Ancient Ychma Guide Dogs

You know that old saying, “dog is man’s best friend”? The gringa completely understands this. She has lived her life according to this rule. I grew up on a cattle ranch exposed to working dogs that were smart and worthy of respect. They opened gates, herded cattle into corrals and other pastures, and kept them moving down chutes when they balked. It was the gringa’s habit to roam the woods around our house and down into the Brazos River Valley. But I was rarely alone. Morris was a Keeshond that my older sister got as a puppy. He stayed at my parent’s home after she moved away. I would give him horrible haircuts with garden shears every summer, snipping off his long, thick coat to give him some relief. That was a foreshadow of what was to come.

When I entered college with aspirations of becoming an English teacher, I had to get a job. I began working for a veterinarian. Eventually, the veterinarian trained the gringa as a dog groomer. The gringa’s health held up for about two semesters then epilepsy came charging in demanding attention. This began a cycle of sporadic attempts to go back to college, working, health crisis, hiatus, and on and on and on. Eventually I realized that it was unlikely I would ever sustain a lengthy enough stretch of good health to graduate or even make a reliable employee. I gave up on a teaching degree, said a tearful thank you and good-bye to a very kind veterinarian, and began a career as a self-employed dog groomer, a career that lasted more than 25 years.

During that time the gringa had Sparky the hero dog who took a bullet to save his family, as well as many other dogs that have been rescued and re-homed. The gringa currently has a service dog who is also my constant companion. Abby is a seizure-alert dog who is small enough for me to carry in a front-pack wherever I go. Abby is as adorable as she is good at her job. She has a perpetual puppy look. A Maltese-Yorkie mix,  the gringa calls her a Malarkie.

Now, the dear reader is probably wondering where the gringa is going with this dog-biography. Well, the gringa is going to Peru and other ancient civilizations. She has recently found out that the caveman’s ancient ancestors sacrificed dogs. Eyeing him suspiciously as I curl a protective arm around my Abby, I try to imagine him thousands of years ago sacrificing a dog. The gringa can’t see it in her mind’s eye.

The caveman is such a kind, gentle soul. Just about every Peruvian I have met when we have traveled to his jungle origins are similar in nature. Quick to smile and laugh with a gentleness and generosity that would bring tears to your eyes. And dogs roam freely. Even in the capital city of Lima they are left unmolested to go about their business. So what was up with sacrificing them so many years ago?

In Lima, there are ruins underneath the city’s zoo where archaeologists are excavating remains of what they believe to be warriors who died violent deaths and dogs who were ritually sacrificed and buried with them. This is the work of the Ychma culture. This is not the first discovery of human Ychma remains within the city, but the finding of sacrificed dogs, by rope strangulation and slit throats (egad!), is what makes this site a bit more interesting.

The Ychma lived about 2,000 years ago in the area of Peru that is modern day Lima. Typical burials of the average Ychma would include pottery, textiles and often items related to the textile industry like thread and needles. The skill of crafting textiles was a gift from their god’s father, Virachocha, who beget many gods, particularly the Ychma god, Pachacamac.

The Ychma people were also buried facing the sea, in honor of their god’s wife, Urpi Wachay, who is an ocean deity. Her name’s translation means “one who gives birth to doves”. The gringa finds that beautiful. Anyway, I digress.

The Ychma god, Pachacamac, was one of the Sun God’s children. Pachacamac was a god of fire, interacting directly with humankind. His father, Sun god Viracocha, the god who created the world and taught the making of crafts such as textiles and pottery, was invisible, remote and uninvolved with his creation. After creating the world and showing humanity how to tend to itself, he left their governance up to his children. Eventually the world he created became corrupt and needed rejuvenation. That was the work of Pachacamac.

He had a tri-une, or three level, nature. There is the level that is unseen, unmanifested. There is also the aspect of his name’s translation that literally means the “one who moves the world”. Seeing how Lima is often rocked by earthquakes it is easy to understand why this characteristic was adopted. Then there is the name translation aspect that means “the language of man”, as in being an oracle, a god who communicated directly with mankind.

