All ceremonies start out with acknowledgment and thanks to all the elementals in the four Cardinal directions…East, North, West, South. This ceremony practice goes to the heart of the Maya Source of the Creation story….Before the universe was created there was the seed of potential, static with no movement. Then ¨He whose name is whispered in a breath ¨ created the vibration of life found throughout the universe today. The Maya say that everything has this spirit….the mountains, stones, earth, trees, animals, crystals, seeds, mosquitoes, humans…everything naturally existing. Originally the Maya were connected directly to the source of creation, but were blocked about 14,000 years ago. They use the ceremonies to bring back the memories and the direct connection to the creator.
Maya ceremonies, as most ancient traditions, include items representing the creations of the spirit like corn and rice, fruits, water, flowers, crystals, obsidian, gems, feathers, rocks and wood. These are to remind us that we are as connected to these natural objects as we are to each other. To offer corn to a ceremony site displays the desire to share nourishment with the trees, animals, birds of that place. This increases the intimacy of the ritual.
The power and meaning of a ceremony is a personal matter and there is no perfect way to conduct a ceremony. The ultimate meaning is from the connection with all the elements, beings, animals, plants, etc while knowing and feeling the reality that we all came from the same source. Consciousness of the source of everything we use in our daily life can be developed by being aware and even marveling at its existence. Who made the mountains, the cows, the spiky fish who live in the dark at the bottom of the ocean? Who made clean, drinkable water billions of people receive from a faucet easily turned on and off? Think about this. Where did the water come from in the first place? What is the source and pathway for your drinking water? River, Spring, Lake? Think of the pipes manufactured from earth elements, mined, crushed, transported and melted into a tube to carry water.
The labor to install the pipes, the knowledge to do it. Or the oil drilled, processed, transported to make the plastic formed to create a water tank, and more pipes. If you look to the source of everything all pointers go to the same creator. Modern society today is quite creatively astonishing in its use of the elements of this planet, and to think we are only using 10% of our brain. Reconnecting directly back to the source by connecting to everything around us will open the path to receive the wisdom of the universe. This is the ultimate intention of ritual. In the old times when the Maya prepared for a ceremony they made their plans having the elements in mind. For instance when planning for a full moon they may choose to collect water from a certain cenote with cool, sweet water to honor the sacred mother who represents the moon. They were conscious and connected with symbols and plants, stones and fruits that represented the elements.
The East is the Sun, the color Red and the colorful Quetzal bird. To honor the sun use candles, burn incense, wisdom books, sacred jewelry. All examples of items to include in a ceremony.
The North is the Wind the color White and the Serpent. Elements that represent the north are Crystals, Crystal Skulls, Jade, Turquoise, Emeralds, White river stones, cave stones. White flowers, rice.
The West is the Earth and the color Black and the Jaguar. Musical instruments, drum, rattles, shells, conch all honor the west. Obsidian, flint, black stones, black fruits, smoky crystals all are concepts of black, the West and transformation. The jaguar guides the sun into the dark cave of the mother earth, where it is transformed into a whole new day rising in the east.
The South is the Water Element, the color Yellow and the Turtle. Things representing abundance and fertility like corn, wheat, rice, honey, fruits, vegetables, bananas, yellow fruits, bread, tamales, chocolate. The shell of the turtle protects it like the mother concept, while the underground earth is constantly going through the process of reproduction, gestation, birth, fertilization.
The use of the sacred cross to honor the four elements has the offerer….you….standing in one place and facing the four directions without leaving your center. You are the presentation of the Sacred Ceiba Tree….feet firmly rooted into the earth, body soaring straight up to the Sky of the Heaven and with arms outstretched in the form of a cross. The Mayas say that everything has spirit so everything is sacred.
…….a Miguel personal memory….when I was studying with my teacher we went to a field to do a ritual but forgot the corn for the offering. We went to the vicinity where there was some corn then he told me to pick up a little stone and put some love into it then knock it 9 times on a large stone nearby. Why 9? This is the number of mother earth. Then I asked permission to the land to enter, and gather some corn to use for a ritual. I deposited my stone at the side. I looked closer and saw there was a little mound of stones where others had asked to enter this land. If I was not paying close attention I would have missed it. The lesson to this is that the most important thing you can offer is your love and focused attention to any ritual you offer. The other things…candles, incense, flowers, fruit, crystals….mean nothing without love from your heart and clear intention. The Maya´s deep belief that everything has a spirit used their rituals as a constant reminder of this magical connection. Once we understand we are all connected it is important to remember that the planet was not created just for us, and that asking permission to enter a place is realizing it has a spirit worthy of respecting. The wealthiest people cannot take their possessions with them. The most important lesson is to recognize the living spirits all around your daily life, and honor them and respect them, and honor yourself. This is the ultimate ritual. How do you honor your things and yourself? Clean your house…change the oil in your car…water the plants….cook healthy food…receive a massage…exercise….repair the plumbing. Once you realize it´s an honor to respect your life and all around it, there is no need for complaining and pessimism.
With practice Ceremony becomes natural and morphs into a form that expresses your unique connection with Mother Earth, with the elements, the trees, rivers, lakes, mountains, with all nature and all living beings. With Mayan Ceremony you expand your consciousness and become one with all that is.