Updated: Sep 7, 2022
The is a story about heavy warnings from a shaman, shapeshifting, and pottery.
I loved a book called Incantations. It’s written by Maya women and weaves the spells that are the thread of their lives together with rustic black wide-brushed paintings. I was captivated by both. There is a deep magic there, deep powerful, and dark but beautiful, very much like their lives. I could not get the feeling it gave me and the images out of my mind. There was something about the thick black swirls of the painted images that felt alive to me, as if they were entities painted into existence. Which perhaps they were, as one of the things the book implied was that speaking, writing, or painting things brings them to life.
And so, when I found the pottery on-line, I knew I had to see it.
There is a village called Uyama that is very near where our shaman, Don Francisco lives. There is something mysterious and magical about the small town. It’s a feeling you get more than anything that seems visually remarkable other than the old church with its child-like paintings of stars, moons and suns on its ceiling. I can feel that it holds a secret, so I was on-line doing some reading about it when I came across an interesting story about a local Maya family that has been hand-making beautiful pottery in a huge kiln there for generations.
Mildly interested, I went to a website that showed photos of their works and my breath was taken from my body when I saw the same thick black paint swirls on their plates that I saw in the pages of the book. The painting is done with movement of the entire arm, not just the hand and wrist. It is so simple, rustic even, but so very powerful. I was so excited when I realized I might be able to see it in person, and perhaps visit my shaman on the same trip.
And so the trip was planned and so we went. Frost to see Don Francisco, to bring him some donations of clothing and kitchen and bedding items that he could hand out among the people of his village and to chat with him, which we always do.
The conversation turned dark, almost immediately. We will be going to Chichen Itza for the fall equinox in a couple of months and the hotel we will be staying at offers some shamanic services. I often wonder how authentic these “shamans” are that work in places like this, so I asked Francisco to share his thoughts on the matter. He lives just down the road from Chichen Itza and so he knows many of the local people in the area. He was very serious as he explained to us that the “shamans” who work in these settings are constantly getting in too deep, being attacked by negative beings, and needing to come to him (and a couple of his associates) for help!
Now perhaps you don’t agree with me on this next part, but I am not here to do anything but tell you what I heard, so you can hear it for yourself. You see, Francisco and a few others who live not far from him, are born with a “don” as a shaman/healer. They are born into shamanic families and begin learning their trade at about 6 months old. They deal with real magic. Powerful magic. Sometimes dark magic. I cannot stress this enough.
Once I was talking to someone who calls themselves a shaman. It was a older woman. I was telling her a story about shapeshifting here on the Yucatan. She seemed very confident and told me that she often channels the power of her animal being. I don’t remember what it was, but lets just say it was a wolf. She said things like, “Yes, the spirit of the wolf comes to me and I can feel her in my bones and I transcend this world and speak as she would speak” and such and such….and so on. She felt like we were speaking the same language.
But we were not.
When I explained to her that in Yucatan there are people who can physically change their bodies into animals, she didn’t even have space for that in her world view. She went right back to the idea that we all have an inner animal and can channel that energy. The idea of your hand turning into claws was simply metaphorical for her. But here, it is not a metaphor. It is a physical change. Do YOU have room for that is YOUR worldview?
Don Francisco is so very serious when he speaks of what he does. He has delt with shapeshifters who have come to torment towns. Real ones. He has broken curses that caused horrible accidents and he has seen people die suddenly of high fevers on more than one occasion because these people crossed lines they were not meant to cross. When asked about these people who learned to be shamans as adults even though they were not born into the gift, and I mean born into a shamanic family where they are actively practicing magic daily and healing people in their community, he shook his head and looked sad. He said, yes it is possible to become a shaman if you are not born one, but you must pay a price for it and that price is the life of the person you love the most!
Back to the pottery.
I left Don Francisco’s home feeling somber. I have personally come into contact with some supernatural things here in Mexico that would blow your mind. I would never consider myself a healer or a shaman, but rather a researcher and writer, a story-teller who was asked to tell the story of the Maya people by the Maya people themselves. For that is what I am. I believe I have been exposed to the things I have seen and experienced in order that I might more deeply tell the story. I believe the things I have not yet seen because of the things I have seen. I know the magic is real.
Carrying these feelings in my heart, I traveled with max, my partner to Valladolid. The Spanish colonial town nearby. I had learned that some of the pottery I wanted to see was on display at an art shop and café in town. As so we went there, had a coffee, and took time to experience the art.
The place was amazing. There were black and white photos of the family, and the potting process displayed in a museum-like fashion and there was a lot of pottery for sale, including the plate with the thick black painting. I was a bit overwhelmed.
Here are photos so you can experience a bit of the feeling yourself. What do YOU feel when you look at these images?
I touched the plates. I did not buy one, although I had thought I would before I saw them. When I saw them, I knew I could not bring one home. I did buy a little incense burner and a candle stick. I have cleansed them and they are sitting, unused on my altar. But I am still not sure if they should even be in my house. Perhaps after they have been on my altar for a while. I am not sure.
You see, there were also photos and paintings of the owner of the pottery (the place where they make it). I will simply show you the photos I took of them and I think you will understand. Some things need no words, in fact there are no words to sufficiently explain them.
Magic is real. More real than you can imagine. More deep and powerful than I can imagine. And I have the privileged of knowing someone who handles it. I am so amazed at this opportunity to learn, to hear the stories, to feel the power at a distance. I hope that I can somehow convey what I feel to you, the reader. For I do believe that is my part. I don’t know what your part is. Only you know that.
Biix a bel . . . How is your path?
Hugs and Butterflies