The nature of Pachacamac is thought to be like that of a spoiled and precocious child, embodied in the earthquakes as temper tantrums. Sacrifices were meant to appease him, just like giving candy to a baby. The Ychma built a shrine and temple complex that still inspires religious pilgrimage today. Pachacamac held such powerful sway over the Ychma that even when the Incas subjugated them in the 1400s, the empire absorbed Pachacamac into their own religious pantheon.

The Ychma also built the ancient cities Puruchuco and Cajamarquilla along with 16 stepped pyramids. The pyramids were religious sites to make offerings. There were agricultural items and foods often given in ceramic containers.  There were also pyramids dedicated to human sacrifice. Not only were humans sacrificed, but animals like frogs were sacrificed as an offering that would please the gods so that they would send rain. But the gringa still wants to know why they sacrificed the dogs.

The Ychma were not alone in this practice. The ancient Greeks did it. The ancient Romans did, too. Romano-British dog sacrifice remains have also been found. But why? Depending on the culture and religion, the reasons varied: fertility, guardians, divination, guide passage from life to death, provide companionship in the afterlife. Although archaeology experts have yet to publish the significance of the sacrificed Ychma dogs, the gringa has drawn her own conclusions.

I believe that since they were buried with warriors who show evidence of violent, deadly wounds, she believes the dogs were intended to provide protection, as well as companionship, in the afterlife. A noble death? Yes, so my soft heart takes some comfort that the dogs died as revered symbols rather than exterminated as pests. But still it irks me. But the gringa will no longer eye the caveman suspiciously when he walks by Abby with knife or rope in his hands.


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Read With The Gringa “Former Best Friends”, Chapt. 16, Part 1

As we move along in “The Meanest Doll In The World” by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin we find Annabelle and Tiffany going on an attic expedition one more time.

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Read With The Gringa “Fear In The Dark”, Chapt. 19’s Conclusion

Together we have a read-along and finish another chapter from “Watership Down” by Richard Adams. Some of the rabbits have a terrifying experience and hide in a ditch as night falls. What happened to Captain Holly?

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The Politics Of Saving Us

“Extreme space weather”… what the heck does that even mean? The gringa sees that President Obama has demanded that a plan be made in the event of “extreme space weather”. She is hoping this indicates that he takes very seriously the imminent threat that climate change poses. Is that what he’s talking about or is he worried about astronauts getting fried by extreme solar rays or blown to bits with gale force cosmic winds?

Specifically he is addressing the possibility of catastrophic solar flares that could destroy important infrastructure we humans rely on.  He wants a back-up plan for the nation’s electrical power grids, satellites, medical services and aviation industry. But he wants to do more than just protect the Americans he serves as president. He wants America’s plan to benefit the people of every other continent on Earth. And he’s not messing around. His demand was made through an executive order.

That means no messing about with Senate or House approval that could result in lengthy delays as legislators negotiate and jockey with power plays or, quite possibly, strike down any measure altogether. The gringa is perfectly OK with the president circumventing the legislative process with an issue so critical. You see, in this crazy system we call a democratic republic, at this moment in time we have a Democratic party President and a Republican party controlled legislature and we are less than a month away from electing what the gringa hopes will be another Democratic party president.

At a time like now, with climate change disasters real, one would think that everyone would be on board with doing the right thing and creating plans to save us all. Unfortunately, in politics, the number one priority for the Republican party is always power. They are more concerned with political strategies that will help them retain the power they have and create opportunity to gain more. If they allow any measure to pass that ends up being a good thing for the people of our nation, with a Democrat as president, his administration will get all the glory.

That is why practically every single bill that has been presented in Congress for the past four years has been defeated by power hungry Republicans who hold the voting majority. Even if the bill was something our nation desperately needed, Congress didn’t care. They would rather wait, hope for a new Republican president, and then pass all the good stuff so their party can get the pats on the back. But with an executive order President Obama has signaled that the security of humanity is more important than the Republican party’s desire for political gain. Thanks, prez.

