I had a dream about a Mayan Goddess after watching news about immigrants traveling to the US from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. In the aftermath, I created a ritual for these immigrants for a Family Coven, including children of all ages. Read on…
I dreamt that my bakery had been thwarted by an evil landlord who had burned the fledgling endeavor to the ground.
My partner in the business (another woman) and I took the ingredients that we had been buying when the fiery deed was done to the shell of a building. Around a makeshift table, we sat down to better plan out the taste of our gluten-free bakery.
In the way of dreams, the shell was a clean, large iron building, one that might house a large indoor flea market. Past the area where my bakery had been, I could see shops going about their business. They were dressed in Nepalese type clothing and were doing, I assumed, traditional Nepalese things. I couldn’t see into any other shops.
Around me sat others who were eating, talking, or hanging out.
In walked a man in a gorilla suit wearing a large old-fashioned baby bonnet with part of a heart on it. His face was painted white with red paint permeating his facial hair in clumps and patches, making his face a part of the heart on the bonnet.
After he strode through, I noticed a man going down on one knee to propose to his lover. Both were ruggedly handsome and as I watched, the manner of clothing morphed into distinctly Mayan dress. Their pants became skirts and wide collars of gems bloomed around their necks. Then I noticed they were posing as if I were taking a picture.
Around me everyone else’s dress morphed as well, and I began to worry I was suddenly in the wrong place. A voice of authority reverberated around the hanger-like structure, and my gaze snapped to my left.
She was sitting on a throne made of plywood and recycled materials, no less magnificent for it. She was dressed in a linen skirt that elegantly draped to her ankle. Her feet were encased in leather and rough semi-precious stones. Her hands fell casually off of the arms, showcasing the wide gold cuffs surrounding each wrist.
My vision snapped to her face as she spoke. She looked like every American girl. Dirty brownish blond hair was pulled back at the nape of her neck in a low ponytail to allow for the gems on her small crown to rest upon her head. Her shoulders and neck were encased in an ornate collar that reminded me of the lovers Tarot card. Her bare chest was obscured, not concealed.
I thought to show myself in ornate dress, not to inspire you to mimic me… I had hoped to instill in you the need to observe these holy days. I had hoped to remind you that worship wasn’t about pageantry. There is necessity to what we do.
Around me the crowd dressed like the throned woman flew into a frenzy. They moved the tables and chairs hurriedly to the walls while the woman continued to talk and the wind whipped around the previously windless space.
These prayers and rituals serve a deep purpose – a needed purpose. I must take into myself the evil and malice that swirls around this physical places. I must call the demons into me, and I need your energy and help to do so.
I was mortified that I had suddenly gotten caught up in this ritual when I didn’t belong. I grabbed my things and spoke quietly and urgently to the group with me, “This is a pagan ritual and we need to go. I am not sure what’s going on. We don’t belong here.”
The wind continued to whip around the space as the group followed the now mobile queen in a clockwise direction. Wind lashed me as I struggled to the door, hoping that my companions followed my lead. As I stumbled into the blinding bright day light, I realized I was alone. I looked frantically around for a trash can to throw my now-unwanted baking ingredients, while around me the wind took on tornadic proportions. I had a sudden flash of the ritual inside, the woman now clapping and rhythmically walking, urging on the participants to churn the energy, a reflection of the weather patterns I was seeing outside the structure.
Come to me, oh malice, oh evil, all hateful things! Come into my body, you unspoken and untried evil deeds. Draw up and out like the infection you are! Come to me! COME TO ME! COME TO ME! COME TO ME! COME TO ME! COME TO ME!
Dodging square tiles that were being sucked into the growing gales, I was mystified. The tiles had sacred Mayan symbols. They glowed and flickered an angry lava red while the magnified words of the High Priestess continue to be heard all around me. Occasionally a tile would flicker one last surge of power, then give up its attachment to the asphalt or tree or car or person walking by and get sucked into the roaring power of weather above of. I was shocked.
