I had the amazing opportunity to be invited to Guatemala by Rigoberta Menchu Tum with Dawn Engle and Ivan Suvanjieff founders of Peace Jam. They had made the movie “Mayan Renaissance” which I was a producer of. It tells the untold story of the Maya, their achievements and gifts to humanity as well as the civil war in Guatemala targeted at the Maya and the genocide that took place over 35 years. It is also the story of Rigoberta Menchu Tum, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

We were guests at Rigoberta’s country home. When I say country home I do not mean something really grand and regal. The land was gifted to her. It has an ancient avocado tree on it. I called it the umbrella tree of love – as it was huge and embraced all of us with infinite love as we sat under her for the ceremonies.

My room was simple. Where she put her attention and energy was with the community. This is what the home was about. Creating a space to bring people together for important gatherings and ceremonies. It was here we would celebrate Winter Solstice 2012 and the following morning bring in the New Sun and the new era. And for the new era Rigoberta has a vision of turning part of the land into a living natural museum and learning center honoring the Maya and their cosmovision.

Preparing for the Ceremonies

Everything for the ceremonies was done with such incredible planning and love that all flowed with ease and grace. Rigoberta’s husband, Angel, picked us up at the airport on the 17th. The following day we were invited to breakfast and to go with him 3 hours one way to pick up 300 cups with “13 Baktun” and an owl hand-painted on each one. We wrapped them all in newspaper to protect them for the ride home.

The following morning we left at 4am to drive to one of the largest flower markets in Guatemala. We went in two vehicles; a suv and a truck. The bed of the truck was filled to the roof and beyond with flowers held secure with ropes. Even the back of the suv was filled with flowers.

Back at the house many people had arrived to help with the preparations which took three days. I was involved in sorting flowers by color and picking off the pedals. Everyone knew their jobs and people were working in joy and with a natural rhythm of the earth. Everything done had a symbolic meaning…. From the four arched gateways created to symbolize the four directions. Each one was made of greenery and with flowers the color that symbolized that particualar direction. There were circles of flower pedals and fire pits with intricate layers prepared to be burned in the ceremonies. Rigoberta had just returned, the following day after our arrival, from meetings in Mexico, she worked non-stop in the preparations with everyone else.

As I worked with the flowers feeling immense joy I had a huge aha moment, it was something I had known for years intellectually but now I knew it in my body. We in the western world had made things more important than people. Everyone was striving for things, materialism, consumerism. There was a belief that things would make you happy and people had become forgotten. The heart was forgotten. I remember getting a beating as a child for spilling my milk. And I realized that once things became more important than people it made people lose their natural rhythm of working in sync with the rhythm of the Earth. When time became money people had to work harder and harder, faster and faster to produce more things that would turn into profit, turn into money.

We were able to have a showing of the Mayan Renaissance film while there.  It was met with such gratitude and we got the Mayan Seal of Approval…. for being factual in telling their

One morning I woke up early to what sounded like barking dogs but it turned out the whole yard was filled with huge turkeys! Turkeys were part of the ancient traditions and they had had local people growing and tending to the turkeys with love. They were all brought over to be part of a meal – turkey soup that would feed 300 people or more for two meals! 200 Indigenous Youth Leaders from around the world were also with us. Cacao beans were cooked on the outdoor stove top and the skins peeled by hand. This would be a gift to us in the final ceremony. Drinking cacao was an ancient tradition just now being brought back to the sacred ceremony. Cacao opens the heart.

The Ceremonies Begin

The ceremonies were potent. The solstice pre-ceremony started with dancers in costumes and then a reenactment of the ancient ball games. A marimba band played for most of two days. We ate our lunch of fresh turkey soup served with corn tortillas. The Maya believe man comes from corn and corn is sacred and it is important for them to eat corn daily in some form. I thought about the four colors of the corn kernels, red, yellow, white and black. The four colors of the races of mankind.

At 4 pm we gathered around the circle of the ancient tree. The official ceremonies began. They explained the symbolism of the colors and the designs that had been made with the flowers. A serpent made of flower pedals represented the rhythm of existence. Then we danced to the marimba band remembering our connection to the rhythm of life, rhythm of earth and the universe. The Nawal that day from the Tzolkin calendar was Ajpu symbolizing the sun, the ancestors. How important it is for us to be connected to our ancestors and listening to them and letting them help and guide us.

That night the official ceremony ended. Later that night I would be dancing under the sky that had turned red on the horizons. We danced until just past midnight under the red sky. People were sharing. I didn’t know what they were saying as they were speaking Spanish. Rigoberta asked if I would like to speak. I said yes. A young woman translated. I apologized for not speaking Spanish. I apologized for the huge black hole created by my country and our focus on the material that radiates out through the media and movies to the entire world getting people so off track to truth and what is real. I thanked the Mayan people for their courage of all they had gone through.  I thanked all those of the indigenous wisdom on our planet for keeping the sacred fires going not letting our earth die. For feeding her and feeding all that is real until humanity woke up. And I said I truly knew in my heart this time we were going to do it, evolve and know love and unity in this new era we were moving into.

I got two hours of sleep. The following day at 5am the next seven hour ceremony started. This day was the Nawal of Imox: water, the feminine energies. It was the day of the new sun, each sun cycle lasting a period of 400 years. It was the beginning of the new 26,000 year cycle. What an amazing day!!

The spiritual guides spoke about the importance of the feminine. They spoke about what was important moving forward into this next era and to hold our focus on each day:

Gratitude – waking up in gratitude for all nature and being in pure gratitude

Respect- for the earth and all life – of each other

Giving back, not just taking. The balance of giving and receiving

Unconditional love – for all life, always.

This was the key to going forward and creating our New Earth. Each of us is part of this creation and we can’t just sit back and expect it to happen. It is a co-creation. The new energies are here. Now is the time to use these energies to co-create a world of love that works for all life! We each have an important part to play.

*(There were no electronics or photography allowed in either of the sacred ceremonies, so all photos were taken before)