Gauchito Gil (Little Cowboy Bill) is a popular Argentinian folk saint venerated here at Tsogyelgar. There are many stories of his origin as a “saint” protector.* One goes…. Gauchito Gil was in the army fighting in the Argentine civil war, a terrible war. Secretly he was a profound spiritual practitioner who had developed great strength through prayer and contemplation of the divine. A noble woman was found out for having an affair, but it was not known with whom. She accused Gauchito Gil for being the man. The woman’s husband, an army officer, had Gauchito Gil taken into the woods and tortured, hung upside down. The officer then said to Gauchito Gil “Now I will kill you.” Gauchito Gil responded “Your daughter is very sick and will die tonight but if you pray to me when you get home I will heal her even though you have tortured and are about to kill me. May every drop of my blood spilled on the ground this way become countless miracles for beings who call on me.” The officer then killed Gauchito Gil. When the officer got home it was exactly as Gauchito said it would be and the officer, in shock, prayed to him and the daughter was saved. This was the origin of Gauchito Gil’s protector cult.
There is a shrine to Gauchito Gil at Tsogyelgar made with traditional ritual objects. The environment is spiritually alive in a way that transcends superficial divisions among faiths. There are other statues and images here that venerate the way the divine has appeared, the ways it has been revered in this region of the world. All phenomena are interdependent and we thus honor the appearance and activity of virtue in the many forms it takes.
This is a prayer that can be said:
"Gauchito Gil, humbly with bended head and knee and with humility I ask for your intercession with the divine. In this interval of time and before the forces of the divine I ask you for this miracle. I thank you for this miracle and in thanks I make this promise." (Make some sort of promise - either a good deed done in his name — like giving money to the poor, helping at a soup kitchen, donating cloths to a shelter, helping an animal — or simply lighting a candle at the shrine for 1 or 3 or 5 or 7 days as an offering to Gauchito Gil. One should also put 1 or 5 dollars in a jar which when full is given to the poor. It is traditional to post Gauchito Gil's image with a note of gratitude for his intercession in a public place or online.