When the high priestess had begun to speak, I was greatly concerned about her “taking into herself the evil and malice.” After all, most humans are not built to contain that kind of darkness. As a tile shot past my line of sight I realized she was not a high priestess. The Goddess had presented herself to those inside, and She was taking in the evil to be recycled and renewed. It wasn’t Her human body that was taking it in. It was Her psychic body that blew all around us, pulling up the evil and transforming that evil to make it harmless. As I drifted into awareness, my mind threw up a fleeting thought.
If the Mayan rituals were meant to keep the lands cleansed of the evil and malice of the land, has the turning away from them for other beliefs allowed the wild and untamed power and aggression to grow and bloom?
If that is true of one specific area of the world, then is that true of my own home?
The closer to waking I came, the more visions flashed upon me, as if the Goddess knew it was the last chance to hold my attention and give me images to think upon.
I saw myself in jeans and a t-shirt standing at the family altar doing simple workings, sage smoke wafting around me.
Then there were the standing stones of sacred land I had worshiped on, filled with people dressed as if for working in the garden or visiting with friends, no robes, no pageantry. They milled in aimless and counter directions; the chant they were meditatively saying was similarly aimless, confused.
I saw the small circle my own community had taken over about a football field from my back door, all with faces I recognized in casual dress watching raptly as I explained something to them in front of our traveling altar set for ritual.
Upon reviving, I sat up and knew I had just seen something of great import, and I knew that it was tied to what I had seen on the evening news the night before.
Texans accosted illegal immigrants who were being shuttled to a deportation center after the treacherous journey they had made to the promised land, America. The hate and anger spewing forth was heartbreaking. The protestors were so disruptive that the busload of mostly women and children were forced to continue their journey to some unknown place.
My teenager amply assessed the situation at a passing glance, “A$$$$!”
I completely concurred. It was horrible. The women and children who had traveled thousands of miles by bus and walking, through heat and exposure without food and water, were greeted in the place of the “huddled masses” by anger and hate and fear.
In light of my dream, I struggled with what to do. For days and days I researched, read and re-read my dream as it had been recorded, talked with other priests and priestesses about the meaning. I wrote and re-wrote this article trying to combine my research with my dream and put together some coherent piece. After a dream of significance, I find it important to stay very aware of what happens around me, the people I come into contact with. For two weeks, I have struggled to compose this article, and yesterday I met Jordan. Jordan talked to me about her two-year-old child, how she and her partner were struggling to raise a child that was filled with a spiritual wonder and lacked the dogma of her and her partner’s upbringing. She wants to raise a child that is sensitive and compassionate.
Having a child who is sixteen, I can lose touch with the fact that there are parents struggling with small children and the more intimate task of parenting. As children age, the approach needed by parenting partners is different. Children of a young age need a more tactile and hands-on parenting experience. One of the things we can endow our young children with is a sense of the larger community outside, their needs and standing up in the face of adversity.
After thinking about Jordan and her child, I realized Family Covens are uniquely posed to understand the desperation of parents in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. The issue of immigration also offers an opportunity for parents to work with their children in a spiritual practice.
Family Coven Ritual: The Mayan Connection
Ritual is strictly defined as “the established form for a ceremony; specifically: the order of words prescribed for a religious ceremony.”[i] I prefer to combine some other definitions to create ritual, defined as any ceremonial act or rite practiced to relieve anxiety. Ritual can be a way for Family Covens to take action on issues that seem too large or far removed for the Family Coven to even attempt to help with. The issue of immigrant reform is one for activist and politicians. The issue of ENERGY behind reform is one for families to address with prayer, thoughtful consideration, and deliberate ritual.
This issue is a unique opportunity for Family Covens to consider compassion and understand, work energy toward the resolution of a problem, and teach children about the long-term and far reaching effects of magic. Below is a ritual that Family Covens, with or without children, can perform. My suggestion is to prepare your Family Coven for ritual and perform some act of spiritual observance on July 25. This date is considered A Day Out of Time by Mayanism, the current movement of recreation of the ancient spiritual observances in the areas of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
Although there is a lot of information about how to include children in The Mayan Connection ritual, all people can participate in this observance.
