Opinion: Looking at life in Lakeside
Festival of Michi honors the Lake’s Goddess and points the way to save Ajijic’s magic
By Patrick O’Heffernan
Michi-Cihualli is the mythological goddess who symbolizes the essence of the waters and lands of Lake Chapala. According to the legend, she is the mediator of good weather and the queen of the wind- she blows the gales of the four cardinal points, enabling the fishermen to know the direction of the squalls on the lake and t and farmers the good weather for corn.
But an important part of the legend of Michi-Cihualli is her first appearance: when the ruling tribe practiced human sacrifice and threw children into hot springs, Michi-Cihualli became enraged and created powerful winds, whirlpools, clouds of ash and eventually an earthquake to stop the desecration of her waters.
We don’t sacrifice humans any more, but we are sacrificing the Lake itself and the Ribera – the lands of Lake Chapala — with pollution, traffic, illegal development, and poverty. And Michi-Cihualli is again blowing her powerful breath over the lake in warning, only this time it is not winds she is raising, but a rekindling of the values she taught and resistance to those who would float them.
Next week, on January 20, 21, and 22, her winds will gust from one of her spiritual homes in Ajijic, La Cochera Cultural, in a three-day Festival of Michi. A residence for artists of all kinds, La Cochera Cultural is curated by Antonio López Vega, an artist who has spent a lifetime capturing and chronicling the spirit of Michi-Cihualli in painting and sculpture. The Festival he is curating at La Cochera Cultural will use film, art, music, dance, and discussion to explore the spirit and lessons of Michi-Cihualli and what is happening today in Ajijic.
In a separate but parallel effort, a group of musicians and artists are considering a concept paper Espiritu de Music y Art, to bring the lifeforce of Michi-Cihualli to Ajijic and San Antonio-Tlayacapan all year round through a marriage of art and music. They are responding to call by Ajijic Culture Director Santiago Baeza (who has just resigned) for events at local venues bringing together two of Ajijic’s greatest assets: artists and musicians.
In another separate but parallel effort, the Pueblo Mágico Ajijic Committee is anticipating an infusion of money for ventures enhancing and promoting the magic of the pueblo. While it waiting for funds, the Committee is developing plans and evaluating projects for their contribution to the Pueblo Mágico designation.
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