As is common to human groups everywhere (at least everywhere I’ve visited!) –there is some competition and uneasy trust amongst various schools, factions or groups… So there are multiple answers to many questions about what is the Maya way. Some feel the traditions should be held closely, others feel it is time to share and spread throughout the world. As the year 2012 came to a peak, so much interest and energy was aroused and attracted – it has created a renaissance within the Mayan community as well as with visitors from around the world. This seems wonderful indeed! My sources teach me that 2012 marked the end of an over 5000 year cycle, which was characterized by patriarchy and domination over nature, thus a lack of balance with the natural world – And now, the new era being ushered in has the chance to be a time of transformation, with the integration of the feminine and harmony with nature. We humans have to do our part in the awakening and changing. If we wise up we can be collaborators in bringing about this wonderful new era.
Hence many Maya teachers are eager to share the wisdom of the Mayan cosmic vision – which is characterized by tremendously detailed and refined knowledge of time and calendars. There are over 30 different calendars! All are interrelated but serve different purposes and cycles. Hence the Long Time Calendar – connected to the rotation of the cosmos/Pleiades which takes over 5000 years. There is a solar calendar for agriculture, closely approximating the one we typically use. And most important for humans is the Tzolken: a cycle of 20 days or Nawales which repeat 13 times (each day has
a number, 1 to 13) for 260 days. Each day has a number and a Nawale, which brings a certain energy to the day. Every number has a sacred meaning – and there are 13 to represent the 13 major joints of our body- and gives a different tone to the Nawale. Our job as humans is to attune ourselves to the Nawales. We are born with a certain Mayan Cross of Nawales as our dominant energy pattern. Our personal development is enhanced as we learn to develop ourselves, balance and attune to the energies within our nature. I was delighted to have a reading by a scholar/keeper of the culture, Don Clemente. I am 8 I’x and found my Mayan Cross a close mirror to my own experience of myself and my path in life, which was affirming and freeing in a way: for example, my drive and focus on bringing peace and healing to groups is clearly in my Cross. This helps me feel accepting, suspend any judgment or second guessing of my choices (such as those times when I wonder, why don’t I just relax and take it easy!). And I learned some interesting things about areas that I could more deeply cultivate that might bring greater peace, harmony and richness – For example, my birth Nawale is a powerful 13 Kame – connected to the ancestors. I have always had a longing for elders and wish for the transmission of wisdom from them and felt sad that all my grandparents were dead before I was born. In the Maya tradition (as in many spiritual practices) – you can cultivate a relationship with ancestors. I plan to focus more attention on this and develop a relationship and thus a source of support and wisdom. The vertical part of the cross is: conception sign at top, main life – birth sign at the center, future-vision path at the bottom. The horizontal arms extending off the birth sign is for spiritual development at the left, material-embodied balancing at the right. There is a great website you can check out: www.maya-portal.net And you can download an app: MCP Mayan Tzolk’in And a great book to read is: The Book of Destiny by Carlos Barrios.
While here I was able to take a workshop on Kame, the Nawale of death and transformation. My teacher, Hilda, is a lovely young woman from Austria who has been studying Mayan Cosmology for about 8 years now and served as translator for Don Clemente. We learned that Kame is like a guardian angel – a sweet and caring friend-spirit that is always with you and watches over you. When it is your time to pass and cross over to the spirit world, Kame accompanies you on the 3 day journey (some say 7 day). You see many things that are like images or memories of your life (karma!) – and depending on the state of your heart and consciousness (and the way you’ve lived) you may find this pleasurable or terrifying. Kame stays with you until you are delivered to the loving arms of all your beloved ancestors who await you.
The workshop ended with a field trip to nearby San Juan where we enjoyed a rich and sweet ceremony led by Nana Feliciana. I learned that you place candles, flowers, and other offerings in the fire because the smoke creates a bridge from this world to that of the spirit world and ancestors. They are hungry for connection and attention and feel fed by the aroma of smoke and incense. There are various colors of candles and different materials, each with symbolic meaning. Most important of course is the intention you put in to any offering. The workshop was timed to coincide with the Nawale day of Kame and so that was the focus of the ceremony, although each and every one of the 20 Nawales are blessed and thanked during the ritual. Since Kame is not just death but transformation, it was also a time for us to note what we wanted to release and let go of. This part of the ritual reminded me of Taschlich during Rosh Hashanah, when we go to a moving body of water and through in bread crumbs or seeds with thoughts of what we want to let go of as we enter the New Year.
A few days later I found Ahau (the Mayan word for The One or God) was really watching out for me. I had tried many times to contact Shuni: last fall in October my dear friend Leah Green hosted Shuni and Tata Pedro (http://www.mayancross.com/mayan-wisdom) in leading a workshop and ritual on Maya Cosmology to bless and inaugurate her beautiful home in Indianola. I heard they would be back here at the lake and was so hoping to see them. We had exchanged an email or two, but my many texts and phone calls were placed with no effect (later found out I had the wrong number). On Monday I arranged to visit San Marcos to visit a friend’s friend, and I arrived with time to walk around before meeting her. I went to the beautiful little park said to have great vistas – and ceremonial circles. Just as I crested the (very steep) hill, I saw that there was a ceremony happening. Behold! Shuni and Tata Pedro were just about to begin a beautiful fire! I was welcomed with open arms and spent many magical hours with them at the fire. I love ceremonies led by Tata Pedro because he loves to sing, “Felicidad, Felicidad.” My heart was filled with joy. What a contrast to a church or synagogue – to be out in nature where dogs and birds and all of life is not only tolerated but welcomed as important part of the circle and meaning.