Just as so many of us set our intentions when the new year approaches, a 5-day period of reflection precedes the Maya New Year. This time of solitude and purification is called Wayeb' by the Yucatec Maya and it is known as Tz'apil in the Maya K'iche language.
Mayan spiritual guide Lina Barrios describes that: "Tz'apil means closing a door, for it is closing the door to the old year and receiving the new one cleansed on all levels to achieve happiness."
I have certainly felt a door close behind me these last two months. I know I'm not alone. This is true for us all and especially for those who are sick, separated from family, have family members who have died, those who have been on the front lines and in the hot spots through this pandemic, and all of us who struggle with difficult feelings and finances.
The life we knew is gone. We stumble together through tragedy and uncertainty.
As our reality door shuts, we are brought to our knees. Can we reframe the human experience during this time of collective solitude, to find greater happiness?
This is one of the opportunities.
Meanwhile, how do we hold it all in our hearts and bodies?
On March 1st I traveled to Guatemala to facilitate my twelfth journey to work with Maya wisdom keepers and spiritual guides. The novel corona virus was just breaking into the United States.
I, like many, thought of the SARS panic in 2003 and how people succumb to flus each year. Mostly concerned for the frail and the elderly, I thought the scare would pass quickly. Flying from Seattle through Houston and then into Central America, the only sign of what was to come was that before entering customs at Guatemala City's La Aurora International Airport, men wearing white masks scanned our temperatures. I felt fine and passed through easily. I committed to staying healthy and resilient.
Then, I forgot about novel corona.
Mostly unplugged from life at home throughout the trip, this years' journey working intimately with Mayan people ran deep. We were steeped in age-old ceremonies, living with the wisdom keepers amidst their ancient volcanoes and sacred waters, on vortex lands where spirits were palpable and multi-dimensional portals, wide open. Time stretched and yawned. Twelve days felt like two months.
The immersion was life changing for everyone.
Reorienting to the outside world the last forty-eight hours of the journey was jarring.
We were not returning to the same reality.
The world was amok.
I worried about how my trip participants would handle this. How are their families? How do they feel about returning to chaos? Will it be difficult for them to get home?
I was moved that everyone was strong and clear. Steeped in the energies of the sacred fires, the teachings and deep care of the Mayan people, every person was grateful. They walked with power and felt ready for whatever we stepped into back home.
We settled into the beautiful town of Antigua for a final dinner together. Most folks flew out the next day without a hitch. My friend and trip colleague, Lis Traphagen, and I would leave the country on Monday.
Back at our room, Lis checked her flights; she was good to go. I checked mine.
Not only had United had canceled my whole itinerary, they had no other flights posted.
My heart was beating in my throat. Lis tried to reassure me. I quickly booked the soonest return - Wednesday on Delta. Wednesday.
I told myself there was a reason for the extra days. I've stayed on alone many times; everything would be fine. Extended time in Guatemala is always a gift.
Yet, I couldn't sleep.
I said goodbye to Lis in the morning then checked my emails. I found a message from our tour operator, Alfonso, that made my stomach lurch.
"Guatemala is closing all in and out traffic for two weeks. This is going into effect at midnight tonight. The airport will be closing." 15-hour notice. No word from Delta. Nothing on the internet.
I had a hard time breathing when I spoke with my family. They urged me to go to the airport right away to get on any plane out of the country that I could. If I didn't leave soon, I might be caught here indefinitely. That made me more anxious. I said I'd call them back. I got off the phone and lay down on the bed.
I closed my eyes and tried to take deep breaths. My body shuddered with the first attempts. Though delirious with the news and from lack of sleep, after some moments I relaxed enough to tune in.
What I should do? What should I do?!
The message was simple, "Drop inside. Trust your feelings".
This was surprisingly easy.
When I thought about going to the airport my mind raced, my chest tightened, and my body trembled. When I thought about staying and trusting that I would figure things out, a warmth came over me, I felt peaceful.
It was in those calmer moments that I saw it with my inner vision - A path of light spanning a great distance before me.
The pathway of light was straight and luminous.
An inner voice said: There is a pathway through this. Feel your feet upon the path.
