Archive | April, 2013

A Gringo Guide to: Witchcraft – …to Pulque, Mescal, and Tequila

30 Apr
Download Your copy on Amazon.com; Barnes and Noble.com; Kobo.com; and soon on Google Play. Search William J. Conaway.

Download Your copy on Amazon.com; Barnes and Noble.com; Kobo.com; and soon on Google Play. Search William J. Conaway.

An excerpt from my, “A Gringo Guide to: Witchcraft – …to Pulque, Mescal and Tequila

Guide to Pulque, Mezcal, and Tequila

The Magical Maguey!
The name maguey is one the Spaniards brought with them from the Antilles. It described a similar plant found there, but remains in popular use today. Here the plant was known by other names: Metl, in Náhuatl; Tocamba, in Purépecha; and Guada, in Otomí, and in modern times the agave. There are 17 species of agave in México.

The maguey gives a unique character to the Mexican landscape, and it’s more than just a magnificent cactus, it’s a national symbol.

Pulque is produced by a natural fermentation process with an alcoholic content no higher than a mild beer.

Mezcal is hard liquor made by baking the maguey’s leaves and inducing fermentation followed by distillation.

Tequila is a a name used to describe a variation of mezcal made in or near Tequila, Jalisco (much like the Bordeaux produced in the region of the same name in France). Or more correctly, mezcal de tequila.

All three are native Mexican beverages made from plants belonging to the genus, Agave which accounts for the confusion of us gringos over the differences between them. Only one species of maguey will produce true tequila, several species can be used to produce mezcal, but three or more are used to make pulque in different areas of the country.

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A Gringo Guide to: Witchcraft – to Pulque, Mescal, and Tequila

29 Apr
Download Your copy on Amazon.com; Barnes and Noble.com; Kobo.com; and soon on Google Play. Search William J. Conaway.

Download Your copy on Amazon.com; Barnes and Noble.com; Kobo.com; and soon on Google Play. Search William J. Conaway.

A Two-for-One Download

A Gringo Guide to Witchcraft – A booklet about the practice of witchcraft in Mexico now and in the past. Implements, herbs, and spells used in Mexican witchcraft told by a 50 year resident.

A Gringo Guide to Pulque, Mescal, and Tequila – A booklet about these spirits from production to imbibing. The History surrounding the discovery and modern production. GG-109 $7.95 Plus $2.95 International Shipping and Handling. Order by email: wjconaway@yahoo.com, or download from Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com at a discount. (Includes the previous book in the same download)

 

A Gringo Guide To: Witchcraft /…to Pulque, Mescal and Tequila

27 Apr
Download Your copy on Amazon.com; Barnes and Noble.com; Kobo.com; and soon on Google Play. Search William J. Conaway.

Download Your copy on Amazon.com; Barnes and Noble.com; Kobo.com; and soon on Google Play. Search William J. Conaway.

An Excerpt from my, “Gringo Guide to Witchcraft.”

Witchcraft in Modern México

In a large part of the world magical-religious beliefs continue to be accepted, and México is no exception. There are a great many people, here, who make their living from these beliefs: curanderas, brujos, brujas, hechiceros, and the herbalists selling home remedies and witchcraft supplies. (You can also find red and black tallow candles, used in many «spells», for sale in grocery stores.)

To a tourist in México who happens to hear about it, the burning question about witchcraft is: Does it work? The answer is yes! But it’s a well know fact, I hope, that foreigners are immune to magic. (The Aztec brujos had no luck hexing the Spaniards.)
Witchcraft, practiced by Mexicans against Mexicans, can work wonders for a mistreated wife. She can force her husband to come home, drive him insane, or knock him off. She can even polish off her rivals with the right spell.

It works for men, too. He can make a love potion to make a woman fall in love with him, to attract women sexually, and a man scorned by his sweetheart can make her ugly so nobody will marry her. And he can pay back insults by inflicting his enemies with financial failure, sickness, and/or death!

The practice of sorcery is so widespread it is said: «A rich man goes to a curandera after he’s seen a doctor, and is desperate; and the poor man goes to a doctor after he’s seen a curandera, and is desperate.»

But you probably won’t be able to find a curandera during your brief stay in México. The people, as a rule, don’t like to talk about it, and will even deny their existence.
Witchcraft has been practiced in México since ancient times. Aztec witches were men who revered the god Tezcatlipoca the god of night and patron of witches. The Aztecs, however, had no belief in a Satan like the Christians. They believed that every man or woman has good and evil within them. That the struggle between good and evil is waged inside us.

Aztec witches had the ability to turn themselves into animals. They were known as naguales. The Aztec word was translated to brujo in Spanish or witch in English. In their animal form, they could check the progress of their spells unobserved.

Naguales were very powerful forces in their society. Their power was used to keep the people in line by reinforcing the morals of the times.