His executive order implies cooperation between all government agencies, NASA, the media, academic organizations, and relevant organizations in the private and non-profit sector. As for insurance companies, they are not going to be able to give citizens a hard time if a rash of claims are filed after a solar flare related disaster. President Obama specifically mentioned the insurance industry as well.

We may be in for a wild ride. Who knows? The world hasn’t really seen anything like what happened in 1859 when the Carrington Event happened. The telegraph system of old failed throughout North America and Europe. All communication was temporarily cut off. So homeland security is testing devices and technologies that are hoped to protect the world’s communication systems and satellite networks so we can all encourage one another through a trying time and stay updated with just what the heck is going on.


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Read With The Gringa “Fear in the Dark”, Chapt. 19, Part 1

We move along to another chapter of “Watership Down” by Richard Adams. Hazel and Blackberry explore the possibilities of changing their rabbit natures.

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Anthropocene #2? Could Be

Let’s travel back in time together, say, about 50 or 60 million years. What might be going on in the wilds of primeval Earth? Are the caveman’s ancestors making stone tipped spears to take down a juicy mammoth for a winter’s worth of dinner? Some scientists think there could have been some pre-historic glassmakers crafting wares. Others say no, no, no, those droplets of glass found in a primordial ancient seabed that is now New Jersey belonged to space aliens who visited long ago and left behind a bit of rubbish. And then there are “those” scientists who stick with the theory of a cataclysmic celestial body impact 10 million years after the dinosaur doomsday comet impact event. This second crash resulted in a smattering of glass droplets in the searing heat. Theory #3 is the story the gringa’s going to go with.

Three excavation sites in New Jersey and another underwater site in Florida have produced these interesting finds. They are shaped like round droplets of water but are actually glass. As the comet or meteor crashes into the surface of the Earth, the space rock is immediately vaporized. Kaboom!

After traveling through the atmosphere on its collision course it is extremely hot. Once vaporized, all of its molten bits are flung will-nilly into the air. As the molten rock bits fall through the air, they take the shape of a droplet, just like any liquid does as it falls through the air. The droplets cool as they fall, hardening into glass the shape of a liquid droplet.

Unlike the comet impact 10 million years earlier that killed off all the large land and sea animals, scientists don’t think this impact resulted in mass extinction of Earth species. What they do think it triggered is a massive climate warming chain of events because of an enormous carbon dioxide contribution to the atmosphere after the impact’s explosion. Over the course of the next 100,000 years temperatures around the world rose by almost 15 degrees Fahrenheit (or 8 degrees Celsius).

Although our modern culture has been conditioned to view a warming climate as disastrous, in this instance it was actually a good thing. After the mass extinction comet 10 million years earlier, the Earth had been plunged into an Ice Age. Warming temperatures triggered the environmental changes that would eventually result in the appearance of early primates and mammals. But the gringa wants to know just where they came from? Where was their genetic material hiding during those cold millenias?

Did they arrive with the glass droplets? Was it a comet made of obsidian or sand or other geological material that can be transformed with heat into glass? Could it have actually been another engineered alien Anthropocene space vehicle sent to re-seed a planet that was dead after the previous catastrophe? Knowing that it will take thousands, even millions, of years for us to transverse the Universe to where an Earth twin planet might exist, might that be why 10 million years passed before re-seeding occurred? Mightn’t it have taken that long for our species of origin to send a probe, check on their colony, receive back probe telemetry, reel in shock at the news, devise a plan and engineer the technology for a 2nd round of genetic material and then deliver the payload? Might all of us alive today be the legacy of Anthropocene Event #2? The gringa says, “Stranger things have happened.”


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Read With The Gringa “Watership Down” Chapt. 18’s Conclusion

We complete another chapter from “Watership Down” by Richard Adams. Hazel and Dandelion discover that the down is safe and has an amazing view. But where did Hawkbit get off to?

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