Kaqchikel community

The Kaqchikel are one of the indigenous Maya peoples of the midwestern highlands in Guatemala.

The fire ceremony could easily be considered to be the heart of Mayan spiritual practice. It is the physical practice which facilitates interaction with the energies of creation, the nawales. Mayan fire ceremonies are beautiful affairs, full to the brim of colour, of fragrant incenses and flowers, and of delicious words. This is where we make our offerings for all we have received in our lives, where we make our offerings for the things we wish to repair and where we ask for our needs to be met.

The ceremony consists of building a beautiful design, somewhat like a mandala, using sugar, incenses, colourful candles, aromatic bark, herbs, cacao and pitch pine. There is then an invocation of the energies of the directions and their guardians, an invocation of the ancestors and an invocation of the sacred sites and altars around the world. The fire is then lit and each of the energies of the days invoked and offerings made to each of them. The thirteen aspects of each energy are counted as they give thanks, ask for forgiveness and ask for what we need from each of the nawales. When all 260 day have been addressed, they then finally close the directions and finish the fire.

The pictures here were shot at a 2 day ceremony I attended around Sololá Guatemala, a little town close to Lake Atitlan. The first day consisded of the burning of our old believes, during this day the people burned old clothes to get rid of energies that are no longer of service to them. The second day then was the day of rebirth and celebration, because it was the day of the monkey they had the childeren dressed up like monkeys doing a very intriguing dance.