I remembered when Quechua shamans from the high Andes of Ecuador visited my family in the United States many years ago and we performed a fire ceremony on a beach in Rye, New Hampshire. The moon was full that night and Don Esteban had all 90 of us stand in a line to face the ocean. Salty breezes stung our nostrils and lips. Waves crashed upon the shore and a chilled mist wetted our cheeks. The moon loomed luminous over the expanse of water. A broad, brilliant path of light extended from the moon at the water's horizon all the way to the shore, just ahead of us.
With great feeling, Don Esteban spoke in an indigenous dialect. Translated from Quechua, to Spanish, to English, this is what he shared with us:
"The shaman's path is a path of light, with darkness on either side. The shaman must walk this path of light - and help others walk upon it. I have always seen the shaman's path with my inner vision. This is the first time in my life that I have seen it with my physical eyes."
The shaman's path of light.
I called my family to tell them I was staying at the hotel another night. I would rest, then figure things out.
Later, I heard from others that the airport was packed that day and people were frenzied. Folks stayed for hours trying to get on flights out of the country, with no luck.
After a nap, in passing through the lobby I met others who were stranded: two women from Texas who'd come to hike, a man from New Jersey who'd flown in with nine family members for a wedding, and a tall shapely woman with cropped silver hair who stood at the front desk wrapped only in a jacuzzi towel. The latter smiled at me; she was fine. The others were not fine. One of the Texas women cried. I told them how lovely Antigua was, and that they would get home. I took their numbers. It felt good to support these folks who were in Guatemala for the first time.
I left the hotel, following a lead to an inexpensive guest house a ten-minute walk away.
Stepping carefully on the cobblestoned street, I put on my sunglasses. It was the first business day of the week and the sun was high in the sky; the city should have been humming with activity. Yet, the streets were vacant. The shops were closed. The chicken busses weren't even running. How would those in the outlying pueblos survive without bussing into Antigua to sell their food and ware?
All was quiet except for an occasional motorbike that whizzed by, operated by a masked driver. The bustling center of Antigua had become a ghost town, literally overnight.
My knees felt weak as I walked.
I remembered the pathway of light. I sensed it straight before me with my feet firmly upon it.
Walk with strength.
I bolstered myself, stepped up onto a curb and knocked on the broad wooden door of the guest house. It was set into a stucco wall that seemed to span the whole block. A little door opened in the upper right-hand corner and a man's face popped into it.
My voice sounded like a stranger's.
"Ah, yes, hello. I'm looking for Blake, please?", I asked. Without a word, the little door shut, then the large door creaked open. Not knowing what to expect, I stepped in through a dark entryway and out onto a sun-bathed patio. I heard the man close the heavy door behind me.
A spry, thin man with half-shaved blonde hair and kind blue eyes rushed over to greet me. I told him my plight. I followed Blake, a ceramic artist and the guest house host, through the courtyard that spread out in the center space of the old colonial home.
The sun dappled the trunks of ancient trees. There was an herb and a vegetable garden, flowers, birdsong and butterflies. The surrounding hillsides were visible against the expanse of blue sky above the enclosure. I had left the twilight zone and stumbled into paradise.
There was one room available. It was beautiful, with a private bath. I took it.
Blake asked what brought me to Guatemala. I told him about my work with Mayan spiritual guides. "Oh", he grinned, "That's a sign, as Carlos Barrios is staying here".
I had visited Guatemala for the first time with Gerardo Barrios, who was Carlos' brother. I'd known of Carlos for years yet, we had never met. The Barrios brothers were legendary experts on the Mayan Calendar and Carlos' seminal work The Book of Destiny was widely known.
I took a full, deep breath that felt so good. I was in the right place. The pathway of light sparkled, as if saying I told you so.
On my walk back to the hotel, I saw the tall shapely woman with silver hair walking briskly the other way, on the opposite side of the street. Her short and fitted sleeveless dress was splashed with a bold flower print. The woman smiled and waved exuberantly.
"I found a really nice, less expensive hotel!", she shouted. "Great!!", I waved back. I had no worries about her. I took a jacuzzi that night and slept soundly.
The vulnerability crept back when I was toting a backpack and rolling my suitcase over the antiquated stones, on my way back to the guest house. I took in a steady breath and felt my feet firmly on the path.
From that time on, whenever I felt anxious or uncertain, I would envision the path of light. The more I connected, the more real it became.
Upon seeing the Mayan Priest, Carlos Barrios, that first night, we both knew we were meant to meet.
