For at least three thousand years people have been coming here to the high desert of Real de Catorce in the oldest, continuous pilgrimage,

the oldest known pilgrimage in the history of the Human.

This place has always been known as the Sacred Land that is infused with the light and sublime Spirit of the Great Medicina – Peyote.

When I first came to Real Catorce to Estacion Wadley in the spring of 1997 I was miraculously cured by the medicina.

In the winter of 1996-97, I was covering the continuing Zapatista uprising in Chiapas.

There I met Lily, a very beautiful Gringa from New York who wanted to be part of the Zapatista movement.

I was able to introduce her to people.

She helped in the political organizing that the Zapatistas were doing after the armed struggle.

Then she was raped by a high placed Zapatista

Thirty per cent of the Zapatista’s army, during the armed struggle were women.

Women are well represented, often dominant in the Commandancia, the 12-person committee that commands the Zapatistas.

Lily and the Zapatista women made sure that revolutionary justice happened to her assailant.

And yet,

Lilly made a powerful enemy.

There came a point where she had to get out of Chiapas.

I felt it was on me to get her out of Chiapas.

We crossed Mexico in pilgrimage.

Lily returned to the Tierra Sagrada for healing.

And although I wasn’t yet aware of my need for healing,

I had come for healing.

She had been there before.

She knew many Peyote Shamans.

She already had her shamanism with the medicina.

The first time I sought the medicina,

I did it alone.

I had no knowledge.

The medicina had no knowledge of me.

Even though I was searching in a place in the desert that was full of peyote,

the medicina didn’t reveal itself to me,

I couldn’t find it.

In this futile search

I became dehydrated.

That evening,

in the middle of a deep sleep,

in the back of my pick-up truck,

I was awakened by the first stirrings of a kidney stone.

The first stirrings of a jagged piece of glass starting to move through my urinary tract.

It is the most hellish pain human flesh is subject to.

I came into Desperate Circumstances,

requiring desperate,

leaps into the unknown.

Next day I returned to the desert with Lily.

She immediately led me to the medicina,

We cut the peyote buttons with a sharp rock.

And made offerings of water to every plant we cut.

We peeled off the toxic skin of the peyote buttons.

We ate the pulp inside.

We found huge peyote buttons.

In a short time

I ate a large amount.

And as we walked in the desert,

I felt IT coming over me.

I had to take a piss.

And when I pissed a heart-jaring, gravity rainbow of bright blood happened.

It was a long piss.

It seemed as if I was going to piss away all of my blood.

It was itzing

– large.

The Mayans know bleeding/itzing is about releasing the primal, sacred energia of the universo.

And just when it seemed as if I was running out of blood to piss,

I heard the most wonderful, joyous sound.

It was the sound of a jagged pebble of glass pinging off of the desert rock I was pissing against.

All that night I danced with my machete

as I cut the thorny desert brush

to stoke the fire

in front of the altar to the Great Medicina,

that Lily made.

Sometime around dawn

I became unconscious.

When the sun woke us,

we returned to my pick-up truck.

Someone had broken the back window

with their hand

and a rock.

The glass had cut deeply into that hand.

Again there was blood

all over the place.

There were valuables in the truck.

All the valuables were still there.

The things that were missing

made no sense.

A bag of dirty clothes,

a broken tape recorder.

As I walk this high desert I realize that the healing of the Great Medicina did not stop with the kidney stone.

(As if that was not enough.)

The Great Medicina began the great sloughing off of my old skin and began the definitive coming into a new skin.

Lily and I left the Tierra Sagrada, and we went to the Otro Lado (the other side of the bordor).

I took Lily to the airport in Albuquerque,

and as much as I wanted to be with her again,

it never happened.

I drove back to Connecticut with my dangerously damaged truck.

In my drives on jungle paths I had cracked the truck’s chassis.

Mechanics that saw it in Connecticut, swore that it was a miracle that I wasn’t kilt.

And when I arrived in Connecticut I began an ordeal that brought me to prison, and a kind of itzing that came close to destroying me. (See ‘The Jah Department of Environmental Protection (Jah D.E.P.).

And yet,

it didn’t.

And although I can’t explain it, the medicina, the itzing in the high desert, had something to do with it.

Sam Libby

Sam Libby (a.k.a. Rabbi SchmuDawg) currently resides in Terranas, Dominican Republic and is completing a collection of Central American stories entitled 'The Gonzo/Kukalcan Papers', to be published in spring 2021.

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