Witchcraft, as practice by indigenous practitioners, was far more benign than that practiced today. Everyone knew the boundaries of good conduct then, and those who behaved themselves were assured of a safe existence.

A Gringo Guide To: Witchcraft – …To Pulque, Mescal, and Tequila

26 Apr
Download Your copy on Amazon.com; Barnes and Noble.com; Kobo.com; and soon on Google Play. Search William J. Conaway.

Download Your copy on Amazon.com; Barnes and Noble.com; Kobo.com; and soon on Google Play. Search William J. Conaway.

A Gringo Guide to Witchcraft – A booklet about the practice of witchcraft in Mexico now and in the past. Implements, herbs, and spells used in Mexican witchcraft told by a 50 year resident. GG-108 $7.95 Plus $2.95 International S&P. Order by email: wjconaway@yahoo.com, or download from Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com for a considerable discount (Includes the following book in the same download)

A Gringo Guide to Pulque, Mescal, and Tequila – A booklet about these spirits from production to imbibing. The History surrounding the discovery and modern production.

A Gringo Guide to Witchcraft – … To Pulque, Mescal, and Tequila

25 Apr
Download Your copy on Amazon.com; Barnes and Noble.com; Kobo.com; and soon on Google Play. Search William J. Conaway.

Download Your copy on Amazon.com; Barnes and Noble.com; Kobo.com; and soon on Google Play. Search William J. Conaway.

A Two for One Download on Amazon.com; Barnes and Noble.com; or Kobo.com.

A Gringo Guide to Witchcraft – A booklet about the practice of witchcraft in Mexico now and in the past. Implements, herbs, and spells used in Mexican witchcraft told by a 50 year resident.

A Gringo Guide to Pulque, Mescal, and Tequila – A 30 Page booklet about these spirits from production to imbibing. The History surrounding the discovery and modern production. GG-109 $7.95 Plus $2.95 International Shipping and Handling. Order by email: wjconaway@yahoo.com, or download from Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com at a discount. (Includes the previous book in the same download)

Excerpt 3 – A Gringo Guide To: A Bullfight, A Mexican Rodeo, and a Cockfight

24 Apr
Download Your copy on Amazon.com; Barnes and Noble.com; Kobo.com; and soon on Google Play. Search William J. Conaway.

Download Your copy on Amazon.com; Barnes and Noble.com; Kobo.com; and soon on Google Play. Search William J. Conaway.

A third Excerpt from my, “A Gringo Guide To: A Bullfight, A Mexican Rodeo, and a Cockfight”.

Cockfights: Your Personal Guide

Despite the image and/or aversion you may feel about cockfights, they have been a part of Mexican society from the conquest, a popular diversion for the rich and poor alike. Cockfights were valuable fund-raisers that helped build all the wonderful churches you see in México. The Church and their supporters promoted bullfights, cockfights, and kermeses (Mexican bake sales), and the proceeds went to the church building fund. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?.

We know that cockfights probably originated in ancient Greece, by the depictions found on ancient Hellenic coins. The Greeks be­lieved the birds to be an excellent example for Greek youth, who were expected to defend their country with the same tenacity that the birds exhibited fighting to the death or victory.

Pompeian mosaics show us that the custom was also adopted in Rome. In England the Royal Cockpit was founded, in Spain and the Philippines cockfights became a national pastime and later were imported to the Americas. In all of these venues important sums of money were (and still are) wagered.

The games also became important sources of income, through taxes, for these governments. The first license was issued in México in 1687, to Pedro Ortiz de Espejo, for the sum of $1,700 reales annually. He opened the first Palenque, enclosure for a public spectacle, in Mexico City, and commissioned many others through­out Nueva España.

In 1872, Luis Inclán published an official rule book, Ley de Gallos, consisting of 37 clear and concise articles governing the comportment of owners, spectators, bettors and handlers. The city government of Guadalajara published another official rule book. Soon after, another Reglamento Para el Juego de Gallos, was printed by J.M. Cañedo and Pedro Echaniri, which was reprinted all the way through 1944. These, along with other rule books published in Mexico City, at about the same time, remain in use to this day.

On December 31, 1947 the Ley Federal de Juegos y Sorteos was passed by the Mexican government expressly forbidding gambling at cockfights. But by application and payment to the Secretaria de Gobernación permits are granted for regional fairs if a percentage of the profits go to charity. In some states, such as Jalisco, cockfight Palenques are permanent, but they must still contribute to charity.

Excerpt 2 – A Gringo Guide To: A Bullfight, A Mexican Rodeo, and a Cockfight

23 Apr
Download Your copy on Amazon.com; Barnes and Noble.com; Kobo.com; and soon on Google Play. Search William J. Conaway.

Download Your copy on Amazon.com; Barnes and Noble.com; Kobo.com; and soon on Google Play. Search William J. Conaway.

