Mayan Ceremony at Iximche

dsc00899Photo L to R: Irma (host mom), me, Angela (LCF)

Angela is my small language group’s new teacher. We love her! She’s got a great sense of humor and knows how to keep us on track. I learned a lot in her class today and she buoyed my spirits with her encouragement.

A few days ago our whole group attended a Mayan ceremony led by Sra. Ernestina Reyes Quino. Two of our teachers prepared us in advance so that we could understand and participate in the ceremony. We each learned our nahual type. You can think of the nahual as an animal guide and teaching although that’s not really what it is, but close enough for now.  My nahual refers to the camino or path and my animal is the wildcat.

I woke up on the morning of the ceremony feeling out of sorts. But once I was there I was energized and my good feelings and strength increased throughout the ceremony. The ceremony served to acknowledge our connection to nature, the elements, the directions, and Creator and to each other. The ceremony took place at Iximche, a Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican site that was once “…the capital of the Late Postclassic Kaqchikel Maya kingdom from 1470 until its abandonment in 1524.” -Wikipedia


Trees leading the way to the ceremonial place.


Creating sacred space with flower petals, candles, frankincense, myrrh, and copal.


We were allowed to help Ernestina set up the space a little and take photos before and after the ceremony, but not during. Below: folks are laying down two circles of pine needles. The man to the far left is Don Francisco, one of the Peace Corps LCFs who was instrumental in preparing us for the ceremony.


Below: Peace Corps folks stand in a circle around the sacred space. Some people stood the entire time and some sat as needed. There were a couple of other ceremonies taking place simultaneously, nearby. But we stayed focused on our own, for the most part.



Above, Sra. Ernestina kneels to begin the ceremony and light the candles.

Below, she is slowly putting out the fire after the ceremony.



The beautiful grounds of Iximche.

After the ceremony, we had a big lunch outdoors. I am grateful to the Peace Corps for including these cultural immersions so that we can deepen our understanding of the history of the Guatemalan people. It was a beautiful and memorable day.


Eso es todo por ahora. Gracias por visitando!


  1. Hi wildcat. Thank you for posting this. Very meaningful. Westerners need more ritual in our lives. We have lost most of that. OK, I’ll own that “I” need more ritual in my life; I’ve lost a lot of that! XOXOX

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