So, what is a mala vibra? And can you be attacked by a mal viento?
We sat in Francisco’s home with its green painted cement walls and two hammocks strung up for sleeping or sitting on. He offered us white plastic chairs (that I sat in very carefully!) and then took a seat himself on a little handmade wooden stool. He loves to chat and we love to hear anything he wants to share with us.
I asked Francisco, our shaman friend and local herbatero (herbal healer) about “mal viento” which means bad wind, and “mala vibra” or bad vibe. At first, I thought they were just different phrases for the same thing.
Not at all.
Excited and smiling, his smooth, high cheekbones catching my attention, he leaned forward and began to explain.
A mal viento come from nature, from the supernatural. It is an alux that means to harm you, blowing its energy in your direction to cause confusion, or even harm. An alux is a Maya elemental being that is wind personified. A shaman makes a little statue and brings it to life. While the statue itself doesn’t appear to change or move, a “wind” is created that can take the form of a small person, animal, or even a stone. It harnesses the power of the wind. When it is created, its purpose is to guard a home or land. But if it goes rogue . . . well let’s just say it can become very dangerous.
If this bad wind is directed at you, you need a cleansing. It can cause bad dreams, bad luck, depression/anxiety, illness, even death!
It can be hard to decipher everything that Francisco says because he is speaking Spanish from a Maya worldview. Sometimes the explanations are a bit . . . flexible . . . you might say. It was apparent that a bad wind can come from other beings besides the alux, but details on what other beings can cause such a dark energy was not forthcoming. Perhaps a mal viento can come from a yui chivo shapeshifter or zip the tiny deer god who has a hornet's nest between his antlers? But a mal viento cannot come from a brujo (witch) since a witch is a person.
And a “mala vibra”? Well, Francisco animatedly plunged right in.
A mala vibra comes from a person.
A person can carry a bad vibe with them and can transfer it to you. It can be intentionally or not. A brujo (witch) can send a spell or curse your way. A jealous person can send you negative energy so the things you do don't succeed. It is even possible to pick up a mala vibra from just sitting in the same spot as someone with a bad vibe, even if the person is long gone, didn't know you and have any bad intention toward you.
If you pick up a bad vibe, it too can bring bad luck, illness, terrifying dreams, depression, paranoia, anxiety, or even death!
So, I asked Francisco, since he spends so much time dealing with people who have bad winds or bad vibes, how does he protect himself? As the village healer, he must come into contact with these things almost daily. (Of course, I was wondering how I could protect myself too!)
Francisco explained that he begins everyday with prayer. We have heard him pray so many times, but most of it is in Mayan. I know he prays to a bunch of different gods. I do remember hearing him referring to Chac--the rain god--and to the Father, to the Son, to the Holy Spirit, and to other beings as well. Some questions just don’t seem appropriate, but there are days when I would love to ask him to translate what he is saying.
When I have asked him what I should do to protect myself from such things, he answered that I could ask the question in my dream.
Now how does one do that?
Still so much to learn!
Avoiding bad vibes and scary winds and praying!