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2012byLina Barrios

This is the second in a series of short stories written by Mayan Ajq'ij (spiritual guide) Lina Barrios from Guatemala. These stories are meant to share the knowledge and wisdom of the Mayan peoples with the world.

Ixkotzij (flower woman) and her sister went with their mother to visit their grandfather, Kawoq. They visited him every 13 days, since he lived far away. The two sisters were very excited to see him. He was often smiling, as he liked to tease them, and he always answered all the questions the girls asked, even the most difficult ones. From moment they left the house, Ixkotzij began thinking of a difficult question to ask her grandfather. He taught them no to be content with an "I don't know, just because, who knows"; or that type of answer. He said everything had a reason and they were entitled to know it.

Grandfather Kawoq had gray hair, which he was starting to lose. When you came into his house you could listen to an old radio playing marimba music. While Ixkotzij's mother and sister where preparing food in the kitchen, she asked her grandfather the question she had planned for this visit. "Grandpa, why are people in the city saying that the world will end in 2012? What are all those Maya prophecies about? And how come you never told me anything about it? I think that is not fair, you never warned us."

Grandfather Kawoq smiled and told her in a pleasant voice: "Our ancestors, the grandfathers and grandmothers, have never said the world is going to end. That's why I didn't say anything to you. Our grandfathers and grandmothers have taught us to take care of Mother Earth, to not destroy her. So the world is not going to end. Hasn't your mother taught you not to waste water, to use just the wood that you need? Hasn't you father taught your brother to cut the wood on a full moon so that it will last for many years, and to use the branches of old trees? Don't you remember that as a child you helped pick up the branches from the woods so that we did not have to cut many trees? Our grandfathers and grandmothers have taught us these and many other things. They taught us to love Mother Earth, to ask her permission before we take anything from her, but they have never taught us that the world is going to end. I think that the people who are saying the world will end are saying so because they know deep inside that they are destroying Mother Earth, and they feel bad about it."

Grandfather Kawoq stood silently, meditating for a while, then he continued:
"In the big cities everything works with electric power - even the stairs work with electric power. They use it for the elevators, to carry their water, to wash and dry their clothes, and to cook their food. They use it for everything. What would happen if they no longer had electric power? There are many things they won't be able to do. But what happens to us? Not much. If there is no electric power, our world continues to be the same. Our houses, at most, have two stories - not 40, 60 or 90 like the buildings in big cities. We bring our water from the river in pitchers. We hand wash our clothes. We enjoy drying them with the energy of Father Sun, because his energy and strength is imprinted on our clothes. We pick wood from the forest to cook our food and keep our house warm. But in big cities, if they don't have electric power, their world somehow ends, because they are fragile. They don't live in harmony with Mother Earth. Unlike us, they live away from her. Everything in their world is artificial. Their world depends on electricity, on fuel, on a car. We live in contact with nature. We take care of Mother Earth in the same way she takes care of us. Our world will not end, so don't worry my beloved Ixkotzij."

About the author:
Lina Barrios is a Mayan Ajq'ij (spiritual guide) and anthropologist from the highlands of Guatemala, where she currently resides. For nearly 25 years she has worked tirelesly for the preservation of traditional Mayan langages, women's rights, dress, culture and spirituality in her homeland. She is also a published author and universit professor.

Denise Barrios is Lina's Neice and author of The Energies of the Day, a day planner based on the count of days of the Sacred Mayan Calendar. Her website is

Saq' Be': Organization for Mayan and Indigenous Spiritual Studies is a non profit organization based in New Mexico, US. Saq' Be' works to bring people, especially young adults, together with ancient traditions for the purpose of cultural and spiritual preservation and to open the doors of opportunity for those traditions to share their teachings with the rest of the world. More information can be found at: Copyleft-Creative Commons (See website for details)


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