Our next stop was visit to a Mayan spiritual guide. An unusual opportunity was presented. Would you expect a visit to a spiritual guide of a pagan religion on a tour sponsored by Roman Catholic Religious? It was an opportunity to compare myths. Do they compete with each other or are they complimentary?
They raped our mother earth
when they stripped the southern coast
and changed the ecological balance
planting cotton to produce capital
Instead of sacred corn,
which sustains our people.
(Julia Esquivel, “All Guatemala is Rigoberta Menchu,” The Certainty of Spring, Ecumenical Program on Central America, Washington, D.C. 1993)
We were warmly greeted by the Mayan spiritual leader, his wife and his son at their home and worship center. There was an open “patio” area, a small room for prayer and reflection and a large room for instruction or discussion. The large room was equipped with a projector and a large screen. On display were specially shaped and colored rocks considered sacred.
The video and the talk emphasized the Mayan belief in the oneness of being. Rituals are held outdoors in the temple of nature itself. For the Mayans all of nature is sacred without distinct differences in value, hence the objection to indiscriminate mining and cash crop agriculture for export. Mother Earth is sacred.
Despite the peace accords of 1996 the racist war against the indigenous continues. In 2012 seven campesinos we killed by government security forces. The indigenous were protesting government policy. The Mayans ask an important question about their future and the future of the planet: “What will happen if the megaprojects of neo-liberalism succeed?” (Estudio Sobre el Impacto de los Megaproyectos en Relaceion a los Lugares Mayas, Santa Cruz del Quiche, 2012)
The spiritual guide and a colleague were open to discussion. I asked, if you do not believe that Jesus Christ is God and the savior of all, are you able and willing to collaborate with Christians? There was dialogue for clarification, and the answer was yes. The crisis presented by the global neo-liberal policy on mining, energy production, and agriculture has prompted workshops, sponsored by the Mayans, on how to confront the crisis. Workshops have included leaders from various communities – “Evangelicos, Catholics, teachers, women and young people.” (Ibid)
Are women permitted to be spiritual leaders? The answer was yes. Our spiritual leader’s wife was also a spiritual guide. At a future stop we would pray with a female Mayan spiritual leader at the site of a terrible slaughter of indigenous people in the church and church yard of the Roman Catholic parish – Espiritu Santo.
From the beginning ‘till now the entire creation, as we know, has been groaning in one act of giving birth; we must be content to hope that we will be saved…. (Romans C. 8, vs 20 – 25)