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The Book of Chilam Balam of Malibu

Southern California Brush Fire

Ten years ago at approximately this time, I was blogging on the Yahoo-360, which I liked and was saddened to see snuffed out. Around this time in 2007, there were extensive brush fires in Southern California. Here is what I wrote on October 23 of that year.

The brush fires that are devouring Southern California bring to mind another catastrophe: The Mayans, trying to cope with the Spanish invasions and the attendant diseases and persecutions, produced a series of prophetic books called the Books of Chilam Balam, the most famous of which is the Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel. A copy of the Roys translation is available on the Internet by clicking here.

Here is a brief apocalyptic meditation on the fires and several other disastrous “signs and portents” brought to mind by them in the style of (and incorporating some of the words of) the Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel:

October 21, 2007 at dawn

When our rulers increased in depravity and stupidity
Following the words of their evangelical swineherds
That which came was a drought, according to their words,
When the hoofs of the animals burned,
When the seashore burned,
A sea of misery.

Then the face of the sun was eaten,
Then the face of the sun was darkened,
Then its face was extinguished.

Smoke covered the land
Darkened the clothes hanging on the line
Bringing an acrid stench to the nostrils
And dissatisfaction to the gorges of men.

They awoke in the morning
With the lining of their noses crusted with ashes
They took ashes with their coffee
Ashes with their water
Until the smell of burning was all that was.

Far out in space
The crystalline sphere of the gods
The smoke was visible
As that which was once alive and green
Now turned dark brown and black
And acrid.

How long will the gods let this continue?
May they abate their devil winds
And waft clouds heavy with rain
Over the blasted hillsides.

May they restore the beauty that was was there.
May men walk in this beauty
And appreciate it as a gift to be cherished.


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