Few peoples lived their spiritual mythologies in so graphic a manner, and left behind such abundant clues of the great leap to life beyond this one, and the places in-between, in their magnificent temples and symbols now being decoded.
How can we find meaning in the Ancient Maya world that we may translate into our own lives? What Maya rituals and stories survive connecting the filaments from long ago? In a present-day Western culture bereft of such richness, how might we take a cue from this age-old culture and develop metaphoric pathways to enliven our own being? These are the questions that will frame our experiences and journey into timelessness.
We are honored to offer a special program focusing on the sacred traditions of Maya peoples. Through the timing of our travels we are fortunate to immerse ourselves in Maya Mysteries showcasing the spiritual strength of the Living Maya connected with their ancient origins. We offer you an intimate opportunity, unlikely to be found on your own, engaging with spiritual leaders and healers who serve their people with the intent that we are all transformed and carry the beauty home.
We begin our program in the lovely colonial town of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, surrounded by high mountains, with its stately architecture, narrow streets and markets replete with beautiful Maya weavings and handicrafts. Here we are introduced to the elements of Maya culture and traditions. We also meet Don Sergio Castro, known as the saint of San Cristóbal, and learn of his humanitarian healing work. Through a collaboration with Galería MUY, specializing in Maya and Zoque contemporary art, we meet the artists who share their work and influences from cultural roots, relationship with Ch'll Balamil (Mother Earth) and threats to their traditions have on their art.
In a small hamlet above the village of San Juan Chamula we are invited into the home of Don Xun Calixto. Here he holds an audience telling of his curing methods. After a special ceremony of prayers and offerings we share a meal in the family compound. We witness the religious festivals of San Sebastián in Chamula and Zinacantán, and spend time in a Maya church where curanderos conduct healing sessions — and many have deeply spiritual experiences. During our time in the highlands, Tat Apab'yan Tew, Maya Daykeeper and spiritual guide, offers sacred ways from his native Guatemala and a fire ceremony connecting with the ancestors.
In the Lacandón Maya rainforest village of Nahá, we meet Don Antonio Martinez, the last elder faithfully practicing his indigenous rituals. He has graciously consented to share his traditions, and the sacred balché ceremony, so that they may be witnessed and live on. While in Nahá we are privileged to visit artist Kayum Ma'ax Garcia, son of the late spiritual leader Chan K'in Viejo, in his home.
Our travels culminate against the dramatic backdrop of Palenque where we learn Ancient Maya Cosmology and the extent that the Living Maya are still shaped by their ancestors. Enter the curing room of Doña Panchita, curandera serving her people in Palenque, and receive a private clearing. An apt ending to our journey... knowing that commitment to such an undertaking is life-changing, unfolding on multiple levels, informing our future and those we touch.
The Hopi religious leader will designate his representative.
Hopi Spirit Keepers’ involvement is sponsored through the tax-deductible portion of your tuition. Kenosis Spirit Keepers, as the nonprofit extension of Kenosis, provides Indigenous "bridge builders" in the Americas, who have shared interests, parallel traditions or overlapping geographic roots, ways to connect with each other on an intimate, small group level. Through these interchanges it is our intent that Native traditions are strengthened and sustained.
Flordemayo of the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers gives her impressions of traveling with the "Entering the Maya Mysteries" 2013 spiritual travel program. You can view this video on YouTube.
Carla Woody, MA, CHT... author of Standing Stark and Calling Our Spirits Home... is the founder of Kenosis LLC, an organization based in Prescott, Arizona, supporting human potential through workshops and spiritual travel opportunities. She leads retreats internationally sharing an integration of NLP, energy medicine and world sacred traditions. Carla is the developer of "The Re-Membering Process", a model for spiritual growth, and works with individuals and groups in areas of transition, relationships, spirituality and whole health. She first journeyed to Palenque in 1995 and has been drawn back again and again by the resident mysteries of the region. In 2007, Carla founded Kenosis Spirit Keepers, a 501(c)3 organization, working to preserve indigenous wisdom traditions threatened with decimation.
Apab'yan Tew is an Ajq'ij, a Day Keeper, spiritual guide, dancer and musician, of the sacred K'iche' Maya tradition from the village of Nawalja' in Sololá of the Guatemalan highlands. His ceremonial work most often takes place in caves, engaging the resident energies of the natural site and timing of the Cholq'ij calendar in conjunction with needs of communities or individuals. During these times he becomes a living mirror and spiritual conduit. Sought after as a speaker and consultant, we are fortunate to have Tat Apab’yan traveling with us as translator, not only for language but also of Maya traditions in a way we may experience them more deeply.
Carol Karasik is a poet, writer and editor who has worked on books and films in the fields of anthropology, art, ecology, and educational philosophy. For the last twenty years she has lived in Chiapas in order to experience her passion on a day-to-day basis Maya culture. That immersion has recently produced a novel set in nineteenth-century Chiapas, as well as the text for Corazon Abriendo, a multi-media dance piece based on Maya weaving which is now being performed in the US and Mexico. She received a National Endowment for the Humanities award for her script on Maya civilization. As editor she has been involved in many publications such as Maya Tales from Zinacantán, Living Maya, and Every Woman Is a World: Interviews with Women of Chiapas. She is also conducting research on archaeoastronomy at Palenque. Carol is a quintessential storyteller who conveys the lives of the present-day Maya in a way that is mesmerizing.
