Live from the jungles of Mexico, the adventures of Bill
The Dogs Pueblo SacBe Best of SacBe


BALAM is the general term for a group of semi-supernatural guardians in the beliefs of the QUICHE peoples of Mexico. The BALAM, whose names mean "Tiger" or "Jaguar", were originally gigantic terrifying manifestations of these big cats of the forest, assigned as guardians of the four directions. The names were IQI-BALAM (moon jaguar), BALAM-AGAB (Nocturnal Jaguar), BALAM-QUITZE (Smiling Jaguar), and MAHU-CATAH (Famous Name) - names that may have been euphemisms intended to ward off the predations of these beasts. In modern Mayan folklore, all four have been relegated to the role of guardians of nature. The BALAM now protect the inhabitants, the villages, and their agricultural land.

Seven years ago, shortly after I arrived in Mexico, a Balam became an important part of my life as fierce guardian and best friend. This Balam had a character unusual in a way that balanced with my own. In our time together here in the natural world we shared the good energy daily. Today, I write this with mixed emotions - profound sadness for the loss of him, and profound happiness for the joy we shared and the good energy he has left with me. Of course my view of this is unique, but those who have known him know what I mean.