This is the place for photos and reflections of my visits to Latin America beginning in 2012. Previous blogs are linked on the main pages of my photo collections on flickr. HAPPY TRAILS!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


On Wednesday, 6 of our group members and our 6 Cooperativa teachers participated in a Maya spiritual ceremony in the mountains between San Pedro and Santiago Atitlan. The process began last week when Mynor and I visited a local Sacerdote, Don Samuel, in San Juan to ask his permission to attend. Yesterday we went back to give him a list of the participants' names and birthdates so he could figure out our nahuals - Maya signs associated with our birthdates. We rode up and back in a pickup truck and the whole journey took about 3 and a half hours.

That's Don Samuel in the lower right and a car-falling-off-cliff sign in the upper left.

 Our Cooperativa teachers helped unpack the supplies for the ceremony.

We were allowed to take photos of the preparations but not of the ceremony itself and words will fall far short of describing what this experience was like for us; I'm not going to try beyond the brief descriptions below.

Don Samuel carefully built the ritual fire in a clearing in the woods after praying briefly in a small Catholic temple nearby.

The fire had layers of copal, incense, and candles in 6 colors representing different aspects of life.

He gave each of us a paper with our nahual and other information listed on it and we took part in multiple steps, some together, some individually. 
Occasionally he would make a statement based on our nahual; to Beth he commented (in Spanish, though most of the ceremony was in Tz'utujil) that she had problems with her knees and that she would be a healer. She recently went through arthroscopic knee surgery and has aspirations to be a Physical Therapist. I like being 13 Ba'atz, a strong sign.

(Here's where the ceremony fit in.)
The setting was stunning - thousands of epiphytes in the trees and beautiful light filtering through.

Stuart sharing some of his Maya calendar-themed water colors with Don Samuel who said they showed Stuart was at a higher level.
Heading back to San Pedro!

I feel privileged to have experienced this ceremony and happy to have shared it with such a nice group.

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