By Lois, January, 26th 2015
Out of the past three days at a very spiritual location in the highlands of Guatemala, my favorite part was the ceremonial fire we participated in Saturday evening. It started out with the Mayan priest, Pedro, building the fire. He spread sugar in a circle with an “x” in it and then put lumps of pine bark and sap on followed by candles and incenses. The fire was lit and we were each given a bundle of candles.
As the sacred days of the Mayan calendar (which is all 260 of them) were named, Emily (our English teacher who also knows a significant amount of Spanish) translated the meaning of the deities of the most important days and we threw candles into the fire as offerings. I was slightly distracted during this part of the ritual because red ants were biting my feet. It was disorienting at first because I couldn’t figure out what was happening, but when I finally did I was able to put me shoes back on and save my feet. Next,Pedro asked three of us to come into the sacred circle and dance around the fire. When they were done he gave them advice on the future.
Then he asked three more into the circle and so on until all of us had had a turn to dance around the fire and receive a prophecy about our futures. Most of the things he said seemed accurate for the people he told them to. It was almost eerie that he could know those sorts of things about us, having just met us. Next we had time to talk to the fire in our own way. Some people closed their eyes and felt the heat of the flames and thought; others sat and stared into the fire. I, however, felt the impulse to dance and so my talking with the fire was more dancing with the fire. When we were done talking to the fire we gave one last offering, Pedro blessed us with floral water, and it was over. Overall I found it to be a very interesting and revealing experience.