About the EarthSpirit Community:
EarthSpirit --- of which I am a director --- is an organization dedicated to the preservation and development of Earth-centered spirituality, culture and community, with a particular focus on the indigenous, pre-Christian pagan traditions of Europe. Founded in the late 1970s, with its base in the state of Massachusetts, EarthSpirit was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1980, and its membership now extends throughout the U.S. and to 46 other countries. For more information about the EarthSpirit Community, go to
About a Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions:
The Parliament of the World's Religions is the oldest and largest interreligious body, dating back to 1893. The Parliament's mission is to cultivate harmony among all the various religious and spiritual communities and to foster their engagement with the world and its other guiding institutions in order to achieve peace, justice, and sustainability. The Parliament is convened approximately every five years in different cities around the world, and brings together some 10,000 people from every continent of the planet. I serve as one of two pagan members on its Board of Trustees. To learn more about the Parliament, go to
PLEASE NOTE: Since this is (at least as of right now) a travel blog, the entries below are in chronological order. If you're used to seeing the latest post in a blog at the very top, that's not how this one is organized. To view the most recent postings, please scroll down.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thursday, 20 Sept. --- Hello Monterrey

As the plane circled over Monterrey, I had a good view of the beautiful green mountains surrounding this city, part of the Sierra Madre Oriental, and in particular the Cerro de la Silla (Saddle Mountain, so named for obvious reasons see photo) which apparently dominates the view from every part of town.

While waiting in the snaking customs line to get my tourist card, I noticed a group of four Sikh men standing further back on the line, a bit too far for a conversation. I nodded and smiled, they did the same, and so, I suppose, officially began my interreligious experience in México.

Once past customs, I looked in vain for the person who was supposed to meet me and drive me to the hotel; there were several people bearing cards with names on them, but none were mine. My plane to Monterrey had been delayed for two hours, so I imagined that must have caused some hitch in the arrangements. The people at the information desk couldn’t help me, so I figured I’d just cruise the terminal (it’s not very big) and see what I’d come up with. Sure enough, a few minutes later I espied through the crowd some familiar turbaned heads and, along with them, a smartly-dressed young woman ushering them out the doors. (I have long ago learned that Sikh men, besides invariably being very gracious, devout and friendly people, also provide an invaluable service to the interfaith community as convenient points of reference, with their colorful turbans (dastaars) and full beards when in doubt, look for the turbans!)

The young woman turned out to be Susana, my greeter, who was very relieved to see me since she wasn’t sure when my plane would arrive. We waited at the curb for a few minutes for our van to come, and there I also met Michelle, a very friendly Yoruban from Atlanta. On the ride into town, Susana told me that she’d be my personal assistant during my stay here, and would be glad to take me on whatever errands I needed to do once we got unloaded at the hotel.

The Holiday Inn Fundidora is a glitzy, modern hotel which is part of a complex of buildings designed to accommodate conferences, conventions and expositions. It includes, within short walking distance of each other, the hotel, the Cinterplex (a business and exposition center where most of the Encuentro’s events are taking place, alongside the Bridal Fair…), a huge auditorium, a modern multi-purpose arena (Black Eyed Peas, indoor soccer, assorted conventioneers), an arts center (currently featuring an exhibit entitled 'Isis and the Feathered Serpent' think maybe I’ll go to that one…), a Sesame Street theme park, and last, but not even nearly least, a House of Parrots. It’s also the start of Paseo Santa Lucía, a modernistic walkway around an artificial river, which winds its way for a couple of miles into the center of the city.

After getting settled at the hotel, we had a dinner where everybody was introduced, we were given some necessary materials, and were told a bit about the next day’s events. We’ll be getting a private tour of the complex in the morning; then, in the afternoon, a group of indigenous peoples who have been walking for more than a week from various parts of México will arrive at Parque Fundidora, and we’ve been asked to greet them when they arrive. I’m really looking forward to that.


Anonymous said...

Yippie! I'm SO excited that you're there and involved and I can't wait to hear the rest of the stories!

Anonymous said...

HI Andras,
Isobel told me where you were and what you were up to. I'm excited for you.
Yours is the first blog I have looked at. (Jody broke his leg when Dono + Iso were in Africa which means that I immediately became too busy to look at their blog- which would have been my first.) Since I am so inexperienced, I may not leave customery comments. I wish you well and much "success" on your trip. I'm sure you will come home with wonderful stories, new friends, and new insights to share with all of us. Penny Schultz

Anonymous said...

My Dear Andras,
You talk about being surprised about being a Spiritual Rock Star. I have seen it here at home. When I go to gatherings, the younger groups flock around the wise man to hear he's tale of spiritual guidance and wisdom. I know because at one point I was stage struck. I have been so bless to have to you in my life though I'm sure you wouldn't know me from a fly on the wall. That's ok by me; it's not even what anything is about. I read your spiritual experience in circle and I felt every emotion you wrote, I am in tears thinking about it. The emotions are just so overpowering. I'm part Native American, French and Portuguese so I am always joking about being a walking contradiction, that one half of me tried to kill off the other half. But there is something to be said for that, isn't there. I have to say when I started on my Pagan path in the early 80's I was blessed to have been guided by a close friend named Arana. I was introduced to Earth Spirit and of course that's where I started listening to you and your wisdom. It has stayed in my heart and will always be there. To this day I compare everything I read, every circle I attend and every action I witness in the name of paganism to you and you fundamental roots. So... Thank you, thank you, thank you. You are loved and blessed more than you will ever know. Looking forward to Yule and seeing you there. My blessings to you.
Anana MoonOwl