The rooms off the gardens that encircled the courtyard of the old colonial guest home were rented by other stranded foreigners: two lovely men from France who left on a French Embassy flight the day after I arrived; a bright young photographer named Ben who was based in LA; Ollie, a happy and inquisitive theology student from Singapore; and Carol, a caring and savvy admin director at Harvard Law School.
Most of these folks wanted to go home. Carol had a teenager and a six-year-old daughter waiting for her.
Some were considering staying until things got calmer in the states. Yet, Guatemala lacked the infrastructure to handle a massive infectious outbreak. If things got bad, foreigners would be a burden to the Guatemalan people, and they might also be caught here for months.
The world had changed overnight, and no one could predict where this was going.
There was an option of hiring a driver to travel overland to walk through the Mexican border, which many were successfully doing.
I checked emails, news and border issues, and texted my family as well as the other stranded people I'd met, every day, just like everyone else. I also took many breaks. To not get sick with worry, I focused on the beautiful nature there, the uplifting company of Blake and Carlos, and the path of light.
There was a pathway through this.
Carlos did Maya readings for some of us and he led a fire ceremony. It was beautiful to see the strength come into people as they immersed in the traditions of these lands and the sacred fire. How auspicious to be 'stranded' in a beautiful setting with a Mayan Priest. There were no accidents.
On one of the days, Carlos filmed a talk. In it, he spoke of our imposed isolation and of being locked down now as its own Wayeb'.
This, Carlos said, was a time to: "..reflect on our level of harmony with the earth, cosmos and creation and go deeply inside to develop our abilities to create reality."
To meet the upcoming year with good energy, traditional Maya cleanse their bodies and tidy and paint their homes. They also look carefully at how they can live in ways that fulfill their purpose.
As spiritual folks, there are many and simple ways for us to make the most of this time of incubation.
We can look carefully at who we are, meditate and tap our inner dreaming powers; we can organize our lives and our homes and do blessing rituals to uplift our environments; we might eat more cleanly, exercise and do energy and body disciplines to be strong and resilient; many of us can spend time in nature and perform ceremonies.
Of course, it's a lot easier to do a retreat when everything is taken care of for us and we aren't dealing with a pandemic. Yet, during these extremely trying circumstances our efforts are all the more meaningful.
The return pathway appeared one week after lockdown. Carol and I were booked from Guatemala City to Miami on the first humanitarian relief flight for US citizens, operated by Eastern Airlines. The cost was exorbitant, but it would get us on our way home. Carol took this photo of all of us - she in the foreground then Ben, me, Carlos, with Blake and Ollie behind us - just before Carol and I left for the airport.
It was a twenty-eight-hour journey to get home to the Olympic Peninsula. This gave me time to prepare, as I knew things would feel harder upon return.
The first week, I was euphoric to be with my family. The second week, I was traumatized. People were suffering and afraid. People were dying in shocking numbers. Finances were terrifying. Everything was upside down. In Guatemala, there were not enough resources, no welfare or government assistance. The continued curfew, and disappearance of tourism meant people would starve.
I became exhausted. My heart and nervous system were overwhelmed. I withdrew. I slept.
There are no easy answers at times like this. And, there were forewarnings. Many of us who are sensitive felt the shockwave of this death to rebirth passage months before it hit. Vertigo, grief bubbling up for no reason and, a sense of not being able to see the future, were what I heard the most. These were harbingers, we were the canaries in the coal mine.
Astrologers were telling us something big was coming. What was it? World War 3?
When John Perkins and I met with the Hopi twenty years ago many elders weren't traveling anymore. They knew great changes would come, and with them, travel limits. They didn't want to be separated from their lands and community.
Great changes during these times have been predicted by many indigenous groups.
The old reality door has closed. We cannot turn around and walk back through that door. The self and world we knew, has dissolved. We must keep moving forward toward the light; feel our feet on the path even when we can't see it.
Now is a most tender and open time. We are learning so many things personally and collectively - about our gifts and strengths, and our weaknesses and vulnerabilities. We are purifying, just as nature is cleansing.
Reality shifts before our eyes. This is scary and has a lot of heart-wrenching consequences. It also means that our personal and societal realities are malleable, now more than ever. The opportunity, the calling of these times is to shapeshift how we humans create our life experience on Planet Earth.
