THE PATH OF A MAYAN SPIRITUAL LEADER OR AJQ’IJ IS A LIFELONG COMMITMENT. HOW DO THEY KNOW IF IT IS THEIR CALLING, AND HOW DOES THIS PATH UNFOLD?
The Mayans carried themselves in the world knowing the importance of community, of how, when uniting and working together for a common goal, they were much stronger than when doing so individually. In this tradition everyone had their role, which would contribute to the wellbeing of all. Their focus on supporting one another is what made their community thrive and is one of the many reasons the influences of this great and wise nature are still present today.
Both in the past and in the present, one of the important roles in these societies, who historically understood the practice of helping others, were spiritual leaders. They are called Ajq’ij, which literally translates to Counter of Time. They are the ones who are able to make Kotzij' or Mayan ceremonies; carry out cleansings, spiritual healings, divination work, cross readings, and many other spiritual practices. Their work is so important in helping the community as it is vital for the wellbeing of all. But, how do they begin this path and know that they are the right person to do this?
THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT ROLE, AND THE MAYANS TAKE IT VERY SERIOUSLY WHEN CONSIDERING WHO CAN BECOME AN AJQ’IJ, AS THEY NEED TO BE SPIRITUALLY STRONG. FIRST AND FOREMOST, THIS PERSON MUST HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH NATURE.
They must be able to comprehend the messages of nature; to understand how it functions; to be able to communicate with the birds and clouds, as well as read every sign that appears. Nature continually speaks with us, as the Mayab' are aware, but we in modern society have forgotten how to listen. They then require a sign, a calling from the energies. This could be in the form of a message from nature, a revelation through a dream, or some other clear sign.
Once they get this message, they express this to their teacher, as they generally already have a connection with the community's Ajq'ijab'. They and their teacher must establish a good relationship before embarking on their journey, since they must trust each other. Choosing who will guide this journey is essential since this teacher will absorb the energy of their students and share responsibility for their triumphs as well as their failures. When the teacher is chosen, they will usually undertake a Maya cross reading to first determine that this individual has the right energies to become an Ajq'ij. They next perform a Tz'ite' reading to establish that they are on the right path and that they are the right teacher.
Once all of this is confirmed, they will embark on their journey.
THIS PATH CONSISTS OF 20 CEREMONIES, EACH ONE REPRESENTING ONE OF THE ENERGIES OF THE CHOLQ'IJ.
They travel around Guatemala to different Tab'al Tzij', also known as Mayan altars, which are locations of high connection in nature. While performing these ceremonies, they begin to learn much of the Ajq'ij wisdom and mysteries, such as how to read the Tz'ite' or the Maya cross.
This path to becoming an Ajq'ij (Mayan Spiritual Leader) takes a long time, at least a decade. After many years, once they are ready, on the day 8 B'atz' or 9 B'atz', they are given their title of Ajq'ij. They make a ceremony where they are once again introduced to the energies and are given their Tz'ite', crystals, sacred staff, Tz'ute, faja, and other energetic items. This is the point at which they can be considered Ajq'ij.
Their path does not end there, as it is a lifelong journey. While it is a fantastic role of assisting others and bringing them to a better life, it can also be a rather complex responsibility.
THEY BEAR THE WEIGHT OF THEIR ENTIRE COMMUNITY ON THEIR SHOULDERS, AND EVERYONE LOOKS TO THEM FOR GUIDANCE.
They must continuously cleanse themselves since they can absorb the energy of everyone around them, and their job is often not economically recognized because it is their obligation to serve everyone.
This work, however, comes with many wonderful rewards, such as regular contact with nature. They have a genuine relationship with existence, and their many years of work provide them with a wealth of experience and knowledge far beyond what money can buy.. The Ajq'ij are the pillars of our world and our existence, which is why we are grateful to them and for what they do for the sake of the entire globe and all beings.
By Eline from the Mayan Wisdom Project.