Ancestral Healing

“The collective pain-body is probably encoded within every human’s DNA, although we haven’t discovered it there yet.”

Eckhart Tolle


The nature of Mayan culture allows them to grieve openly and mourn completely at the time of death. Subsequently, remembering lost family members so that their spirits will present themselves in this dimension is considered a gift.

For the Maya, the ancestors are the building blocks of their lives and ancestral worship is customary and celebratory. Like many other original people in the Americas, they have honored the ancestors for centuries in prayer, ritual and ceremony.

Make no mistake, deceased ancestors are "on-call" for their live relatives. All one needs to do is remember and call upon them for help whenever it’s needed. Since  living beings are a soul's only physical manifestation, this is the manner in which they serve their lineage of loved ones. Remembering the ancestors is as holy an act as any other form of worship.

The four directions are grandparents. The prophets, who taught the Maya about the calendars and how to live, are ancestors. Death is a transformation and the souls of the ancestors serve an important purpose: they are dedicated and empowered healing agents. This is how the term “ancestral healing” is used by the Maya.

Tata Jose smoking a "puro" (pure tobacco cigar) which brings connection with the ancestors

Uninitiated Souls

The Maya, like many other indigenous cultures, know that the only way to liberate the soul is by healing the dark, unwanted elements of the self.  Modern spiritualists teach their version of the same concept. Eckhart Tolle, for example, uses the term "pain body" for these dark parts of self that obscure the soul; energy healers and modern shamans speak of "negative energies" or "entities" that need to release from the subtle body ( the human energy field) in order for a person to become whole.

Westerners typically grieve privately, if at all, and quickly forget their ancestor’s existence. Communicate with them is rare. If a person admitted that they did communicate with dead relatives, they would be dismissed as odd or mentally ill. This is because we live in a gross, material society and are not capable of discerning the subtleties of finer levels of consciousness, the soul or the spirits of our ancestors.

The Maya share a belief with other indigenous cultures found on every continent: initiated souls pass over to the other-world upon death, the uninitiated do not.  Those that do not pass over hang around on the Earth plane plaguing humans, oftentimes for centuries. To the Maya, every malady, condition, addiction and bad habit is caused by an uninitiated soul, who, upon death, will latch on to an unaware family member. This is why so many people feel controlled by something outside of themselves, they are.  If this energy is not understood nor brought into awareness for healing, it will continue to wreak havoc for generations to come. Learn more about how previous generations of ancestors affect our subtle bodies.


The Mayan Cross, Awareness and Ancestral Healing

In the West, it is common to blame personal and health problems on hereditary factors, but rather than heal the root cause, the common practice is to “cure” the symptom using allopathic means (drugs, surgery, non-awareness based treatments). The symptoms typically reemerge, often times in a different form because the negative energy has not fully released.

Healing the root cause requires three things: trust in the process, acute awareness and a healing method (often based on indigenous wisdom) for dissipating the negative energy. The key here is awareness, as most healing methods are based on this approach.

1.    The Mayan Cross reveals the positive and negative energies which affect the person.
Often people have a “wake-up call” when looking at their Mayan Cross because it points out things they have known about themselves, but have chosen to ignore. If the negative energies in your Cross resonate with you or if the positive energies seems too unlikely for you to achieve, then you may want to look more deeply at them, considering them as issues that need to be healed within yourself.

2.    The Mayan Cross provides the names and descriptions of your nawales who can be called upon to assist your healing and ongoing support of your desired state of being. You can also ask your ancestors for help. The Maya call in every guide they can.

3.    The Mayan Cross interpretations offer information about the rituals, auspicious days for performing them, meditations and suggestions for building awareness.

4.    The Mayan Cross broadens understanding and appreciation for how ancient traditions are used to transcend significant healing issues.


Alleviating Guilt

Nearly every visitor to Maya-land is struck by their charismatic, inspiring nature. One soulful smile from a Maya brings a Westerner to tears. It is next to impossible not to feel guilt for what our forbearers have done to suppress this deep connection in the name of imperialism. Corporate and government supported exploitation, genocide, oppression, hate and divisiveness has ruled most of our hemisphere since the days of the conquistadors. To truly understand the complexity and elegance of the Maya, and come to grips with our need for ancestral healing, it is important to learn about the US involvement in Guatemala since the 1950's.

Dennis Tedlock, renowned Mayan anthropologist and author shares a prayer that Mayan daykeepers use when they go to a public shrine. This work speaks to the Mayan understanding of the guilt inherent in the human condition, a wound that is ripe for healing in all of us.


"Make my guilt vanish,
Heart of the Sky, Heart of the Earth
Do me a favor,
Give me strength, give me courage
In my heart, in my head,
Since you are my mountain and my plain;
May there be no falsehood and no stain,
And may the reading of the Popul Vuh
come out clear as dawn,
and may the sifting of ancient times
be complete in my heart, in my head;
and make my guilt vanish,
my grandmothers, grandfathers,
and however many souls of the dead there may be,
you who speak with the Heart of Sky and Earth,
may all of you together give strength
to the reading I have undertaken."

Healing the pain from long-standing guilt eventually renders the recognition that healing oneself results in healing the whole. When this happens, ancestral healing occurs. Grace replaces deep-seeded guilt and shines brightly through the soul.

 The Great Healing

At this stage in human history, ancestral wounds are not culturally dependent. We are all by-products of previous levels of consciousness and, through collaborated efforts between ourselves and the universe, consciousness continues to evolve. All cultures are on a healing path whether they are aware of it or not. As the awareness of pain and suffering increases, paradoxically, humanity is learning to take responsibility for healing themselves and the Earth.

The numbers of people who understand what needs to be healed and the resources we may draw upon are mounting. It appears that each disaster, whether its nature is physical, political or social, brings us closer to the appropriate level of passion and eloquence necessary for our prayers to be heard.

The past few decades have seen a resurgence of gatherings, both virtual and physical, aimed at healing our ancestral wounds. Ironically, those most greatly oppressed are the ones with the most effective wisdom rituals. The popularity of the Mayan Fire Ceremony, based on the Mayan sacred calendar, is an example. Additionally, we use technology to spread the word and mass meditations during high-energy celestial events to make a difference. When not in group, we practice rituals in front of our altars, intending to deepen our soul awareness and heal our wounds.

The Maya would say that this healing has been prophesized; that the period of the Nine Hells is over and that humanity is shifting to a new time cycle that is harmonic and sustainable.  The 2010 winter solstice/lunar eclipse in Tikal is one example. Permits for overnight stays were issued for the first time in decades as throngs of Maya and multi-nationals shared the experience and ceremonies joyfully as one.

Watch video of sacred ceremony in Tikal, winter solstice, 2010