My friend, Alejandro, expressed it well: "Perhaps this is the Great Turning that brings us to our knees and changes things, forever. Amazing opportunities and changes can come out of chaos."
This is the time to dream new and remarkable stories.
It's the time to honor death as we also nurture life and rebirth.
It is the time to manifest our most heartfelt dreams, many we had forgotten, as we remember we are the dreamers - who are dreaming ourselves back to what truly nourishes all life on this planet and reconnects us with cosmic grace.
There is a pathway through this. Feel your feet upon the path.
The word "corona" means crown and the corona virus is so named because the virus looks like a crown.
As shamanic folks, we know that everything holds meaning.
I was reminded recently of the meaning of words and it made me wonder:
How may we choose to frame this experience?
How may even the name of the virus, this word 'crown', hold significance for us; even be a signpost to support us as we move through precarious times?
How might it help us find the intelligence that underlies what we perceive now as threat and chaos - to not only make sense of the moments and find our way through dramatic change, but also to embrace its gifts?
I have birthed two babies at home. You can see in this photo of me with my children Sayre and Eben, taken last summer in the Olympic Mountains, that they are now wonderful adults!
Being a mother, what naturally comes to me in reference to the word 'crown' is the birthing process. Crowning is when the baby's head engages the birth canal.
When a baby's head crowns, there is no turning back. Birth is inevitable.
Are we in the birth canal now, undergoing the impending birthing of new ways to experience life on Planet Earth?
For me, it helps to reframe things in this way.
No childbirth is without pain or potential danger, which may include the death of the baby or the mother. Eben was a strapping baby boy of 10 pounds, 2 ounces. He almost died when he was born and my life was threatened, too.
Birthing itself is a death journey. A release of one way of being, to another. In indigenous shamanic cultures, as in nature, death and birth are always linked. AND - there is never death without rebirth.
A baby cannot hold back the dying of life in the womb, to birth into the life yet to be.
It helps me to reflect upon what's happening in the world right now in the above ways. It helps me surrender to the suffering, grief, confusion and fear that so many people experience now; acknowledging that the very rhythms of these feelings, like contractions in birthing, can guide us to deeper places of knowing and embodiment. Despite, and not dissociated from, all that's playing out around us.
To be born is to surrender. To new life. To die is also to surrender. To new life.
Embracing the threat of death, this is a time to trust. To corral our racing minds and our panicked hearts. To do our ceremonies and rituals. To spend quiet time with our own hearts, and with the Earth. To apply good energy to whatever our experience, to nature, and to whomever we can.
There are many examples of how nature is flourishing as our human-created reality structures slow down. This is part of the new life already arising from the death-birth passage. And, for humans, we can look deeply into that nature-mirror, remembering that we are nature. Nature is clearly showing what and how to restore.
We each have to find our own way through this gauntlet. Inseparable from the loss and turmoil, the promise of new life is there to nourish. New perspectives. More whole ways to be. For that I am grateful.
I am honored to be in circle together during this powerful time of opportunity.
Please join us on Saturday February 15th at 10am as we "plant" this beautiful sign that was created by artist Eben Herrick.
It is a beautiful representation of Pillar Point and the partnership with OMEC, Olympic Mountain Earthwisdom Circle & WACoastSavers. And of course with this comes the partnership with all of us.
The Olympic Mountain EarthWisdom Circle (OMEC) has adopted Pillar Point Beach on the Strait of Juan de Fuca - working with WA CoastSavers to keep our beautiful Olympic Peninsula along Washington State's coastline pristine.
If you've never been to Pillar Point on the coast of the Olympic Peninsula in WA state; you'll feel the power there. You'll love the beauty and you will love nurturing it's nature and spirit.
After the sign is ceremonially planted - rooting in our wishes for the thriving of all life for the earth and waters there and for all of nature; we will follow with a clean-up and simple land & water blessing.
Also, in partnership with WA CoastSavers we are dedicated to offering 3 official Coastal Clean-up dates per year. We would love for you to join in to keep our beautiful Olympic Peninsula coastline pristine; mark your calendars and join us.
