ITZ Copal

Photo: Milk&Peonies

The sun, the moon, and the stars arrived on Earth bringing copal with them, such is the importance of this sacred sap, says the Popul Vuh, the Mayan creation book, a document that has been preserved since the Spanish conquest. 

The neighboring ‘cousin’ tribe of the Maya were the Aztec and they had a different creation mythology that claimed the primordial gods Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl made the Earth from the bloodthirsty goddess Tlaltecutli, and then they transformed themselves into four cosmic trees, representing the four quarters of the universe. Emanating divine energies & forces, these sentient trees uphold the heavens, stabilize the Earth and create a passageway into the underworld with their roots, all the while, we humans must feed Tlaltecutli her much craved blood.   

In the Mayan mythologies, Xibalba, God of the Underworld is about to order the death of Xquic, one of his overlord’s daughters, but Xquic convinces the henchman who would carry out the sacrifice, rather to use copal as a substitute for her blood. Copal and blood become interchangeable substances. 

Copal resin sweats and bubbles, like blood, prior to transforming itself to a heavy sweet smoke and can be offered to the Gods (in the place of human blood).  Indigenous people are intrigued with blood and copal is considered the blood of trees. To maintain a balanced, harmonious cosmos, free of chaos, the Gods demand offerings. In this way we are able to appease the God/dess and communicate with the Otherworld.

Copaleros, those who extract copal, continue to harvest this sacred resin in a manner similar to their ancestors.  Choosing designated areas in the forest landscapes of their home, and cautious to rotate their chosen trees every few years, copaleros use a wooden mallet and large metal knife, with prayers and respect, they place a small cut into the tree. Below these abrasions, which appear to ‘bleed’, the resin is caught, as it oozes from the tree trunks, by large maguey spikes held in place with rope. 

For the ancient indigenous people of Central America, trees are sentient & Holy and there is an ongoing relationship of reciprocity between them with humans.  These sacred trees offer their sap as sacrificial blood.  The Bursera Bipinnata tree, which grows throughout Central America, continues to be the most desired source of the much coveted white copal.  In Nahuatl, this tree is called copalquahiitl.  Another favored type of copal, more yellowish in color and resembling frankincense in scent, is harvested from the Protium Copal tree. 

Photo: Unknown

Copaltemaliztl, “the act of burning of copal,” is a ritual grounded in Central American religious practices.  Revered throughout that geographic region, copal is used in a ritualistic way to cure ailments of the body, mind and spirit.  

Imagine then you have lit your charcoal, having placed it in a heat proof container called a popoxcomitl, as you prepare to burn and offer copal.  As this hallowed sap burns, you take in the sweet resinous scent of this magnificent being. With white smoke billowing out and swirling around, you feel uplifted.  Known as the ‘white lady’, you can sense she is dialoguing with the Gods, heartily petitioning the heavens on your behalf.

According to visionary and healer,  Maestro Pablo Amaringo Shuna, copal or what he lovingly called an ‘empire of spirits’ deeply cleanses the aura.  Akin to an opaque metal that needs to be polished, it helps us to shine again. It is the incense of the rainforest, used since ancient times, used since before the world became disharmonious. Copal takes away negative and dense stains on a person’s aura, pulling away all the discord, sending it up into the atmosphere, where the trees will receive our ‘sickness’ and transmute this heaviness, allowing for our renewal.

The truly magical scent of copal brings about relaxation, balancing the body. This can reduce blood pressure as well as increase concentration. The scent has also been used as a treatment for insomnia and headaches. It can also expand the mind and increase a person’s creativity. 

Juan Manuel, a Mexican medicine man who’s is called ‘El Indio’ says, this copal medicine has the power to evoke other worlds through its fragrance.   “The sense of smell is the sense that never sleeps.  Hence the aromas evoke memories – perhaps reminiscences- or function as direct thresholds to the depths of consciousness.” –Ancestral Mexico 

El Indio, with a group of healers known as Ancestral Mexico, offer copal ceremonies in the Yucatan where you will experience smudging of the heavenly copal medicine around your body, as well, orally ingest this sacred sap in the form of copal tea.  According to their ancient teachings, this form of medicine can awaken memories of who you are, where you come from, your true relationship with creation, with everything in the cosmos and galaxy, with Earth and all living beings that inhabit this place.  The tea awakens one’s DNA, heals ancestral issues that reside deep in the bones, aids the stomach & intestinal tract and helps with respiratory ailments.  