The Lacandón Maya live deep in the rainforest now known as the Lacandón Biosphere. Some anthropologists claim they are the direct descendants of the Ancient Maya who built Palenque, while others conjecture they came from the Yucatan to escape the conquistadors. Wherever their origins, the Lacandones have been rooted in the jungle for hundreds of years in relative isolation. Their appearance and native practices, which closely parallel the Classic Maya mythologies, set them apart from the Maya in other areas of Mexico. Their numbers are growing fewer, merely a few hundred, and since their t'o'ohil, or great one, Chan K'in Viejo passed in the late 1990s their spiritual traditions are nearly lost.
During our time in the rainforest village of Nahá, we are privileged to spend time with Don Antonio Martinez, the last elder faithful to his traditions, and engage in the balché ceremony, a prayer offering.
Video filmed by Janet Harvey during our 2015 Maya program.
The Tzotzil and Tzeltal Maya of the Chiapas highlands hold a rich tradition of religious festivals, curing rituals, herbal remedies and women’s sacred medicine ways. Their healers are called through dreams and their everyday lives are infused with the esoteric metaphors that are documented in Classic Maya art. We will be fortunate to sample it all.
Maya fire ceremonies are offered to Mother Earth; to the four cardinal directions; to the first Grandmothers and Grandfathers and all our ancestors; to the rivers, lakes and seas; and to the powers of all animals and human beings in the universe.
The Maya ceremony consists of preparing a ceremonial pyre. It is called a gift but also a payment in the sense of reciprocity. The K'iche' ceremonial pyre is not a bonfire; it does not burn a long time. It does not need to last. The importance has to do with what happens while the fire is active: There must be a dialogue.
When the fire starts to burn, the sky and the earth begin to speak. The clouds are speaking. The wind speaks. The birds talk and sing. Everyone... everything... participates in that moment... The fire is alive, speaks and does so with discernment. That is, it allows negotiation because it is listening, too. The sacred fire opens up possibilities. One can review decisions, consult your own heart, enter into an affinity with nature, interact with the ancestors, experience communion with the universe.
— Tat Apab'yan Tew, K'iche' Maya Daykeeper
Early registration discount $2697 by August 28. After August 28: $2797. Registration cost includes an automatic donation (tax-deductible for U.S. taxpayers) of $400 supporting travel sponsorship of a traditional Hopi Wisdom Keeper and the humanitarian healing work of Don Sergio Castro.
Tuition includes all group work with Carla Woody, instruction in Maya cosmology with Carol Karasik, audience and curing ritual with Don Xun Calixto, balché ceremony with Lancandón Elder Don Antonio Martinez, private curing session with Doña Panchita, fire ceremony and teachings with Tat Apab'yan Tew, noted religious festivals, visits with artists and Don Sergio Castro, simple lodging in double rooms or other shared arrangements depending on location, all meals in Nahá, two dinners/all breakfasts in San Cristóbal, any entrance fees, and transport in Mexico during formal group time.
Single supplement, if available, in San Cristóbal and Palenque: $425.
Tuition does NOT include airfare to/from Mexico, or transportation between the airport and the starting/ending points (San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Palenque). Neither does it include travel insurance (minimum emergency medical/evacuation required), beverages, snacks, meals not mentioned above, tips, or personal expenses incurred at lodging or elsewhere.
Also includes a pre- or post-trip Lifepath Design session — complimentary — with Carla Woody regarding intent or re-entry. Participants of spiritual travel programs are offered a special discount for the six-month mentoring program Navigating Your Lifepath. This deep discount is not available to others but offered as an add-on to further support integration of the spiritual travel journey.
For complete details, contact us. Detailed logistics document sent upon registration. MC/Visa accepted via PayPal here.
Non-refundable deposit of $500 made out to Kenosis LLC to hold your place. Remainder due in full by October 22, 2017. Send final payment in two checks (or money orders) as follows: One check for $400 made out to Kenosis Spirit Keepers and the remaining registration amount to Kenosis LLC. Mail both to: Kenosis, PO Box 10441, Prescott, AZ 86304. To pay by credit card or PayPal go here.
Up to 90 days prior to the trip start, full refund (less non-refundable deposit). Between 89-70 days prior: 50% (less non-refundable deposit). Less than 70 days: no refund. Please note that this program involves costly upfront expenses incurred by Kenosis in order to secure arrangements, which are passed on to travelers should cancellation occur as shown above. We suggest travelers obtain travel insurance that covers trip cancellation for any reason.
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: DECEMBER 17, 2017.
We believe in the sacred sense of reciprocity. Your tuition includes a financial contribution to support the welfare of the Maya people with whom we engage, as well as other Native traditions.
For this year's Maya program, your donation goes to support:
Spirit Keepers Journey supporting a traditional Hopi Wisdom Keeper to make connections with Maya relations.
Don Sergio Castro’s textile museum and his humanitarian healing work with poor Maya communities.
Automatic donations from tuitions for Spiritual Travel Programs are forwarded to Kenosis Spirit Keepers, the nonprofit arm of Kenosis LLC, in order to give back to traditional Indigenous spiritual leaders, healers and communities who hold the fragile threads of their sacred ways. We fully believe: If these traditions continue to die, we all lose.