An Excerpt from my, “A Gringo Guide To: A Bullfight, A Mexican Rodeo, and a Cockfight”.

Your Personal Guide to a Mexican Rodeo

A Charreada is a Mexican rodeo, and it’s a fiesta that had its roots in the XVI century, predating our western rodeo by hundreds of years. Good Friday, Viernes de Dolores, is the day of the Charro, but its celebration has been over-shadowed, in recent history, by religious celebrations.

The manner of dress of the Charro Mexicano is an evolution of the clothes worn by the Mestizos (mixed bloods) who farmed the countryside, and raised the livestock for Cortez and the Spanish landlords. During the War For Independence (1810) these rancheros became a powerful and unique force demonstrating their love for the land that sustained them. The gains made by this class of people, who made up the bulk of the insurgents, allowed them to add adornments to their normal manner of dress and this evolved into the Charro suit of today.

A Charro is armed with a pistol, and on the left side of the saddle he carries a sword, machete, adorned with engraved designs or slogans. These, along with the lariat, are the tools of the Mexican rancher of old.

Today’s Charros come from every walk of life. They join the local association to participate in the rich tradition, and to enjoy this exciting and colorful equestrian sport.

I will present the events, generally, in the order which they will be performed, and show the significance and difficulty of each so that you may applaud only the good performances and enjoy the fiesta.

A Gringo Guide To: A Bullfight, A Mexican Rodeo, and a Cockfight

22 Apr
Download Your copy on Amazon.com; Barnes and Noble.com; Kobo.com; and soon on Google Play. Search William J. Conaway.

Download Your copy on Amazon.com; Barnes and Noble.com; Kobo.com; and soon on Google Play. Search William J. Conaway.

An Excerpt from my “Gringo Guide To: A Bullfight, A Mexican Rodeo, and a Cockfight”.

Your Personal Guide to a Bullfight

A Bullfight is the name commonly given to «La Fiesta Brava» by non-Latins. David Alfaro Siqueiros, one of México’s most popular muralists contemptuously referred to bull fighting as, «The dance of the butchers.» Whatever you call it, you can’t begin to appreciate it until you see and understand one. This chapter will give you an understanding of the details. I’ll explain what’s going on for you.

Fighting bulls and the spectacle, corrida, originally came here from Spain. México has many ranches dedicated to the propagation of the species, but Spain jealously guards its breeding stock and refuses to export either the bulls, regarded as the best in the world, or the semen from them. Consequently the Mexican stock is not what it could be, and the corridas are occasionally marred by cowardly or undersized bulls. Every now and then though, you will see a truly marvelous spectacle, one in which the matador, the bull, and the crowd become as one, totally swept up by the excitement and the atmosphere of it all. Today could be one of those days.

A Corrida de Toros is a demonstration of supreme control of the matador over himself, the bull, and the crowd. The more popular ones woo the crowd and judges with flamboyant maneuvers, such as kneeling before the dominated beast and then disdainfully walking away, back turned.

With traditional passes the matador must narrowly escape the horns and lead the bull to the center of the arena. This is also where the breeding of the animal comes in; all too often they don’t cooperate and the spectacle degenerates into a travesty.

Like any good fiesta in México, it’s a drinking party too! Well oiled fans, aficionados, show up with goat skins, botas, of wine, brandy, tequila, or whatever. Or you can buy beer in plastic cups. Good natured hell-raising is tolerated but rowdiness is definitely not. Sombra, shade, seats are more expensive and the fans are more sedate generally. Sol, sun, are the cheap seats, so to speak, and the fiesta tends to be much more lively there.

A Gringo Guide To: A Bullfight, A Mexican Rodeo, and a Cockfight

20 Apr
Download Your copy on Amazon.com; Barnes and Noble.com; Kobo.com; and soon on Google Play. Search William J. Conaway.

Download Your copy on Amazon.com; Barnes and Noble.com; Kobo.com; and soon on Google Play. Search William J. Conaway.

A Gringo Guide To: A Bullfight, A Mexican Rodeo, and a Cock Fight – A book that serves as your personal guide to these Mexican sports events. Describing the tradition, the culture, and the mechanics of the events to promote understanding of them.

A Gringo Guide To: A Bullfight, A Mexican Rodeo, and a Cockfight

19 Apr
Download Your copy on Amazon.com; Barnes and Noble.com; Kobo.com; and soon on Google Play. Search William J. Conaway.

Download Your copy on Amazon.com; Barnes and Noble.com; Kobo.com; and soon on Google Play. Search William J. Conaway.

A Gringo Guide to a Bullfight, a Mexican Rodeo, and a Cock Fight – A book that serves as your personal guide to these Mexican sports events. Describing the tradition, the culture, and the mechanics of the events to promote understanding of them.

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