An artist's representation of Gonzalo / "Jesus"

Why Having Your Cards Read is Not Always a Good Idea PART 2

PART TWO of a story of my meeting with “Jesus” on Lake Titicaca’s La Isla del Sol.  Find Part One here.


An unhealthy palm-reading

It’s one thing to listen to someone wax lyrical about their life, past lives and belief in their existence as Jesus Christ reincarnate.  But, it’s quite another when you are scooped up into their vision like a spoonful of unwilling vanilla ice cream.

Gonzalo, still holding my hand in a vice-like grip, was speaking at a pace even Speedy Gonzalez would consider unintelligible.  So persistently in fact that I couldn’t get a word in edge-ways…even if I had had the energy.

He buzzed on, unstoppable:


(And instead of trying to listen, my mind took off on a self-guided tour through his studio apartment,)


(noticing again the set of 22 A4 Tarot cards to my left,)


(as well as the large felt penned ying/yang poster behind me,)


(and the mini supermarket of chocolate milk powder, fruit, cereal, bread and crackers on the floor below the window,)


(to his pristinely made bed, in whose centre lay a wooden snake curled around equally pristinely organised dice, cards and boxes of incense,)


(before finally resting the truly astonishing collection of hats with Robin Hood style feathers adorning the walls,)

…jinxed-by-black magic…

The crux of it all

Not without effort, I tore my eyes away from one of the more hideous hats and focused them on the jibbering man in the yellow windbreaker before me.

Robin Hood Hat
Many more similar specimens decorated Gonzalo’s digs. (Photo credit:

“…black magic,” Gonzalo was saying, pointing to the conveniently placed black magic card winking up at me from the tabletop, “and the only way to counteract its effects is through white magic.”

His watery eyes registered me for first time in what felt like years and a tiny pause was offered for any reactions I might have to this statement.  It had been so long since I had been given the chance to speak, that neither my mouth nor brain knew how to cooperate.

“…but I have the solution,” he jumped in, realising I was not about to offer any immediate thoughts on the matter, “we can perform white magic here, today and instantaneously rid you of this fate.”

I looked at him, possibly quizzically, possibly just dumbfounded.  An immediate need to be anywhere but in his general presence surfaced.

“White magic?”

Gonzalo explained the rite:  I was to stand still while he passed a flaming metal bowl around me, cleansing my rotten aura of the bile which had beset it.  After this, there’d be a spot of reiki and I would be free to go and do everything the cards and my left palm had taken away from me:  Be rich, loved, procreate and live a long life before dying wrinkled and happy in a patchwork quilted bed at the age of 100 and something…

Healing Hands
How I’d have liked my “reiki” to have felt. (Photo Credit: /

I’d had reiki performed at a music festival once before, so was familiar with the idea of a practitioner in a strange felt hat hovering above me.  Remembering that the experience had been useless though essentially harmless, I reasoned that if watching a bowl of artificially generated fire flicker around me and letting my energy be “reset” was what it took to be allowed to finally leave, eat and sleep, then I could participate.

I confirmed with “Jesus” that fire and reiki was the order of the day.  He looked at me patiently, the way a parent looks at a seven-year-old asking a myriad of questions about how the world works.

“Sí, mi amor.”

And so I watched as a flaming metal bowl traced my star-shaped outline…I watched as Gonzalo chanted something in an unknown language and invited me to repeat phrases about inviting in truth and being heard by God.

“Let light come in, let truth abound…”

I watched as the pristinely displayed wooden snake and potent patchouli paraphernalia were moved aside to allow for room for reiki.

“Release Erin from this curse placed upon her.”

But then I was asked to close my eyes; and so wasn’t watching when the few shoulder prods masquerading as reiki dramatically changed their tune and could no longer be disguised as a legitimate healing technique, Japanese or otherwise.

“Thank you God, for you always listen to us.”

Dirty healings

An unfriendly cold shiver turned my skin to ice as I realised where Jesus wanted to take his healing hands.  I jumped up as if stung…He had neglected to inform me that my cleansing would include his wrinkled, calloused hand on my pap.

“I couldn’t inform you of the full rite until you’d entered a higher state of consciousness.”

La Isla del Sol
The view from Gonzalo’s balcony. Apparently, there on the spit, he sustained a horrible, almost second degree full body sun burn while dancing about naked. I don’t doubt it one bit.

I struggled to pick my mind up off the floor where it had slumped in a tired, melted mess, while Gonzalo continued talking, his droning buzz taking on a more insistent tone…

“…our union would be the only way to release you from your fate.  My sperm will wash away the…”

My eyes flickered over the felt pen coloured Tarot cards plastered to the wall, picking out The Lovers placed absurdly close to Death.  His flickered towards mine, those ever-present tears of his pricking them.

“…You are so fortunate.  Perhaps the most fortunate person in the world alive today.  God has directed you towards me, his son, so that I might heal you.”

I wanted to tell him to shove his healing hands where the sun don’t shine, and rotate.  Or at least to explain to this Colombian despot that it was simply not kocher for the elderly to sit on balconies of a morning, watching the street for passing travellers for whom to invent huge, life-altering problems…before proposing messy, arthritic tantric sex as God’s holy remedy.  But shock had rendered my voice box temporarily useless.

Tarot Card The Lovers
(Photo Credit: Michel Lucifer –

Instead, I was subjected to a speech outlining why this was God’s will, as explained by yet another felt penned wall decoration; this time a long self-written text summarising how the world is essentially one enormous genitalic representation after another and always has been (even when humans were Cyclops)…before he ended with the delicately articulated:

“I don’t want you to think of me as your rapist, but as your healer.”

At this point, my tongue and voice box did finally decide to cooperate and I let loose with a burning tirade of verbal outrage the likes of which I never thought I could fabricate in a language other than English…

…and promptly burst into hot, violent tears from the exhaustion of the effort.

Leaving the realm of “Jesus”

The end of our interaction had finally come.  I left seconds later, tumbling down his concrete stairs into the dark streets of Yumani as he called after me begging me to reconsider and save my life.  But all I needed was a place to crawl up in, a room in a house that did not come with a reincarnation of a holy deity as a flatmate.  A lovely grandma found me a room in her hostel and I finally fell asleep under a different, but equally as comforting woolen blanket as the one I’d dreamed about that morning.

The next morning, I said goodbye to La Isla del Sol by exploring what it had left to offer; the equally eye-poppingly gorgeous hills and coves of the south.  As I walked under the sun, Gonzalo was, I expect, again to be found on his balcony searching for another young girl (“I don’t bother with women of more than 27, as their spiritual capabilities have been blocked.”) to spin tales of woe for.

An artist's representation of Gonzalo / "Jesus"
A friend’s interpretation of Gonzalo, based on many retellings of my afternoon spent with him. It is scarily accurate.

2 thoughts on “Why Having Your Cards Read is Not Always a Good Idea PART 2

  1. oh erin, i thoroughly enjoyed this tale! how do you get into such trouble? after the man in thailand with the bad-ora-sucking, and the moroccans and their marriage proposals! its beautifully written and was a treasure to read.

    1. Thanks Mandy! It was not at all funny at the time, but since then has been an almost constant source of entertainment! I hope my next (mis)adventure amuses you as well 🙂

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