Take time to read this excellent article about the surge of immigrants into the United States by the BBC. The information in this article is what I utilized to create parts of the ritual listed below. Having an understanding of the problem is always the first place to start when creating Family Coven rituals.
Next take a trip to the library and find children’s books about ancient Olmecs, Teotihuacán, Chorti, Pok’omama, Lencas, Tol, Pech, Mayangna, and Mayan cultures. These are the indigenous people who roamed in and around the areas around Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, the area most of the immigrants are coming from according to the BBC article. Look for picture books for younger children and early chapter books for children starting around age seven. (Read an article about reading comprehension and understanding.)
Allow me to digress: the idea around books for children ages infant to seven or eight, depending upon the child, is exposure and calibration. Exposure is the act of giving kids materials and experiences around cultures, religions, languages and types of people. Through exposure, you are telling your child things outside of your immediate experience and culture are equally important. Calibration is the act of raising children with specific virtues in mind. Think of the things you want your children to accept with love and compassion. Utilize educational materials to promote the virtues you desire in your children. For example, if you want your children to view the gay and lesbian community as a group of people who simply love someone different than the “norm” in society, start with children’s books that depict lesbian mothers and fathers to demonstrate to your child that these family types are no less important than your family structure. Talk to your small children about how some children have two moms or two dads or a mom and a dad or a mom, mom and dad. The same is also true around religion and spirituality. The goal is to encourage a view that all religious and spiritual practices are pleasing if they do not hurt others. By getting colorful books about ancient cultures and spirituality, you are signaling to your child that all these different cultures are no less important than the culture they are living in. Additionally, you can see what cultures might appeal to your child above others. If they have a strong reaction to certain cultural books, foster that by finding more books or coloring pages from the Internet and do adult research to pass on to them. I felt I had succeeded in this practice when my son, at age seven, came home and asked me why the girl at school thought everyone who wasn’t a Christian was going to hell, particularly his Hindi friend.
“It’s all the same,” Tree Bear said to me. “She doesn’t know that.” Tree Bear’s true puzzlement around children who would discriminate against someone for believing differently was honest and real. Tree Bear had “grokked” (gripped knowledge at a soul deep, spiritual level) that all religions and cultures share more in common than differences and, therefore, had the right to exist in peace.
Leading up to July 25th, read books each night and begin to talk about the exodus from South America. Explain to them that not all children are born into safe, dry houses where food is abundant. Tell them that some children are born with shack houses without lighting and little food. Talk about how much you love your children and then ask them how awful some place had to be for a mother who loved her children as much as you love them to send her children alone to a country where they didn’t even speak the language! These lessons may seem harsh, but fostering compassion starts with a deep understanding of the privilege most children are born in. Not everyone has a dry bed. Not everyone has food. Not everyone is safe. Sheltering children from the realities of the rest of the world protects them from gaining empathy for others.
Print off Mayan Coloring Pages here, here or here. Gather for yourself blank paper and coloring pencils. For this ritual you can trace or draw the Mayanism symbol for the One God or All God. Please note, this is not a God accepted by academics as a recognized god of the Mayans. For a more scholarly view of the gods and goddesses of the indigenous people, visit this website. The Hanab Ku is an idea presented by José Argüelles in the 1987 book, The Mayan Factor. However, the idea of Hanab Ku has thrived among modern day Mayan spiritualists as The One God associated with indigenous creator God Itazmna. If the Hanab Ku symbol doesn’t speak to you, you might prefer to utilize The Banner of Peace. Created by Russian artist and humanitarian, Nicholas Roerich (1874 – 1947), the symbol was mean to represent the sanctity and human right of indigenous cultures to retain their indigenous beliefs. It is tied to the Roerich Pact, in inter-American treaty about the Protection of Artistic and Scientific Institutions and Historic Monuments. This treaty asserted that a legal protection needed to be extended to cultural and historical monuments above the needs of military defense. In essence, “Where there is peace, there is culture. Where there is culture, there is peace” accurately reflects the goals of the Roerich Pact. If neither of these options appeal, you can create your own pictograph by reviewing this free eBook. Your pictograph can represent any of the following concepts explored in the ritual: peace, compassion, safety, or protection. Do not worry if you are not a great artist. This is a great chance to demonstrate that the god/desses accept all worship and all offerings. It isn’t the quality or quantity of offering, it is the depth of intent, passion and love.
