Borderline Projects

Borderline Projects Interested in the blurring lines that "separate" art from science, one culture from another, the intimate from the collective, life from death...

The  #Codex Badiano is an 16th century manuscript describing the medicinal properties of various plants (minerals and ot...

The #Codex Badiano is an 16th century manuscript describing the medicinal properties of various plants (minerals and other ingredientes) used by the Aztecs. It offers a fascinating view of Pre-hispanic botanical & cosmological knowledge and its contact with European #medieval medicinal practices after the Spanish Conquest.

Also known as the 'Libellus de Medicinalibus Indorum Herbis,' the manuscript was translated by Juan Badiano, from a Nahuatl original (now lost) composed in the Colegio de Santa Cruz de Tlatelolco (the first European school of higher learning in the Americas established by the Franciscans to educate Native American boys for eventual ordination to the Catholic priesthood) in 1552. The Codex was reported to have been sent to the Spain monarch to make a case in favor of the education of the surviving indigenous population in the Americas, particularly members of the nobility.

The Ancient #Mesoamerican had an #holistic approach to medicine. Making use of an empirical yet deep understanding of the properties of plants and minerals, the Aztec shamans used botanicals and other techniques to address the causes and symptoms of diseases while also neutralizing the actions of gods, evil beings & sorcerers.

The Codex includes beautiful illustrations and detailed descriptions of the uses of a vast array of herbs, minerals, and ingredients used in Aztec medicine. Most of the plants and substances mentioned in the manuscript have been identified, and many of their properties and therapeutic uses have been found to be exactly what the Aztec doctors believed them to be. This may be not so surprising when we consider that Moctezuma's palace had beautiful botanical gardens that marveled the Conquistadores at their arrival to Tenochtitlan, and where specialist in the subject cultivated and studied a vast array of plant species to treat all sort of maladies.

The empirical knowledge of herbs in the Pre-hispanic world was indeed astounding, of which only a small portion survived in documents. This knowledge has nonetheless been kept in the traditional medicine of indigenous people and Mexican folklore, not to mention that it has also permeated medical practice and scientific research since the Colonial period.

Take some time to explore the pages of the beautiful Codex Badiano. You can easily find a digital version online!

As a curious note:

The Codex Badianus includes a remedy for the #heartbroken. Since #Aztec doctors associated sorrow with an excess of phlegm, they used plants as the yoloxochitl, cacahuaxochitl and neyoltzayanalizpatli (some identified by modern scholars to have expectorant properties) to cure a💔broken heart.

Here's a modern #recipe to cure a broken heart with the yoloxochitl (Talauma mexicana) flower, adapted from the #Aztec Codex Badiano: Macerate the flower with melissa, rue, orange/lemon &lime peels into artisanal #tequila or #mezcal. Take a spoonful in the mornings until pain recedes. For the desperate cases, Aztec doctors would also recommend rubbing the entire body of the patient with the remedy and then wrapping his or her body tightly with bandages for the night.

Let us know if it works for you! The spoonful of curado de mezcal makes perfect sense, and it has worked for us in the past, with the only difference that we have considerably increased the dosis!!!

😋Already craving for the delicious flavors, smells, and colors of Hanal Pixan in anticipation to our Day of the Dead Tou...
Celebration of the souls: Plants and flowers. – Revista Landuum

😋Already craving for the delicious flavors, smells, and colors of Hanal Pixan in anticipation to our Day of the Dead Tour to the Yucatan Peninsula in the best of company Morbid Anatomy The Order of the Good Death Salvador Olguín

We can't wait to share some delicious mukbil pollo and make a toast with xtabentún (or hot chocolate for the abstemious!) to the guests of honor of this Food of the Souls Festival, who will be joining the living in their three day escapade from Xibalba!

If you want to learn more about the edible, smellable, drinkable, palpable delicacies that await our tourgoers, here's an excellent article reviewing at detail the ancient Mayan dishes, ingredientes, culinary techniques, herbs, flowers, rituals, and symbols associated to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity that the Ancient and Modern Mayans share with the world every year during Hanal Pixan / Food of the Souls / Día de Muertos!!

