but transformation works upon the material realm. So we might want to say individuation is spiritualization, but that’ll take you across the earthly border into a strange land where spirit flees from body. What Individuation is, is a matamorphosis of personality.

 

Above the Rim

Darling, we must respect  humans, for we were all born naked.

What happens after we start wearing clothes, who knows.

-Vivienne DuBois to her daughter in Sacred Marriage-Monks and Nuns in Love

I want to tell you, I was like a WASP in a fishbowl when I swam in the circles of the upper class, some of whom were among the 12% “whites” living here on the border of Mexico in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.  I use “fishbowl” as a metaphor for my own chosen insularity -that would be my social class of privilege as a White Anglo Saxon Protestant.

mexicanfishMy experience of fishbowls is mine, and yours is yours.  However, if I generalize my WASPhood, fellow WASPs will understand the cultural nuances.  Not so the Mexican Folk Culture where witches, demons, and spirits are literal citizens of the pobres’-the poor ones’-magical world; which, by the way, tends to be insular, also.   WASP and pobre:  one would think “never the twain shall meet.”  But I’ve lived in that magical world. I’ve slept with their spirits.  Just like reading, travel, and Individuating, communion with “The Other” (i.e., enculturation) can ply one’s attitude with tolerance, appreciation, psychological flexibility, and fluid boundaries outside the comfort and familiarity of one’s own culture.

You will not find all fractions of your psyche, or soul, within your own fishbowl.  But you can’t necessarily go flip-flopping in and out of others’ fishbowls, either.  What you need are efficient tools to help you rise above the rim of your fishbowl so you can observe things from a higher perspective, perhaps magical things you never knew existed.

I can show you some of the tools that help me envision wholeness:  journalingdepth psychology studies, dream analysis, and communion with The Other.  But happily, these are just a few of the approaches to wholeness that are really templates to be laid over any human’s life navigation.

For it’s the hero’s exploration and delight in adventure that makes life a quest. And we’re all heros of our own story if we’re intentional about the whole thing. Importantly, you don’t have to quest to Tibet, or to Egypt, or to the Antarctic.  You can quest as far as you like in the imagination (and on Internet, the global mind 🙂 ) with good results for shoring up integrity, which I would like to think is an honorable goal for the individuation process.

Eros and Psyche: Divine and Human in Love

The great instrument of moral good is the imagination.
-Percy Shelley
Imagination is the instrument of Self Knowledge.
-Fyodor Dostoevsky

If you’ve never experienced the dynamism  of Eros (being struck by Cupid’s arrows) during your life on earth, you’re missing out.  Eros is love, desire, sexual yearning, a condition of creation, a feeling of being alive.  But all Eros’s attributes carry a voltage.  Eros can groove a sluice in your brain, and fry your hair!

Screenshot 2018-01-27 10.33.01
Saint shot by Cupid’s arrow

Carl Jung says Eros creates such exquisite desire, such psychic tension, that it can activate the transcendent function (I call it The Rub), and open up the fastest avenue to the collective unconscious where the divinities reside.   Ecstasy (I think not the drug) can be the vehicle that carries you directly to the archetypal Kingdom of God.  Sure, this is what the religious celibates know.

virginalmary
Did The Virgen feel Eros for God, Himself? How could you not, if it’s God making love to you?

It’s culturally relevant-and culture clash is one way to ignite the transcendent function-to call Eros, Deseo.  So I do in The WASP and El Curandero. During my field research, in my mind, of course, I thanked Alberto for providing the hook for my Deseo, and thus, the locomotion driving my desirous approach to The Other World.  Of course it drove my dedication to the research, too, but that’s a rather mundane topic for this context.

Reynaldo. He was a little famous. I'll tell you here, I fell in love with him. But that's later in another story.
Alberto Salinas, El Curandero 1951-2013

For Eros is the God of Love, and you are in love with Love!  But for god’s sake, I never told Alberto I thought he, was divine.  Although that is exactly how I felt under the force of Eros.  That’s the point:  Individuation can be furthered by transferring, instead of concretizing,  the intense yearning for your human to craving the Divine.  It draws you into the realm of imagination where stories are created and transcendence can be experienced.  The imagination, not the material world, is where transcendence happens.  The sin would be in humanizing Eros before the transcendent function resolves itself; before the opposites–the conscious and the unconscious–unite as in the Greek myth, Eros and Psyche.

teresaecstacy
The ecstacy of St. Teresa of Avila, Bernini sculpture

But remember: if you are thinking to Individuate by holding the tension Eros creates, you can only proceed by restraining physical consummation.  In this way you fuel the desire until you think you will explode.  It’s exquisitely excruciating to hold the tension.  It’s the mystics’ ecstacy.

And finally a warning:  don’t inflate your head by identifying with the deities.  You are not The Virgin.  Nor is he your God.  You are a human becoming more so.  There’s real integrity in that.  You can thank Eros for not knowing anything about orgasms.

