Even though cock fighting is banned in Mexico City, it still takes place here as well as in rural areas. As in most traditional societies, social rituals die slowly in Mexico, especially if there is money to be made. Money changes hands between promoters, breeders and gamblers.
The article linked below profiles a breeder who injects birds with steroids to make them more aggressive. Another man manufactures and sells the razor spurs that are tied to the bird’s left leg. He says the animals don’t suffer because the spurs are so sharp they don’t feel the cuts.
The fights usually only last 3 - 5 minutes before one bird is dead so maybe he is right. The treatment they receive during their short lives prior to earning a spot in the ring is as much an ethical question as the ritual fight itself.
We saw these birds on a rooftop near us, there were about 7 - 10 cages total. I don’t know for a fact that they are being raised to fight. Sergio says yes, they are.
About 18 months ago I traded in my permanent address and bookshelf for a few years of freedom of action. This makes my gypsy happy but is painfully at odds with my inner bookworm.
A few hard copy books made it into my traveling bag. I work online, and when my mind is scattered to the edges by too many hours in the virtual world, I unplug with an old book. They smell funny and talk funny - written in forgotten tongues, prose from previous decades and societies.
Mexico City, with hundreds of tiny dusty fire-code defying used bookstores, is a distinct threat to my gypsy baggage limit. The used bookstores are more satisfying to browse in than the new book stores. In Mexico there is an annoying and eco-unfriendly convention of shrink wrapping every individual book in plastic. Sometimes there is a grubby demo version available to flip through, but not always.
Currently I’m reading a tome authored by a certain T. Philip Terry. It’s a tour of the lost world of pre-1950s Mexico, detailed in tiny print like old bible pages, bound into an elderly, fat, somewhat pompous tourist guide published in the 1940s. Spending time with Mr. Terry instead of a Kindle brings me back to the solid outlines of myself.
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Mexico City’s parks are a marvel, from tiny pocket squares of greenery with a single bench and pomp statue of a forgotten personage, no longer appreciated except by the pigeons, to world-class open air gathering spaces for the city’s residents and visitors, filled with towering trees, fountains, gardens, and incredible sculpture.
Great swaying airships of shiny balloons glide across the way, seemingly of their own accord until you notice a human pilot steering from below. Ubiquitous food stalls sizzle with salty meat and tortillas; sparking hunger even though you just ate. Animated street performers gather crowds and pocos pesos.
Sheltered by the trees and freed for a bit from the city’s concrete grids, city kids run and shout on playscapes and pathways. Plentiful benches host old quiet people, tired dazed tourists, oblivious dreamy lovers. I know, I have been one of all three.
This shot is of a section of two twin circular sets of concrete benches in el Parque de Los Venados. I've been posting pics of the accent tiles, beautifully detailed, miraculously unmolested and graffiti free. The park hosts big old trees, young families and events across the way at the Benito Juárez delegacion’s community space. Definitely worth a visit, this large has its own metro stop, and retains a more local vibe than la reina grande Alameda Central.
The wolves with lambs intrigued me so I did a little research on this coat of arms for the Mexican state of #Durango, an area named and carved out from indigenous lands before Mexico became an independent country. It was claimed by a group of conquistadores led by Francisco Ibarra. He named the area after his home region in close to Villa Durango, in Biscay, Spain. In the Basque language, this name means beyond the water. The symbolism has zero reference to its new world location. The #wolves running off with lambs are from the coat of arms for Biscay, derived from the an earlier crest of the family Haro and referring to Basque lore - but sadly I could not find a reference to which story.
In the Castillo de Chapultepec, on the top floor, is a gallery of floor to ceiling stained glass, depicting 4 Roman goddesses in verdant formal settings.
Diana is the goddess of the hunt and the moon. She is associated with nature, animals, and woodlands. "The celestial character of Diana is reflected in her connection with light, inaccessibility, virginity, and her preference for dwelling on high mountains and in sacred woods. Diana therefore reflects the heavenly world in its sovereignty, supremacy, impassibility, and indifference towards such secular matters as the fates of mortals and states."
The Roman goddess Pomona is goddess of fruitful abundance. She cares for fruit trees, gardens and orchards. This prim 19th century representation of her contrasts with a 17th C. Peter Paul Rubens painting of Pomona with her husband Vertumnus, the god of seasons and change, who tricked her into marrying him.
In that painting she sits almost topless, both breasts exposed, surrounded by luscious fruit. No wonder he's interested. The painting hangs in a private collection in Madrid, I can only imagine what the rest of the house must look like.
Flora is the goddess of spring and flowers, fertility and youth. She has origins in the pre-Roman Italic Sabine tribe and likely has roots in an even earlier goddess. The Romans honored her each year in late April with a festival that ironically sounds like it was a bit like BurningMan, only with gorgeous spring weather. Festivities included dress up, plays, games and lots of flirting. Lots.
I should have saved this post for spring but I think we can use a little shot of Flora energy anytime of year.
I'm 53 and only now appreciating the many wonderful feminine archetypes we have to draw on. Western culture has no festivals celebrating feminine energy, they were all co-opted by the rise of patrimony, nationalism and Christianity.
That doesn't mean we can't resurrect and celebrate these lovely female archetypes in our own ways and lives. I'm not one to dance naked around a Maypole - although you certainly could and I say go for it if thats your Bliss!
We can travel and learn, bring nature into our homes and lives. We can share experiences with children outdoors and at the kitchen table cooking food or creating simple crafts.
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