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Maya Wisdom & Magic Blog

Stories & Teachings

Learn about the Sacred Tzolkin, Discover true stories of Maya Magic, Read more about Shamanism and Maya Life. The supernatural weaves itself through everything here, all is connected, all is alive. 

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Wisdom from a Maya Story Keeper

I stood under a palm thatch roof in a circle of art, carved wood pieces set on heavy limestone bases, a record of the stories and their spiritual roots, a record of the thread of a people, connected in all realms. The art brought up images of jungle guardians and harbingers of death, of the sacred world tree and the great snake who transcends space and time. Hand carved in an ever evolving, ever growing narrative, one of its most recent additions being the murder of the story teller’s brother and its connection to the thirst for power.

Gods and goddess ringed the circle, Ixchel the goddess of childbirth, Yum Kaax the lord of the forest, and most importantly, Chaac, the red god of the rain. Deer, owls, and other animals took their places along with the four giant Balames, old men that hold up the world. I admit, the art had a bit of a raw, even almost creepy feel to it, I imagine because of its denseness and power.

Don Miguel is the artist and he is the story keeper for his village. His passion for his people runs deep, deep enough that he spent four years hand-digging a new entrance into a sacred cave to reconnect his community with the sacred waters of the rain found deep beneath the earth. (Go here to read about the cave) When he speaks you can feel the emotions that drive him. He is both a guide and a thick rope for others to hang to, the red thread of connection to the past and the future, the keeper of secrets, of tradition, and of hope.

As he spoke, he picked up a new painting, the first one I have seen of his, as most of his art is carving. It was a simple square of colors with a white rectangle in the middle, a door or portal to enlightenment.

Surrounding the door were the colors red, yellow, green, black, and blue. Each representative of a quadrant, a dimension, an energy, a spirit, a part of the whole that makes up life. As we move through life, we touch each of them, our quest being to find balance, peace, center, connection to the great love that is in all and is all.

He explained the painting, his voice charged with power and emotion as he spoke.

The white represents the north, Xaman. It is the place of enlightenment, the place where all is clear, truth is embodied and nothing is hidden. It is the portal through which we endeavor to walk.  

The red is the east, Lakin, the power of passion and birth, that which drives us. It is love and fierceness, reproduction and beginnings. The color red in the painting made a wide swath around the white portal in the middle.

From there he moved to explaining the color black, although it was yellow next that surrounded the red on the canvass. Black is the west, Chik’in, the shadow. It is the darkness you cast on the ground when standing in the sun. This shadow is our darkness, our emotions, and our fears.

The yellow, he explained is Nohol, the south. It is harvest and endings. All things cycle from birth through growth and understanding, and eventually all things come to an end. The yellow is the color of the eyes of a creature who is dying and the color of the corn when its ripe and the leaves in the fall.

And then he drew his finger around the green square, carefully, lovingly. This green is the center. Some may call it Yaxche, the world tree. It is where we find our balance as we stand among the four directions. It is our path in life to find center, for without finding it, one cannot find their place in the universe.

Blue, the Universe. This color encircled the entire painting. It was the outer most edge. “This,” he said, “is without direction because it is everywhere. This is the Universe.” He did not give it a Mayan name or perhaps I did not catch it. “This surrounds us, it is everything and everywhere.”

To find our place in the vastness of the Universe, we must find our center. We feel into the cycle of birth and light and shadow and death. And it is through the portal of light where nothing is hidden that we enter.

Can you embrace both your light and your shadow? Can you acknowledge both passion and death? Can you feel the great love that surrounds you and holds you as you stand in the center where all things connect, where all things find their fullness.

For this is the way.









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