NEXT CLEAN UP DATES April 18, 2020 (OMEC & WA State Coastal Clean Up) July 25, 2020 (OMEC Pillar Point Coastal Clean Up) Sept 19, 2020 (OMEC & International Coastal Clean Up)
We invite you to visit the OMEC, Olympic Mountain Earthwisdom Circle website for more information and to check out other projects, sacred travel and programs. https://www.eomec.org
As this Gregorian Calendar year comes to a close, we are overjoyed to share with you the news we've just received from Maya Elder, Priest and Daykeeper, Don Rigoberto Itzep Chanchavac in Momostenango, Guatemala!
"Good afternoon, sister Llyn, I greet you with great respect and affection, I tell you that the books have already been delivered to us, today we went to bring it to the press in Xela. Thank you very much for all the great support provided for the publication of the book, greetings from all Family for you and coworkers, happy new year blessings and successes in all your different daily activities."
OMEC began a partnership with Don Rigoberto after meeting with his son Gregorio Itzep Chavanac and Don Rigoberto's wife, Dona Maria Itzep Chavanac, on the 2019 GUATEMALA TRIP.
Together, we - the OMEC community, all of us - are supporting a very important body of work on authentic Maya culture. This predates the historical descriptions of the original indigenous peoples based on the colonial vision written by non-indigenous scholars. This work is based on an old document from the year 1647 containing the voice and stories of a true man who lived during those times. Almost 25 years have been spent studying and deciphering this old document.
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your contributions that make this initial publishing possible!
We've raised $3,250 to date for this project, thanks to you!
There's still time to make a year-end donation toward the goal of $8,000 that will put 2,000 copies of authentic Maya wisdom and history into the hands, hearts and minds of Maya children, parents, teachers and other Maya people in the Momostenango community.
I meet with Don Rigoberto and his family when I'm in Guatemala in March (still a few spots left on the trip!). We'll hear more about this project and its impact on the Maya 'Momo' community - and, upon return will have more to share with you, including video, produced by filmmaker Mitch Mattraw.
Thank you again, I am honored and elated to be in circle with you! I wish you a meaningful entry into this next Gregorian Calendar Year. May it be a portal into the heart of Sacred Time.
From my heart to yours!
Llyn Cedar Roberts and OMEC (I've included a few more details about the book below, which will inspire you.)
MAYA CULTURE BOOK The book depicts the true history of Don Rigoberto's mountain village of Momostenango and its reconstruction. It emphasizes the importance of respect for the principles and content of the Mayan culture. The goal and objective is to generate voices of wisdom in the conscience of future generations.
Objective: To ensure that the general population - especially the teachers, children, young men and women - return to or take back their Cultural Values.
Background: Momostenango is a Maya-Kiche village located in the North-West of Totonicapán, in the Western highlands of Guatemala. Its population consists mostly of Maya K'iche' descent. 70% of the Momo people live rurally - most are small farmers growing beans and corn (and some wheat) for their own families and communities. Momostanengo plays an important role as a ceremonial center in the Maya-Kiche world. It has been a ceremonial center for over 1,000 years and is a Mecca of Mayan spirituality. The Mayan calendar is followed more closely there than in any other traditional Mayan community. Momostenango has many outdoor public altars and shrines. Maya daykeepers, priests and community spiritual advisors, as well as those from other communities and tribes, do sacred ceremony in Momostenango, which has been a place of pilgrimage for more than a thousand years.
Although winter does not officially start for another few days here in the North Eastern United States, it's certainly made its impending opening. I thought the best way to experience this season's first snowstorm was up close and personal - so into the forest I went. My woodstove warmed canvas tent provided a nice warm pocket tucked in amongst the pines and cedars. I sat and watched the snow fall as I listened to it patter on the roof.
Watching nature change from one appearance to another is an instructive experience. Official start dates mean very little to the natural world. Seasons flow from one to the other at their own pace and that pace is not exactly dictated by what the calendar shows.
Seeing the brown of the forest floor and the green of the tall pines slowly change to undisturbed white reminded me that nature manifests itself in such an authentic way. A snowflake does not compare itself to other snowflakes and think it is less beautiful. When the trees are whispering to each other all are included in the conversation. Stones sit with regal certainty in their place. Streams wander the landscape following where their hearts lead. Seasons shift from one to another organically and gracefully in their own time.
Nature is a most amazing teacher regardless of whether you are looking at it from your head in a scientific way or from your heart, experientially. Nature teaches all who come to it in a way that accommodates who we are while reminding us that we are not separate from it. We are nature. We just forget. In that forgetting we lose touch with our own beauty, authenticity, inclusion, and grace. Just as importantly, we lose touch with these qualities in others as well.
