Chilies in Chimayó

The chili man, selling his wares.
Courtesy of Dan Safran, photographer.








Another story from our editing days in Truchas, New Mexico. 

Marked by Fire: Stories of the Jungian Way

Chilies in Chimayó

Meaning “only lives when we experience it in and through ourselves.” The Red Book
On Sunday afternoon in the late, brilliant sunlight of fall, Naomi, Dan, Donald and I meet the Tree of Life.

 We have sought out a man who sells chilies in front of a shop across the street from the El Santuario de Chimayó. Donald and I had bought a variety of chilies from him two years ago and used them to spice up our legumes and meats, so we are excited to find him again and replenish our supply.

He tells the four of us that he was a chef in Santa Fe for years, and he describes each bag of chilies with great care. He tells us which are male chilies and which are female chilies, and how to use each. The female chilies, he says, are hotter. When we question him further, he says the actual plants are male and female, the female being taller. After he has drawn pictures of salt shakers on our plastic bags of chilies with an indelible marker by way of instruction to use salt, and describes how to use each, he sells me a cookbook of his grandmother’s Spanish recipes. Later Naomi tells me she saw a recipe for how to cook a goat head.
Then he instructs us to enter his shop and see his paintings. There on the back wall are beautiful collage paintings of a tree. The colors are deep, rich shades of greens and browns. Naomi declares, The Tree of Life! and we realize that the book that we have been editing is itself a Tree of Life.