Insular

adjective

1.  ignorant of or uninterested in cultures, ideas, or peoples outside one’s own experience

synonyms:  narrow-minded, small-minded, inward-looking, parochial, provincial, small-town, shortsighted, hidebound, blinkered.

-Dictionary.com

Possible examples:  Any kind of fundamentalist, the country club crowd, North Korea and Kim Jong-un, college frat houses, gated communities, the Junior League, internet RPG’s, the bookworm (of course we can insulate ourselves.)  I want you to notice, insularity as a modus operandi is usually chosen  by newbies.

I’ve enjoyed belonging to several of these examples of insularity.

McAllen WASP Women in the Year 2000

WASP is a class distinction I have made up for the creative nonfiction, The WASP and El Curandero, whereby W.A.S.P. equals White Anglo Saxon Protestant, equals those McAllen WASP women-including Hispanic women-who  1) have Sunday brunch at the Country Club after  church;  2) buy their clothes at Sylvia’s;  3) wear elegant manners to the Museum’s galas;  4) are in the Junior League;  5) have children attending St. John’s Episcopal Day School; and  6) drive white suburbans.

That’s just my perspective.  In my particular case, you can add blonde hair and blue eyes, at least my hair was blonde in the year 2000, the time frame of the novel.  I want you to notice my WASP reflects those women who were instituted at the top of what the anthropologist, Emile Durkheim, calls social organization (aka they had climbed the social ladder to the top).

Mental Illness as Shamanic Template?

Alberto Salinas. el Curandero, qualified as a shaman according to the Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual V’s category of dissociative trance disorder.  , because he channeled the spirit of El Ni~no Fidencio within his cultural milieu; and because he healed people while in a trance state.  Many modes of his behavior had me running to the psychiatric journals with questions of whether or not Alberto’s uncanny abilities also qualified him as schizophrenic.  He said he heard voices and celestial music; he saw shadows; he was over-the-top creative; and, one could say, professionally intuitive and perceptive.  He was also delightfully theatrical, which is a common trait among shamans.

Before mankind evolved ego consciousness (i.e., in the prefrontal cortex),  numinosity was manifested with schizophrenic-like symptoms including trance, visions, and glossolalia. The most developed form of this was present in shamans, who worked extremely hard to develop enough ego consciousness to balance out the inner instability. As mankind has progressed, we’ve unlocked “syntaxic” modes, such as creativity, which allow us to integrate the unconscious into consciousness when channeling numinosity.

~Raskolnikov.  Reddit r/Jung

Ni~no’s Despensation of Technology

       I think one important thing to remember about the Fidencista Movement is the absolutely essential part photography plays in the dissemination of its gospel. You can imagine the impact photographs would have on bolstering religious faith.  For perhaps the first time in the history of divinity, the presence of photographs can prove beyond any doubt the existence of its main man.  In this new Dispensation of Technology, the faith factor relevant to Fidencismo becomes not Christ’s admonition to the doubting Thomas:  “Blessed are they who have not seen,” but more like:  “Blessed are they who have seen the most photographs.”  Alberto has a lot of photographs, perhaps the most extensive collection outside of Espinazo.  ~ Katherine Brittain in “The WASP and El Curandero

The Numinosum

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead.

~Albert Einstein

When I first began studying Jung, the word numinous was not in my dictionary.  Perhaps it can be considered a general increase in consciousness that today Merriam-Webster offers 1:  supernatural, mysterious.  2:  filled with a sense of the presence of divinity:  holy.  3:  appealing to the higher emotions or to the aesthetic sense:  spiritual.

Numinosity might be the goosebumps that do waves all over your body when you experience something uncanny.  Or it might wake you up in the middle of the night with a shocking image from a dream.  It might be what transports you when listening to beautiful music.  Or it might actually be the reward for your search for The Other.  I’ve felt it with gratitude when a muse jumps onto my journaling page.

What I know for sure is numinosity comes when you draw near to the realm of the divine.  Maybe Eros is your guide.  You may feel numinosity when synchronicity happens to you.  Or you may dive headlong into the sea of the unconscious.  Careful you don’t drown.  Psychosis can be described as being overwhelmed by the collective unconscious.  Jung warned against the mind-blowing experiments of tripping on LSD in the ’60s because they might trigger psychosis.

Moses went up on Mt. Horeb and came down with the Ten Commandments, which God had given him up there, and also with white hair instead of chocolate brown.  Scared him to death. He had experienced the numinosum.

Princesses Gigi and Julieanne ~An Eperee~

My

Dear, sweet

Mom-in-Law:

Pampered princess,

Disgruntled widow,

Lots of time on her hands.

Takes great delight in teaching

My daughter, pampered princess two,

Womanly wiles that, when utilized,

Trap me between both Princess’s demands.

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