As the Full Cold Moon/Moon Before Yule/Long Nights Moon appeared last week on December 12th - pairing with the Geminid meteor showers, I encourage us all to take time to reflect on the meaning that arises for each of us. In essence, these events herald a time for communication; between our own logical mind and the bigger, broader picture. It is a time of culmination; of building better relationships with ourselves, others, and the Natural world.
During this time of the Maya Calendar we have moved from the Trecena (thirteen-day Maya weeks) of E'e to Kan. It's been a time of giving thanks for all that the Road/Path of life gives to us and in being networked with all that's within and all around us.
As we engage with nature's flow and move fully this season, along with the excitement and stress of the holidays, let us all remember: We are singular and plural at the same time. We are all in this together as one. Let us remember our diversity and uniqueness. Our strength and our frailty. Our authenticity and grace.
Please remember to take some time to venture outside. Wherever you live, whatever climate you are in. Feel the cold or warm on your skin and the snow, rain or sun on your face. Gather around a roaring fire in the wild, or sit by a fireplace, or even a candle. Listen, as the harsh winds or soft breezes caress the trees, which exchange their secrets for you to hear. Watch as this new season takes its hold of the landscape, lovingly.
As the seasons shift, and as you shift with them, take some time to explore what OMEC and Shamanic Reiki Worldwide have to offer. Programs, books, and projects are waiting for you to engage, enjoy, and transform through.
OMEC has accomplished so much this year - sponsoring a US visit of Maya Women Weavers, funding the Spanish publication on ancient Maya wisdom for a community in Guatemala, initiating the Pillar Point project on the Olympic Peninsula in partnership with CoastSavers.org, publishing a Siberian Myths and Legends book by the Shor people, initiating production of a Johnny Moses storytelling book - and so much more!
We have accomplished so much because of you, our community. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your interest and, importantly, for your financial support!
May whatever holidays you honor bring you peace, healing, and wholeness.
Dear Friends, Olympic Mountain Earthwisdom Circle, OMEC is beyond excited to announce their first land project on the Juan de Fuca Straits of the Olympic Peninsula. It's been a long-time dream and it's finally come true. OMEC has entered into partnership with Coastsavers.org whose fiscal agent is the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. With this relationship; OMEC has officially adopted beautiful Pillar Point Beach to help keep the beautiful Olympic Peninsula coastline pristine. It is a spot where folks frequent to harvest clams but it is so much more than that. Visiting the beach allows opportunity to sit on large ancient drift wood as you watch the local eagles and other wildlife go about their day in their natural habitat. Join Lori & Vic as they lead a group several times a year to physically clean the beach, then offer a simple ceremony or land & water blessing afterwards. When you do, you will notice that the experience offers something refreshing and new. You may gaze through the mist to catch a glimpse of mountains on the other side of the strait or walk the mud flats when the tide is out spotting tiny crabs scurrying between crevasses of tidal rocks on a crisp sunny morning. This project is a beautiful way to tangibly give back to the land and waters, and help build our community in the Pacific Northwest. Somehow this place changes us; it's a true energetic hot spot that connects us to the marine life, the land and the waters in a very powerful and moving way. As we help keep Pillar Point's coastline gleaming for all inhabitants, we connect to the heart of the land and the waters in a deep and profound way. Whether you live locally or from out of town; join a coastal clean-up day or simply stop and bask in the beauty and power of it. Our official 2019 Coastal Clean-up days ended on Saturday Sept 21st. But we invite you to join us for one or all of our official Coastal Clean-Up Days for 2020. April 18, 2020 July 25, 2020 Sept 19, 2020 We will have plastic bags and plastic gloves as well as paper & pen to write down what you find for research purposes. Please bring anything you need. You may want to consider wearing good shoes for muddy and rocky conditions and long sleeves & hat for protection. Bring your own water bottle & lunch. After we clean, we will break for lunch in community and then offer a simple land and water ceremony or blessing.