Itz is a Mayan word for all Holy liquids such as dew, blood, semen, holy water, resins, sweat, tears, candle pitch and tree sap- such as copal.  Itz is a vital force, what is commonly known as chi energy, but what the Mayan call ch’ul.   Cosmic sap flows from the World Tree and is offered to us as sacramental medicine to fortify our ch’ul.

Itz is also a word that can translate to magic. Itzamna, a Mayan God, was the first sorcerer of creation.   A Mayan medicine person is called an Itzam or one who makes Itz, the holy substance that can be used to contact other worlds. 

Both the Maya and Aztec cultures consider a person’s 52nd birthday to be an auspicious day, it is known as the new fire.   On my new fire, I traveled to the Yucatan to have a copal ceremony with El Indio & the Ancestral Mexico family.  At a sacred cenote, they built me an elaborate altar, dedicated to the four directions as they called on all the forces of the cosmos to come and bless me.  They surrounded me with the white lady as they sang & danced and they sent all our collective prayers to the heavens.  We drank copalli.  In the end, they gifted me a small bit of fresh copallli blanco; a treasure.  

Photo: Milk&Peonies

In due time, the copal spoke to me.  With my own store pile of copal resin from my beloved homeland of Belize, I was moved to create copal tincture for tea-making, a product which I’ve called ITZ Copal, so that I can continue to drink copal tea and offer it to my clients.  May we ALL awaken to the true memory of WHO we are and WHY we are here.  

This sacrificial blood of the trees has been with us since the dawn of time and it is here now to assist us with the personal challenges we all face in remembering our interconnectedness.

Tlazocamati Copalli

If you would like to work with a bottle of ITZ Copal, goto http://www.moonflowermedicine.love/shop/copal

Denai Grace Seacombe-Fuller, Cihuatochtli, is a Mama of five, Tarot Guide, Acolyte of IxChel, spiritual healer, flower essence practitioner, flower alchemist and student of Nahualism. 

The Grandmothers Speak

madrone

Hiking a short forested trail with my dog on the foothills of Ashland, Oregon, I come to a soothing assortment of Standing Stones. Here I sit at the base of a Grandmother Madrone tree with a panoramic view to this picturesque mountain town I call home. At some time in the life span of this Madrone, she has been struck by lightning. I love the energy she holds from the fire that must have ensued. Some of her branches are charred, burnt and dead, but mostly, her branches are gorgeously rejuvenated and continue to grow in a myriad of directions. She is currently loaded with berries, she stands atop this mountainside, a glorious specimen, a true testament to the resilience of Mother Nature.

I was drawn to this place to make an essence. I open my 1 ounce dropper essence bottle filled with Icelandic artesian vodka and Mt. Shasta spring water, both ingredients hold importance. I am deeply aware of the current struggle for fresh water being led by the woman in North Dakota and of the woman in Iceland who seem to be standing strong in their fight for equal rights. I call out to Grandmother Madrone, “Come bless my essence with your energy, I call forth the energies of a woman, struck by force, who wills her own rejuvenation, so that she may bloom again”. I named this essence, the ‘Grandmothers Speak’… through thunder and lightning… of the end of the patriarchy, of the healing of the woman. It is rejuvenation energy medicine.

