11 Ajmak, in the Kame trecena
Last night I had a dream. I was hovering above myself and I noticed that my spirit was not in my body. I seemed a bit disconnected and I could see my spirit hanging like a partly invisible cloud above me. I remembered the dream very well as I woke up. It got me thinking of one particular curandera – traditional Mayan healer – from San Pedro la Laguna, who specializes in reconnecting the spirit with the body. She is an older woman I once met during a cacao ceremony at Nana Marina´s house – who also is a Mayan spiritual guide. My dream got me thinking of the incredible wide range of different ancestral medicinal specialists that are classified. The Maya medical system comes from a deep understanding of the interconnectedness between the mind, body, emotions and spirit. You cannot treat one without the other.
Anyways.. yesterday, I received a powerful Mayan abdominal massage. This goes so deep into our core – literally and physically – and always triggers a deep emotional process for me. I could relate the dream of my spirit hanging out in a different place to the effects of this massage. When we go through physical and emotional pain, we may unconsciously dissociate from our body and as a result – our spirit travels elsewhere. The same happens with trauma. So when these memories are literally moved and deeply massaged in this case, the art is to stay with all of the intensity. I guess, my spirit decided otherwise.
Later that day, I took the boat to San Pedro la Laguna – the village at the other side of Lake Atitlan. As I walked into a random clothing shop, the local girl who was working there started talking to me. Asking me the regular question – where I am from, how long I have been here, and what I am doing here. I shared her about the work we are doing with The Midwife Project Guatemala – where we work with a group of local midwives from around Lake Atitlan to preserve ancestral Maya midwifery and bridge this with modernday midwifery in the Empowerment through Education program for local midwives. (For more details, see: www.midwifeproject.net)
Her eyes lit up. `Waw, es muy interesante´, she shared. I asked her if there are any healers or midwives in her family. Offcourse, this was the case, as the synchronicities keep guiding me to meet the right people. Her great-grandmother was a comadrona – a traditional midwife – and her mother is a curandera who works and heals with plants.
Offcourse, our conversation took off rapidly and I welcomed Mary and her mother to join the next day on our medicinal plant walk with the midwives in San Marcos la Laguna. I asked her if she also has a specific gift that she carries from birth. She told me that when she was born, the midwife told her mother that she also would become a midwife one day. Traditionally, the Maya midwives read the birth signs and share with the family if the baby is born with a specific gift so that the whole family can take care of it.
However, she hasn´t felt the calling yet to become a midwife specifically. She started talking about the dreams that she is frequently having. In those dreams, she is always at the cemeteries. Oftentimes, there is a celebration, but more recently she couldn´t leave the cemetery anymore which made her feel scared. I told her that maybe, this is a calling for her to work with the spirits who are passed on to the other world and feel trapped in between worlds. Feeling trapped in the cemeteries could indicate that there is ´work´ for her to do there. She agreed and told me that she also had that feeling.
However, she didn´t know how to deal with it and had nobody to talk to about it. In the Maya ancestral medicine, those who work on this level with the spirit world, are called ´Aj Kame´. The word ´Aj´ translates to the corn staff and represents leadership. The word ´Kame´ translates to death and relates to the spirit world. Offcourse, we are currently in the 13-day cycle of Kame in the Mayan calendar. The literal manifestations of the energies of the Mayan calendar never cease to amaze me.
Mary (which is her name) told me that she wants to open her path and is looking for someone who could help her with this. So far, she has not been able to talk to anyone about this. Unfortunately, this topic is very taboo amongst the majority of the Mayan villagers, due to the judgment that is imposed on the Mayan traditions coming from the religious beliefs. The colonizers didn´t just come to take the lands and the richness of the native people, they also came to brainwash them, did their best to destroy their spiritual practices and introduce completely foreign beliefs and religions. The effects of this are still part of everyday life and reality of the Mayan people. Even within the same families, there is often a lot of judgment and discrimination upon the Mayan spiritual practices – which are interwoven with the ancestral forms of Maya medicine.
Mary started sharing a story about her mother, who recently got very ill. She went to two different doctors who could not do anything for her. Eventually, she decided to call a local healer who is specialized in calling the spirit back into the body through prayers and ritual. Interesting – I thought, obviously – as I was just thinking of this topic today. Energetically calling my energies and spirit back as I was sitting in the Tuktuk (haha.. I know). They invited the curandera to their house, on the day that her father was working. He does not believe in the concept of being born with a gift neither beliefs in the working of the Maya medical specialists. Because of the religion, Mary said. They kept it secret to him, until after the woman had come to their house. Two days after she did her consulta, her mother was completely cured again.
In the Maya ancestral medicine, those who specialize in this work are called ´Ajwasnel´. Other times, these therapists would go to the place where the trauma happened and where the spirit left the body. Through specific rituals and prayers, they bring the spirit back into the body. This is how the healing of post-traumatic diseases can occur. Simply – yet profoundly, by calling ones´ spirit back. In many shamanic cultures around the world this is practiced in similar ways. Which tells us that there is a universal ancestral science to this.
What can we learn from this ancient healing art in the Western world?
That we are more than flesh and blood. That there is a unique individual lifeforce that runs through our body – which can be seen and explained as our spirit. This lifeforce is ideally directly interwoven with our physical body and auric field. However, traumatic experiences can create a shock to our system, causing this lifeforce to leak through the physical, emotional and etheric wound and travel elsewhere. Ancient traditions have a deep understanding on the emotional, spiritual and physical body and the interconnectedness of all things in life is not even a question. Therefore, through what seems like simple prayers to outsiders, they can create `miracles´. But what they actually do, is connecting with the spiritual energy and lifeforce of a person and bring healing to those aspects of themselves.
If worldwide the native understanding of life would be more mainstream, I believe there would be much less suffering, disconnection, depression and what not more.
So for me, during yesterdays´ Mayan abdominal massage, some tension that was holding stored emotions was released. Mostly right above my belly button. The woman who was giving the massage was taking part in my friends Mayan Abdominal Massage Course, that I took in 2017. Her name is Rosa and she comes from a strong lineage of Mayan healers. Ironically, the family of Mayan elders who were the ones I started learning about the Mayan Cosmovision with in 2017, when I came to Lake Atitlan to study the Mayan traditions. We realized that we sat around the same sacred fire and she had been preparing the cacao we have been drinkig in ceremony. We only just consciously met each other this day.
She was working a lot on my belly to bring ´´the heart of the stomach´´ down – which is the pulse of the aorta that should normally be felt in our belly button. Stress, trauma and strong emotions can cause the heart of the stomach to move upwards, downwards or to the side. Bringing this back to the center, often engages deep work in the most sensitive part of our body: our abdomen. This massage helps our lifeforce to be centered again and activates a deep healing process. It is not pleasant, but so incredibly effective. I always feel much more alive, centered and connected afterwards. Or at least.. once the emotional waves have past. After giving many massages, it feels so good to receive again. As my general maintenance and self-care practice.
Lets see if my waves have reached the shores tomorrow as I wake up to start another day. We will be going on a plantwalk with the midwives of the Midwife Project to identify healing plants and make a herbolaria plant collection of the medicinal properties. Lets see.. if Mary and her mother are showing up. That would make the circle complete again.
Life at the Lake. it deserves a book on itself. One story at a time.
To read more on The Midwife Project that I am engaged in, follow the link to our website: www.midwifeproject.net