From the Editor: Tales of the Cult

By Mike Rosso

Last night I began watching the Netflix series Wild Wild Country, a six-part documentary on the Rajneesh commune in rural Oregon in the early 1980s.

This story has fascinated me since those early days as I had a friend in Durango who fell in love with a member of that cult, began dressing in various shades of red and orange, sold all of his belongings, and moved to Oregon.

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Book Review – Heading Home Field Notes

By Peter Anderson
Conundrum Press, 2017
978-1-9422-8021-7; 84 pp.; $14.99

Reviewed by Lynda La Rocca

Short, but sweet – and wistful, sad, thoughtful, funny, poignant, or filled with longing. That’s how I’d describe the essays that make up Crestone-based writer, teacher and poet Peter Anderson’s latest book, Heading Home: Field Notes.

These lyrical musings, which the author describes as “a collection of flash prose and prose poems,” are true songs of the open road, a road that stretches invitingly and seemingly endlessly before this man who starts down it independent, unencumbered, eager to learn and experience and explore.

It’s a lonely road where, paradoxically, one is never alone and “everyone [is] a good buddy just waiting to happen.”

It’s also a road Anderson is still traveling, albeit now with the quiet certainty that it always circles back to family and to home.

Along the way, Anderson revels in the vast sweep of the West with its moon-cast shadows and wide-open spaces, snowdrifts and high deserts, mountain ranges and deep forests.

He encounters mule deer and cougars, watches turkey vultures soar the thermals, and waits for bats to emerge from an abandoned mine. And he introduces us to rodeo clowns and waitresses, long-haul truckers in backwater cafés, a Navajo family stuck with his own family in car-repair limbo at the Econolube, friends separated by distance and death, and friends reunited over a beer. He falls in love and becomes a father who teaches the basics of pond hockey and air guitar and comforts his two girls after their ducks fall victim to a stealthy predator.

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Quillen’s Corner: Give Me That Old-Time Religion

By Martha Quillen

Trump’s mean-spirited but wildly popular insults have come as a bit of a shock to America and the world. But it’s hard to imagine a really nice guy becoming president. The idea of a peaceful, benevolent leader seems antithetical to American enterprise. Smiling George W. gleefully pitched us into war, and coolly polite Obama launched deadly drones. Even devout Christians question the possibility of peace and forgiveness. It didn’t work in Afghanistan or Iraq, so forget it.

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Football and Religion

By John Mattingly

With the playoffs going full force and the Super Bowl on the horizon, my mind wandered back to many years ago when my wife and I got married. We made a deal: I would go to Roman Catholic mass with her on Sunday morning if she would watch football with me on Sunday afternoon.

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Los Penitentes del Valle

After the Veronicas and the Hermanos from the morada in San Antonio, Colorado meet at El Calvario (The large cross) where Jesus meets Mary, part of the congregation goes on to the morada and the others walk to Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Conejos, Colorado which is several miles away. Photo by Ruben Archuleta.

Understanding the Penitente Church in Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico

by Ruben E. Archuleta

Slowly and methodically the candles on the candelabrum are extinguished one by one as the Hermanos (Brothers) recite their prayers and sing the mournful alabados (Penitente hymns) until the last of the thirteen candles is out leaving the morada (meeting place) in total darkness. Suddenly the pandemonium that ensues with the sounds of rattling chains, the staccato of the matracas (wooden noise makers), banging on tins, and the wailing brings to mind the shaking of the earth, the lightning and thunder, the fear and wailing of the people gathered around the crucifixion … and then darkness as Jesus’ mortal body releases its soul. The Penitente rite known as the tinieblas (darkness), which represents the death of Jesus on the cross, has been practiced every Good Friday evening in the moradas throughout southern Colorado and northern New Mexico for over a century, and possibly longer.

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Prisoner wants help with ancient rites

Letter from John Rothermel

Religion – October 1997 – Colorado Central Magazine

Prisoner wants outside help for ancient rites

Dear Mr. Quillen:

I hope this finds you well. I am John Rothermel, a Godi — that is, a “priest” of Asatru — here at Buena Vista Correction Facility.

Several months ago, I was told by Suzanne MacDonald you had agreed to print a letter in your magazine on our behalf.

I apologize for the delay in writing you. I have been trying to work with the administration here, but with little success. So, I would greatly appreciate any assistance you could afford us.

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