Thursday, January 12, 2006

the lord was a woman from mexico city

My fiance surprised me with a trip to Mexico City for my birthday. I didnt know where we were going until the very last possible minute. It was so much fun. I have long been a fan of Frida Kahlo (way before the Salma Hayek movie) and it was amazing to finally get to visit her house and her town, Coyoacan. I saw the house where she and Diego Rivera lived together, connected by a little bridge. I dream of such a house where I can have my own space and my lover can have a private space connected by a bridge. How civilized! I also visited the pyramids in Teotihuacan. It was awesome. I cant help but wonder how the Egyptians, the Aztecs and the Mayans had the same ideas about contacting the Gods on two separate continents before the information age. I know there is a theory that aliens were in contact with them but that seems pretty crazy. Still, it is perplexing to ponder how they shared the same theories and built the same elaborate monuments without ever meeting one another. It was sad to revisit how the Spaniards destroyed the temples atop the pyramids in their attempt to convert the indigenous peoples to Christianity. I witnessed the same weirdness when I visited Jerusalem and saw the Jewish tomb of King David, beneath the room where they had the Christian last supper and the Arab mosque built atop it. It really is tragic how religions dont respect each other and just build their own monuments to their faith right on top of someone elses, destroying the sacred places of others in the process.

We visited the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe also and witnessed people crawling to the shrine on their knees. I almost got a tattoo of our lady many years ago and so it was super cool to finally visit the shrine. But again, I felt so sorry for the native mexicanos whose own historic faith was annihilated by the spanish christians in their zeal to convert everyone in sight. The Pyramids and their history speak of a faith that was at one with nature, worshipping the moon and the sun and the rain Gods. Now these people live in abject poverty, many of them barely surviving, and at the same time, worship at a gold plated altar and give their money to a church that hides child molesters and turns away from their suffering. It just doesnt seem right.
Religion has caused so much misery throughout the ages. I know it is a deeply personal thing and I also know that faith has brought comfort to people when they really need it, but visiting those pyramids and the holy shrine really made me re-examine my feelings about religion and religious institutions, once again. Religion has always divided, more than it has united and continues to do so today. Fanatics exist in every branch of religion, even in our own Oval Office and they continue to twist and distort religious doctrine to fit their own purposes. Have we really made any progress at all since the Spaniards conquered Mexico and stole their beautiful culture, only to replace it with Christian idealogies?

I wrote my song "The Lord Was a Woman" from my cd Diva La Grande, many years ago just to introduce the idea that God (if she exists) could be female. I was sick of hearing about this all male, grudge holding, score keeping God who was vindictive and punitive. A God who turned his back on the suffering of the poor and the innocent. When Country Dick recorded the song "Are you drinking with me Jesus?" he inspired me to write my own song about the subject. After visiting Mexico City, I am still more convinced than ever that the traditional, historic ideas about religion are continually manipulated by men to serve their own economic and selfish purposes. Any religion that tramples on other peoples faith and sacred feelings is a distorted sham.

I dont really believe anymore in the God of traditional religion. In fact, now more than ever, I believe God is the love inside of each one of us. The conscience that makes us do the right thing. The power we have inside us to overcome individual suffering and obstacles. The energy inside us that gives us purpose. The warmth inside us that we feel when something beautiful happens like a sunset, or a sunrise or an act of kindness that we give someone else. We each have the power to change our own destinies and make this planet as good as we can, while we are here on earth. Any person who hurts someone else in the name of some so called religion is as far away from the concept of God as they can get.

Thats what I got out of my birthday trip to beautiful Mexico City.


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