[ by Charles Cameron — on dark spirituality, magic and apocalyptic ]
I’ve received a review copy of Tony Kail’s Narco-Cults, and by chance when I first opened it, my eye fell on a miracle story.
Here, in a clip from a narcocorrido video, is an officer of the US Border Patrol vanishing into thin air as the result of a Santeria invocation:
Here’s the book’s narrative description of that event:
Consider the following story. A Cuban Santería priest speaks into a twoway radio as three Hispanic men cross over the border into Arizona. One of the men, who is transporting drugs under his clothes, wears several multicolored Santería necklaces (elekes). The man responds to the priest on the radio as a U.S. Border Patrol agent begins to follow him. As the “coyotes” begin to run from the agent, the agent draws his weapon and aims it at the smugglers. As the priest whispers an incantation into the radio, the agent mysteriously disappears into thin air. The men jump into the agent’s truck and drive away as the priest kneels before the image of Elegua, a Santería deity who is believed to be the owner of fate and the crossroads. mages of drug smugglers bowing in front of statues of saints and figures like Santa Muerte are seen as music begins to play away in the background.
This is a scene from a popular narco music video called La Clika Del Elegua from Mexican musician El Pelon Avile. The video is a perfect depiction of how spiritual traditions are used by modern-day drug smugglers for protection in the drug war.
Here’s the video of the narcocorrido in which the miracle is depicted:
Turning the page, we find:
The heavy scent of spirituality among the cartels is so prevalent that some members of law enforcement have sought shelter in magical religions for protection. Members of the Mexican police have been documented in the media as undergoing various rituals for protection from the cartels. Some officers have even had tattoos of sacred religious symbols placed on their bodies to give them magical protection. One officer in Tijuana shared that his tattoos gave him protection from bullets that killed his comrades during a gunfight.
How far is that from, say, this:
Death threats against 13 Christian preachers from their Muslim extremist captors are not a concern as the evangelists are confident God will protect them, a member of the Christian ministry said Thursday.
The kidnapped head of the Jesus Miracle Crusade, fiery televangelist Wilde Almeda, particularly has special powers that will protect him from bullets, said Robert Chua, a member of the group.
Or for that matter:
A charismatic medicine man, named Ish-Ta-Ma, claimed he could make the warriors bullet proof and that his bowel movements would provide rifle cartridges. ..
Emboldened by Ish-Ta-Ma’s prophesies, the combined tribes of Southern Cheyenne, Comanche and Kiowa, near one thousand strong, advanced towards Adobe Walls before daylight in what should have been an easy route. Fate was not in their favor.
When the final showdown comes in 1525, the peasants are arrayed against the German princes and their army, and Thomas Muentzer continues to assure them, even at the last moment, that Christ will intervene on their side. This is the apocalyptic moment foretold in the Revelation. They’re singing hymns. They literally are awaiting a glorious triumph. Muentzer assures them that he will catch the cannonballs in his shirthsleeves. Of course, it turned into a slaughter. Five thousand ill-equipped peasants were slaughtered. The Peasants’ Revolt was utterly destroyed. It was one of those incredible explosions of apocalypticism that arise in history.