(Painting of Chac Mol- Mayan Rain God statue by Ginger Strivelli-painting In CHichen Itza, oct. 2010)
Beth and I went to the Chichen Itza City Ruins in the Yucatan of Mexico
in Oct. here is Beth's report, a poem I wrote in the shadow of Lord Kukulcan's Pyramid,
and some of our artwork from the trip, Blessings,
Visiting the ruins of the Mayans at Chichen-Itza with Ginger last month was much more than two best friends having a great time on vacation.
Sure, we DID have a wonderful trip, with lots of laughter, eating new foods(Ginger is now a lobster fan!), shopping, spending time together, to name just a few pleasures of traveling together.
(Since we live farther apart now, any trip we take provides us with lots of BFF time!)
Since, obviously, we both are Pagan, viewing the ancient ruins of Chichen-Itza(the name means "water-witches") and learning more about Mayan culture was also a religious experience.
Spending hours near such amazing structures as the observatory, pyramid, warrior's temple, ball court and more gave us both time to focus on the myriad Mayan deities, language, customs and more was a wonderful spiritual journey.
As we sat in the shade one afternoon, sketching the pyramid and soaking in the atmosphere, I found myself thinking of the values of persistence and perseverance---in a more ancient time as well as the present day.
The Mayans surely possessed both these values in abundance, to have accomplished the feat of building structures that continue to mystify science,
and were so well-built that even after centuries of being hidden in deep jungles, many are nearly intact today.
Some more 'modern' buildings constructed with more current technology are unable to accomplish that! As this concept was simmering in my subconscious, I had some thoughts to share with you.
Persistence and perseverance are as valuable to us as Pagans now as they were to ancient cultures in many parts of the world throughout history.
This is especially true for Pagans facing intolerance and persecution.
Many of our ancestors also faced these issues, and continued their practice in secrecy.
It's shameful that so many feel the need to stay in the "broom closet" now , especially since religious freedom is our right and was one of the basic concepts on which our country was founded.
To those Pagans, I say persist! Don't give up, especially if you are just beginning your spiritual journey. You are not alone, though at times it may feel that way. I know it's a cliche, but persistence does pay off!
Resources are many........Events such as Pagan Pride Day are held in various cities each fall---attend and be proud, knowing you are among like-minded people. There are other ways Pagans can connect with others for support and friendship.
Much can be learned online and through books/magazines. In fact, one way to 'find' other Pagans in your area is to visit the "New Age" section of a large bookstore; choose a book & sit in the aisle to explore......chances are, you will meet others doing the same!
(I've had good results doing this after moving to a new area...even though I am primarily a solitary practitioner, it's always good to have friends with whom you can just 'be yourself")
Subscribe to Pagan magazines/newsletters; there are often notices of events in areas across the country. Newsgroups can be helpful as well.......so persist in finding your path. Soon, you won't feel alone!
Perseverance is essential for us "old-time" Pagans as well. Celebrate the Sabbats to the best of your ability, teach your children, attend or hold an open event for Pagans in your area.
This is especially important for those who don't have a coven or circle, but it's a good idea for Solitaries as well. Continue learning about the many pantheons of Gods/Goddeses to not only increase your knowledge, but to find the Deities that resonate with you.
This will deeply enrich you and those with whom you share beliefs.
Other important areas for perseverance is in divination and spellwork. It often takes repeated practice to discover the divination method and tools that work best for you. Tarot cards, scrying, using a pendulum, and meditation arre just a few of the available methods.
Tarot alone is an expansive tool----there are decks based on practically every pantheon and belief type, as well as various branches of practice such as herbs, animals, faery, and much more.
Spellwork is often an area where perseverance is essential. For example, if a ritual or working is not effective, try repeating it over a 3 day period; rewrite spells to suit your needs, and create your own as well.
If astrology is helpful to you, consult one of the many references and perform the spell when the moon is in the desired sign. (Llewellyn's Witches Datebook is excellent, as it lists astrological data such as moon phases and planetary retrogrades.)
I created a working inspired by the Mayans and one of my favorite things-----chocolate! The Deity involved is IxCocoa, Goddess of chocolate....we always knew chocolate was divine!
This is a brief but enjoyable ritual that can be done alone or shared with others....it seemed especially appropriate to honor this Mayan God after visiting Chichen-Itza!
(One of the offered spa treatments is a cocoa body wrap.)
All you need to honor IxCocoa is a small white candle,a small offering dish such as a saucer or small bowl.
and the following: Ingredients per person: 1 dark chocolate candy bar(about 5-6 ounces) such as Hershey's Special dark, chopped; 8 ounces whole milk; 1/8 tsp. vanilla extract; sugar to taste; whipped cream; powdered cinnamon.
Gather ingredients and participants. Light the candle and make a brief statement of your intent.
(Example: We gather here to honor the Mayan Goddess IxCocoa. Cocoa is considered the food of thiis Goddess, and we thank Her for this gift. May we enjoy it together in fellowship and to honor Her.
Each time we meet to share in this gift, we remember IxCocoa of the Mayan people, and invite Her presence among us. So mote it be.)
Place milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat until warm. Add chocolate and stir til melted, then add vanilla.
Place one large spoonful of mixture into offering dish, then sweeten chocolate to taste. Allow mixture to steam, but do not boil.
Pour each participant's portion of hot chocolate into a mug and top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Each person place a spoonful of chocolate into offering dish, for IxCocoa.
Allow offering to stay in front of candle til candle is burned, or overnight if you prefer. The offering can then be poured into the earth outdoors.
Repeat as often as you desire, or any time you are enjoying a chocolate treat!
A blessed New Year to all!
Mayan Chocolate Goddess painting by Ginger Strivelli
Lines written by Ginger Strivelli on Oct. 8th, 2011 in Chichen itza, Mexico
Sitting in Kukulcan's Pyramid's shade Watching the centuries away fade Listening to the tropical birds sing along in a chorus that has gone on so long For over a thousand years or more the Sun God has risen over this sight before But watching Him rise above the platform makes my heart, mind, and spirit warm.----------------------------