Mayan ceremonial fireAs we approach the holiday season I am moved to share some of what Lisa and I learned during our ancestor studies with Mayan spiritual guide, Don Rigoberto, in Guatemala last month.

The Mayan vision of the cosmos is based on relationships – relationships between people, between people and ancestors (or lineages), and between people and the universe. The first focus is on relationships with ancestors, for everyone has ancestors – this is universal. We all have roots.

There is an infinite line of generations and we don’t know how far back (or how far forward) it goes. Our parents have (or had) beliefs and customs and maybe we don’t like them. But in this chain of generations what is passed on is not the passer’s fault. Or perhaps we are gifted with creativity; we don’t know how far back that attribute entered our lineage, either.

When we don’t respect our ancestors we isolate ourselves from the line of ancestors and are without harmony. This is the origin of evil – when we don’t respect the values, beliefs, and principles of our ancestors.

When we cut ourselves off from our ancestors, we cut ourselves off from a part of our self. If we sever communications with ancestors, we are isolated and stuck, we are like a tree without roots. When we remain connected with our ancestors we retain our roots (values, beliefs, principles). It is also our responsibility to pass along what our ancestors gave us.

There is a chain of reincarnation. Some of each ancestor’s essence reincarnates three to four generations down the line.  If we don’t have kids we pass along our lineage through our siblings’ children or through other children we have a connection with. It’s a tying together of energies – the fruit of our exchange. Our togetherness is not a coincidence.

We contact the ancestors through sensitive, delicate ceremony. We can also make connections with ancestors through meditation and dreams. Holding onto our ancestors’ values is way to retain connection with them. The first step is to recognize and accept that we have ancestors, then we venerate them. We thank them and say prayers for them.

Facing the west at midnight is the best time to contact ancestors. We sit in a meditation pose with eyes closed and think about them. We take a journey back in time and pray they reveal themselves to us in our dreams. This is an active search for  our ancestors – and they are looking for us, too, their descendants, for when a person dies energy remains.

In addition to Don Rigoberto’s wonderful teachings, Lisa and I were blessed with an ancestor fire ceremony that he led us through, and the photo above is of that fire at an ancient altar in Momostenango.