All photos by

In anticipation of our Day of the Dead Tour to the Yucatan Peninsula we're reading about the History of Campeche, (one o...

In anticipation of our Day of the Dead Tour to the Yucatan Peninsula we're reading about the History of Campeche, (one of the highlights of our trip and a #WorldHeritage Site) and its amazing fortifications built during the Colonial period to protect the City against Pirate attacks.

Privateers were indeed the most terrible threat to New Spain in the Gulf and the Pacific. European nations used them to steal the wealth that the Spanish Empire was extracting from America, which would fuel the rise of new world powers in Europe and the Industrial Revolution.

Can't wait to meet our friends and tourgoers to share and learn from this experience together!!!

In the meantime, we'd like to share some readings and interesting resources about the History of privateers in the Yucatan Peninsula.

A reading in Spanish about Pirates in Campeche and its Fortifications:

— Bemuse yourself with the curious illustrations contained in the so called 'Drake Manuscript' ('Histoire Naturelle des Indes') which 'documents' the plant, animal, and human life in the Caribbean during the sixteenth century at the time of Drake's visit to the region. Remember to analyze it with a critical eye as it should not be seen as a source of factual information but rather as a "fountainhead of myth and misinformation" that characterized the European's perspective on the Americas during those times.

— A must-read book to learn about the history of the Yucatan Peninsula from the perspective of Spanish Conquistadors in their attempt to make sense and document Maya religion, language and culture in general is the 'Relación de las cosas de Yucatán' written by Diego de Landa around 1566. There's a free Spanish version at Spain.

— Finally and more importantly, If you want to approach the Mayan culture more intimately and learn about their worldview from their own perspective, you can't miss the amazing Popol Vuh (Book of the People), transcribed and translated from the K'iche Maya
by Dominican friar Francisco Ximénez in the 18th century. This website offers versions in English, Spanish, and Kiche.

The pictures we are sharing in this post belong to a facsimile of the 'Drake Manuscript' aka 'Histoire Naturelle des Indes.' They represent one of the first illustrated records of European contact with the America and a treat to all of our friends in Facebook who love #Cryptozoology as much as we do.

Japanese elders and survivors of US WWII #ConcentrationCamps protest detainment of migrant children at Fort Sill in #Okl...
Geronimo and the Japanese were imprisoned there. Now Fort Sill will hold migrant children again, sparking protests.

Japanese elders and survivors of US WWII #ConcentrationCamps protest detainment of migrant children at Fort Sill in #Oklahoma after HSS revealed plan to send 1,400 migrant children there to "relieve overcrowding" at border facilities. Oklahoma City residents, notably members of #NativeAmerican activist groups, joined the protest in solidarity.

Fort Sill has a long infamous history as a site for the incarceration of minorities. It was used to imprison people of #Japanese ancestry during #WWII, it was a prison war camp for members of the Chiricahua Apache tribe in the late1800s and a boarding school for #NativeAmerican children to separate them from their communities and force assimilation.

On Saturday, Japanese internment camp survivors demonstrated outside the Oklahoma military base.

Sold out. Thank you and see you soon in the Yucatan peninsula to celebrate Day of the Dead Mayan style   The Order of th...
The Order of the Good Death

Sold out. Thank you and see you soon in the Yucatan peninsula to celebrate Day of the Dead Mayan style The Order of the Good Death Morbid Anatomy

Here’s your chance to travel to the Yucatan Peninsula to experience Hanal Pixan, the
Mayan version of Day of the Dead. Attend the Festival of the Souls, witness the extraordinary Brushing of the Bones ceremony, and much more.

New York based Native American Royalty doing diplomacy with Mexico's Revolutionary Government in 1923.See below a page i...

New York based Native American Royalty doing diplomacy with Mexico's Revolutionary Government in 1923.