Part of OMEC's vision has always been to find a path that gives voice to the indigenous wisdom where the organization was conceived. This vision recently took root when OMEC partnered with Johnny Moses to publish his story "The Medicine Clothes That Look at the People." Johnny Moses is a traditional storyteller from the Tulalip tribe of the Pacific Northwest. Johnny's traditional name is Whis.Stem.Men.Knee, which means Walking Medicine Robe. He is a healer and spiritual leader who carries the Si.Si.Wiss - Sacred Breath, Sacred Life - teachings of his people.
Sandra Ingerman MA, describes Johnny and his works by noting that: "Johnny Moses is a legendary storyteller! During a time on the planet when so many people have lost their way, Johnny Moses shares the traditional stories that create a road map leading us back home to ourselves, and to the Earth. I was so touched by his story The Medicine Clothes That Look at the People."
We live in a time of hyper-rationality, where it can appear that something has been lost. Many people find it difficult to connect with deeper meaning and with a sense of purpose that is greater than themselves. The ancestral voices speaking through Johnny's stories offer us an opportunity to turn inward and experience a deeper sense of ourselves and the world.
As his traditional name implies, Johnny's stories carry medicine, the ability to heal. The stories he tells were passed down from his ancestors and carry the power of love, of our connection to one another and to the Earth. "It is good to go back to where your roots are from," Johnny's ancestors told him. "The spirits of the mountains are with us." Johnny's stories offer a glimpse into how we can be connected in spirit with one another and approach this world with love in our hearts, regardless of the apparent external circumstances.
We at OMEC are honored to bring Johnny's stories to print, and to offer you this journey back to the roots. We also have a Johnny Moses storytelling video for sale! May the spirits of the mountains be with you, may you hear the ancestors' whispers in the wind and in the rustling leaves, may you hear their messages in birdsongs, and feel their presence in the warm rays of the sun.
I also wanted to mention that OMEC VP and master drum maker Rob Murphy has offered one of his drums for sale, with 50% of the purchase price going to support OMEC projects. The 11" buffalo drum has a painted white buffalo on its face, and is housed on an octagonal cedar frame. It comes with a handcrafted drum bag and beater. The price is $300, please contact Rob at email@example.com if you're interested in purchasing this beautiful drum.
Please visit the OMEC website for more detail on Johnny Moses and other programs, events and projects we have to offer.
It was an early morning when I read the few sentences that described the trip I have been longing to take my entire life. It kind of went like this:
"You are invited on a life-changing pilgrimage through the stunning mountain and lake regions of the Guatemala Highlands. Learn about, and experience ancient Maya healing ways in this all new immersion that takes us into the heart of a culture that is steeped in nature's magic and knows how to access its power..."
True to the description, the artful way of unwinding from my daily life was magical, profound and gentle. A sacred container held for us as we let go of expectations and agendas. Encouraging us to step into the mystery as each day unfolded in a life-shifting way. The participants, no longer strangers became a circle of journeyers; feeling safe and supported as we shared our authentic hearts and experiences.
I found myself fully immersed as I awoke each day with a cacophony of birds, the scent of exotic flowers wafting in the air and stunning sunrises. We were nourished with fresh local cuisine prepared daily with such joy that slowing down to savor the scent and flavor of each bite became somewhat of a spiritual meditation for me.
The journey was rich as we immersed within the beauty and sacredness of the land, the powerful waters of Lake Atitlan and the open-heart of the people and Maya Wisdom Keepers. Even the air felt different; I often recall the energetic tingles that I felt as the breezes gently touched my skin.
We were seen as a sacred circle and not considered the 'proverbial tourist'; we each introduced ourselves to the Elders, and were directly included in the teachings and learnings. We were encouraged to connect with the wisdom and healing that ceremony and ritual had to offer. We immersed ourselves and felt the energetic power of our personal and deep healing journeys; and sometimes we wept as we witnessed the sheer beauty of it.
Time slowed down, a day felt like a blessed week, and a week felt like an adored month of 'sacred time'. I felt my own heart expanded and a vibrant, blissful transformation as I received the most profound healing of my life.
Guatemala is an expanded- soul-touching passage and I feel such deep gratitude to our accomplished and adored guide and the travel team that helped navigate and support each step of the way on this truly intentional life-shifting adventure.
Now that I have returned from Guatemala and back to my not-so-ordinary life with my heart wide-open; I want to say to those reading this; the mystery is within the journey. Only the experience of it can provide the opportunity to learn, heal and transform. Each step, each event that is revealed supports you on your sacred quest. Specific details purposely left untold so you the journeyer can experience it fresh and unfiltered in the magic that you deserve.
