As of now, I have interviewed many individuals that have impacted me in ways unimaginable. However, one of the interviews to date has impacted me the most has been my interview with a Mayan Priest or Mayan Spiritual Guide.
Throughout my time interviewing, I have been amazed at the beauty of the Mayan culture. The individuals I have met have welcomed me and treated me with such respect that I cannot help but feel blessed to have been given the opportunity to conduct my research here.
I met Fernando*, the Mayan Spiritual Guide through a contact that I established in the country. After speaking to him over the phone we established a day and time where we could meet. Thus, I arrived early one Friday morning in the city of Chimaltenango. After taking the bus for 3 hours, I jumped off the and arrived our designated meeting place. I was sitting at the table alone with my thoughts when all of the sudden, he walked into the restaurant, wearing a traditional textile jacket and carrying a backpack.
Upon beginning to interview him, I was enthralled by his life story and all he had to share with me. Early in his life he was not a Mayan Priest but after going through many trials and tribulations he realized that he was unhappy because he was not following his true path. Thus, he realized he was destined to be a Spiritual Guide and in choosing this path he comments his life was forever changed. When he graduated and finished his Shaman education, he was handed a bag filled with his tools and he began to work and fulfill his life’s work.
Fernando, continued by explaining to me the intricacy that is the Mayan culture. With this I learned more about the Mayan calendar and the various traditions and ceremonies that occur when individuals are born. It was interesting to note that while I was learning about the beliefs and traditions of the indigenous Mayans, I was also learning more about myself.
Additionally, since I was researching medicinal plants and their remedies, he explained to me various plants and herbs that are used to treat a variety of diseases and illness. What I found so fascinating, was that each herb had a specific property and usage and it depends on the origin of the illness whether it is a physical manifestation, or a mental manifestation, for the plant to be used.
Towards the end of my interview he invited me to attend a Mayan convention that trains Mayan spiritual guides and priests, with an emphasis of medicinine. Unfortunately, I would be traveling back to the United States but Fernando assured me that there are indeed female Mayan Spiritual Guides and should I be interested in returning to visit and experience the Mayan training school for Guides and Priests I was always welcome.
Overall, I found this interview to be one of the best that I had conducted and there was one moment that I felt I would carry this advice with me for the rest of my life. Fernando told me that the greatest thing I can do, if I choose to continue to pursue a medical career, is to always remember to listen to the patients. For it is with listening that I learn more about the patient and thus am better equipped to help him/her. With listening I can understand differences, in perhaps, cultural perspectives that otherwise without would allow for conflicts to build.
Lastly, I was told to never forget my past, or my culture. I should always honor, be proud and respect my ancestors and the land of my forefathers. For without a past I cannot move forward to complete my life’s dreams and goals.
“The future is no place for a person with an incomplete past”
*Name changed to respect privacy of interviewed individualShare on Facebook