See below a page in a letter sent by #NativeAmerican prince Oskazuma to Mexican Revolutionary president Alvaro Obregon in which he proposes to organize a Concert in NYC featuring Mexico City's Music Band to raise funds for the veterans, orphans and poors of the Mexican Revolution. How's that for a borderline project!

A fragment of the letter in which Prince Oskazuma talks about his heritage and the sympathy he feels for the Mexican Revolution (in Spanish just because):

"Soy un indio nativo de Norteamérica. Por mi sangre corre 1/4 de sangre negra y 2/4 de sangre india y soy miembro del Consejo de las tribus Cherokees. De corazón he estado con su gente aún antes de la Revolución (...) He orado por el triunfo de su pueblo y de Pancho Villa... que México sea para los mexicanos y que sea gobernado por ellos..."

Check out more info in the photos' descriptions.

Reading about Yiddish Songs of the Shoah. Thinking about Folklore as Survival, Resistance, and a Weapon to Fight Back In...

Reading about Yiddish Songs of the Shoah. Thinking about Folklore as Survival, Resistance, and a Weapon to Fight Back Injustice.

"Shmerke" Kaczerginski was a poet, musician, partisan fighter, writer, cultural activist and survivor of the Vilna ghetto. During and after WWII he wrote and collected folk Jewish songs from ghetto and concentration camps survivors. His anthology, 'Songs from the Ghettos and Concentration Camps' was puhlished in Yidish in New York, 1948.

He translated into Yidish the first to stanzas (and added 2 more) of the Ponar - Lullaby “Shtiler, shtiler” (Quiet, quiet), an ode to the victims of the killing field Ponar, near Vilna, which was performed by the Vilna Ghetto choir during those terrible years. The lullaby was composed by young Alexander (Alek) Wolkowyski (later Tamir) when he was 11 and living in the Ghetto, after a poem written by his father in Polish. All that is known about the original Polish verse is that its first words were: “Hush, hush, hearts are crying” (Cicho, cicho, serca płaczą).

Kaczerginski saw that these "songs of heroes and martyrs, of everyday life and death during the German occupation, might one day serve to document the dark history he was witnessing first-hand." The evocative power of his lyrics was later recognized at the begining of the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem, when the Israeli Attorney General, confessing the inadequacy of his own words to the dreadful acts he would be called upon to describe, read the lyrics of “Shtiler, shtiler” into the court room. These are the first verses, translated from the Yiddish:

"Quiet, quiet, let’s be silent,
Graves are growing here.
They were planted by the enemies,
See their bloom appear.
All the roads lead to Ponar now,
There are no roads back.
Papa too has vanished somewhere
And with him our luck.”

Ponary, on the outskirts of the city of Vilna (Vilnius, Lithuania), is one of the worst massacre sites of the entire Holocaust, on a par with Babi Yar and Rumbula. The site is an esential Dark tourism destination to mourn, learn, honor, and remember, so we make sure the crimes comitted in Ponary are never ever repeated anywhere anywhen.

Kaczerginski's story and the bigger story of the Yiddish Songs of the Shoah, greatly underline for us the power that folklore has as a form of resistance, as a way to fight back injustice. Reading about the Songs of the Shoah and the history of Jewish folklore studies really makes you appreaciate folklore, and see it as the unique, resilient, ghostly, fruitful, inmortal, main strand of culture that it is. It helps you remember and understand the crucial role folklore has played in the survival of many cultures and groups around the world, particularly for the Jewish people during the Holocaust in WWII, but also for many other groups of people during the many other genoicides of the world.

Folklore is indeed a tool that has been used (and it's still being used) over and over again by the people to survive, resist and win all around the world and across history: from the Jewish people in the Diaspora, to the African Americans on the streets; from the Rarámuri in Chihuahua, Mexico to the Hakka Han people in Southern China. Yes, in today's world, full of challenges and promising new ways to tackle them, but also marked by the resurgence of hate speech, racism, and discrimination, we would like to add winning to survival and resistance as a very possible and real outcome in the war that's constantly waged against injustice, hate, lies, and opression everywhere in the world. So we invite you to see folklore as the amazingly diverse and rich cultural arsenal that it is, a set of powerful weapons that people can use in different fronts, some even perhaps behind trincheras that may seem now acorraladas, to fight the good fight, guerilla style, one song, one verse, one stroke, one thread, one dance, one step at a time.