This particular sacred Earth place is where my mother has chosen to make her presence known to me this year. “Be still daughter”, she says. “Bear witness to the women rising.” My mother was the victim of domestic violence. She has called me to Grandmother Madrone to impart wisdom. She is making it clear to me that although her life was short, and sad, that she created me, who lives on. Although she could not, by example, show me the home of an honored woman, she has led me to the very lessons needed to realize that women are sacred.  She insists that I would create the balanced home of a woman well-loved. She marvels at my fastidiousness to heal the lineage of the women of my family and bloodline. She bows in reverence to the challenges of my path.

guadulupe

My mother started communicating with me in earnest last year when she nudged me to go to the shrine of Lady Guadalupe in Mexico City. This annual day of reverence, 12-12, is the Feast of Lady Guadalupe, it is also my mothers birthday. Serendipitously, I embarked on a shamanic training with Sergio Magana, Ocecoyotl in which I found myself in a moving crowd of nine million Catholic devotees and indigenous pilgrims. Sergio’s students, honoring the old religious protocol of the Aztec, walked along with clear intent as we performed various prayers & movements to heal our blood lines and to release our underworlds. Our six-hour walk will eventually lead us to the mound of Tonatizin Tlalli Coatlicue, the original Aztec Mother Goddess, Mother Earth herself, who the Spanish conquerors displaced hundreds of years prior with the current Basilica of Lady Guadalupe.

Mexico City

I was slightly amused by the perfect crossroads of Christianity and Curanderismo, where my mother and I could actually, peacefully, meet. On this annual religious pilgrimage, I was able to light a candle requesting the Lady Guadalupe to assist me in my healing desires for my family, I was able to kneel on the earth offering deep gratitude to the original Earth Mother who provides all, and I was able to find an inner peace with my own Mother who had departed twenty-eight years prior from bone cancer.

Shortly after her death, I was called to Joshua Tree, California for my first plant medicine initiation. I lay under the desert night sky, riddled with more stars than I had ever seen, aware that some of those stars were speaking to me; they were my ancestors voices whispering. I was able to feel my mother safely in the Mictlans, the land of the dead. Throughout that night, the Sky World Ancestors kept urging me to remember. Remember. I have often been haunted by that particular spiritual quest as I never quite understood what message was being transmitted.

joshua-tree

Nor did I know, it would be years later, in a pine forest, at the base of a madrone tree, after many life lessons, marriage, motherhood, loss of love, divorce, and maturity, far from the land of my birth, at the dawn of the 5th world, I’d finally realize the simple and potent message being imparted on that starry night: Remember who you are!

YOU are a Holy Being. You are the center of this universe. You are the creative life force. You are the beginning and the end. It is in your arms that all is well. YOU are the Holy Grail. Front and center. To be honored, respected, heard and seen. “Violating a woman is a violation against God, a sin against yourself; karmic suicide.” (Gina Loring)  Any world, family unit, work environment or religious system that does not operate with this foundational belief is doomed to fail.

Woman, Mother, Sister, Daughter, Warrior. Remember!

It took years upon years of untangling, unraveling and re-patterning to believe these simple truths. It has taken centuries to reach this juncture in history, the dismantling of the patriarchy, the empowered woman, the supportive male. It is time.

“Aztec myth tells how the deity Quetzalcoatl, who in the Nahuatl language means “feathered serpent,” journeyed to Mictlan at the dawning of the Fifth Sun (the present world era), in order to restore humankind to life from the bones of those who had lived in previous eras. For bones are like seeds: everything that dies goes into the earth, and from the earth new life is born in the sacred cycle of existence”. http://www.wilderutopia.com

At Grandmother Madrone, high up on an North American earth mound, I carry a candle to the Lady Guadalupe to thank her for cradling me in her Mexican Basilica while hearing my prayers. Here, on this mountaintop, I bow down in prayerful thanksgiving to Tonantzin, Mother Earth, for everything. Everything.

Here, in Ashland, Oregon, I feel my Belizean mother’s full presence as my main ancestral guide. The Original Sky World Ancestor. It is my deceased mother, after all, who has dedicated her bones to the earth to offer me life and it is she who has called me to this rejuvenation tree to connect with my stars, and to make good medicine.

-Denai Grace Fuller, Cihuatochtli
is a Tarot Guide who offers hand-crafted flower & earth essences:
The Grandmothers Speak is a rejuvenation Earth essence which heals mother/daughter wounds and the female spirit $12.00.