When it is time for ritual on July 25th, your Family Coven can be as simple or elaborate as you think your children can tolerate. With my son of sixteen, I might ask him how he would like to do ritual. With my goddess daughters of seven to twelve, I would make the calling simple and do research into what directions go with what elements and animals. (As a side note, older children can be introduced to a little information about Southern Hemisphere and sunwise issues around circle casting. A great article on this is found here. To keep things simple for younger participants, I have kept to the sunwise directions of the Northern Hemisphere.)
You could cast a circle outside using corn meal or inside using a simple casting like:
Ancient Mothers and Fathers of the Mayans,
We cast a circle of protection in your name.
All that is out is out. All that is in is in.
We are safe from harm and shame.
Make simple callings like:
All Hail lak’in[ii], east, where the sun enters, Ah-Muzencab, bees,
Be here now to protect and guard this circle
And witness this sacred worship.
All Hail mal-puy, south, inside the earth, Huracan, lizard,
Be here now to protect and guard this circle
And witness this sacred worship.
All Hail chik’in, west, where the sun exits, Ixazalvoh, fish
Be here now to protect and guard this circle
And witness this sacred worship.
All Hail yax chan, north, above the earth, Xaman Ek, corn and dragonflies
Be here now to protect and guard this circle
And witness this sacred worship.[iii]
Choose to call two deities simply related to children and protection. An example could be:
Ixchel, Rainbow Lady, Be with us in protection, compassion, safety and peace.
Chen, Moon God, Be with us in protection, compassion, safety and peace.[iv]
Now explain that The Day Out of Time for those who observe Mayanism is a day to cultivate creativity as a way to give your heart, soul, and mind a rest. It was also a day to ask for forgiveness and compassion. Because of the children and women who are right now traveling from these ancient places to the United States, the Family Coven could draw and color together and talk about all the different dangers the immigrants might face coming to the US and after they arrive. During this time make sure to slip in statements like, “I know the Ancient Mothers/Fathers of these people will protect the immigrants.” Use the key virtues of this ritual: peace, compassion, safety and protection. This is a generation of energy and magic using your Family Coven’s creation of coloring pages and drawings.
When they are done, save them and place them into the Family Coven Book of Shadows along with an accounting of the ritual you performed. Explain to children that sometimes magic doesn’t demonstrate a known outcome. The magic done in this ritual WILL protect the immigrants, WILL bring them safety, WILL help them find compassion and WILL help the region they run from find peace. Even if your Family Coven never sees a definitive result, the result is there.
Saving this work is as important as the work itself. Having a Family Coven Book of Shadows permits the Family Coven to periodically (yearly) review the magic that has been done and see what has changed sense the magic was performed. By performing a work about social issues, you can track this issue over time. You could recreate this full moon type ritual on or around July 25 every year, using the date to check in on immigration reform and the conflicts in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. This is magical social activism, an invaluable tool of compassion to pass on to your children.
In writing this article, I found that there were several other issues I would like to tackle. Don’t be surprised if you see the Mayan Connection reoccurring in upcoming articles.
[i] http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ritual, accessed between 7/1/2014 and 7/11/2014.
[ii]If you do the research, you will find that east and west are transposed in academic writings, meaning the east is where the sun exists and the west is where the sun enters. Given the excellent article referenced in this same paragraph, an explanation can be given to older children. However, I find that until the age of twelve to fourtee,n trying to explain why the east was where the sun set for the Mayans can be challenging. For consistency’s sake, I have kept the directions cardinal in relation to the Northern Hemisphere.
[iv]Another lesson for older children is related to Chen, his occasional depiction as a Moon God, and his relationship in the promotion of homosexual and lesbian relationships. I have chosen this God as chance for parents to incorporate another level of spiritual leaning and awakening in their children. My decision to utilize Ixchel and Chen are deliberate and may be explored in depth in another article.