Chapter Ten

THE OPEN GOD     written by M. B. (teacher and inventor of games).

I had him, the open god. He was in my room at the top of the house, 
where no one could see his nakedness and vulnerability and loving expression.
Then I hid him. Because i moved downstairs to where people moved through 
my room to do plumbing repairs and tiling in the bathroom off my bedroom, 
and children played in my room - dressup and making tents and whatever. 
I wanted to exchange him for something more safe, less naked, less passionate 
and vulnerable, more appropriate. A year later, it occurred to me that i liked him 
and needed him and wanted to keep him. But he was so wrong to have. 
Children would tell their parents and they would not be allowed to visit. 
He was still upstairs in the empty room facing the wall. 
Not much later I heard from you that you wanted  writing about your gods and goddesses from the gift receivers. 

The next day, today, I brought him down to 
my room and said to my children, my ten year old son and eight year old 
daughter "is it ok for me to have this picture up in my room? I don't feel 
comfortable with it out." And my son said, "it's your room, why not. Its fine.
"My daughter said' it's ok mommy".
And the picture of the naked man with his erection and hands holding his
heart open and gentle smile on his lips and in his eyes is there - you can
walk into the room and see him, facing the door, in black and white sensual
paint,  the open god.

open god



The Statue of Liberty as Yemaya, written by Ann G. -  revised 6/2001

Why does the Statue of Liberty, who is supposed to welcome the tired, hungry and persecuted to freedom, wear such a severe look on her face? 

The 40,000 Haitians who fled their country after the 1991 coup d'etat were fleeing one of the most repressive regimes in our hemisphere. 

The first Bush administration screened in 11,000 refugees after finding them to have a "credible fear" of persecution, but did not grant them permanent status, and tens of thousands were subsequently repatriated as mere "economic migrants." 

Caribbean immigrants hold ceremonies on the shores of Brooklyn, at Coney Island, to celebrate the festivals dedicated to Yemaya. They dress in white, play drums and launch small boats with food and candles into the ocean, watching anxiously from the beach to see whether she will take the offerings or cast them back. 

Yemaya is not the orisha of the INS, she is not the loa of the INS.  If she were, she'd have wide, clear, compassionate eyes and a gentle smile on her African lips, and the US would not have turned so many refugees from so many places back to torture and death.  She might carry a prayer fan that looks like it comes straight from Nigeria, with cowrie shells at the base and around the edge, whose lacy design reminds you of the waves that crest as they approach the beaches of Bahia, Santo Domingo, Port-au-Prince or Cap Haitien; La Habana or San Juan . . . 

Sometimes when I ride my bicycle across the Brooklyn Bridge, I want to scream "Liar" into the wind, at the rigid figure in the bay holding a piece of metal over her head like a club. How do we redeem the promise of a genuinely "kinder, gentler" USA?  It will take so much work.  It helps to have a vision hanging on your wall. 

PLUS NEW POEM - ELEMENT OF LIFE - EARTH  by Casey Scathach  - mommy of 4, ER nurse, pagan, poet.


                                     IN THE
by John Seed of the Council of All Beings and The Rainforest Information Center
who says that the Pachamama is as alive and well in Ecuador as she is in Bolivia, where I met her.

Pachamama Over Lake Poopo by Morgan

pachamama over lake popo


                             by ALFONSO TOAQUIZA of Tiqua, Ecuador

The  Panacocha Reserve is 56,000 Ha of primary Rainforest,
containing  jaguars, 7 species of monkeys, 500 species of birds
and so on. It includes a network of waterways including the
spectacular Panacocha Lagoon, home to the endangered Amazon
River Dolphin. Important as it is in its own right, Panacocha achieves
added significance as the corridor connecting two much  larger
areas: To the south it is bordered by the Yasuni Reserve which is
982,000  hectares  and to the north by the 600,000 hectare Cuya
Beno park. Unfortunately Cuya Beno has been  impacted by oil
drilling in the past while Yasuni has a large number of active
oil wells. Panacocha has so far been spared oil exploration and
we want to try and keep it that way. By increasing protection of
Panacocha, we are augmenting the integrity of huge (more than
1.6 million Ha) contiguous park in the headwaters of the Amazon.