Please take a look at the Olympic Mountain Earthwisdom Circle, OMEC website to read more about the healing, transforming and wisdom that the Ancient Healing Powers of the Guatemala Highlands, the Lake Atitlan Region and the Maya Wisdom Keepers have to offer. I also invite you to view the video created by Mitch Mattraw that highlights the magic and the beauty of this sacred journey at http://www.eomec.org/guatemala-highlands.html.
As part of OMEC's mission to support indigenous wisdom ways, the journey to Guatemala offered us an opportunity to support The Women Weavers of San Juan La Laguna. During this 2019 journey Mitch Mattraw embarked on a film project to give voice to these women and their vision. Please visit http://www.eomec.org/maya-women-weavers-project.html to learn more. We are also thrilled to announce that we are supporting two of the women weavers in an upcoming trip to New York where they will be engaging in several events to share their wisdom and their textiles! More info on that to come!
Hello Friend, In the Northern Hemisphere we have crossed the threshold into spring. Depending on your latitude, you might see flowers in full bloom or a crust of slowly melting snow. Like wildlife emerging from hibernation, we are shaking off the dust of winter's rest and feeling the call of creation and renewal. Here at my home in the mountains of the Northeast we are always a few weeks behind, so we celebrate "mud season" by exchanging snow boots for galoshes and artfully arranging buckets under the drips from leaking roofs. The trees are only just hinting at new leaves, but that does not stop the birds from returning. Each morning adds a new voice to the dawn chorus as the winged ones make their way north, and home.
One needs patience to live here, to wait for spring while others are already digging in gardens and lighting their grills. Garden magazines and social media posts invite a longing for things to be as they are not. The more we get ahead of Nature in our minds, the more we lose our sense of place - the awareness of our connection and belonging to the part of the Earth we are standing on. As our relationship with the natural world breaks down, so do we. A reconnection to Nature opens us to heal and transform our bodies, minds, and spirits. A growing movement in support of the Olympic Mountain EarthWisdom Circle (OMEC) is the HEARTH project. Independently facilitated HEARTH Circles, based on Community Healing Circles described in Shamanic Reiki (Roberts and Levy), offer community support to find our way back to the Earth.
Because HEARTH Circles are local and community-focused, they lay a path for creating the deep inner knowing of place. Each circle reflects what is happening in the moment, where you are, right outside your door. HEARTH facilitators lay seasonal altars, guide meditations or shamanic journeys, and introduce healing practices that help us see, sense, and feel the beauty of the natural world. Through the giving and receiving of Shamanic Reiki and other energy healing modalities in the HEARTH Circle, we connect in community not just with each other but with the Earth herself.
The "HEARTH" name is both a nod to the central place in homes where families gather for food and warmth, and a combination of the words that reflect the intention of the project: "heart," "earth," and "art." Attending a HEARTH Circle is self-care; the practices and sharing open your heart to release stress and stuck emotional energy. By fostering a connection to the Earth, HEARTH Circles provide a setting for awakened discussion and action around ecological and social issues in communities. Within the sacred space held for a HEARTH Circle, you can unveil your art - your unique embodiment of life-affirming creativity. The creative energy of spring is my inspiration as I plan the monthly Community HEARTH and Healing Circles I will facilitate this season. During each HEARTH Circle there is meditation, the chance to both give and receive energy, and a ritual of naming and then sending energy to far-off beings and situations in need of healing. My underlying desire, however, is to simply offer the folks in our small, rural mountain community a space to gather with like-hearted people, for both light, friendly networking and deep sharing, where everyone's art is honored.
Donations given at HEARTH Circles support OMEC's mission to reconnect us with deep mystery, encourage a sacred and responsible relationship with the Earth, and preserve the ancient wisdom ways of indigenous people and ancestral lands.
Visit OMEC's website to find a listing of existing HEARTH Circles or to discover how to create a HEARTH Circle where you are. Your HEARTH experience ripples out into widening circles of connection, community, and deep wisdom revealed. And, please, take a moment to observe and feel the energy of spring in the place you call home. Oh, and watch out for mud if you aren't wearing your galoshes.
Many blessings, Debbie Philp, HEARTH Project Committee Member, OMEC