Nov 1, 2013

IN GUATEMALA WE HONOR THE DEAD: Sending messages of loving rememberance to those who have gone away (not far away)

The Giant Kites of Sumpango carry messages to the heavens
All Saints Day, celebrated on November 1, is celebrated with unique traditions throughout Guatemala. Giant kites are flown in the cemeteries of Santiago Sacatepéquez and Sumpango near Antigua Guatemala.

Remembering dear friend and loved one Jose Luis A.R., 1997, R.I.P.

Each October 31 and November 1, families all over central America gather to honor their dead in family cemeteries. Plots are cleared of debris, flowers are placed, and candles are lit. It is a day of celebration, of remembering and honoring those who came before.

The Cemetery at Sumpango, Sacatapequez, Guatemala
Photos thanks to Juan Carlos C.F.


The Spirit of Iximche: In Spanish and Kaqchikel -- Thanking Mother Earth for her bounty



I often visit Maya ruins in Central America. One of my favorite ancient places is Iximche...Iximche isn't a huge city but it is heavy with Kaqchikel lore (and key Spanish Colonial History) and thick with modest ruins of gorgeous temples, grassy gaming fields and sacred ceremonial countryside space....Iximche doesn't get a lot of tourists dropping in as do Copan, Vera Cruz or Tikal...Iximche is my kind of a quiet and mysterious, close-to-the-earth kinda of a whafting spirit of a Holy place.


The first time I went to Iximche was with my friend Jose Luis A.R. and that was over two decades ago...we were the only visitors and we strolled around in the early morning misty sacred space of a place and I felt I had been there before...a long time before.



A few years ago when sharing Iximche with Juan Carlos (we visit Iximche often) and visitor from the United States we also were quite alone but the sacred space seemed filled with uplifting spirituality, almost brimming with quiet conviviality...we hiked around and we came upon my favorite part...the place where the Shaman perform their purifying rites.


Out of nowhere, literally from the forest, a Shaman (similar to the holyman in the painting above/artist unknown) appeared. He ignored my friend Juan Carlos C.F. and I as an associate of his stood not far away on a little hill as a sort of traditional guard/scout (I think)...anyway the fire started, the Shaman wraped his headscarf around his head, said a prayer and crossed himself to the "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" as he knelt down...chanting, Spanish and Kaqchikel, thanking Mother Earth for her bounty and as the ritual continued he added libations and offerings of flowers, candles, sweets, meats, alcohol, eggs with shell, and lots and lots of dry herbs...all the time thanking God and thanking Mother Earth that had blessed us all with our being.


I moved closer and the Shaman invited me to join him, on my knees by the fire...I did (my friends moved further back on a neighboring knoll)...as he continued his chanting and prayers of thanksgiving a swarm of bees came to our fire...many bees, maybe dozens of bees (but I don't want to turn this into a "fish" story)....the bees in multiples started landing on my outstretched bare arms...he told me not to worry the bees had come to offer a fine blessing to me...a blessing from Mother Earth personally so I closed my eyes and opened my heart and received it willingly...¨ I offer humble thanks, before and now, Leonardo Ricardo HERE

1 comment:

Grandmère Mimi said...

Beautiful post, Len. The pictures are stunning.