At the end, amidst all our diversity, it's the same fight, the same old good fight. In this sense, the call to see folklore as a weapon to fight injustice is to see it as rabbi Max Grunwald (1871-1953) in his lifelong efforts to preserve Jewish Volskunde (folklore) saw it: a tool to understand the connectedness of all cultures, of all peoples and their universal value.

Read more: 👉 Yiddish Songs of the Shoah: A Source Study Based on the Collections of Shmerke Kaczerginski

👉Read more about Ponary at

👉And to read and learn more about the fascinating and courageous history of Jewish Folklore studies check out

More good readings in photo descriptions.

A 'way' or 'uay' in ancient Mayan #Mythology is a human or animal-like fantastical creature or celestial phenomenon that...

A 'way' or 'uay' in ancient Mayan #Mythology is a human or animal-like fantastical creature or celestial phenomenon that is the spiritual companion of a person. The 'uay', in this sense, is very close to the notion of nahual or nagual (from náhuatl 'nahualli' meaning "hidden, disguised), and both are linked to the wider and diversified group of Mesoamerican spiritual beliefs known generically as "tonalism."

The Mayan 'wayob' (plural form of 'way' and also a word associated with the act of sleeping/dreaming) are mentioned and depicted in numerous archeological sources, notably in the beautiful Mayan vases from the Classic period.

In a classic sense, the 'wayob' are then fantastical creatures that are ontologically linked to the fate and conscience of their human at a very deep level: if the 'way' is hurt or killed, its human gets sick or dies.

The 'wayob' have many forms. They can be human, humanoid, plant or animal. They can be an inanimate object, a rainbow, a fireball. More frequently, they are a combination of two or more categories: hybrids of deer and spider monkey, walking skeletons, a self-decapitating man, a young man within a fire, etc. These hybrid creatures/spiritual beings inhabit deeply inside the conscience of their humans but they can emerge through sleep, trance or ritual. A human can have more than one 'way', and a 'way' can be linked to gods or other beings, not only to humans.

During the Colonial period, the concept of 'way' changed in the imaginary of the culture and the people of Mayan descent in Mexico and Guatemala to incorporate demonic and phantasmagorical qualities associated with notions of witchcraft and the occult originated in European folklore and religions. It is not that the concept of way as spiritual companion has disappeared, It is rather that the word way expanded its meaning to designate all sorts of spooks, freights, ancient monsters or demons that roam the earth since ancient times, or are the result of the conjure or transmutation of a shaman. In this folk tradition a uay may be tied to a place, a particular legend, or a person, and is more likely seen as an evil (or at least mischievous) presence, weird and usually scary. In modern Yucateco the word uay! is used to express fear.

There are many stories and legends about the 'uay' that modern Mayans living in the Yucatan Peninsula still talk about today. There is the uay balam, a shaman that has taken the form of a jaguar; the uay choop, a sort of succubus that sneaks inside houses to have sex with young men and women; the uay poop, which is a black evil bird that is associated with the spirit of the Kakasbal (the terrifying Mayan version of the Boogieman), responsible for kidnapping and likely devouring children, etc. On the other hand, it seems that the wayob of the Classic Mayans that we know of from archeological sources include a far wider array of shapes than the 20th-century ones, with specific names assigned to each of them, including lots of transmutations and variations.

Either as spooks or as the spiritual companions of simple humans, shamans, mythical heroes, gods, or demons, the 'uays' or 'wayob' are, after all, just one category in the vast array of fantastical creatures known by ancient and modern Mayans.

All pictures taken from: unless otherwise noted.


Observatory 543 Union St (At Nevins)
Brooklyn, NY


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