The  Rainforest Information Centre, through our  Ecuadorean  off-
shoot  the Centro de Investigacion de los Bosques Tropicales
(CIBT),  has been actively supporting the protection of Panacocha
since the early '90's and in 1994 we succeeded in having the area
granted  "Bosques  Protectores" status and handed  back to the
traditional owners, the Quichua people of Corazon de Jesus.

A splendid opportunity to further increase the protection of  the
area has come our way: a 50 hectare freehold inholding surround-
ed  by  the reserve  is up for sale. This is an operating ecotourist
resort (backpacker  style) on the shore of the Panacocha
Lagoon with 9 thatched cabins, kitchen/dining hall, motor boats
and canoes and a spectacular viewing platform 130 feet up a
gigantic Ceiba  tree.

We see this as an opportunity similar to that provided by the Los
Cedros Biological reserve. In that case, with the help of  two
major  grants  from the Australian government aid agency
AusAID,  we purchased the lands  cleared by  the only seven
colonists  to have gained a foothold on the Los Cedros plateau.
The Ecuadorian government then granted us the remainder of
the plateau  for a total of over 13,000 acres of cloud forest on
which  we established a scientific  reserve. This  protects  not
only the extraordinary flora and fauna of Los Cedros, but also
put us  in a position to police  the  adjacent Cotocachi-Cayapas
national park -  600,000 acres of the wildest lands  in Ecua-
dor.  In  spite of its status as a national park under  Ecuado-
rean  law and a UNESCO  "Man and the  Biosphere"  Reserve,
the Cotocachi-Cayapas remains threatened with colonisation,
illegal logging and poaching and our presence at Los Cedros
and patrols are inhibiting  illegal activities there.

Although we have managed to get land  reserved at Panacocha,
reserve status in Ecuador does not by itself stop colonization,
logging and poaching. Our presence at Panacocha Lodge would
allow us (and  the  ecotourists there) to physically patrol and
protect Panacocha just as our presence at  Los Cedros has
allowed us to protect the adjacent Cotocachi-Cayapas national
park. It would allow us to work  with the local people, training
them in the various jobs that need to be done to run the Lodge
and to create a  renewed vision and  new standards of excel-
lence for ecotourism.

The project will be managed by Canadian naturalist and  published
author  Randy Smith who has been living in Ecuador for 8 years
making his living as a tour guide in the Amazon, Andes  and  on
the coast. He has been a volunteer with the Rainforest  Informa-
tion  Centre for 7 or those years and we know him well and  trust
him  totally. He has worked  on the Panacocha project  since  the
beginning  and it was he who notified us of the availability of
Panacocha Lodge.

The  Quichua people of Corazon de Jesus are very  supportive  and
are eager to be trained as caretakers and guides at the lodge. We
are  proposing that  half the profits from the ecotourism enter-
prise go to patrolling and protecting the larger reserve, and
the other  half  for community development  projects for the
impoverished traditional owners.

Rainforest Information Centre volunteer Ruth Rosenhek has recent-
ly  returned from Panacocha and we have slides and video of  the
area available on  request. The owner is asking $130,000 for  the
place. We offered  $80,000. He replied with $110,000 and  there
it stands at the present  time. We would like to raise
$150,000 for the purchase and other things needed in order to get
this project up and running.

rainforest station

Ruth and I have got the ball rolling  with  a donation of $10,000
towards  the purchase and are starting  to seek   donations   for
the  remainder. So far we've  raised  about another $10,000  from
half  a dozen friends and are being supported by the chair  of  a
family foundation who is proposing to their January meeting  that
they  grant  us  $40,000 more. US$ donations to the Rainforest
Information Centre  are tax-deductible.
                                                                   -    John Seed 

Rainforest Information Centre
PO Box 368 Lismore
NSW 2480


Element of Life-Earth     poem by Casey Scathach

  with the painting The Realm of the Pachamama

When we are born, you shelter us and give us warmth 
When we are growing, you provide us nourishment
Your seasons teach us the cycle of life
When we fade, you cradle us and we become one

Gaia, mother of all living creatures
Showing us the promise with the green shoots of Spring
Nurturing, sensual, ripening with the Summer sun
Spilling forth your bounty when Autumn comes
Winter brings a dormant womb that is recycling
Bringing us to the brink to start anew

Realm of the Pachamama


On to next chapter, #11