The legend of El Dorado began in a mysterious place in South America. For centuries explorers have desperately searched for it, and hundreds of lives were lost to realize this exotic dream. For a few, the lust for gold was unquenchable; for others, it was the desire to experience something mystical, mythical, and magical.
There is an Inner Light - A Celebration of Life! The search for the Golden City continues through rivers, mountains, forests, deserts, and grasslands and in the hearts of the people.
Tierra sin nombre, sin America (Land without name, without America).
Las Guerreras Amazonas (The Amazon Warriors): Departing from Quito in 1540, the first of the conquistadors to cross the Amazon River in search of El Dorado was Francisco Orellana. Orellana's expedition underwent frequent attacks by the Indians during his journey. In one region, it was women who far surpassed the men in bravery and skill. They were described as (mujeres blancas, altas y fuertes) tall, white, and having the strength of 10 men. Their amazing strength brought to mind the Amazons ofGreek mythology. The Spaniards then named the land “the Amazon”; however, it was the river that eventually became known as “the Amazon River.”
“Las Virgenes del Sol” The Virgins of the Sun, or Holy Women were chosen from the most beautiful girls of the tribe at the young age of 7, and lived in the Moon Temple . At 15, they were chosen to be the wives of the Inca (the king) or for human sacrifices to the lord, “the sun.”
·La Princesa de Guatavita (The Guatavita Princess): The legend tells of the ancestors heaving piles of gold into the sacred lake covering the bottom with unimaginable treasures. They believed that the spirit of the former chieftain’s wife, “The Guatavita Goddess”, lived in the lake bound by a terrible monster. - The first journey the new king had to make was to the great lagoon of Guatavita to make offerings and sacrifices to their god and lord. The myth began in 1537, in the Andes of present-day Colombia , where conquistador Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada first found the Muisca, a nation in the modern day highlands of northern Bogotá , Colombia. The imaginary place (La ciudad de Oro), El Dorado , became a kingdom, an empire, and the city of this legendary king.
La Danza de El Venado: “The Dance of the Dear” is very important to the culture of the Mexican tribe known as the Yaquis. The life and the death of the dear is sacred to them, and a religious ceremony is performed to honor their gods by the best dancer and the most significant male of the tribe.
El SOL y la LUNA, The Sun and the Moon
They are coming through the Island: Columbus reached the Island of Ganahani (San Salvador) in 1492 navigating La Pinta, La Nina and La Santa Maria. He thought he had reached India; therefore, named the natives “Indios”. One can only speculate how the natives felt seeing these strangers clad in armor, mounted on strange unknown beasts with “golden shoes” on their four feet. At first they believed the Spaniards were gods visiting them from the sky and sea, but too late realized they only wanted “Gold and Power.” Muy tardese dieron cuenta que solo querian Oro y Poder.
· The Capture of Atahualpa, the last king of the Incan Empire: Friar Vicente, with a translator, presented a copy of the Bible toAtahualpa. Never having seen a book, he looked at it and admired its form and layout, then became angry and threw it down amongst his men and rejected it. This “sacrilege” was all that Pizarro needed to justify a massacre. They locked the royal prisoner, Atahualpa in the Temple of the Sun. The King offered Pizarro an 88 cubic meter room, filled with precious gold and silver for his freedom. Soon they tortured the natives to get more information about this gold. The Spaniards were convinced that they were in danger if Atahualpa remained alive and sentenced the last king of the Incas to be burned alive.
"Death" before surrendering to the Spanish: Within the fifty years of Columbus’s first discovery of the New World and finding the gold within, the Aztecs of Mexico and the Incas of Peru had succumbed to the conquistadores’ voracious appetite for gold. Even the rich tombs of the Sinu Indians in the high Andes were robbed, but they would choose death rather than surrender to the Spanish.
Lamentation of the Native’s souls! Gold is the king of metals (el oro era el rey de los metales) and the metal of kings; it is the ultimate measure of value. The conquistadors went so far as to say that with gold, man’s soul can “gain entrance into paradise” (que llegaba al paraiso celestial). It gave them a glimpse into paradise; unfortunately, the exploration turned into exploitation.
El Salto de los Cinco Mil (The jump of the Five Thousand): This is the legend of a tribe of five thousand that lived in the Andes Mountains of Colombia. The priest of the tribe had a premonition of a terrible sacrifice. If their god, “the sun” appeared for three days and three nights and the moon slept without being seen, the Spaniards would be destroyed by “the sun”. If not, the entire tribe of men, women and children must sacrifice themselves by jumping off the cliffs of the Chicamocha Mountain in complete silence believing this would save the future generations of the tribe.
Las Siete Potencias (The Seven Powers) When the Africans were brought to the New World as slaves, they found that their beliefs were coincidentally very similar. The Seven Powers of Africa were also the most important celestial deities of the indigenous empires that resembled those of the Mayans and Aztecs from Mexico, the Incas from Peru and Muiscas from Colombia. These beliefs and rituals eventually blended together with those of the natives and were celebrated in secret. The Spaniards tried desperately to eliminate them unsuccessfully, and decided to also combine the Catholic saints with the seven powers of life.
En Busca de EL DORADO, El Paraiso Celestial (In the search of the Golden City, the paradise land) “Perhaps El Dorado is found within our heart beat, within the rhythm of the souls and in the memories of the people. Perhaps El Dorado is the highest spiritual place … made of the wings of cherub’s, the glory of tropical down, the red clouds of sunset and fragments of lost verses of “master poets” who sing of life.”
Quizas el Dorado sea el latido de nuestros Corazones, el ritmo de las almas, la memoria de los hombres. El Dorado es un lugar sagrado, espiritual… compuesto de alas de querubines, la Gloria de un amanecer tropical, la armonia celestial de un atardecer y fragmentos de versos perdidos que cantan a la vida.